Sound Policies

Jan. 8, 1999

Sound policies

A look at Teterboro Airport's noise management program

BY Monica L. Rausch, Associate Editor

January / February 1999

ATLANTA, GA — A general aviation reliever in the core of the Big Apple, just four miles due west of the Empire State Building, may boast a great location for travelers, but management at Teterboro Airport knows that location comes with a price; a persistent problem with noise.

Airport manager Philip Engle, speaking here to those attending the inter airport trade show, an international exhibition focusing on ground support equipment, shared how his airport attacks this issue.

Monitoring and Disciplining
Noise became a real issue at Teterboro after airline deregulation, when traffic to Newark International Airport, less than 20 miles to the south, exploded. Traffic departing Teterboro on Runway 19 could not depart because it would cross the Newark traffic. Aircraft often had to wait up to an hour for clearance from air traffic control, so jets began using Runway 24-6, which sent traffic over residential areas. The airport neighbors were not happy, says Engle.

Here are some basic steps Teterboro took to address the problem:
• As part of a airport master plan drawn up in 1984, a permanent noise monitoring system was installed.
• The community and airport management established the Teterboro Aircraft Noise Abatement Advisory Committee (TANAAC), which consists of 14 mayors of municipalities around the airport, representatives from airport management and the FAA's air traffic controllers, Congressmen, and local state legislators. TANAAC meets monthly to review data collected from the noise monitoring system, and keep communications going between the airport and its neighbors. The advisory group, says Engle, puts the focus on the politicians; if residents want something done, the airport refers them to their local elected officials who are a part of TANAAC.
• Airport management used data from the noise monitoring equipment to do an aircraft performance study which found that most aircraft could operate on Runway 24 with a reading of 90 dba or less; that level was set as the daytime operating limits for Runway 24. Nighttime limits are set at 80 dba, Engle says. Any aircraft producing more noise must wait for clearance from air traffic control to depart on Runway 19.
• Management adopted the policy of "three strikes, you're out," says Engle. After three violations of noise limitations, an aircraft is effectively banned from the airport.
• Aircraft departing on Runway 19 are now allowed to take off with no radar services, contacting departure control once airborne. Under VFR, "they don't have the minimum separation standards you have on instrument conditions," says Engle.