House amendment directs FAA to prioritize fighting plane, helicopter noise

As residents describe what appears to be more frequent and louder airplane and helicopter flights over neighborhoods, the House passed an amendment that would direct the Federal Aviation Administration to prioritize combating the noise.

The amendment, added to the 2020 transportation appropriations bill, was sponsored by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who co-chairs the Quiet Skies Caucus, and is a senior member of the Aviation Subcommittee.

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office said it will conduct a study of helicopter noise in the region, beginning in fall, after a letter from Norton and other local lawmakers.

“Our amendment to direct the FAA to prioritize airplane and helicopter noise is critical to the work we have already done in the District and the region on airplane and helicopter noise,” Norton said, in a news release.

“It is our latest effort to provide much-needed relief to our neighborhoods and families affected by such noise.”

The issue of airplane and helicopter noise isn’t limited to the national capital region. As the FAA modernizes the national airspace system NextGen, one goal is to fly more direct routes, saving time and fuel.

The GAO and other studies will attempt to quantify how NextGen flight plans are affecting citizens.

Local co-sponsors of Norton’s amendment include Democrats Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia and Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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