Details on FAA Noise Levels, Stages, and Phaseouts

Noise Levels

The FAA regulates the maximum noise level that an individual civil aircraft can emit through requiring aircraft to meet certain noise certification standards. These standards designate changes in maximum noise level requirements by "stage" designation. The U.S. noise standards are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 14 Part 36 – Noise Standards: Aircraft Type and Airworthiness Certification (14 CFR Part 36). The FAA publishes certificated noise levels in the advisory circular, Noise Levels for U.S Certificated and Foreign Aircraft. This advisory circular provides noise level data for aircraft certificated under 14 CFR Part 36 and categorizes aircraft into their appropriate "stages". Any aircraft that is certified for airworthiness inthe U.S. needs to also comply with noise standard requirements to receive a noise certification. The purpose of the noise certification process is to ensure that the latest available safe and airworthy noise reduction technology is incorporated into aircraft design and enables the noise reductions offered by those technologies to be reflected in reductions of noise experienced by communities. As noise reduction technology matures, the FAA works with the international community to determine if a new stringent noise standard is needed. If so, the international community through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) embarks on a comprehensive analysis to determine what that new standard will be.

Noise Stages

The current FAA noise standards applicable to new type certifications of jet and large turboprop aircraft is Stage 4. It is equivalent to the ICAO Annex 16, Volume 1 Chapter 4 standards. Recently, the international community has established and approved a more stringent standard within the ICAO Annex 16, Volume 1 Chapter 14, which became effective July 14, 2014. The FAA is adopting this standard and promulgating the rule for Stage 5 that is anticipated to be effective for new type certificates after December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2020, depending on the weight of the aircraft. The Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for Stage 5 was published on January 14, 2016.

For helicopters, the FAA has noise standards for a Stage 3 helicopter that became effective on May 5, 2014. These more stringent standards apply to new type helicopters and are consistent with ICAO Annex 16, Volume 1 Chapter 8 and Chapter 11.


The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, in Section 513, had a prohibition on operating certain aircraft weighing 75,000 pounds or less not complying with Stage 3 noise levels, and on July 2, 2013, the FAA published a Final Rule in the Federal Register for the Adoption of Statutory Prohibition the Operation of Jets Weighing 75,000 Pounds or Less That Are Not Stage 3 Noise Compliant.In 1990, Congress passed the Aviation Noise and Capacity Act, which required that by the year 2000 all jet and large turboprop aircraft at civilian airports be Stage 3.

Last updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2022