What Do Increasing Noise Standards Mean for the Aviation Industry?
Noise near and around airports is a significant problem as the suburbs continue to expand outward, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has placed noise standards on airplanes to ease this common complaint. While aircraft noise issues are highly technical in nature, identifying steps to reduce the impact is important for aural safety. Each stage of the noise standards is intended to ensure that the latest aircraft designs are quieter. As noise-reduction technology continues to develop, the FAA continues to update the standards.
Adapting regulation to technology
Currently, noise pollution is regulated by a four-stage system. Larger jet aircraft are typically regulated up to Stage 4, while helicopters are held at Stage 2. In 2012, the U.S. Congress set standards to prohibit jet airplanes weighing less than 75,000 pounds to operate within the contiguous states after Dec. 31, 2015 — unless the aircraft met Stage 3 noise requirements.
The movement to the next generation of quiet involves maturing fuel technologies as well as technological developments to reduce noise. These incremental improvements have already resulted in a 90% noise-level reduction between 1975 and 2000.
Better design, stronger standards
All new aircraft designs have to get approval from the FAA in the form of a certificate that demonstrates that the aircraft complies with noise regulations and airworthiness standards. As new noise-reduction technology improves, the FAA continues to impose ever more stringent standards on jet aircraft in an effort to further reduce noise levels.
Proposed Stage 5 standards will apply to applications made on or after Dec. 31, 2017. While these updated requirements have not yet been approved, the race is on to get aircraft designs that may not meet the noise requirements through the certification process quickly. As a result, you can expect to see more than a few aircraft barreling toward certification in the next two years. It’s an exciting time for the aviation market.