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Noise Management

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation is committed to reducing, whenever possible, the effects and exposure of aircraft noise from Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport and the state’s general aviation airports. Our team responds to citizens’ concerns, monitors aircraft noise, educates the public about noise issues and provides information regarding aircraft operations and noise levels.

Noise abatement is achieved through a variety of strategies, including voluntary agreements, land use measures and programs designed to reduce the effects of aircraft noise on nearby residents.

Please see below for details on the RIAC sound insulation program, commercial aircraft operations reports and for the opportunity to register a noise comment.

Sound Insulation Program

The School Sound Insulation Program has insulated five elementary schools. These schools (Holliman, Wickes, St. Rose of Lima, John Brown Francis and E.G. Robertson) were insulated at a cost of $3.5 million. Two high schools, Pilgrim and Warwick Veterans, were insulated at a cost of $3 million.

The Residential Sound Insulation Program began in 1990. 1,534 homes within the 65-75 Day/Night Level (DNL) Zone have been sound insulated at an average expense of $28,000 per home. To date, approximately $43.3 million has been committed to the program.

For further information, please call the Rhode Island Airport Corporation noise line at (401) 732-3621.

Airport Noise Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the sole authority that controls and regulates airspace, aircraft, airports, flight procedures and aircraft noise. RIAC has no jurisdiction or authority to regulate aircraft activity, flight procedures or aircraft noise. Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) are employed by the FAA with a responsibility for safe and efficient movement of aircraft on the ground and in the air. They use established standard operating procedures and a systematic flow to keep aircraft at safe distances from one another as part of the national airspace system. RIAC is responsible for operating and maintaining airport facilities and for ensuring runways (and taxiways and other facilities) are in good working condition, meet FAA regulations and are available for use. Thus, RIAC cannot direct aircraft when to arrive/depart, which routes to fly, nor can it regulate aircraft noise. When it comes to aircraft noise, RIAC’s purpose is to help foster communication between the airport, FAA and the local community.

State and local governments are not permitted to regulate any type of aircraft operations, such as flight paths, altitudes or the navigable airspace. Additionally, cities and municipalities are not permitted to have their own rules or regulations governing the operation of aircraft.

Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to aircraft operations and noise.

Aircraft Operations

No. Pursuant to United States Code 49 USC 40103, the United States Government, specifically the Federal Aviation Administration, has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States, and thus do not need your permission. It is also important to note that they do not need a U.S. airport’s permission to land at a runway.

The FAA Air Traffic Control and the individual pilots determine which runways are used and aircraft flight paths. The FAA has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States, and thus RIAC has no control or legal authority in this area.

Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport is a public use airport and as such is required by the FAA to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and available to all aircraft operators. Commercial airlines, cargo operators, and private and corporate pilots determine when they land or take off. U.S. airports, municipalities and states are prohibited from interfering in where flights could be in the air.

Flight activities are planned according to demand, which differs throughout the year. The demand on the commercial airlines’ side is determined by the passengers.

The FAA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), not RIAC, determines which runway ends are in use on a given day, based upon the prevailing wind conditions and other operational factors. The prevailing wind at the runway determines the initial direction of flight. Aircraft take off and land into the wind.

Aircraft arrive and depart at various times throughout a 24-hour period. Typically, departures are early mornings, with most arrivals occurring in the early and late evening hours.

When federal law and state or local laws conflict, federal law takes precedence. PVD is regulated by the FAA and federal law, and thus the federal laws supersedes state laws and local ordinances. Cities and municipalities are not permitted to have their own rules or regulations governing the operation of aircraft.

Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) specify a minimum altitude of 1,000 feet over congested areas and 500 feet over non-congested areas. There is an exception to this rule: helicopters and aircraft that are in the process of taking off or landing.

According to FAA, a helicopter may be operated at less than 500 feet, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA.

If you witness aircraft flying in an unsafe manner, please contact the FAA’s Flight Standards District Office at (866) 835-5322 or the FAA’s General Aviation and Commercial Division at (202) 267- 8212.

Noise

Airport noise is considered any noise created by an aircraft taking off, landing, overflying, and taxiing on the ground at the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires the use of the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) as the primary metric for aircraft noise exposure. DNL is not a typical average, but instead is a cumulative measure of all noise exposure during a 24-hour period, whether it is a loud event or a quieter event, increases the DNL value. To reflect the added intrusiveness of noise between the nighttime hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., DNL counts each nighttime noise event as if it occurred 10 times. FAA noise evaluations typically average daily DNL values over a one-year period to account for daily or seasonal fluctuations in aircraft operations, runway use and weather conditions. FAA considers all residential land uses to be incompatible with aircraft noise at annual-average exposure levels at or above DNL 65 decibels (dB).

Aircraft ground operations may include aircraft idling, taxiing, pre-flight run-ups of propeller aircraft, and start-of-takeoff roll. Typically, however, noise from airborne flight operations (i.e., aircraft departures and arrivals) dominates overall noise exposure near airports. Although aircraft ground operations sometimes are audible near airports, generally they are quieter than airborne aircraft when heard in community locations. Ground operations noise often is reduced by interaction with the ground (“ground effects”) and shielding provided by terrain and other obstructions. Because these factors are less likely to reduce noise levels from airborne departures or arrivals, the louder flight operations dominate noise exposure and ground operations noise seldom makes a significant contribution to DNL.

Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport was opened in 1931. A majority of the residential developments around the airport were built long after the airport, and even today, new residential development and redevelopment occurs in some surrounding areas.

In cloudy and foggy weather, aircraft noise is amplified due to the cloud cover containing the noise near the ground. During hot and muggy summer days, an aircraft’s climbing performance decreases; aircraft therefore remain lower longer and more power is required for climb-out, causing more noise. More noise can also be experienced during the warmer months, largely due to the moisture content in the air.

