What is the FAA’s new NextGen air traffic control system?
NextGen is a satellite-based GPS navigation system, much like the GPS that you use in your car. It permits much more precise aircraft navigation than the land-based radar system that was used before. Planes can be flown at lower altitudes and closer together.
That’s good news for some people on the ground — and a disaster for others.
The new technology can be used to meet two goals: to navigate around noise-sensitive areas and increase “through-put” (the number of planes flying in and out) at major airports. So far, the FAA is using the technology only to increase traffic flow at LGA and JFK airports.
So NextGen is increasing noise and air pollution by creating densely-packed, one-lane, “highways-in-the-sky” over parts of Brooklyn, Queens and upper Manhattan. However, the technology lends itself to a wide variety of approach and departure courses. This could benefit airlines and NYC residents.
This adverse result was anticipated by an FAA consultant before NextGen was put into use.
Here is a quote from Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, Inc. a long-time noise consulting agency for the FAA, in minutes from a Noise Technical Advisory Group meeting with the FAA on Thursday, January 15, 2009, in San Diego:
“…the bad news on the precision arrivals like this is if they are not over your house it’s wonderful, but if you have one of these very precise patterns, RNP approach, they are going to be within a tenth of a mile of the flight track 95% of the time, within two tenths of a mile of the flight track 99.99% of the time. Residents are either going to win big or lose big, and a relatively small percentage of the population is going to lose fairly big.”
(Source: http://www.san.org/documents/airport_noise/part150/Fourth_NTAG_summary_notes.pdf ; however, this link subsequently has been scrubbed from the site.)
Too many New Yorkers are “losing big.”
Don’t sit by quietly. Make your voice heard.
For more information, see NextGennoise.org.