TO: Members of the Study Group
FROM: Lt Col Tom Marks, Chair
SUBJECT: Study Update
Date: 01/12/01

It’s been several months since our last meeting. Committee chairs and I have gotten many questions about where the study’s going, when we’ll meet again, and most of all, when we’ll 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 won’t be retraced until the next Part 150 study.
Study Group principals have made protracted efforts since the last meeting to be sure that
· Noise abatement measures agreed on by the Study Group are represented fully and accurately for modeling
· All affected parties are taken into consideration, e.g. southern Indiana, Old Louisville, West Louisville, Fairdale, Beechmont, etc.
· Measures are combined into coherent strategies that present solid analysis and clear choices
· Issues raised by preliminary research that might affect the modeling effort are resolved before the noise model is run on the computer
· The analysis process is clean, objective, and beyond reproach
· The task-by-task study plan is updated and amended as necessary to meet the Study Group’s intent
· Measures agreed on, but not suitable for noise modeling, are carried through for other assessment and documentation.

It turns out none of this is easy. Our program is bold, and has never been attempted before with this amount of public involvement. We’ve insisted throughout on excellence and consensus as the goals of the study.
· The RAA is working a list of specific study issues that have not been resolved. These issues are being tracked because they might spill over and affect other study issues.
· The study plan (Scope of Work) calls for technical memoranda laying out final noise abatement measures and strategies, for approval by the Noise Study Group chair and the RAA project manager. That memorandum has now been through five rewrites.
·The ‘scope of work’ was revised to more accurately represent the Study Group’s input.

But, we are all plowing new ground here and the timeline hasn’t always been easy to predict. But, in the end it’s more important to get it right than to just get it done. I’m sure future chairs will act on the same basis.
As a refresher on where we are, attached is a summary that was published in recent editions of both the newsletter of the Airport Neighbors’ Alliance and RAA’s "Arrivals." In case you missed it, it’s a good review of our noise abatement strategies and cases for analysis.

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 study’s Web site (, 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.

We’ll 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. We’ll 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. We’ll stay with it until the job is done.

January 2001


Since the last public meeting of the Noise Compatibility Study Group in February, things have seemed pretty quiet – no pun intended. But that’s only because this phase of the study is mainly modeling and analysis – taking all the good ideas the Study Group has generated, and putting them into simulations that can project the specific costs and benefits. Our consultants will then come back with new maps and figures to show the noise exposure contours and impacts for each of the major alternatives we’re examining.

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.
The main feature of the Louisville Airport Improvement Program is the new parallel runway configuration. The two runways, both in full operation for a couple of years now, point generally north and south, with one lying on the east side of the airport, closest to Preston Street, and the other on the west side, closest to Crittenden Drive. Air traffic typically flows north to south, following prevailing winds – but about one day in five, on the average, conditions require it to go the other way. Once in a while, maybe one day in twenty, winds will force traffic to go east-west using the old crosswind runway.

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 it’s 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:
· preferring the east runway only during the day.
· using both runways about equally, eliminating preference entirely.
· preferring the west runway instead.
This wide range of alternatives should give strong evidence of how and where the best noise reduction is possible.

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 Group’s alternatives weigh the impact of whether this turn is prescribed
· only when required for separation.
· according to destination (as currently).
· always.
Once again, this range of alternatives should make for a clear comparison of noise reduction benefits, and so point to a best choice for us.
Combining the best north choice, the best south choice, and all the common measures, along with proposed mitigation steps, will give us our new Noise Compatibility Program to send to the FAA for approval and support.

The devil, as always, is in the details, and there’ve 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. We’ve 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 we’ll 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, 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’, it’s been a pretty exciting time, and more lies ahead. Be there.


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