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Rep. Bass Introduces Amendments To The FAA Reauthorization Package To Crack Down On Rampant Flight Noise

April 24, 2018
Press Release
LOS ANGELES – As the FAA Reauthorization package makes its way to the House floor, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) has introduced 4 amendments and cosponsored more than 40 others aimed at reducing flight noise in Culver City, Baldwin Hills and the West Adams neighborhood.

“Members of our community have been consistently bombarded by noise coming from airplanes flying too low, too loud and too often,” said Rep. Bass. “The amendments I’ve introduced and cosponsored all have one mission; to reduce the rampant onslaught of noise that has made some places in L.A. on the verge of uninhabitable.

“These amendments, like the ones I introduced in last year’s package, would require the FAA to get clear on and explain excessive low-altitude flights, provide resources to address noise reduction on aircraft, and increase funding for research, development and the implementation of air traffic noise reduction technologies. They would also require FAA to measure actual noise exposure instead of the ridiculous practice of averaging noise over a 24-hour period.

“As FAA concentrates flight paths across the country, airplane noise now affects people far away from airports, and in districts represented by Members of both parties.  Congress must take action to address airplane noise and its harms. As I have said for over a year now, increasing airline efficiency must not and cannot require the sacrifice of health and well-being of those on the ground.” 

Sponsored Amendments:

  1. To require that if more than 25 percent of flights on a single procedure deviate lower than minimum published altitude in a single month, the FAA Administrator shall produce a report to Congress, explaining the reason for the high level of low altitude flights.
  2. To require that the FAA Administrator submit a report to Congress on the status of the technology that was promised to keep planes higher for a longer duration (Terminal Sequencing and Spacing or TSAS) with specific information provided, by airline, regarding the adoption and equipping of aircraft and the training of pilots in its use. 
  3. To require that FAA must respond in a timely fashion to any duly-constituted Noise Roundtables when they ask for information, or request flight, noise or pollution data. 
  4. To direct the FAA Administrator to establish a research and development grant, prioritizing small businesses and startups, to advance noise and emission reducing retrofitting technology for conventional aircrafts.

As a member of the Quiet Skies Caucus, Rep. Bass has worked with other Congressional representatives affected by airplane noise and NextGen Metroplex implementation. She is proud to have cosponsored more than 40 amendments, including: 

Addressing High Altitudes:

  • Amendment # 59 - The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall ensure that all aircraft engaged in commercial flight operations within 20 miles of a commercial service airport with 1,000,000 or more annual enplanements shall fly at no lower altitude than necessary to provide for safe flight operations.
  • Amendment # 123 - This amendment requires a GAO report studying: (1) while maintaining safety as the top priority, whether air traffic controllers and airspace designers are trained on noise and health impact mitigation in addition to efficiency; and (2) the prevalence of vectoring flights due to over-crowded departure and arrival paths, and alternatives to this practice.

Addressing FAA Consideration of Community Concerns

  • Amendment # 58 - When analyzing changes to procedures and flight operations, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall consider safety as the top priority, impacts on communities below as the second priority, and efficiency as the third priority.
  • Amendment # 87 - Directs Regional FAA Administrators to conduct public forums within affected local communities in their region every 90 days to address concerns regarding the logistical, environmental, and health impacts of aircraft overflight noise.  Requires Regional Administrators to provide public notice of such public forums at least 30 days prior to a forum.
  • Amendment # 122 - This amendment requires the FAA to update its mission statement to include safety as the first priority, and efficiency and the minimization of noise, health, and environmental impacts as the secondary and co-equal priorities. While safety should always be the primary goal, including efficiency as the only other goal has resulted in efficiency being prioritized over the minimization of noise, health, and environmental impacts.

Measuring Actual Noise, Revising FAA Systems

  • Amendment # 96 - The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall evaluate alternative metrics, including the use of actual noise sampling, as part of a day-night average sound level standard. Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report on the results of the study, including a description of the proposed structure of a recommended pilot program.

Retrofitting Aircraft, Improving Airport Maintenance

  • Amendment # 81 - Directs the FAA Administrator to engage and cooperate with air carriers to identify and facilitate opportunities for air carriers to retrofit aircraft with devices that mitigate noise, including vortex generators.
  • Amendment # 134 - Enables the FAA to enter into cooperative agreements with academia and nonprofits to research and deploy new pavement technology that improves durability, cost effectiveness, and safety. This could have the effect of reducing time required for runway maintenance, allowing fewer nights when LAX flights have to land over homes, instead of both taking off and landing over the ocean during nighttime hours.

Environmental Health and Impacts

  • Amendment # 93 - Requires a report from the Comptroller General evaluating the health and environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from aircrafts as well as the impact of NextGen implementation on aircraft emissions.
  • Amendment # 94 - Requires a report from the Comptroller General evaluating the impacts of extreme temperatures and weather events on flight schedules and airport infrastructure.
  • Amendment # 132 - This amendment creates a zero emissions vehicles research program and enables the FAA to provide technical assistance, grants, and cooperative agreements to nonprofits and academia.

Mitigation for Those Affected by Airplane Noise

  • Amendment # 124  - A homeowner who received noise mitigation 20 or 30 years ago and whose insulation has deteriorated cannot currently ask for repair or replacement of the insulation through the FAA AIP Residential Sound Insulation Program (RSIP). This amendment would allow homeowners to receive assistance for noise mitigation products or services under RSIP if they had previously received services or products, but those products need repair, providing that the warranty is no longer valid.

Addressing Concerns at Smaller Airports

  • Amendment # 95 - Prohibits aircraft operations on runways at Santa Monica Airport that are located within 600 feet of a residential home.
  • Amendment # 91 - Requires a report from the Secretary of Transportation and the National Research Council on aviation gasoline that assesses non-leaded fuel alternatives to the aviation gasoline used by piston-powered general aviation aircraft.
  • Amendment # 92 - Prohibits the use of leaded fuel in flight instruction courses on runways at Santa Monica Airport that are located within 600 feet of residential homes until an alternate non-leaded fuel for piston-powered general aviation aircraft is developed.

Helicopter Noise:

  • Amendment # 161 - Regulations to Reduce Helicopter Noise Pollution in Certain Residential Areas.