Officials: Reports of More Airplane Noise Not Explained by Changes in Flight Patterns

Within the last year, some Reston residents have reported concerns about increased airplane noise in areas where it previously wasn’t a nuisance.

Although changes in flight patterns have resulted in airplanes flying at lower altitudes over neighborhoods across the country, the Federal Aviation Administration says that there have been no such changes in Reston and Herndon that could explain the spike in complaints.

In some cases, residents say planes are flying so low “you can see their tail logo.”

Nanci Jewell, who lives on Quorn Lane in Reston, says that several neighbors have noticed the issue in recent months.

“We’ve always been right under a flight path but it’s never been like this,” Jewell said. “There are whole segments of the day and night when the noise is unbearable.”

In an unscientific poll by Reston Now on Feb. 6, nearly 57 percent of respondents said they noticed an increase in airplane noise. Roughly 33 percent of respondents said they noticed no change and at all. The remainder of the 1,412 total respondents said they were either unsure or didn’t know.

Kevin Wiley, a South Lakes resident for 15 years, says there’s no question of a difference in noise levels.

“In particular, ever so often we get a very loud, large aircraft flying low over our house. It is unmistakable.”

Similar concerns were reported by residents near Glencourse Lane, Armstrong Elementary School, South Lakes Village Center, and North Point Village Center.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority also told Reston Now they haven’t noticed an uptick in complaints from residents affected by more noise.

“We’re not aware of any modifications to the normal flight paths or typical altitude assignment for air traffic operating at and around Dulles International,” an MWAA spokesperson said.

Communities across the country have sounded off against NextGen, a $40 billion nationwide program designed to modernize air traffic control.

FAA officials say that the system will save $160 billion through 2030 in fuel, maintenance and other costs.

Residents concerned about aircraft noise can file a complaint online.

Photo via Unsplash

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