NextGen's Role in Reducing Aviation Noise
By Bill Goldston
July 15, 2009, a
generation’s worth of gains in aerodynamics and aircraft engine
technology have dramatically reduced the number of people exposed to
high noise levels near U.S. airports, but future noise reductions will
depend largely on advances being developed through the Next Generation
Air Transportation System (NextGen).
The assessment is based on computing the areas surrounding U.S. airports that are exposed, over 24 hours, to an average noise level of 65 decibels or more — at or above the level of normal conversation. The computation takes into account the number of takeoffs and landings, the noise level of each, and whether the activity took place during the daytime or at night.
Since the late 1960s and the advent of aircraft engines with higher bypass ratios — which increase the percentage of air that goes through an engine but not through its combustor — aircraft noise levels have dropped 20 decibels. That translates into making only one-fourth as much noise as they did 50 years ago.
impact of noise is at a minimum, the FAA predicts that it will start to
increase again soon and continue climbing. Why? Aviation forecasts see
continuing growth in traffic in the years ahead. More traffic means more
noise. Unless flight operations can be made even more quiet than they
are now, noise exposure will increase.
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