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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:

  1. Call the Airport Noise Mitigation Complaint Hotline at (619) 400-2799 and follow the instructions.
  2. Email your message to airnoise@san.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 Request Form.

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 1980’s. 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.

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