AIRPORT NOISE ABATEMENT AND URBAN PLANNING:A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
Legislation approved by Congress in November 1990 requires a phaseout of noisy, older airplanes by 2000 (Kandebo, 1992, p. 81). In the intervening time period, progressively more strict noise level restrictions will become effective on as stepbystep basis.
The federal government in the United States defines serious noise levels associated with aircraft as those situations where the annual average exceeds 65 decibels (Aviation Week and Space Technology, 1988, p. 9). That noise level is somewhat louder than normal conversation (which is 60 decibels), and much quieter than the average household vacuum cleaner (which is 80 decibels).
Federal law mandates that all aircraft and all airports meet these standards by 2000 (Pilling, 1991, p. 17). Individual airlines are permitted to stretch this deadline by an additional three years, if hardship can be demonstrated.
The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) is charged with the responsibility to develop rules for implementing the federal noise abatement legislation. The FAA desires uniform noise abatement procedures across the nation. In 1990, the municipalities and community groups around SeattleTacoma International Airport (SeaTac), the airlines which operate at the airport, and the Port of Seattle (operator of the airport), with the cooperation of the local Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) office, developed a noise abatement plan for SeaTac. This plan provides for much quicker attainment of noise reduction goals than that provided for in the federal legislation, as well as lower permissible noise levels.
FAA headquarters objected to the SeaTac plan, because it was stricter than the proposed national guidelines. The Congress, when it was considering noise abatement legislation in November 1990, at first attempted to scuttle the SeaTac agreement at the behest of the airlines and the FAA, who preferred the less...