Study Examines Airport Noise Levels in Neighborhoods
Volume has dropped over past decade
ANCHORAGE - How noisy is your neighborhood when it comes to the sound of airplanes overhead? The Anchorage airport is working on a study that aims to find out. The draft noise report shows that people who live near the airport are hearing a lot less noise than they used to.
“The noise levels that the community is experiencing have gone down significantly,” according to Director of Engineering, Environmental and Planning for the airport, John Johansen.
The airport is updating noise studies that were done more than a decade ago, which is a requirement from the FAA. Using computer modeling with newer data, Johansen says the noise levels in local neighborhoods have dropped an annual average of 5 decibels. He says the reason is twofold; newer planes are less noisy and more planes, about 85 percent, are taking off and landing over the inlet instead of local neighborhoods.
Still, there are times when the flights do come close to homes near the airport. Tyler Swiss owns one of them.
“At times the jets do land over the top of the house,“ said Swiss, “and take off over the top of the house."
Swiss said he bought his house near Kincaid Park knowing there would be noise... especially when the winds come up and reroute planes.
“Like they told us when we bought it,” said Swiss, “You’ll hear the jets 5 to 10 percent of the time and the rest of the time it’s just background noise.”
Swiss says one thing that has helped considerably is an airport program that added new windows to his home and insulation to others. The airport says that program is wrapping up this summer, but by the time it ends it will have insulated close to 800 homes.
Airport officials say they’ll continue to look at ways to bring noise levels down even further, not just now but in the future as the airport expands. They say the study is ongoing and there will be time for public input. The next work session is scheduled for May.