Airport Noise Programs:
Land Use Study Project
June 2003 - The San Antonio International Airport (SAT) undertook a noise mitigation measure with the preparation of a Land Use and Development Plan for properties near and adjacent to the San Antonio International (SAT) and Stinson Municipal airports (SSF) airports. The study was implemented through a contract with Llewelyn-Davies Sahni (LDS) however, the contract was terminated prior to the completion of the Plan.
The San Antonio Planning and Development Services Department in consultation with the Aviation Department took the lead in completing the land use study and submitting a Plan to the City Council for approval in the spring of 2010. The study involved many phases and analyses of current land uses and zoning surrounding each airport. The completed steps included an inventory of current land uses and multiple rounds of public workshops. The land use study for the San Antonio International Airport entitled “Airport Vicinity Land Use Plan” was adopted in the spring of 2010.
As a result of adoption of the Plan the City of San Antonio established Airport Awareness Zones whereby proposed zoning and Master Plan changes around San Antonio International and Stinson Municipal Airports are reviewed by the Aviation Department to assist in maintaining compatible land uses.
SAT Runway Use
San Antonio International Airport (SAT) Runway use is determined by several factors including safety, weather, traffic demand, runway capacity, aircraft destination, runway length requirements, and prescribed runway use procedures. Air Traffic Control (ATC) assigns runway (RWY) use with consideration to all of these factors. Capacity needs at SAT require the ATC to utilize at least two runways (RWY 12R/30L, 3/21) during much of the day. It is noted that wind and weather conditions are two of the key components used to determine which flow pattern is used.
Noise and Operations Monitoring System (NOMS)
San Antonio International Airport (SAT) has installed a Noise and Operations Monitoring System (NOMS) which collects noise and flight tracking data. The Computer system and sensors utilizes AirScene hardware and software. This computer system consists of Remote Monitoring Sensors (RMS), a onsite NOM sensor and Multilateration flight tracking sensors in communities surrounding the airport.
The NOMS monitors aircraft over-flying local neighborhoods and communities and notes their noise levels. Each monitoring site is linked to a central computer processor that is constantly updated with the latest flight, weather, radio communications and noise data. The NOMS was installed by Rannoch Corporation to provide noise and flight tracking data to the Noise mitigation office. The NOMS provides an objective tool for assessing and analyzing airport noise impacts and airspace utilization.
The NOMS data is used to:
- Record aircraft noise events
- Track noise levels over time
- Assess adherence to noise abatement flight paths
- Link complaints to flights, airlines and aircraft types
- Map complaints
- Identify potential noise anomalies
- Create reports on noise events and complaints
- Produce maps and graphics
Because it is important to be able to relay to local neighborhoods and communities the level and nature of noise effects in a timely fashion, the Aviation Department maintains its NOMS to monitor areas of significant noise impact and to identify specific flights that cause noise disturbances.
Since Noise is a problem at all airports. This tool allows real time tracking and reporting of compliance with published noise abatement procedures. Aircraft deviations are noted by identity and magnitude of deviation.
Noise Abatement Departure Profiles
The Federal Aviation Administration published FAA AC91-53A to provide guidance to commercial aircraft for development of voluntary standardized Noise Abatement Departure Procedures (NADPs) for subsonic turbojet airplanes with a max takeoff weight exceeding 75,000 pounds.
Ground Run-up Enclosure (GRE)
The Ground Run-Up Enclosure (GRE) is located on Airport property near the intersection of Runways 12L/30R and 3/21. This structure allows aircraft to perform maintenance engine checks with minimal disturbance to nearby neighborhoods and communities. This facility can accommodate large air aircraft, up to a B-747. The GRE was completed and put into service in May 2002.
There is no cost for use of the facility because it provides an economic resource allowing aircraft maintenance on a 7 day a week 24 hour a day basis while at the same time lowering aviation noise impact on adjacent neighborhoods and communities.
Noise test of the GRE reduced a Boeing 727 engine run-up noise by 16.3 dB at 400 feet, and a 16-db reduction in aircraft noise levels from the use of the facility over open-air engine runs. It maintains less than 1% non usage due to its design and availability.
Residential Acoustical Treatment Program (RATP)
The Residential Acoustical Treatment Program (RATP) is a tool in the airport’s effort to address noise concerns. While the program is a noise mitigation tool it is under the management of the Airport’s Engineering and Planning Division. Contact for determination of eligibility for the program, scheduling of treatment priority and specific contract related question should be addressed to Mr. Michael Rodriguez, project architect at 210.207.3851.
Under the 1991 Noise Compatibility Program (NCP) recommendations, a total of 10 schools, 19 religious facilities, 1 library and 2 nursing homes have been acoustically treated. The average improvement was 25dB at a total cost of $7.9 million.
As of September 7, 2012, 988 single family residences and 216 apartment units have been acoustically treated, at a cost of $61.4 Million. Approximately 2,200 single family and duplex-type residences remain eligible for treatment. Based on the current levels of federal funds received, the RATP is able to treat between 100 - 120 homes per program year. Based on the 2012 funding level remaining constant, it will take between 15 - 18 years to acoustically treat all current eligible single family and duplex-type residences within the 65 dB day/night contour and/or the neighborhood equity areas approved by the FAA in 2009.
Newer Quieter Aircraft
Over the years, aircraft have become quieter as national and international regulations have mandated the development of new technologies. SAT has always capitalized on the introduction of quieter aircraft types through local regulations and other methods to attract newer planes to the South Texas Area. Those efforts have come to fruition now that all large aircraft in the U.S. meet the quietest existing noise standard known as Stage 3. Previous Stage 1 and 2 commercial aircraft over 75,000 pounds takeoff weight have been phased out of operation here. Efforts continue to develop quieter technology.
Pilot Awareness Program
This program enhances pilot awareness of noise-sensitive areas and noise abatement procedures by providing information for Jeppesen charts, airline pilot manuals, and fixed based operator information.
The objective of this measure is to maximize the benefits of the noise abatement measures. Most pilots operating at SAT in multi-engine or jet aircraft and many of those operating in single engine aircraft subscribe to a service which provides regular updates to a reference manual on instrument procedures in use at airports. The Jeppesen-Sanderson, Inc produces this type of publication. These types of inserts have been a very successful means of educating pilots on the details of noise abatement procedures at other locations.
All proposed language must be submitted and approved by the FAA for review prior to any publication. The location of, and language contained in, any airport signage must be also be pre-approved by the FAA.
Airport Awareness Zone
The City of San Antonio Development Services and Zoning Department has established Airport Awareness Zones surrounding both San Antonio International and Stinson Municipal Airports. These boundary requires all development and zoning changes to be reviewed by the Aviation Department to help maintain compatible land uses.
All formal applications for zoning changes have specific language stating that cases within these Airport Awareness Zones are to be reviewed by the Aviation Department and may require additional days for proper review.