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Airport noise and performance-based navigation: A force for good or evil?
The global aviation system is in the midst of modernisation. This includes a transition to satellite-based navigation, which offers opportunities for improved safety, efficiency and predictability. This paper posits that — despite some false starts — performance-based navigation (PBN) also offers opportunities to address noise problems. PBN relies on satellites for navigation, rather than ground-based navigational aids. The improved precision of PBN routes generally results in concentration of flights into narrow corridors. When implemented without consideration of community impacts, it has resulted in significant community outcry (even lawsuits), but when implemented with care, it can offer potential to avoid noise-sensitive areas. Our experience shows that the most successful projects are those in which the airport has been fully engaged and in which there is extensive and meaningful collaboration between all stakeholders: air navigation service providers (ANSP), industry (including airlines and other operators), airports and communities. Participants should not expect this to be easy — it is a lengthy and expensive process — but one that may be necessary for long-term compatibility and for airport growth. This paper provides an overview of PBN development in the USA as well as case studies of implementation of PBN at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (AZ), Oakland International Airport (CA) and Boston Logan International Airport (MA). The case studies illustrate the increasing collaboration between stakeholders and show that progress can be made.
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Mary Ellen Eagan ’s consulting practice focuses on the environmental impacts of aviation, with a particular emphasis on noise. She is former chair of TRB’s Aviation Group and the Committee on the Environmental Impacts of Aviation. She is currently board chair of the Airport Consultants Council; she co-chairs the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) Environmental Affairs Committee’s Noise Working Group and is a member of the NextGen Working Group and the World Environment Standing Committee. She became HMMH’s third president in July 2004 and chairman and CEO in 2013. She holds a BS in engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Simmons College.
Rhea Gundry has eight of years of experience working on a wide variety of environmental projects with an emphasis on aviation noise and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation. Her experience ranges from field measurements to modelling programmes involving system-wide studies and comprehensive environmental documents. Rhea has served as noise modelling lead for EAs for the Seattle Greener Skies and North Texas Metroplex (OAPM) project and is currently or has recently served in a project management role for NEM updates at Newark-Liberty International (NJ), Fresno-Yosemite International (CO), Centennial (CA) and On-Call Noise Consulting Services at Oakland International Airport (CA).