| IV. Airport Noise Programs:
A. Land Use Study Project
A noise mitigation measure undertaken by San Antonio International Airport (SAT) was a Land Use and Development Plan awarded to Llewelyn-Davies Sahni (LDS) in June 2003 for a comprehensive Land Use Study around San Antonio International (SAT) and Stinson Municipal airports (SSF). The contract was terminated prior to completion of the study.
The San Antonio Planning and Development Services Department in consultation with the Aviation Department took the lead in completing the study and submitting it 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.
The City of San Antonio has established an Airport Awareness Zone whereby proposed zoning changes around San Antonio International and Stinson Municipal Airports need to be reviewed to help maintain compatible uses.
B. 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 ATC to utilize at least two runways (RWY 12R/30L, 3/21) during much of the day. However, wind and weather conditions will help determine which flow pattern is used.
C. 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 the AirScene hardware and software. This computer system consists of 11 Remote Monitoring Sensors (RMS), one onsite NOM and 5 Multilateration flight tracking sensors in communities surrounding the airport.
The NOMS monitors aircraft over-flying local communities and notes their noise levels. Each monitoring site is linked to a central computer processor and 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
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 the local communities the level and nature of noise effects in a timely fashion, the Aviation Department maintains its NOMS system to monitor areas of significant noise impact and to identify specific flights that cause noise disturbances.
Since Noise is a problem at every airport. This tool allows real time tracking and reporting of compliance with published noise abatement procedures. Aircraft deviations are noted by identity, magnitude of deviation, and may be correlated with pilot/controller voice communications for a case-by-case analysis.
D. Noise Abatement Departure Profiles
FAA AC91-53A was published 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.
E. Ground Run-up Enclosure (GRE)
The Ground Run-Up Enclosure (GRE) is located on the 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 the nearby communities. This facility can accommodate large air carrier aircraft, up to a B-747. The GRE was completed in May 2002.
There is no cost for use of the facility because it provides an economic resource for the community by allowing aircraft maintenance on a 7 day a week 24 hour a day basis.
Noise test of the GRE reduced a Boeing 727 engine run-up noise by 16.3 dBA 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.
F. 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 early 2010, 500 residences had been acoustically treated with some 2,000 residence remaining eligible for acoustic treatment. Based on the current funding trend the RATP program receives enough money in its annual grant to treat between 200 to 250 homes. Based on the funding level remaining constant it will take between 6 to seven years to acoustical treat all currently eligible residences within the 65 dB day/night contour and/or the neighborhood equity areas approved by the FAA in May of this year.
G. 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.
H. 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.
I. Airport Awareness Zone
The City of San Antonio Development Services and Zoning Department has established an Airport Awareness Zone surrounding both San Antonio International and Stinson Municipal Airports. This 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.