Aircraft Noise Procedures and Guidelines at Reagan National Airport
Nighttime Noise Limitations
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is one of the most stringently noise-controlled airports in the United States. National's nighttime noise rules are among the most restrictive in the country. Under the Authority's regulations, aircraft may be only operated after 9:59 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m. if the noise level for the aircraft type and model meets National Airport's strict noise standards which are designed to minimize sleep interference. If the noise limitation is violated, the aircraft operator is subject to a civil penalty up to $5,000 per violation.
Noise Abatement Procedures
Reagan National's prescribed noise abatement procedures are not "rules" but a carefully developed set of operational guidelines.
National's procedures specify that pilots of turbojet aircraft departing to the north fly northwest over the Potomac River corridor or fly northeast over the Anacostia River corridor, and those departing to the south follow the Potomac River corridor.
In good visibility, pilots departing to the northwest follow the Potomac River corridor to the vicinity of the Georgetown Reservoir about four miles from the airport. There they have the option of continuing to follow the river corridor visually or follow an instrument heading until they are approximately ten nautical miles from the airport. After this point, they are turned by air traffic control either west or east to their departure route. When aircraft take off to the south, they follow the Potomac River for at least five miles before being turned to their departure route. Pilots using the Anacostia River route follow the river to a point five nautical miles from National before being turned to their departure route. When visibility is poor or when strong wind conditions exist, pilots are directed by Air Traffic Control to follow specific headings.
Noise Monitoring System
The Airports Authority has installed a new aircraft flight tracking and noise monitoring system.
Partners in Progress
Public participation is a key element in the Airports Authority's effort to improve its noise abatement performance. The Airports Authority works closely with local government officials, concerned citizens, the FAA, airlines, pilots, and other representatives of the aviation industry to meet the challenge of reducing aircraft noise. Public hearings, meetings with civic and homeowner associations and informal information sessions provide opportunities to discuss prospective noise abatement measures. The Authority coordinates its noise compatibility studies with local planning agencies so projected airport development and flight activity trends might be considered in land use and zoning decisions.
The Airports Authority works closely with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) on noise and other issues at the airports. The COG's Aviation Policy Committee is the primary body for these issues. For more information on the Committee please click here for their website.