The Vero Beach Regional Airport has an established comprehensive Noise Program. Improvements to that program include reduced takeoffs and landings at night, ongoing pilot training, airfield signs to remind pilots to fly quietly, and published procedures for flight planning into this area.
On July 1, 2003, the City of Vero Beach submitted formal Noise Exposure Maps (NEMs) documentation to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for evaluation and certification. The FAA notified the City on October 28, 2003, that the NEMs were in compliance with the applicable federal requirements of Title I of the Aviation Safety And Noise Abatement Act of 1979 (ASNA) and 14 CFR Part 150. Subsequently, on May 2, 2006, the FAA with an effective date of April 28, 2006, approved the Noise Compatibility Program (NCP).
Airport Noise Program Frequently Asked Questions
What are the airport’s hours of operation?
The airport is open to air traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How busy is the airport?
The airport currently handles approximately 228,000 operations annually (an “operation” at the airport is a takeoff or a landing). In the past 10 years, the level of traffic has fluctuated from 142,000 in 2006 to the current level in 2015
Is there a minimum altitude that airplanes have to maintain over residential neighborhoods?
Federal Aviation Regulations mandate that aircraft have to be at least 1000 feet in altitude over any populated areas, except for takeoff and landing. Other exceptions to this rule are helicopters and agricultural aircraft, which are governed by a different part of the Federal Aviation Regulations and are allowed to fly lower.
Why do aircraft use runways that bring them over my house so frequently?
The runway in use is predicated by the wind direction and speed, since takeoffs and landings are safest when conducted into the wind. Buildings, trees and fences will often diminish the effects of the wind in surrounding neighborhoods, while on the open area of the airport the wind is sufficient to mandate the use of the runway most nearly aligned into the wind.
Why can’t the aircraft just fly over unpopulated areas?
Aircraft arriving and departing the airport follow established traffic patterns. In order to promote safety, these traffic patterns are consistent at airports throught the country. The exact path flown by aircraft in the traffic patterns will often vary due to the runway in use, the size and speed of the aircraft, the weather, and the amount of traffic using the airport at the time.
Some airplanes seem much noisier than others. Do they all have mufflers?
With very few exceptions, piston-engine powered aircraft produced by major manufacturers (including Piper) are equipped with mufflers. Some even have 2 mufflers as standard equipment. Of the production aircraft that do not have mufflers, most are turbocharged, a process which itself has a muffling effect on aircraft engine exhaust noise. In the local perspective, the aircraft operated by our flight schools are all equipped with mufflers.
How does the weather affect airport noise?
When the cloud ceiling or visibility are low, aircraft follow specific approach procedures when arriving at the airport. These Instrument Approach Procedures are established, approved and charted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Aircraft following these procedures will generally be lower than normal as they approach the airport.
Why can’t the airport restrict aircraft operations, especially at night?
The airport is prohibited, by Federal regulations, from restricting the hours of operation, the amount of air traffic, or the type of aircraft using the airport. The Airport also has no authority over the operation of aircraft or the actions of aircraft pilots. That authority rests strictly with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Does the airport have any noise abatement procedures in effect?
The airport does have a Voluntary Noise Abatement program in effect. Our voluntary procedures address certain aspects of aircraft operations, such as touch and go operations late at night, and prolonged engine maintenance runs on the ground.
How does the airport inform pilots of the Voluntary Noise Abatement Procedures?
The airport is very active in making our voluntary procedures readily available to pilots. Information on the procedures can be found:
- On the City of Vero Beach website.
- At all airport aviation businesses.
- In many publications and web sites that pilots refer to for airport information, such as the Airport/Facility Directory published by the Federal Aviation Administration.
In addition, airport staff reinforces the procedures at meetings with local pilots several times each month.
How does the airport know when a pilot is not abiding by the voluntary noise abatement procedures?
Airport staff conducts random after-hours surveillance to obtain a sampling of after-hours activity and determine the level of compliance with the voluntary procedures.
What happens when a pilot does not abide by the voluntary procedures?
When an aircraft is identified as being not in compliance, we send a letter to the registered owner of the aircraft explaining we are a noise sensitive airport, outlining the voluntary procedures, and request their cooperation in abiding by the voluntary procedures in the future.
How can I file a noise complaint?
Aircraft noise complaints should be directed to the Airport Director’s office, by calling (772) 978-4930, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints can also be made to the Federal Aviation Administration, North Florida Flight Standards Office, at (407) 812-7700. In the event of low flying aircraft, obtaining a description of the aircraft and the registration number painted on the side of the fuselage (if possible) is very helpful.