Here at Airnoise our mission is to provide individuals and groups with tools to help them effectively and efficiently fight the airport noise issues in their communities, to amplify their voices in seeking solutions, and to generate awareness of the issue.
Our main focus is on making it fast and easy to generate detailed, actionable noise complaints so you don't have to waste hours of your life doing it. But the complaints alone aren't enough to change things. They are a component of the fight, a lever, if you will, but it will take concerned citizens to actually affect change.
How should we use the complaints?
By creating complaints in Airnoise and submitting them to the responsible airport authority you are creating a public record of your concerns and dissatisfaction regarding the noise. That public record can then be used by citizens as proof that the problem exists and that a public agency holds that proof. You can also use your complaints, and those of others in your community, to keep the airport authority accountable for tracking and accurately reporting them. Surely they'd never undercount or dismiss the complaints, right?
You and your elected representatives can then request copies of your complaints from the airport authority and use them as concrete evidence of the problem. You should do this to start a dialog with your Member of Congress since the FAA is a federal agency and is the only organization that can actually change the flight paths aircraft follow.
You can also use the complaints to work with your local officials and airport authority to study the noise and act as a conduit to start a conversation with the FAA about changing flight procedures to try to mitigate the noise impacts. Again, this is something local citizens have to initiate using the complaints as a lever. The data is there for your use, so grab it and go!
Has Airnoise gotten any results?
Yes! We are excited that the service has helped move the needle in many communities in terms of concrete action and dialog with the FAA and the local airport authority, as well as spreading awareness of the problem through national news coverage. Here's a sampling of what's been accomplished so far:
San Diego: The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority added voting seats to their Airport Noise Advisory Committee specifically to represent communities that filed large numbers of complaints via Airnoise
San Diego: The Airport Authority also initiated two studies to recommend changes to the FAA for flight paths in and out of KSAN to try to mitigate noise.
Seattle: Local community groups in Seattle banded together to host an airport noise forum that included FAA reps as well as a supportive talk by Rep. Adam Smith, one of the Members of Congress from the area.
New York City: Local Airnoise users have engaged with their Congressman's office to have him join the Quiet Skies Caucus on the House of Representatives to work with the FAA on finding ways to mitigate noise in Long Island.
Culver City, CA: The city government joined a lawsuit against the FAA over the noise, in large part due to the tremendous numbers of detailed noise complaints filed by local residents.
Lake Arrowhead, CA: Local citizens used the data collected in Airnoise complaints to start a dialog with the FAA about changing arrival procedures into KONT to reduce the noise over their mountain community.
Numerous small airports nationwide: Airnoise users have engaged with their local airports to enhance "Fly Quiet" procedures and improve outreach to pilots about ways they can operate their aircraft to reduce noise impacts to surrounding communities.
As part of our effort to raise awareness about the problem, Airnoise has been featured in multiple national and local news stories. By increasing awareness of the issue we help get more people engaged and motivated to join in to seek solutions. Some of the coverage we've received (some may be behind a paywall):
If you know of any news coverage in your area please do share it with us via the Support link.
Additional tools we're bringing to the fight
You have to take action to make any of this happen, and we are adding more arrows to the quiver every day to help.
Send Complaints to the FAA Ombudsman
Soon you'll be able to automatically send your complaints directly to the FAA Ombudsman's office via email. This is the only way we've found to send complaint data directly to the FAA, and we think it opens up a new avenue to highlight the problems their NextGen implementation is causing.
Send Complaints to your Member of Congress
You'll also be able to send weekly complaint summaries to your Member of Congress to keep them in the loop, as well as share your complaint data directly with your Representative. The goal here isn't to inundate them with complaints, it's to create and maintain awareness of the issue. We'll provide some "best practices" on how to do this when we release this feature.
Create an Airnoise User Community
Another area we're adding features is to better support community groups such as Quiet Skies or HOAs. Soon you'll be able to connect with other people in your community to work together, share complaint data, and join your voices to seek change. We will also offer discounted subscriptions and buttons as part of our "User Communities" enhancement.
The Bottom Line
It took the FAA nearly two decades to bring NextGen and all its problems to the skies over our heads. Change for the better won't happen overnight, and it won't happen without concerted effort by concerned citizens like you.
Is there a guarantee that filing complaints will change anything? Of course not, and certainly not all by themselves. But you can be sure that if no one does anything, nothing will change.
Make your voice heard over the roar. Take action, be persistent, and demand change.