Consultant company to analyze airplane noise around DC

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Hatchet Photographer

Jack Freytag, the head of the consulting group leading the project, said his group will start monitoring noise levels from airplanes around May.

An airport noise consultant company will study the noise levels of air traffic passing over D.C. to determine if flight patterns need to be reorganized and address community noise concern.

The Department of Energy and Environment recruited Freytag and Associates, LLC to investigate if air traffic from Reagan National Airport for residents starting in May once schools are out, members of the consultant company said at a meeting at Rose L. Hardy Middle School Wednesday.

Freytag and Associates will be monitoring school zones during regulars hours for noise disruption, and using houses to study sleep interference between the hours of 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., Jack Freytag, founder of Freytag and Associates, said.

Freytag said the company will conduct noise monitoring around three houses and two schools, which will help build a case justifying a change in flight patterns to present to the Federal Aviation Administration. He did not specify what neighborhoods the monitoring would be done.

“We do the technical work,” he said. “We supply the ammunition. You fight the war.”

Members of the Federal Aviation Administration met in the Georgetown Public Library on Sept. 14 to see if community members were upset about noise levels from airplanes traveling over the District. Within a month, the FAA had received about 800 comments from community members about the noise level, Eugene Kinlow, director of the Office of Federal and Regional Affairs, said.

The FAA recently began changing flight patterns to fly over more neighborhoods instead of previous routes limited to over the Potomac River. In 2015, Foggy Bottom residents teamed up with other Northwest D.C. neighbors to form a group seeking to change flight patterns, so the planes follow nighttime noise rules.

Community members were mainly concerned with how accurate the assessment would be and if the study would help significantly change the current situation regarding air traffic operations.

Don Crockett, a resident, said the number of sites seems too low to determine the impact of airplanes on the entire area. Aircraft noise levels impact at least four schools in the area, more than the two where the consultants plan to measure, he said.

“I would like to see that part of the study expand a bit more so that we have better coverage along the whole flight path,” Crockett said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.