Denver Metroplex Community Involvement

The airspace surrounding Denver metropolitan area is among the most complex in the country. The FAA is redesigning this airspace to address inefficiencies and improve how aircraft navigate the area. By introducing new procedures that use satellites and specific onboard equipment for navigation (referred to as Performance Based Navigation) and making use of time-based metering through the metropolitan area (“Metroplex”), the agency is improving access to the Denver-area airports of Centennial, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan, and Denver International, the nation’s fifth-busiest airport in passenger traffic.

Community meetings were held during the month of April where maps of the proposed changes to arrivals and departures were displayed. Public comment is still being accepted prior to the Environmental Assessment expected to be completed by 2019. For a summary of the process and pdfs of the proposed maps, please use this link: www.faa.gov/nextgen/communityengagement/den/


The 2018 UC Davis Aviation Noise and Emissions Symposium

February 25-27, 2018
Long Beach, California

Elected officials, airports, consultants, the FAA and community members will share lessons they have learned and successes they have celebrated in their search for solutions to the impacts of NextGen noise and emissions as the Symposium focuses on ground-breaking science, legislative efforts, and community interactions being undertaken by the aviation community.

Each year CACNR representatives attend the Symposium to network, learn and bring back insights to improve our work for the Centennial Airport Community.

For full details of the conference, follow this link:

Takeaways from U.C. Davis Noise and Emissions Symposium

FAA knows there are community concerns about noise, the FAA cares and they are acting:

The Quiet Skies Caucus was created at the start of the 114th Congress in 2014 by congressional members dedicated to reducing the impact of aircraft noise on their communities. Colorado members are Mike Coffman and Jared Polis.

Ongoing aviation health research is studying the link between aircraft noise and hypertension and other heart diseases.

FAA is conducting a study on aircraft noise and sleep disturbance and their affects on annoyance and children’s learning.


Current Articles

FAA Metroplex Community Outreach

FAA Metroplex Community Outreach

FAA Community Involvement Manual

FAA Community Involvement Manual

Centennial Airport receives environmental honor

State public health, environment office gives nod for lighting, other efforts

Led by Centennial Airport staff members, from left to right, Mike Fronapfel, director of planning; Gina Conley, senior planner; and Dylan Heberlein, noise and environmental specialist, the airport’s lighting energy-reduction effort earned it a Bronze Level Achievement recognition from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Environmental Leadership Program. Centennial Airport was one of 16 bronze-level achievers honored at this year’s awards ceremony Oct. 9 in Glendale.

COURTESY OF DEBORAH GRIGSBY SMITH/CENTENNIAL AIRPORT

Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 5:13 pm

Staff report

Centennial Airport received an award from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for reducing energy use on its airfield, along with several other environmental efforts, according to a news release by the airport.

The department and its Pollution Prevention Advisory Board honored the airport and 167 other entities across the state at its annual Environmental Leadership Awards ceremony — part of the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program — in Glendale at Infinity Park Event Center earlier this month, according to the release.

The 50-year-old airport has reduced the energy footprint on two of its three runways, associated connectors and taxiways by more than 46,000 kilowatt-hours.

Former Gov. Bill Ritter, now founding director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, served as keynote speaker.

Ritter, who also spoke at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, told the audience of 400 government, business and community leaders that the heavy lifting on environmental issues doesn't always come from policymakers at the top, but rather “The real work is being done at the state and local level, and by the private sector," according to the release.

The airport was among 16 bronze-level winners statewide.

“We are very excited to be among those to be named a Bronze Level Achiever this year,” said Dylan Heberlein, noise and environmental specialist for the airport, in the release. “While this is our first year to be recognized, it's nice to know that what we've been doing here at the airport over the past five years has been on track.”

The state's program, now in its 19th year, recognizes environmental achievements that help keep the state a desirable place to live and work.

“For us, we saw the biggest return when we replaced conventional incandescent edge lighting, along airport-movement areas, with low-energy light-emitting diode (LED) lights,” Heberlein said in the release. “Along with upgrades to airfield wiring and new, more efficient voltage regulators, we've seen a significant reduction in overall kWh usage over the past five years.”

