Flight Pattern Changes Make Noise In Montgomery

Montgomery County residents’ ears are perked: aircraft noise along the Potomac River flight path and to and from Reagan National sounds like it has increased. The Montgomery County Council Transportation Committee held a work session on the issue, which drew a number of comments from concerned residents. Reports WTOP

[Montgomery County Councilmember] Berliner chalked the change up to new developments in technology that have created more concentrated flight paths along the Potomac River. Berliner said NextGen, part of the move from radar to satellite guidance for aircraft, also is partly responsible for the change.

David Mould, vice president for communications with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, told Berliner that residents’ perceptions aren’t wrong. He said the flight corridor being used by jets and planes into Reagan National have undergone what he called “slight modifications,” but that the effect is profound.

Likening the previous flight pattern to an eight-lane highway, Mould says in the past, aircraft noise was spread across the airspace. Now, with a narrowed pathway, “If you are living under that center line, you are getting hammered!”

Berlinger and Mould are both engaged in efforts to appeal to the Federal Aviation Administration to find ways to mitigate the noise effects. Marylanders aren’t alone: Virginian residents along the Potomac River flight paths have also recently lodged complaints about aircraft noise in their communities.