Environment: Aircraft Noise ReductionThe 1995 White House National Science and Technology Council report, Goals for a National Partnership in Aeronautics Research and Technology, states that "Environmental issues are likely to impose the fundamental limitation on air transportation growth in the 21st century."
Noise impact of aircraft operations is already constraining the air transportation system through curfews, noise budgets, and slot restrictions. Noise issues are also inhibiting expansion or construction of new facilities. Increasing stringency in aircraft noise standards has mandated phase-out of stage 2 airplanes by the year 2000, and the number of airports affected by local noise restrictions has grown from 119 airports in 1980 to 595 in 2000 worldwide.
The EPA has established that a Day-Night Average Level of 55 decibels is "requisite to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safety." The FAA and NASA vision for a noise-free constraint-free air transportation system has a goal of not exposing the population beyond airport boundaries to any greater noise level. This will benefit the public in terms of increased quality of life and readily available and affordable air travel, and our aviation industry will enjoy continued global leadership.
The essential objective is to "Reduce the perceived noise levels of future aircraft by a factor of two (10 decibels) relative to 1997 subsonic aircraft within 10 years and by a factor of four (20 decibels) within 25 years." This will be achieved, in cooperation with U.S. industry, via systematic development and validation of noise reduction technology in three areas: engine system, aircraft system, and operational procedures. The previous strong coordination among government, industry and academia will continue to effectively transition noise reduction technology to the U.S. industry.
As we progress toward this goal, the FAA's responsibility will be to develop and implement near-term programs to control today's aircraft noise. An important aspect of that job is the development of computer models that give insight into the system-wide consequences of alternative courses of action. Implementation of those models will allow both local and national authorities to make effective decisions to protect the public health and welfare as technology advances toward the vision of communities free from aircraft noise.
NASA Headquarters Responsible Official: Code R
Curator: SAIC Information Services