Aviation Reboot Road Map: Our Demands
Revert to legacy, pre-Performance Based Navigation (PBN) flight paths
PBN is clearly not working for the overflown public; millions of noise reports cannot be wrong. Airlines have taken advantage of these failed “modernization” programs, having advocated for years in favor of them, packing the skies with more airplanes. PBN has nothing to do with any of the “greenwashed” talking points the airlines persistently trumpet. It’s all about profit, at any cost in air and noise pollution.
Eliminate short haul air travel
Short haul travel is frying the planet. This needs to end. For most domestic trips, driving is often faster. When one considers the time invested to find a flight, the travel time to the airport, the time to check in and go through security, wait at the gate, exit the airport, find transportation, and travel to your destination on the ground, it is virtually ALWAYS more efficient for one and/or a family to travel by car or train. Further, if traveling by car, upon arrival at one’s destination, a personal vehicle is readily available for the duration of the trip. Short haul air travel does not make sense and has an awful impact on our world.
Eliminate nighttime arrivals and departures
Allow all airports to impose overnight curfews if they so choose to do so. Municipalities––most of which own the airports in their cities––should be able to decide this. As a requirement for accepting government grants to support airports’ operations, newer airports are forced to operate round the clock, frustrating the public with constant nighttime departures and arrivals. With the decision taken out of their hands, the only way an airport can impose a curfew is if it is “grandfathered” into being historically able to do so. Effective curfews also mean eliminating the common schedules of authorized aircraft and similar loopholes seen around airports worldwide.
Night flights are not only a nuisance to the overflown, but they also pose a health risk. Recent studies have shown that air traffic noise, especially at night, can cause cardiovascular health problems and is detrimental to fetal health, too.
Adhere to published flight paths
End the unethical practice of tower-authorized shortcuts for no particular reason. With the exception of where queuing conflicts occur and significant safety risks are evident, "Vectoring" and “Direct to” shortcuts should be eliminated altogether. Air traffic control at many airports have been endearing themselves to airlines by authorizing shortcuts that are often miles away from the published flight paths. These shortcuts are akin to implementing new flight paths without any environmental analysis, circumventing reviews at federal, state and local levels.
Install whine suppressors on certain whiny aircraft
Install vortex generators or similar whine suppressors on Airbus A319 and A320, as well as on certain private jets (i.e., Bombardier Challenger 300/350). These small devices are not at all expensive, yet aircraft operators continue to frustrate millions on the ground with obnoxiously loud and protracted aircraft whines. This is because aircraft operators choose to spare themselves a mere $3,000 in cost to install these useful devices on their multi-million-dollar aircraft.
Control general aviation (GA)
General aviation––from prop airplanes to low-flying helicopters––are completely out of control. The overhead noise from single piston engine powered aircraft can linger overhead for up to three minutes at a time, with noise from one aircraft arriving when another’s begins to dissipate. GA is contributing heavily to a seemingly endless din overhead. We request that GA aircraft be either put back on legacy flight paths or severely hamstrung in their movement through the implementation of dedicated flight paths away from heavily populated communities.
Address the regulations that give aviation a free rein
Municipalities should have the power to control their airspace, and communities should have a say in the matter. In the United States (US), there are laws on the books that allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) undisputed control over US airspace. Two of the regulations requiring a revisit are:
- 49 USC 40103, which allows airplanes to, in essence, fly wherever they please. The US Code (USC) states the following: “The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace in the United States” and “A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through navigable airspace.” One can clearly see how this code has led to the current problems in our skies and made aircraft, airports and the FAA, in essence, accountable to no one.
- 14 CFR 91.119, which allows aircraft to fly at ridiculously low altitudes over homes, schools, playgrounds, etc. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) states the following: “Over any congested area of a city, town or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet [305 meters] above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet [610 meters] of the aircraft” and “Over other than congested areas, an altitude of 500 feet [152 meters] above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.” This is unacceptable.
These existing codes and regulations need to be re-written to favor quietude in residential communities. People should be able to enjoy their homes and their outdoor activities without being deafened by commercial jets, helicopters, military airplanes, recreational aircraft and self-serving hobbyists overhead, untethered and at insanely low altitudes.
It is very much time we take back control of our skies.