New York senators want FAA to better tackle aircraft noise

State senators from Queens and other boroughs are calling for the airplane noise threshold level to be reduced.
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U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing the Federal Aviation Administration to make some changes after Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Nassau County elected officials asked the two New York Democrats to push the agency to reduce the airplane noise threshold level.

In a letter dated May 19 to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, they called on the FAA to hold public meetings and engagement sessions before changing flight procedures or implementing new flight procedures. They also asked the FAA to hire a full-time professional ombudsman for the FAA Eastern Regional Office and to appoint additional representatives of community advocacy groups in the New York area to the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics’ NextGen Advisory Committee.

“The FAA needs to do its part in helping to address the long-sought relief of airplane noise in the New York-metro area,” Schumer said.

Gillibrand, who offered an amendment to the FAA bill that would have required the agency to phase out older, noisier aicraft engines, echoed similar sentiments.

“The FAA must play an active role in order to find a plausible solution to the growing concern of airport noise residents are currently facing,” she said.

The FAA said it does not comment on pending legislation and that it has received and will respond directly to their letter.

In a letter dated May 6 to Schumer and Gillibrand, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and seven other state senators said Congress is moving into the final stages of drafting legislation to reauthorize the FAA. The letter was based on similar letters previously sent by Assembly members such as Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows), Ron Kim (D-Flushing), Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) and David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows).

The other Queens signatories included state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights), state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis). They said the noise threshold should be changed from 65 DNL—day-night average sound level—to 55 DNL, a standard deemed acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization and the Harvard School of Medicine. “We don’t want to shift the noise from one community to another because that pits one group against another and that’s not right,” she said. “Everybody should benefit from the reduction in noise levels.”

Peralta said the FAA has to step up and address the problem.

“A lot of my constituents are concerned especially now that the airport (LaGuardia) is being considered for renovations and it’s going to take several years,” Peralta said. “One of the main questions I was asked is, ‘Will the flight patterns be changed or switching because of the renovations?’ The answer was ‘no’ but we won’t know until it actually happens.”

Gianaris said Schumer and Gillibrand’s proposals are a step in the right direction.

“Those are all positive steps but the real answer has to be quieter planes,” he said.

Port Washington resident Len Schaier, president of QuietSkies.Net, who has worked with advocates in Queens and other parts of the country, questioned Schumer and Gillibrand’s recommendations.

“It’s stressing all this stuff about community liaison,” Schaier said. “Anybody above the third grade knows you don’t need liaisons, you need fixes, you need solutions.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

just bronx from queens says:
Gee when the planes going to LGA came in low near the Whitestone Bridge, one after another, nobody cared because it was the Bronx. Amazing now that is impacts mainly while neighborhoods, there is a huge outcry.
May 26, 2016, 12:37 pm
Maria Becce from Broadway-Flushing says:
Thank you, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand -

...and thank you to every local elected official, Quiet Skies Caucus, civic leader, community activist, Community Boards, Queens Quiet Skies, advocacy groups throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island and Long Island, and ordinary citizens who submit complaints to the Port Authority and have been adversely affected by the flawed implementation of NextGen technology in New York.

..this is not a Queens or New York problem, it is a nationwide problem that MUST be fixed equitably, sensibly and intelligently. Our health, homes, and economy depend on it.
May 26, 2016, 2:21 pm
pat eng from bayside says:
Agreed -- this is a nationwide problem. Senator Schumer is up for election this year so all eyes will be on the efforts of our representatives to solve this problem.
June 1, 2016, 9:17 am
NH from Bayside says:
I have kids that have to deal with jets flying over their home, playgrounds, and schools LITERALLY every one minute or less at around a 1000 feet for the last four years for 19 to 20 hours a day. I wish they could get the trains to run on schedule that well. It is abusive, immoral, and unethical.

Though they keep on moving as kids will, I am fully aware of the impact this will have on them in the long term. I am unable to sit by and just let it happen. Super obnoxious constant sound pollution and let's not forget about the crop dusting of our communities with jet exhaust fumes. Chem trails in my lungs, yum. But it's ok everyone! Their computer modeling says it's ok Who needs to do any real world environment testing? Not the FAA, obviously.

If NextGen allows for more control over flight paths as the FAA says it does, then please re-route these new jet superhighways somewhere else or at least fly them higher and at slower speeds. Right now they look like they are taking off from my down the street neighbors backyard.
June 6, 2016, 11:11 am

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