Noise Abatement

History: Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study

In 1990, the FAA approved the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study. The Part 150 Study was a multi-step process carried out by the Airport along with consultation with affected airport stakeholders, those communities impacted by either the noise or solutions, local governments, and the FAA.

What is a Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study?
A Part 150 Study includes Noise Exposure Maps that define the existing and future aircraft noise exposure boundaries surrounding an airport and a Noise Compatibility Plan to identify mitigation measures that could correct surrounding non-compatible land uses. This is a voluntary study prepared by an airport to define the five-year vision of compatibility between an airport and the surrounding communities and establishes guidelines for a program that:

  • Measures current and future aircraft noise levels and their associated effects on the surrounding communities.
  • Outlines actions that will reduce or minimize aircraft noise over sensitive areas.
  • Establishes land use guidelines to address compatibility between the airport and its surrounding communities.
  • Identifies areas where aircraft noise is present and encourages land uses that are compatible.
  • Develops a comprehensive Noise Compatibility Program for the airport.

 As a result of the Part 150 Study, the Airport implemented noise mitigation programs designed to minimize the impact of aircraft noise on the surrounding communities.
NOISE ABATEMENT

SRQ Noise Abatement Program

The Airport is located between the cities of Bradenton and Sarasota, on the county line separating Manatee and Sarasota County. The areas located to the north, west and south of the Airport are primarily residential.

SRQ Noise Exposure Maps (NEM)
A key component of a Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study is the creation of the Noise Exposure Maps. The maps are generated by an FAA Modeling Software. Based on a series of data inputs such as flight paths, aircraft types and aircraft activity, the model produces noise exposure contours connecting points of equal levels of noise resulting from aircraft operations. These maps show the noise levels around the Airport in 5 dB increments (65, 70, and 75 DNL). Noise levels as measured by the yearly day-night average sound levels (DNL). From the Noise Exposure Maps, the Airport identify neighborhoods affected by different levels of noise in a consistent and scientific way.
In the 1990’s, the Airport began the purchase and removal of non-compatible residential properties in the highest noise contours (75 DNL). Shortly thereafter, the Airport established a sound mitigation program for eligible homeowners based on the Airport’s 70 and 65 DNL noise contours and the year the property was purchased. The program consisted of the following:

  • Soundproofing of the dwellings with an avigation easement
  • Purchase of avigation easements
  • Purchase/resale of properties with soundproofing and avigation easements

In 2000, the Noise Compatibility Plan was modified to expand the eligibility and participation in the sound mitigation program offered to homeowners in designated neighborhoods around the Airport property. In 2005, this program was successfully completed with a total outlay from the Airport of over $45 million dollars.
 

Construction of Noise Berms

In 2002, the Airport completed the extension of the main Runway 14-32. As a mitigation measure to alleviate any increase in aircraft take-off noise, noise berms were constructed along US 41 and across Tallevast Road to decrease noise exposures in residential areas west of US 41 and north of Tallevast Road.

Runway 32 Departure Procedure Change
In 2006, after approval from the FAA, the Airport implemented a revised departure procedure for Runway 32. All jet aircraft would be instructed to turn left to a 265° heading and continue that heading until they are beyond the barrier island and over the Gulf of Mexico prior to turning either north or south. This change reduced aircraft noise impacts in two ways: first, by directing aircraft over the least populated areas, and, secondly, by maximizing the aircraft flyovers above the residential buyout area identified in the Noise Compatibility Plan.

Nighttime Noise Restrictions Implemented:

  • Prohibition of non-emergency run-ups between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Required use of noise-free Ground Power Units between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Aircraft power units (APU) only allowed for aircraft cleaning, non-scheduled aircraft maintenance, preliminary and required aircraft checks as well as for engine start to facilitate on-time departures.
  • No flight training operations between 12:00 am and 6:00 a.m.

 
Aircraft not subject to the noise restrictions:

  • Government aircraft (U.S. Military, US Coast Guard and Law Enforcement).
  • Air ambulances - An air ambulance is a specially outfitted helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft that transports injured or sick people in a medical emergency or over distances or terrain impractical for a conventional ground ambulance.