In total, the airport replaced more than 1,000 runway and taxiway lights over the past five years, as well as lighting in 80 on-airfield directional signs.

“We're making a lot of small changes that, for us, have delivered some really impressive results,” said Gina Conley, senior planner for the airport, in the release.

The airport's energy bills from 2015 to 2017 show a reduction of 46,440 kWh, or about $6,600 in savings. According to statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, that savings could power four residential homes for just over a year.

“LED lighting lasts longer than conventional lighting, so there's some noticeable savings when it comes to replacement parts,” Conley said in the release. “In addition, the LEDs are brighter, crisper, more visible, and that's a big win when it comes to runway safety.”

Those numbers only reflect the energy savings for two of the three runways, Heberlein said.

“We will be replacing the lighting on our parallel runway (RWY 17R/35L) and its associated taxiway in the summer of 2020, so we expect to see even more reduction in energy use in the very near future,” Heberlein said in the release.

Along with its lighting-upgrade project, the airport also was applauded for its stormwater-spill prevention and control countermeasure, its wildlife-mitigation program, overall environmental best practices and strong partnership with the Centennial Airport Community Noise Roundtable.

Formed in 2008, the roundtable is composed of elected and appointed officials from local municipalities and counties. The airport meets with them monthly to discuss the effects of aircraft noise on surrounding communities.

CDPHE's environmental recognition program offers benefits and incentives to members who voluntarily go beyond compliance with state and federal regulations and commit to continual environmental improvement. It is open to all Colorado businesses, industries, offices, educational institutions, municipalities, government agencies, communities, nonprofits and other organizations.

“We know that striving for environmental sustainability is the right thing to do,” said Mike Fronapfel, director of planning and development for the airport, in the release. “And as we go forward, we'll continue to seek out more ways to collaborate with stakeholders to identify and reduce environmental impact.”


August 9, 2018

D.C. residents suffer major setback in fight over plane noise from National Airport

By Lori Aratani August 9 at 5:15 PM l Washington Post

A group of Washington residents is considering whether they will take their fight over airplane noise to the U.S. Supreme Court, after a federal appeals court rejected their request for a rehearing.

In March, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found in favor of the Federal Aviation Administration in the long-standing battle over noise from flights at Reagan National Airport, ruling that the neighborhood groups missed the deadline for filing their complaint. The groups sought a rehearing before the full court, but their request was denied last month.

The panel’s ruling was significant because a different three-judge panel last year ruled in favor of Arizona residents in a dispute over flight paths in Phoenix. That case involved a similar issue of timing, but a majority of that panel of judges said the FAA’s handling of the transition was so egregious that it overcame their concerns about when the petition was filed.

Richard Hinds, an attorney who represents the coalition of residents in Northwest D.C. neighborhoods including Georgetown, the Palisades and Hillandale, said the next step would be to go to the Supreme Court. But he acknowledged that would be a high hurdle for the groups. Battles over airplane noise have escalated in communities across the country as the FAA has moved to redesign old flight paths. The changes are part of a larger effort to modernize the air traffic control system by shifting it to satellite-based navigation. The multibillion-dollar effort, known as NextGen, allows pilots to fly more planes over concentrated routes, but in some cases has resulted in noise over neighborhoods that had not previously been under flight paths. There has been a significant uptick in noise complaints as a result.

The issue has been particularly contentious in the Washington region, which is home to three major airports: National, Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International.

In June, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh challenged changes to flight paths at BWI, filing a petitionwith the same appeals court. He also filed a petition with the FAA seeking additional environmental review of the flight paths. As a result of Frosh’s actions, FAA officials have declined to continue with community discussions design to address residents’ concerns about noise.

No hearing has been set in the Maryland case.


July 17, 2018

After Maryland challenges, FAA pulls out of discussions on airport noise

Read article here.


