Experiment Moved Noise, But Didn't Eliminate It
When people living in Folsom (CA) complained about noise from
aircraft taking off and landing at Mather Airport each night, local
aviation officials were quick to react. The Sacramento County
Airport System shifted traffic away from Folsom and sent it south,
over Cameron Park, Shingle Springs and El Dorado Hills.
That didn't work.
Instead of reducing noise, SCAS officials said it simply moved
the din from one area to another.
The Sacramento Bee reports, during the experiment, VFR pilots
flying to and from Mather were asked to fly the alternate routes
between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am. IFR flights were exempted from the
request. By the end of the testing period, both the SCAS and the
FAA had received more than 1,400 noise complaints by phone and
"Here in Folsom, I don't think there was much of a change,"
resident Bill Bryant told the Bee. "I felt it was just as
From a ground-bound perspective, the noise is expected to
increase. Military aircraft from nearby Travis AFB will be based
there during runway construction at the base.
What's the solution? It could be the "continuous descent
approach" (CDA). Under that concept, arriving aircraft begin
descending about 10 miles from the threshold, maintaining a steady
three-degree down-angle. That way, aircraft avoid periods of long
flight at level altitudes. People on the ground don't hear the
constant throttling-up of aircraft coming out of their descent and,
oh-by-the-way, it saves on fuel.
The practice is being hailed in Europe, where new EU limitations
on both noise and air pollution have caused big headaches for both
commercial and private aircraft operators. UPS, which operates
nighttime flights from Mather, says it will switch to the new CDA
procedures later this year.