  
*Pilot deviation:
The pilots’ primary focus for pilots during the flight is the safety of their aircraft. Pilots have full authority of their aircraft while in flight. If during take-off or landing, a situation occurs that may potentially jeopardize the safety of the flight, pilots can deviate from all recommended procedures and take the necessary action to recover from the situation. Such occurrences do happen when aircraft performances are reduced by hot and humid air: pilots will delay a turn after take-off until a safe altitude is reached. In addition, pilots will often request Air Traffic Control permission to deviate from the noise abatement departure procedures if there is thunderstorm activity in the area.

*Air Traffic Control instructed deviation:
The primary purpose of the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATC) is to maintain adequate separation between    aircraft, whether airlines or single-engine propeller aircraft. The Air Traffic Control Tower will give pilots instructions that may deviate them from the proper course in order to keep them away from another aircraft or severe weather.

Recommended Arrival and Departure Procedure over Manatee County

Arrivals on Runway 14
Most arriving aircraft will be aligned with the runway as far out as 7 miles (Cortez Road), but some aircraft may already be on their final leg over Anna Maria Island or may perform a short approach from the north-east. There is no standard arrival procedure that pilots must follow, however aircraft generally follow these two arrival paths.

Departures on Runway 32
Departing jet aircraft are required to make a climbing left turn after take-off to a 265° heading and continue that heading until reaching 3000 feet and beyond the barrier island and over the Gulf of Mexico prior to turning either north. *Prop and Turbo-Prop aircraft ARE NOT required to follow this recommended procedure.

Recommended Arrival and Departure Procedures over Sarasota County

Arrivals on Runway 32
Arriving aircraft do not have a standard arrival procedure to follow. Tampa Approach Control and Sarasota Air Traffic Control will instruct the pilots to land at their discretion on a visual approach when able. Air Traffic Control will direct aircraft further south over Sarasota before turning inbound on their final approach leg only in marginal weather or when more than one aircraft is in the landing pattern.

Departures on Runway 14
Departing jet aircraft will fly a runway heading (south-east) until they reach an altitude of 3,000 ft. All other aircraft may turn prior to reaching an altitude level of 3,000 ft as instructed by local or Tampa Air Traffic Control. There is no standard left or right turn, however, most flights turn right towards the Gulf of Mexico for air traffic purposes.

Helicopter and Aircraft Operational Minimums

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates and is the ultimate control of all aircraft movement through regulations established in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR); specifically, helicopter altitudes are regulated through FAR Part 91. The Airport does not have jurisdiction or authority to make the helicopters fly specific paths or altitudes. The pilot has full authority in determining how low or high he/she wants to operate and for how long; helicopters may fly at any altitude above the ground when weather, safety, and other air traffic permit. It is also the pilot's responsibility to remain separated from other aircraft as well as maintaining a safe distance from person or property.

Below is the regulation as stated in Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 91:

Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91 General Operating and Flight Rules
§91.119   Minimum safe altitudes: General
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open-air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
(d) Helicopters. Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraphs (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.

Tips for Homebuyers

The Airport is located just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico. The convenient location means the Airport
is surrounded by homes and businesses. The information below will assist in making an informed decision in purchasing your home near the vicinity of the Airport.
Suggestions for meeting with a real estate agent or owner:
The following is a list of suggestions to initiate a discussion of variables that will affect your satisfaction with your potential new home.

  • Visit the home multiple times, on different days, at different times - time of year and weather affect aircraft noise. This will increase your chances at experiencing aircraft flights to determine what impact it would have on daily life.
  • Ensure the realtor doesn't persuade you to visit during off-peak times or just times that are convenient to the realtor.
  • Check the airport’s flight schedules for departure and arrival times so you can plan a visit to the home during busy times.
  • Be specific and be sure to ask your realtor, the neighbors, and the current owner, if possible, about aircraft noise impact.
  • Inquire about any existing complaints or avigation easements attached to the house deed. If so, this means that the house is within 65 DNL, or in very close proximity to the airport. Read the easement so you are aware of noise complaint procedures. Avigation easements are perpetual.
  • Be sure to ask the real estate agent or owner about any additional concerns you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

1.  Who controls aircraft in the sky and flight paths?The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the pilot-in-command of each aircraft have sole jurisdiction and responsibility for flight paths. Accordingly, only the FAA has enforcement capability over these issues. The FAA manages airspace, establishes flight patterns, implements flight procedures and corridors, and determines minimum flight altitudes for aircraft. All aircraft movements are controlled through the FAA National Airspace System. The FAA is responsible for managing airspace and for ensuring the safe and efficient flow of aircraft traffic. Only the pilot, using guidance from FAA, has control over the aircraft while in flight. The Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport has no authority nor control over aircraft in flight.
 
