FAA trial project to change some flight paths over Beacon Hill

Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times reports that a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) trial project may change flight paths over Seattle for planes landing at Sea-Tac Airport, with possible impacts to Beacon Hill. Under the proposed new procedures, incoming planes that currently pass over the airport and turn over Edmonds or North Seattle to head south to the airport would instead turn over Elliott Bay, rejoining the normal southbound flight path right over Beacon Hill. (See the Times’ flight map.) This will reduce noise over the northern neighborhoods, but the effect on Beacon Hill is, as yet, unknown.

Jets participating in the trial will use satellite signals for guidance to the airport runway, keeping engines on idle as long as possible. This will save fuel as well as reducing polluting emissions.

According to Gates (in an email forwarded to the Beacon Hill mailing list), it is unclear at this point whether the new flight paths will cause more noise over Beacon Hill, or whether the engines will still be in idle at the point where they pass over us. An environmental assessment (including assessment of noise impacts) will be performed later this year, after the completion of the flight trial project.

(Thanks to Capitol Hill Seattle for drawing our attention to this!)

13 thoughts on “FAA trial project to change some flight paths over Beacon Hill”

  1. This “new” path takes planes directly over downtown. Wasn’t that a safety factor used to decide the existing flight paths?

    The new route would also eliminate the “view” of downtown as flights pass over Bainbridge Island šŸ™

  2. Engines will be at (or very near) idle over Beacon Hill. RNP is a good thing for all of Seattle, not just the north.

  3. I can hear planes roar overhead as I type. Beacon Hill should not have to absorb more plane noise. I do not trust that these new measures will reduce noise over Beacon. I believe it will increase traffic over the south end in favor of lessening north end noise. All residents should be mindful of new air traffic patterns and call the FAA with issues – not Port of Seattle, which has no jurisdiction over flight paths.

  4. Worst news I’ve heard all year. šŸ™ Like it’s not loud enough up here already.

  5. ok…so the landing path has been stated…what about the take off path? Since the wind is usually from the S.W. please tell us about where the planes take off path will be into the wind? The noise from the engines on take off is much worse the landing…just saying

  6. I agree with thebaron in that what happens with the takeoffs, which are sometimes as loud as landings? Continuous descent will not affect take-off noise. I am concerned that the southern approach to the airportm in being shortened, put more of a burden on the communities such as Capitol Hill, the Central District and Beacon Hill – even more.

  7. So the flights are now turning over Beacon Hill, and it is louder than ever. I just spoke to the FAA, and they gave me several reasons the planes are louder, including “conservation of fuel” and “new flight paths”-

    I recommend that as many people as possible call the FAA and the Port of Seattle to complain about the airplane noise. These calls are logged. The FAA number is 425-227-1389. The Port number is 206-787-5393. It will make a difference. We can’t let Beacon Hill continue to absorb all the noise. Please support your neighborhood and call.

    Thank you.

  8. Do you have any evidence that the plane noise is louder than before? It seems pretty much the same to me. Sound Pressure Level meters are pretty cheap at Radio Shack and documenting before and after levels over a period of time with different weather conditions would go a long way to backing up your claim that it’s louder.

    Bear in mind that the biggest change the article discusses — the glide path with engines at idle — was a short test and isn’t happening now. If that does become the norm, landings will be much quieter. I’ve been on planes flying both in and out of Philadelphia on noise restrictions and when the engines are cut so far back it’s eerily quiet in the plane, so it must be much more so on the ground. In fact it’s so quiet on the plane that passengers start to get frightened, which I suspect is one reason why this sort of approach isn’t already standard.

    Frankly, I knew exactly what I was getting into when I moved to Beacon Hill, so the only person I feel I can justifiably complain to about the plane noise is me about 15 years ago.

  9. I live in Columbia City, and have for the last 5 years. Since the planes have been turning over Beacon Hill, it is significantly louder at our house. We had some airplane noise, but it has definitely increased since this change since the plane flight path is now wider. I have complained on the phone and online. I don’t really think it’s fair that we don’t have a say in the flight pattern change that has been in place for so long, before they change it.

  10. The runway noise is getting worse here in the south end
    The noise is horrible all night and Day.
    Going over the Peasley area this needs to be stopped the planes take off full throttle

  11. Hopefully when the repairs to runways 1 and 2 are complete the FAA will stop using runway 3 and the flight pattern will shift more to the east, over the auburn valley, for those living in the south….the take-off noise is truly never ending and oppressive.

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