PDK airport to use app to track noise complaints

The gray area inside the black asphalt area is the new EMAS technology on Runway 3R-21L at PDK Airport. Photo provided to Decaturish.

Atlanta, GA — Neighbors surrounding DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, known to locals as PDK, report between 75 and 100 noise pollution complaints per month. Soon, those complaints will be registered by an app, the board announced March 8.

The PlaneNoise app was created by a firm based in New York. Its principal, Robert Grotell, has 30 years of experience in aviation and transportation management of noise complaint and abatement.

PDK environmental and noise abatement analyst Korey Barnes said PlaneNoise will make it easier for the public to submit complaints by smartphone and online. The plan is to enable the app by April.

“We are undergoing testing right now and integration with our current noise complaint system,” said Barnes.

In February, 101 complaints were logged regarding helicopters, jets and prop planes. Monthly noise levels were recorded between 47.3 decibels on the south side of the airport and 64.3 decibels on the north side.

One issue is the level of noise tolerated by residents – regulation has fallen decades behind. The Federal Aviation Association last updated noise level regulation 40 years ago. The Schultz Curve, the accepted measure of aviation noise created from data from the 1970s, says 65 to 75 decibels as the noise exposure level above which aircraft noise “create[s] a significant annoyance for most residents.”

The Schultz Curve is not only outdated, it also included multi-modal transportation (air, rail, and road), and was conducted at a time when aircraft operations were less frequent.

The last aviation study conducted by the FAA was in 2017. Of the 20 airports chosen for the study, including Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport, half of them have less average daily operations than PDK. Results show previously only 10 percent of people are “highly annoyed” at 65 decibels, whereas the new curve shows 20 percent at 50 decibels and 66 percent at 65 decibels are “highly annoyed.”

The FAA is accepting feedback until March 15. Comments from neighbors of PDK demand a safe and healthy environment, and claim PDK should conduct a full environmental study of negative health effects from air and noise pollution.

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