At night, the ambient noise is lower, which makes aircraft noise appear louder than during the day.

Trees and vegetation around airports are more likely to affect sound levels caused by aircraft when they are on the ground than when they are in the air. When airborne aircraft are sufficiently high above the ground that trees do not break the line of sight from the listener, the trees provide no noise reduction. When trees break the line of sight from the listener to an aircraft on the ground, a relatively broad area of dense vegetation is required to provide a noticeable reduction in sound.

Even when not providing measurable noise reduction, vegetation can influence a listener’s perception of the noise environment in other ways. Trees can provide a visual buffer and thereby eliminate a visual reminder of one’s proximity to an airport or other noise source. Trees scatter the very high frequency sounds that can convey “mechanical harshness” and also may provide a type of forest reverberation, further reducing harshness and the impulsive nature of some noise sources. In addition, wind motion through leaves produces a pleasant sound, which can partially mask other sounds. Although these effects do not reduce the overall noise level, they may affect the listener’s perception of the noise environment and thereby decrease annoyance.

Yes, Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport was among the first airports in the country to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Noise and Land Use Compatibility Program, commonly referred to as Part 150. This study was conducted in 1999, and an updated study was conducted in June 2010.

Cities and municipalities are not permitted to have their own rules or regulations governing the operation of aircraft. Through the 14 CFR Part 150 process, a voluntary curfew for operations between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. was implemented. The FAA has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States, and thus RIAC has no control or jurisdiction on when aircraft operate at PVD. RIAC does track operations between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., and are available for review within the quarterly noise reports found on this page.

Through the 14 CFR Part 150 process, the FAA implemented the use of noise abatement corridors. The FAA Air Traffic Control Tower issues a departure heading associated with one of the Part 150 corridors based on the aircraft’s destination. Pilots, however, proceed on their FAA departure heading when deemed safe to do so.

The latest round of sound insulation was completed in 2018. Further noise analysis and potential mitigation will only be initiated when PVD experiences a significant increase in operations, which will likely not happen for many years due to COVID-19 impacts on air travel. A significant increase above the 2018 operations numbers will be required to justify to the FAA the need for conducting a Noise Exposure Map (NEM) update. Only after the NEM update is complete, and additional homes are deemed eligible, will residents be contacted (assuming appropriate FAA funds are available).

The best way to experience the noise level is to visit the home at different periods of the day and night. Additionally, PVD’s flight tracking system may be helpful to show daily flight paths in relation to a specific address. Providence Airport – flight tracker (casper.aero)

Flight paths are determined by the FAA Air Traffic Controllers based upon wind direction on any given day. The heading by which aircraft turn is determined upon the direction of the final destination. Through the 14 CFR Part 150 process, the FAA implemented the use of noise abatement corridors beginning in June 2001. There are a total of eight corridors around PVD, comprised of at least one departure corridor per runway and one arrival corridor for Runway 34. Further description of these corridors can be viewed within the quarterly noise reports located below.

When it comes to aircraft noise, RIAC’s purpose is to help foster communication between the airport, FAA and the local community. Pursuant to the Airport Noise Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA), only the FAA can approve restrictions. Additionally, RIAC is unable to mandate curfews, restrict where and when aircraft fly, dictate aircraft arrival or departure times, or restrict flights from flying over residential neighborhoods. Pursuant to United States Code 49 USC 40103, the United States Government, specifically the FAA, has exclusive sovereignty of the National Airspace System (NAS) over the United States.

You can also submit noise complaints directly to the FAA by calling (202) 265-3521 or emailing 9-awa-noiseombudsman@faa.gov. More information regarding the FAA’s noise procedures may be found at Noise (faa.gov). You may also submit noise complaints to RIAC using this link: https://flighttracker.casper.aero/pvd/complaint/index.php. Additionally, you can also call RIAC’s Noise Hotline at (401) 732-3621. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, please be advised that even if there is a complaint, RIAC cannot restrict where and when aircraft fly, dictate aircraft arrival or departure times, or restrict flights from flying over residential neighborhoods.

For RIAC, when a noise complaint is filed, the complaint is logged and reviewed. However, please be advised that even if there is a complaint, RIAC cannot restrict where and when aircraft fly, dictate aircraft arrival or departure times, or restrict flights from flying over residential neighborhoods. If you witness aircraft flying in an unsafe manner, please contact the FAA’s Flight Standards District Office at (866) 835-5322 or the FAA’s General Aviation and Commercial Division at (202) 267- 8212.

More information can be found from the FAA, on their Noise site.

Yes. Quarterly Airport Operations Reports are available below.

Quarterly Aircraft Operations Reports

YearQuarterReport NameDownload Item
2022Q2Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2022Q1Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2022Q2Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2022Q1Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2021Q1Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2021Q2Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2021Q3Runway Utilization Report
2021Q4Runway Utilization Report
2021Q1Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2021Q2Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2021Q3Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations Report
2021Q4Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations Report
2020Q1Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2020Q2Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2020Q3Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2020Q4Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2020Q1Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2020Q2Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2020Q3Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2020Q4Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2019Q1Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2019Q2Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2019Q3Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2019Q4Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2019Q1Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2019Q2Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2019Q3Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2019Q4Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2018Q1Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2018Q2Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2018Q3Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2018Q4Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2018Q1Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2018Q2Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2018Q3Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2018Q4Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2017Q1Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2017Q2Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2017Q3Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2017Q4Permanent Noise Monitoring Act Quarterly Operations ReportDownload
2017Q1Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2017Q2Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2017Q3Runway Utilization ReportDownload
2017Q4Runway Utilization ReportDownload

Noise Comments

Click here to register a noise comment. Comments can also be made via the Noise Hotline at (401) 732-3621, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.