December 22, 2017

Mary Reese: FAA needs to take responsibility for airport noise

Capital Gazette Metroplex article

December 4, 2017

Feds' plan to handle airport noise goes back to square one

Long Island Metroplex article

October 28, 2017

New flight paths lead to airplane noise complaints across US

New flight path article

August 30, 2017

Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Phoenix in Flight Paths Case

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the city of Phoenix in a suit charging that the Federal Aviation Administration violated federal law when implementing new flight paths in September 2014. The case arose from FAA's implementation of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) as a part NextGen. The sudden change in flight paths resulted in a wave of public outrage as Phoenix residents who had never experienced overflights were subject to steady noise due to the concentrated flight paths.

The order indicates that the agency will need to return to the routes in place prior to September 2014 until it conducts a new environmental process, according to a statement issued by Sky Harbor International.

The court agreed with the city's argument that FAA approval of the new flight routes in September 2014 was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the National Historic Preservation Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Department of Transportation Act. Attorneys for the city are studying the decision to understand the process moving forward regarding what changes will be made and when, according to the Sky Harbor announcement.

This case, in conjunction with the passage of recent legislation introduced by Senators McCain and Flake, sends a strong message to the FAA that both airports and their surrounding communities must be consulted prior to major airspace changes. However, neither this case, nor the legislation should prevent airports from being proactive in reaching out to the FAA when facing Metroplex or local PBN implementation.

Judgement Opinion

August 2017

FAA Continues to Face Resistance in Implementing NextGen Flight Patterns

The FAA continues to work towards implementation of its NextGen flight patterns, an effort to improve efficiency in its so-called “Metroplexes.” While the FAA considers implementation of NextGen at Metroplexes to be in varying stages of completion, the agency continues to face significant resistance from community groups in the form of political and legislative pressure and litigation across the country. In general, residents have complained that the changes in flight patterns have considerably increased aircraft overflight noise in their communities without warning.

For example, in Washington, DC, one of the first Metroplexes to be considered complete, community groups have sued the FAA alleging that the federal environmental approval was obtained without sufficient public involvement, and the Governor of Maryland has formally requested that the FAA revert to pre-NextGen flight patterns. The U.S. Court of Appeals recently heard arguments in a case brought by the City of Phoenix, alleging that the FAA improperly failed to account for historical considerations or provide opportunities for community input before announcing its change in flight patterns. A similar lawsuit is pending in Southern California. Howard County, Maryland, has weighed whether to sue the FAA, and residents of Boulder, Colorado, have complained about changes to the flight patterns at Denver International Airport some 35 miles away.

For its part, the FAA is making attempts to engage the public following some of its high-profile struggles. In the two Metroplexes currently in the design phase (Cleveland-Detroit and Denver), the FAA has made a concerted effort to reach out to the public, promising to exceed the requirements that would ordinarily apply under NEPA or the National Historic Preservation Act. These initiatives include holding a series of community meetings, soliciting a wide variety of public comments, and reviewing those comments prior to issuing a final decision on implementation.


March 2017

Administration Releases Budget - Calls for Privatizing Air-Traffic Control

Dear N.O.I.S.E. Members,

We wanted you to be aware that on Thursday, March 16th, the President released his first preliminary budget request. As part of his plan, he has called for a shift in the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-governmental organization. The preliminary budget did not include specific plan regarding the structure of a Private Air Traffic Control System.

The privatization of the Air Traffic Control System will need to be considered and debated in Congress. The effort failed last year in Congress, but is expected to be reintroduced again this year.The proposal introduced in 2015 by Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA), the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, would have created a board made up of airline and other aviation stakeholders to oversee a new air-traffic corporation. Under Chairman Shuster's proposal from last year, the system would be funded by fees paid by aircraft operator instead of the current taxes on fuel and airline tickets. The FAA would continue to oversee safety and set aviation regulations.

We will be sure to keep updating N.O.I.S.E. members on developments. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us directly at ejtranter@locklaw.com.

Emily Tranter
National Coordinator
National Organization to Insure a Sound-Controlled Environment (N.O.I.S.E.)


November 2016

Centennial Airport’s draft noise map shows shrinking impact, staff says Read here


June/July 2016

Sound Decisions: The Delicate Science of Aircraft Noise Exposure Measurement

Sound Decisions Article