Meeting will discuss airline traffic affecting Minneapolis neighborhoods

The most recent Federal Aviation Policy bill requires the Federal Aviation Administration to implement the next generation of airplane navigation, conveniently known as NextGen. The law requires FAA to implement NextGen at the 35 largest airports by 2025. The FAA states, “NextGen enhances safety, reduces delays, saves fuel and reduces aviation's environmental impact.” (http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/) A portion of NextGen is a series of departure and arrival procedures known at RNAV.

Last fall the FAA attempted to implement RNAV at the airport with minimal notification and no input from the residents directly affected by the changes. Minneapolis and partners were able to prevail upon the Metropolitan Airports Commission to request more time and to develop a better plan.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is now holding a forum to discuss the questions Minneapolis residents would like to have answered before RNAV’s implementation at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International airport.

Implementing RNAV at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
Tuesday, Aug. 27
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Washburn High School
201 W. 49th Street

Under current departure procedures, airplanes leave the runway and are told to turn a specific direction, but the plane is still at the mercy of how quickly it can become stable in the air before making the initial turn. That means the path of the planes can vary significantly depending on the type of plane, how heavily it is loaded, and the weather.

Under RNAV, planes leaving and approaching the airport would all aim for specific points in the sky. The closer to the points the planes get, the more flights are all traveling along very similar paths. Since these points would be the same every day, the air traffic would become very predictable. RNAV is very good news for airports that have a freeway, rivers, industrial corridor or other land that does not have homes on it. Planes can be routed over these compatible land uses, lessening the impact of airplane noise on residential homes.

For years, the City of Minneapolis has been one of the most active cities in the country in advocating for community input on federal aviation policy decisions. These efforts have resulted in one of the most extensive airport noise mitigation programs in the nation as the airport itself prepares for an increase in traffic.

For more information on the City’s efforts to address airport noise, go to www.minneapolismn.gov/airportnoise.

Published Aug 12, 2013