FAR Part 150 Study

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The FAR Part 150 Study Update is an examination of aircraft noise and land use compatibility authorized under the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR) Part 150, titled “Airport Noise Compatibility Planning.” It is a voluntary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program in which San Diego International Airport (SDIA) has participated in the past, completing an original study in 1989, with subsequent amendments. The current Study Update presents aircraft noise based on current conditions and forecast aircraft activity in five years.

There are two technical elements to a Part 150 study; the Noise Exposure Maps (NEM) and the Noise Compatibility Program (NCP).

NEMs are created using computer modeling software; in this case the FAA’s Integrated Noise Model (INM). This modeling software creates diagrams depicting the airport’s layout and operation and aircraft related noise exposure occurring the year of submission (2009) and forecasts aircraft noise anticipated to occur five years in the future (2014).

Aircraft noise exposure is depicted on each NEM as noise “contours” which describe the average annual noise exposure that occurs in a given area within San Diego International’s Noise Impact Area. The NEMS also depict land uses underlying the contour in the noise-impacted areas near the airport. The NEMs were submitted and accepted by FAA in November 2009.

The NCP is composed of proposed actions to minimize existing and future aircraft noise and land use incompatibilities. These actions include noise abatement measures, noise mitigation or compensation measures, and/or preventive measures. The Record of Approval includes a description of all measures proposed to FAA, an airport analysis of the effectiveness of accepted measures, approval or disapproval of each element, and a description of possible methods of implementing and funding approved measures. The DRAFT SDIA NCP was forwarded for FAA review in June 2010, accepted for review in January 2011 and returned to SDIA with recommendations effective June 30, 2011.


The SDIA Noise Compatibility Program update, as submitted, included 19 proposed elements:

  • Three (3) noise abatement
  • Three (3) noise mitigation
  • Three (3) land use planning
  • Ten (10) program management

The FAA approved two of the three sound attenuation elements, approved all ten program management elements, and disapproved all three noise abatement elements.

In disapproving the noise abatement elements, the FAA found that the three proposed aircraft noise abatement elements “…has no effect or benefit on the Community Noise Level Equivalent Level (CNEL) 65dB (decibel) contour as there is no decrease in the overall affected residential population within this noise contour.” Additionally, “The analysis in the NCP does not demonstrate the measure’s noise benefits on the 65 dB CNEL contour.”

The FAA’s cover letter and Record of Approval can be found here.

For more specific information about proposed elements, the full draft documentation submitted to the FAA for the Noise Exposure Maps (NEM) can be found here, and the Noise Compatibility Program (NCP) is available here.

Copyright 2011 San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. All rights reserved.