2.  Can the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport change the flight paths?No. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) controls and regulates all airspace. Any change in arrival or departure flight paths must be approved and implemented by the FAA following years of studies and public hearings.
 
3. What is SRQ responsible for?SRQ is responsible for operating and maintaining airport facilities and for ensuring runways, taxiways and other facilities are in good working and safe conditions and ensure Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations are met. The Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport does not control or regulate aircraft schedules or aircraft movements.
 
4. Have the flight paths recently changed?No. The current departure and arrival procedures have been established for over 30 years in some cases. Temporary variations to flight paths may occur due to wind, weather, or operational conditions to ensure flight safety.
 
5. What are the rules regarding how low an aircraft can fly over a residential area? Is there a legal minimum altitude that airplanes can fly over residential areas?Aircraft altitude is established by the Code of Federal Regulations Title 14, Section 91.119. Aircraft are required to fly a minimum altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level over congested areas and a minimum of 500 feet over non-congested areas. It is important to be aware of two aspects of this regulation.
  • Aircraft operating in the vicinity of the Airport are in the process of landing or taking off. In these cases, this altitude limitation does not apply.
  • Helicopters are exempt from this federal regulation. Helicopters are not subject to minimum altitude restrictions provided the operation of the helicopter is conducted safely.
 6. Can the Airport impose a curfew over residential areas to regulate flights for commercial traffic?No. The 1990 Aviation Noise and Capacity Act prohibits implementing local noise rules that interfere with interstate commerce. If an airport is evaluating restricting any operations for noise, it must conduct what is called a FAR Part 161 Study. To date, the FAA has not approved Part 161 Studies that restrict operations for noise at any airport in the U.S.
 
7. What determines landing and take-off patterns?Planes are expected to land and take off into the prevailing wind direction for safety and performance reasons, therefore, the direction of arrivals and departures is determined almost exclusively by wind direction. This can change multiple times daily during the summer or be the same pattern for several days during winter months.
 
8. Are pilots required to follow Noise Abatement Procedures?No. Noise abatement procedures are voluntary measures that supplement the required measures pilots must adhere to for safe operation of their aircraft.
 
9. How does the Airport monitor aircraft operations?The airport utilizes L3-Harris Corporation’s flight tracking system. The flight tracking system monitors flight track for compliance with recommended departure procedures. The system allows the Airport to get a detailed picture of what has occurred, monitor flight activity over the area, and identify flight tracks and altitudes.
 
10. What is the South-Central Florida Metroplex Project?The South-Central Florida Metroplex Project would improve the efficiency of airspace in the South-Central Florida Metroplex area by optimizing aircraft arrival and departure procedures to and from various airports, including but not limited to Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport. The Project may involve changes in aircraft flight paths and altitudes in certain areas but would not result in any ground disturbance or increase the number of aircraft operations at any of the above airports. For more information on the South-Central Florida Metroplex Project please click on the following link: Metroplex Environmental-South-Central Florida Metroplex.

Submitting a Noise Complaint

The Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority has established a dedicated Noise Hotline that you can call 24-hours a day to voice your comment about an aircraft event. Your comment will be entered into the Airports Flight Tracking System and correlated to the flight that triggered your call. Your comment will be investigated and a follow-up response by phone, email or mail will be made if requested. It is very important that you leave your full name, address, telephone number, date and time of the aircraft event and the nature of your comment when you call the Noise Hotline. Please allow up to 5 business days for a response. Noise Hotline:  Call 941-359-2770 then select #8 on your telephone keypad.

*Submitting Multiple Complaints: The Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority will not respond to the same general complaint or inquiry from the same individual more than once. The same general complaint or inquiry is one that does not differ in general principal from a previous complaint, and that would generate the same Airport response.