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Queens' Congress Members Introduce Bill to Halt Airplane Noise

The Silent Skies Act would force the FAA to require that airlines meet Stage 4 noise standards.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley's office.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley's office.

Congress members representing Queens have introduced a bill that aims to cut down on the airplane noise from nearby airports.

The Silent Skies Act follows more than a year-and-a-half of complaining from several northeast Queens communities, including Bayside and Douglaston, of constant airplane noise caused by low-flying planes.

Residents had been told by the Federal Aviation Administration that the noise was being caused by a new flight pattern out of LaGuardia Airport known as the “Tennis Climb.”

U.S. Reps. Steve Israel, D-Great Neck, Grace Meng, D-Flushing, Joseph Crowley, D-Jackson Heights, and Gregory Meeks, D-Jamaica, announced legislation this week that would force the FAA to enact new regulations for local airports by the end of 2015.

“Airplane noise continues to ruin the quality of life in Queens,” Meng said. “It is imperative that we do all we can to reduce it and requiring airlines to fly quieter aircrafts would go a long way towards achieving that critical goal.”

One guideline in the bill would be to require commercial airplanes to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which is a significantly lower decibel level than those currently in use.

In 2006, the FAA issued regulations requiring all new commercial aircraft designs to meet Stage 4 standards, but it was unclear at that time whether the agency would phase out older, louder airplanes or retrofit them with quieter engines.

Under the Silent Skies Act, the FAA would be required to issue new regulations to phase in the quieter engines at a rate of 25 percent of an airline’s fleet every five years, so that all commercial airplanes meet the quieter standards by 2035.

“For too long, the interests of residents here were not considered when aviation procedures were planned,” said Bayside’s Janet McEneaney, a member of Community Board 11 and founder of Queens Quiet Skies. “With this proposed legislation, Rep. Crowley is telling members of the airline industry that we expect them to take their share of responsibility to fix the problems caused by those new flight procedures.”

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