New FAA system means more Charlotte airport plane noise

New FAA system means more Charlotte airport plane noise


by BILL MCGINTY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @billwcnc

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 12:46 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 11:44 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The sweet sound of guitar music is what Charlie Panosh loves, and loves to teach.

Panosh teaches right in his Steele Creek home—it’s convenient, comfortable and quiet, or at least it used to be.  These days the guitar, along with the TV, conversation, and even sleep, are all overshadowed by loud, rumbling jetliners—one, right after another.

Charlie says it goes on “for two hours or three hours at a time.  There will be one every 30 or 40 seconds.”

It isn’t just Charlie who is sound sensitive.  His neighbor two doors down, Randy Cline, says the airline noise starts early at 4 or 5 a.m. and sometimes doesn’t let up until 10 or 11 at night.

“I kind of liken it to living under the ‘L’ in Chicago, with trains going over your head all time.  It’s just unrelenting,” Cline said.

Charlie has been writing letters to the FAA and to Charlotte Douglas International Airport for months telling them the planes are flying too low and are too loud.

The airport wrote back and said they’re sorry, but it’s the FAA’s fault and that the increased level of low flying airplane noise is the result of a relatively new FAA system called Nextgen and RNAV.

The FAA says streamlining with RNAV means the airlines will fly 2.5 million fewer miles a year.  They’ll save 3.7 million gallons of fuel and will reduce carbon emissions by 35,000 metric tons, just in Charlotte. 

But still, loud is loud and low is low.

“They were low enough so that I could actually see the compartments on the underside of the wing and body as they were coming in, or leaving actually,” Panosh noted.

Charlotte airport Media Relations responded to NBC Charlotte via an emailed statement:

“The FAA has sole authority for aircraft operations in the air, including the manner in which aircraft arrive and depart Charlotte Douglas International Airport.  The Airport was advised by the FAA that RNAV was implemented in Charlotte in the fall of 2008.  Since this time, the Airport has communicated citizen concerns regarding RNAV and its impact on the communities surrounding the Airport to the FAA.” 

Likewise, the FAA responded in a statement.

“The FAA is working collaboratively with Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and airline officials to address noise concerns while ensuring the safest, most efficient aviation system.  The FAA is fully committed to the Next Generation Air Transportation System, the agency's plan to modernize the National Airspace System.  NextGen is fundamental to meeting projected air traffic growth by increasing NAS capacity and efficiency, while improving safety and reducing environmental impacts.  To achieve NextGen goals, FAA is implementing RNAV routes and procedures using new technologies and aircraft navigation capabilities. The Charlotte airport RNAV departure procedures were put in place in August 2008.   FAA developed the procedures in partnership with the airport and the airlines serving the airport.”

And that’s music to Charlie and Randy, just so long as their complaints aren’t falling on deaf ears.

NBC Charlotte got more responses from the FAA including this saying "The FAA issues Federal Airport Improvement Program grants to airports for noise mitigation measures that are identified in Noise Compatibility Program studies.  Airports conduct the studies under Part 150 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.   Federal funding is provided to the airports, not directly to homeowners.  Homes that are in areas where noise is louder than 65 dnl are eligible for Federal funding for noise mitigation.  You should ask the airport for its noise exposure map. However, generally the 65 dnl footprint does not extend miles from the airport." 

Here's the link to lists of airports with Part 150 studies:

Charlotte Douglas also sent NBC new information concerning the noise abatement program.  Here is a link to who might be eligible for sound proofing

To view on CLT’s website go to

-Select About CLT at the top of the page.   
-Next choose Noise Program in the drop down box.  
-Now select the Noise Overlay District map link located in the middle of the page.
-Homes in the green, yellow or gray are eligible for sound insulation measures by the airport.