|TO: Members of the Study Group
FROM: Lt Col Tom Marks, Chair
SUBJECT: Study Update
Its been several months since our last meeting. Committee chairs and I have gotten many questions about where the studys going, when well meet again, and most of all, when well see some results. This memo is meant to answer those questions, and to encourage everybody to stay engaged.
Since our last Study Group meeting, several committees have been working very diligently to expand their knowledge and understanding of the details of how noise modeling is accomplished. The oversight and navigation committees have worked very hard to ensure that the noise model process is completed properly. Leigh Fisher consultants came to Louisville, without charging the project for the trip, to explain the details, mathematics, and input parameters of computer software that control the results of the noise-modeling program. They spent an evening and several hours the next day explaining details, answering questions and teaching us about the intricacies of noise modeling.
The next Study Group meeting is to concentrate on modeling results for our three noise abatement strategies, and on screening our noise mitigation measures. These would yield all the raw material to compose our final recommended program. The package is highly complex and interdependent. That makes this the most critical phase of the study. Steps we take now probably wont be retraced until the next Part 150 study.
It turns out none of this is easy. Our program is bold, and has never been attempted before with this amount of public involvement. Weve insisted throughout on excellence and consensus as the goals of the study.
But, we are all plowing new ground here and the timeline hasnt always been easy to predict. But, in the end its more important to get it right than to just get it done. Im sure future chairs will act on the same basis.
Other study-generated activity has been going on too. The airport has been through two rounds of trying to hire a noise officer. Thirteen candidates applied. A committee of airport neighbors, users and staff reviewed the applicants, and made offers. Mr. Bob Slattery has now been hired as the Noise Officer for the airport. The RAA Board approved a budget for this fiscal year that includes monitoring and flight tracking gear to equip this office. Noise modeling software to keep contours current has been bought already.
Committees with ongoing study tasks have continued to meet. In particular, the Consultant Screening/Oversight Committee, made up of chairs of all the functional committees, has been meeting to keep abreast of the developments covered here, and to steer local action. The Navigation Committee has continued refining desired flight tracks, including an offset approach from the north to the west runway to make maximum use of compatible industrial areas. The Environmental Issues Committee has been working on sampling strategies to test deposits of foreign material for aircraft-related sources. Be sure to check the studys Web site (www.sdfnoisestudy.com), either at home or at your local library, for notes on their activities. If you need to contact a committee chair for direct input, or to join a committee, please call the study "hot line" at 583-5867. There you can either get a number or get a message to the chairperson of the committee you wish to contact.
Study communications channels are open, as always. Beyond contacting committee chairs or me, you should still make use of the comment line for general feedback, and file noise complaints or study inquiries via phoning the hot line or emailing through the Web site. We still need your help in documenting noise problems as well as finding creative ways to solve them. This study process continues to provide great opportunities to accomplish both.
Well meet again after the noise model analysis is completed. The last prognosis we had was that our consultants would need nine weeks to conduct modeling and prepare outputs for presentation, once all the inputs and assumptions were approved. Well certainly press to make it soon, but without sacrificing our goals and objectives in the process. In the meantime, please stay involved, and keep in touch. Our plan is ambitious but the potential payoffs are great. Well stay with it until the job is done.
The alternatives all start with an ambitious list of common measures that aim to make the best of any program we adopt. The general thrust of these measures is to make flight patterns as consistent and predictable as possible; route traffic further from residential areas; monitor the program effectively; and keep abreast of new technology that may help in the future.
Three major alternatives are being analyzed, and they include all these common measures, plus a range of options for directing traffic north of the airport, and a range of options for directing traffic south of the airport. The north piece looks at which runway should have preferred use. The south piece considers which direction departing aircraft should fly. In both cases, the goal, of course, is to minimize noise exposure over neighborhoods.
North of the airport, the east runway is always preferred for both arrivals and departures. This practice is meant to reduce noise on the UofL campus, but its had a disproportionate impact on residential areas to the east. But some of the common measures better and more consistent routing, especially make it possible to redraw this balance to direct traffic over less populated areas like railyards and industrial zones. So the Study Group asked for an analysis of:
South of the airport, a lot of incompatible land has already been acquired through voluntary relocation, so the direction of flight over remaining residential areas is a more pertinent issue than the preference of one or the other runway. Under the current program, aircraft departing to the south take runway heading, except that on the west runway, traffic ultimately westbound takes an immediate turn of about twenty degrees to the west. The turn is also required when both runways are in use, to increase separation between departing aircraft. The Study Groups alternatives weigh the impact of whether this turn is prescribed
The devil, as always, is in the details, and thereve been frequent, lengthy, and sometimes blunt exchanges over the past few months among Study Group principals, airport staff, and consultants to make sure we get it right. Weve insisted that clear and accurate is better than fast and uncertain. This has caused the time line to stretch, but only in the expectation that well get exactly what we asked for, and be ready for solid decisions to build the strongest Noise Compatibility Program we can.
The key to this process has been its openness and inclusiveness. For more details on any aspect of the study, hit the Web site at www.sdfnoisestudy.com, or visit one of the main libraries, airport administration building, or county government centers where project workbooks are kept. Better still, come to the next Study Group meeting when these results are presented. For a quiet period, its been a pretty exciting time, and more lies ahead. Be there.
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