Airport Noise Mitigation
Frequently Asked Questions
How was Airport Noise Mitigation formed and how is it staffed?
In 1974, the San Diego Unified Port District, previous operator of San Diego
International Airport, installed a noise monitoring system that was operated by
the Engineering Department. In the early 1980s, the system was transferred to the
newly formed Airport Noise Information Department and upgraded. The team is comprised
of the Director, Sr. Airport Noise Specialist/GIS Coordinator, Airport Noise Mitigation
Specialist, and Administrative Assistant.
What is the airport noise monitoring system?
The Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System - Geographic Information
System (ANOMS-GIS) is the highly flexible and fully integrated noise system used
by the Airport. ANOMS-GIS is a powerful tool that allows staff to manage SDIA's
Noise Compatibility Program and meet state requirements, and is one of the most
sophisticated aircraft flight tracking and noise monitoring systems available.
Visitors from Australia, Denmark, France, Mexico, and Spain have come to acquaint
themselves with the system and its capabilities. Demonstrations of ANOMS-GIS
are offered, by appointment, to any interested parties. To schedule a demonstration
call (619) 400-2781.
How does the Airport monitor aircraft noise?
There are currently 24 remote monitoring sites surrounding San Diego International
Airport in communities ranging from Golden Hills to Ocean Beach and north to Mission
Beach. These sites, which are microphones mounted on tall poles, constantly measure
noise and transmit noise data, twenty-four hours a day, to the ANOMS-GIS located
at the Airport. The data is measured and compiled for reports required by the State
of California, Division of Aeronautics. The system also helps staff monitor noise
levels and aircraft flight tracks. This information is used to enforce curfew violations
and respond to aircraft noise complaints from community members. The information
is also used in the generation of San Diego International Airport's noise contour
maps. Below are samples of Airport noise contour maps.
Annual Contour Map
Quarterly Contour Map Sample
How do I obtain a copy of a contour map?
Both the Annual Contour Map and Quarterly Contour Map diagrams above can be downloaded
and printed. The San Diego Regional Airport Authority has also pre-printed maps
available for sale at a charge. To request a pre-printed map diagram, call (619)
400-2550 or complete and submit a Public Records Request.
How do I register a noise complaint?
There are two ways to register a noise compliant. They are:
- Call the Airport Noise Mitigation Complaint Hotline at (619) 400-2799 and follow
- Email your message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does the airport do with my noise complaint?
Airport Noise Mitigation staff transcribes each noise complaint and enters it
into a computer data base. Each complaint is reviewed and researched to establish
what further action is necessary and, at the end of each month, Airport Noise generates
a "Monthly Noise Complaint Log." If the caller requests a call back, relevant
information is gathered and relayed in a timely manner to the caller. The Complaint
Log is sent to each tenant airline representative, FAA, the Airport Noise Advisory
Committee (ANAC), the State Division of Aeronautics, and the San Diego County Noise
Control Hearing Board. Community members may purchase a copy of each monthly Complaint
Log through the Airport Authority Clerk's Office by calling (619) 400-2550 or completing
a Public Records
What is a curfew violation, and how are they enforced?
The Airport Use Regulations (Regulations) for San Diego International Airport
were adopted by the Board of Port Commissioners in 1989, and include Time of Day
Restrictions (curfew). The curfew states that Stage 2 aircraft can depart
from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stage 2 aircraft have been phased out at San Diego International
Airport as of January 1, 1999 for all regularly scheduled commercial, cargo, and
commuter operators for their aircraft weighing more than 75,000 pounds. Stage
3 aircraft can depart between 6:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. Lifeguard and emergency
flights are permitted to operate as needed, and landings are permitted 24 hours
a day at SDIA. When a violation of the curfew occurs, the
Curfew Violation Review Panel (CVRP), comprised of Airport Authority staff
from several departments, meets to decide whether or not the operator should be
fined for the violation. The administrative fines for violations of the curfew
are: $2,000 for the first violation by a particular operator in a compliance period;
$6,000 for the second violation in a compliance period; and, $10,000 for the third
violation in a compliance period. Each compliance period is six (6) calendar months.
Here is a more detailed description of the Airport Use Regulations.
What are the noise curfew times?
The Airport Use Regulations, Time of Day Restrictions, or Curfew, states that
no departures of Stage 2 aircraft are allowed after 10:00 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m. All
departures are restricted from 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. daily.
Are all operations subject to the curfew?
No. Arrivals are permitted 24 hours a day, and Lifeguard and emergency/mercy
flights are exempt from the curfew.
What do you mean by Stage 3?
The FAA, under Advisory Circular 36, designates every aircraft either Stage
1, 2, or 3 based upon noise limits and testing. Stage 3 aircraft are generally
the newest, quietest aircraft built since the mid 1980s. Examples of Stage
3 aircraft are the Boeing 757-200, 737-700, the McDonnell-Douglas MD80, as well
as Airbus A320. Stage 2 aircraft can also be hush-kitted or re-engine
to be certified as Stage 3 aircraft. Some aircraft that have been hush-kitted
to meet the Federal Stage 3 standard include the Boeing 727 series, 737-100/200,
DC-8, and DC-9 series aircraft.
What is the California Airport Noise Standards, and what is a Variance?
The California Airport Noise Standards (Standards) states that
the basis for the acceptable level of aircraft noise for persons living in the vicinity
of airports is a Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) of 65 decibels. In addition,
the Standards states that no proprietor of a noise problem airport shall operate
an airport with a noise impact area of 65 decibels CNEL unless the operator has
received a Variance to the California Airport Noise Standards. San Diego International
Airport is one of ten airports in California subject to this requirement.
The Airport has received 9 additional variances to the California Airport Noise
Standards since the late 1970s. The current Variance
is valid for three years.
What is a decibel and how does Airport Noise Mitigation measure aircraft noise?
The decibel, abbreviated dB, is a noise metric expressing the relative intensity
of sounds. Airport Noise has 24 permanent Remote Noise Monitors (RMTs) located
in the surrounding community that continually measure noise events by maximum level,
LMAX, duration of the event (the amount of time the noise level exceeded
the RMT threshold, i.e. Time Above = TA), and the SENEL, Single Event Sound Exposure
Level. SENEL is the same as SEL, Sound Exposure Level.
What does CNEL mean?
CNEL stands for Community Noise Equivalent Level and is a noise metric used
to measure cumulative noise. This metric takes into account the number of
aircraft noise events and decibel level. Similar to DNL, it adds a penalty to nighttime
activities. CNEL is the State noise standard that defines the airport's noise contour,
and is recognized by the FAA as the federal standard.
Other Information about Airport Noise Mitigation
Airport Noise Mitigation is involved with the SDIA Terminal Development Plan,
the Airport Noise Advisory Committee
(ANAC), and develops a
newsletter that addresses noise related issues and community noise concerns.
The Department holds periodic meetings to discuss these issues, and also creates
a number of handouts and
publications, available for viewing.
here for additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Glossary.
Click here for
a list of web sites with a wealth of related information.