Runway Rotation Plan "Test" Found to Decrease Aircraft Noise Around O’Hare: Communities to Request Plan "Tweak" and Additional Testing
For Immediate Release
November 21, 2016
Contact - JDA
Mike Rioux - 301-940-1460
To reduce O’Hare nighttime aircraft noise on the region, the City of Chicago in conjunction with the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC), JDA Aviation, and the FAA developed a Runway Rotation Plan (RRP).
The RRP closes all O’Hare runways except for 2 runways during the late night hours. Each week, the 2 available runways are rotated, effectively disbursing overnight aircraft noise over the entire region. The RRP was approved by the FAA for a 12 week "test period" which began last July 2016.
At that time, the Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) engaged the services of JDA Aviation Solutions to analyze the effectiveness of the RRP "test". The JDA Analysis was reported to SOC on November 18, 2016 and the news was positive.
The JDA analysis found that the Runway Rotation Plan (RRP) test was a tremendous success. Overall, during the RRP, communities experienced less noise, fewer overflights, and this resulted in less noise complaints during the overnight period than the year before. Overnight complaints fell despite overall aircraft noise complaints otherwise increasing dramatically.
In summary, the JDA findings conclude that:
- Nighttime noise complaints decreased over 10% during the RRP. This was at the same time that non-RRP aircraft noise complaints increased by 32% from the same time a year earlier.
- Noise monitor results show that there is less aircraft noise on the region during the RRP; however, each week, several communities may have more noise for that one-week period of time only when runways are utilized near their community.
- On the whole, the region is quieter due to the narrow focus of the RRP.
- Moreover, on average, the data demonstrates a reduction in the number of aircraft flying less than 3,000 feet over each community. The 3,000-foot level is critical to generating or disbursing aircraft noise. The higher the aircraft, the less noise energy impacts those at ground level.
SOC Chairman and Elk Grove Mayor Craig B. Johnson noted:
"We are grateful for the City of Chicago Department of Aviation, the ONCC, and the FAA for trying something new and innovative. We are also grateful that ONCC and CDA have allowed our experts to analyze the data and for working closely with SOC on these important solutions.
We are even more thankful to learn that the RRP works. There are nights when a community is impacted by noise; however, due to the RRP, there are weekly stretches when a community is virtually aircraft noise free. This was a novel approach, and we truly appreciate the spirit of cooperation required to develop the plan, implement the plan, analyze the plan, and now work to improve the plan. Now that the plan has been tested by independent experts and found to be working extremely well, we look forward to the RRP being tweaked, tested again, and implemented permanently for the benefit of the region.
Our personal thanks to everyone how has been involved in improving the quality of night life for those of us around O’Hare Airport"
Also commenting on the favorable news, Itasca Mayor and SOC Treasurer Jeff Pruyn stated:
"The entire region benefits economically from O’Hare airport and the entire region should share in the impact of O’Hare flights. No single community should take the brunt of night-time aircraft noise. We are glad to learn that the RRP was a success, that aircraft noise and complaints are down, and we look forward to the program continuing now and well into the future."
While JDA noted that the RRP is working effectively, there is some room for improvement. These improvements can be explored further as JDA and SOC recommends a continued 6-month test of the RRP.
In closing, SOC Director and Wood Dale Mayor Nunzio Pulice stated:
"SOC realizes that the rotation plan is only one component of noise mitigation and will continue to work with ONCC, CDA, FAA and JDA for future improvements for the region."
Please address any questions about this press release to SOC Chairman Craig B. Johnson at 847-3574030 or 847-373-5040.
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