Bob Hope Airport

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Monday, Jul 28th

Last update03:47:00 PM GMT

Noise Issues

Addressing the impact of aircraft noise has been an ever present and high priority at Bob Hope Airport since the Airport Authority purchased the Airport from Lockheed in 1978.  Over the past 32 years, Authority policies and acoustical treatment of nearby schools and over 1,800 homes have combined with the improvement of aircraft technology and airline cooperation in keeping nighttime commercial flights to a minimum to allow substantial progress.

The Noise Impact Area as defined by the State of California has shrunk from 375 acres of incompatible land use in 1978 to under 20 acres today, a 95% reduction.

The Authority remains committed to its acoustical treatment program and pursuing additional measures aimed at decreasing nighttime aircraft noise at this airport and in the entire San Fernando Valley. Please feel free to contact Airport Staff for the latest developments in this endeavor or to answer any questions you may have, using our convenient contact form or calling the staff members shown in the right column.

NOTICE, January 2014: The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Public Notice that it is undertaking a Draft Environmental Assessment for the Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Southern California Metroplex.

We invite you to explore this section for further details on aircraft noise issues.

Part 150 Study Update

Part 150 Noise Exposure Map

The final Noise Exposure Map Update as approved by the FAA is available here.

Part 150 Noise Compatibility Program

Phase Two of the study consists of a revised Noise Compatibility Program; a draft of that document is available for review here. That program will be submitted to the FAA for final review and acceptance once all comments have been received, reviewed, and approved by the Authority.

Overview of Noise Issues

Jet airline service arrived at Burbank in the late 1960s, and there have been concerted efforts over the past 40 years to minimize the impact of noise on the surrounding communities. Bob Hope Airport’s most successful measures have been:

  1. Becoming the first commercial airport in the country to require airlines to use only quieter technology “Stage 3” jets in 1987. The national noise policy enacted by Congress allowed noisier “Stage 2” jets to remain in use at other airports until 2000.
  2. Minimizing the hours of operations for airline jets. Although Bob Hope Airport is a 24-hour airport, the commercial airlines have been guided by a voluntary curfew that urges them to avoid scheduling flights after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m., even when they use the quieter Stage 3 aircraft.  Historically, more than 95% of the all airline flights have conformed to that restriction.
  3. Eliminating virtually all flights by noisier jet and propeller aircraft – either airline or privately-owned – between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.  As noted above, there is a voluntary curfew governing Stage 3 aircraft. But in 1981, the airport successfully implemented a mandatory curfew banning flights at night by jet aircraft with noise levels equal to or louder than Stage 2, and certain propeller aircraft with noise levels above approved limits.
  4. Aggressively seeking federal funds to insulate schools and homes located inside the noise impact area as determined under California noise standards and federally prescribed noise studies. So far the Airport Authority has obtained and provided over $80 million in funding for insulation of five schools and nearly 1,600 residential units.

The results of these and other programs over the years have been significant.  When the Airport Authority purchased the airport from Lockheed in 1978, there were 375 acres of residential land impacted by average aircraft noise levels of 70 decibels or more (residential land affected at less than 70 decibels averaged over a 24 hour period was considered compatible with the airport under state standards in 1978). Now there is only 0.5 acre of residential land impacted at that level.

Today, state standards for compatibility have been tightened.  A house must be in an area affected by less than 65 decibels on average to be considered compatible with the airport.  Under the newer standards, there are some 20 acres of incompatible land, a 95% reduction from 1978, even though today’s standards to attain a “compatible” status are stricter than 30 years ago.

Noise Rules

The Airport Authority has adopted a body of noise rules designed to ensure minimum intrusion of noise in surrounding communities. While the rules contain many technical provisions, their thrust is simple and direct:

  1. Prevent aircraft noise impact areas from increasing beyond their levels of 1978, when the Authority purchased the airport from Lockheed.
  2. Ban all flights at night by noisier Stage 2 jets or equivalent aircraft.
  3. Require all airlines to fly Stage 3 jets, the quietest jets available.

Click here for the Noise Rules Summary page.

Sound Insulation Program

Bob Hope Airport, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration, has implemented a Residential Acoustical Treatment Program (RATP) that will insulate qualfied residential units in Burbank and Los Angeles.

The Residential Acoustical Treatment Program is the result of the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 150 Study, originally completed in 1989 and subsequently updated in 2000, that determined which neighborhoods, noise-sensitive public buildings, and local jurisdictional boundaries lie within the noise-impacted area surrounding the Airport. Facilities identified by the study are eligible to receive noise mitigation treatments funded by federal grants and local matching funds supplied by the Airport Authority.

The Authority has implemented two primary mitigation measures approved by the Part 150 Study: insulation of homes within the 65 CNEL impact area (the area where aircraft noise exceeds an average of 65 decibels over a 24 hour period); acquiring avigation easements for homes in the 65 CNEL impact area (easements allowing aircraft to fly over the home without the threat of a future lawsuit by the property owner against the Airport Authority).

Under the insulation program, consultants for the Authority design a specific treatment for each home to ensure that interior noise levels will always remain quiet enough to enjoy normal use of the home, no matter how much aircraft activity there might be.  The acoustical treatment may include door and window replacement, attic insulation, weather stripping, ventilation and air conditioning. Once designed, the treatment is installed by licensed, bonded contractors selected by the Authority.

This program is free of cost to the property owner, provided he or she grants the authority an aviation easement.

Program Guidance Letter (PGL) 12-09--Summary

To find out more about this program, contact Hilda Landaverde at (818) 842-1732, or Maggie Martinez at (818) 840-8840 ext. 2226.

Night Time Noise Relief

The Federal Aviation Regulations contain specific sections, or “parts,” that describe how noise studies are to be conducted to improve the compatibility between airports and the sensitive land uses that surround them. Bob Hope Airport has done both a Part 150 Study and a Part 161 Study.

While the Part 150 Study process allowed the Airport to secure federal funding for home insulation, a separate process called a Part 161 Study was necessary for the Authority to be able to apply for a mandatory nighttime curfew that would be enforeceable under federal law, superseding the current voluntary airline curfew now in place.

Part 161 arose after Congress passed the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, which prevented airports from passing new noise rules such as curfews.  If an airport has reason to believe a new noise rule is justified, despite the Noise and Capacity Act, Part 161 provides a study methodology to examine the reasons why, and to provide a means to persuade the Federal Aviation Administration that an exception is warranted. No new rule can be adopted unless the Part 161 Study is successfully completed and the rule is accepted by the FAA.

Bob Hope Airport began a Part 161 Study in 2000 in pursuit of a mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The study and an application for a curfew were completed in 2009, at a cost of over $7 million, and submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration.  It was the first Part 161 Study ever accepted as “complete” by the FAA, a landmark accomplishment that attests to the difficulty involved in the endeavor.

In November 2009, the FAA issued its finding that the study did not justify the imposition of the mandatory curfew. However, the Airport Authority continues to seek new avenues that can lead to meaningful relief from nighttime aircraft noise and is currently engaging the airlines, the FAA, the City of Burbank and the local community in dialogue on that subject.

The details of the Part 161 Study are archived in the Reports and Meetings section of this website.