Many Malverne residents have noticed a considerable increase in the amount of plane noise recently, leaving many to wonder whether it will ever end.
The short answer: Who knows?
While the Federal Aviation Administration now has several efforts under way that are helping it to quantify the noise — including plane noise monitor boxes and a “Part 150” study, which is measuring and analyzing the noise — there are numerous other factors that make it seem like the noise is a permanent issue.
Some efforts underway are:
- John F. Kennedy International Airport’s flights per hour. According to Larry Hoppenhauer, Malverne’s representative on the Town of Hempstead’s Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee, the airport still hasn’t maximized the number of planes that could take off and land each hour. Currently, JFK is permitted 81 take-offs and landings per hour. “They haven’t reached capacity yet,” said Hoppenhauer. “They’re usually around 76 flights per hour.”
- Bigger planes. There is an increase in the number of larger planes being used at JFK. “Planes are bigger and are carrying more passengers,” said Hoppenhauer, “and they’re flying closer to the ground on takeoff because of it.” Flying closer to the ground increases noise.
- Reducing the Day-Night Sound Level. Even if interest groups like TVASNAC and others are successful in getting the maximum allowable plane noise level down to a day-night average of 55 decibels from an average of 65 — a standard set by the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1970s — the federal government has in the past offered soundproofing only to select institutions, like schools. An effort to soundproof homes, Hoppenhauer said, would probably never be initiated because of the tremendous cost.
- The Part 150 Study. The study, mandated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to measure the noise level in JFK’s and LaGuardia Airport’s flight paths, is at least a year away from being completed.