12. Q: Is the FAA planning to use NextGen at O’Hare?
FAA Response:NextGen is an umbrella term for the ongoing, wide-ranging transformation of the United States’ national airspace system (NAS). At its most basic level, NextGen represents an evolution from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management. This evolution is vital to meeting future demand, and avoid to gridlock in the sky and at our nation's Airports.
When fully implemented, NextGen will safely allow more aircraft to fly more closely together on more direct routes, reducing delays, and providing unprecedented benefits for the environment and the economy through reductions in carbon emissions, fuel consumption, and noise. NextGen implementation has started, and will include a series of technology improvements and changes across the country and throughout the aviation and aircraft industry. Its implementation will include O'Hare.
For more information on NextGen, please see our website.
11. Q: Will there be further changes in the airspace design associated with Runway 9L/27R?
FAA Response: None are currently planned.
10. Q: What streets do the O'Hare approaches line up with?
FAA Response: The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has a website application that shows the runways and street names. It is part of the Residential Sound Insulation Program (RSIP).
9. Q: Are there any boundaries on the airspace above an individual's home?
FAA Response: The navigable airspace is a limited natural resource that Congress has charged the FAA to administer in the public interest as necessary to ensure its efficient use and the safety of aircraft. The amount of usable airspace above a given property will vary depending upon the location of the property relative to an Airport. Federal Regulation 14 CFR Part 77 establishes standards and notification requirements for objects affecting navigable airspace. Specifically, Part 77 includes a section 77.13 - which describes what types of construction requires notice with and study by the FAA.
8. Q: Aircraft flying over my house may appear to be flying low, does the FAA monitor this?
FAA Response: Yes. Air Traffic maintains radar tracks that provide altitude readouts of these aircraft. Size differences between narrow-body aircraft, such as the 737 and regional jets may be visually perceived to be flying higher than larger aircraft, like 747s and 777s. Our visual perception is to associate small object images to appear far, and associate large object images to appear close. Fact is, all aircraft approaching to land to an O'Hare runway are flying an approach descent profile according to a strict glide path that ensures safe clearance to obstacles and maintains the aircraft in the proper airspace. Any aircraft deviating from this profile will subject the crew and company to an investigation with possible adverse consequences.
7. Q: A concerned resident asked if a higher flight pattern with steeper approach or a slight alteration to the flight pattern would be possible.
FAA Response: There are currently no FAA approved procedures that would allow a variation in the location of arrivals for O’Hare runways. Aircraft are flying the approach descent according to the Glide Slope, consistent with the FAA standard of 3.0 degrees.
6. Q: Why is it that pilots and air traffic controllers have so much trouble sticking to the preferential flight tracks, which are part of the Fly Quiet program?
FAA Response: Wind drift accounts for some variability in the departure aircrafts along a track. For example, Runway 28R has a Fly Quiet departure heading of 290 degrees. Winds out of the north or south will cause the aircraft to drift either north or south of the track. Additionally, in early 2012 ONCC leadership and FAA management from the O’Hare Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) began to meet quarterly. The purpose of these meetings is to improve controller and pilot adherence to the existing Fly Quiet Program. As a result of these meetings improvements have been made, and ONCC has provided positive feedback to the FAA.
5. Q: Why aren’t there preferential flight tracks for Runway 9L/27R?
FAA Response: The current O'Hare Fly Quiet Program, which includes preferential flight tracks, may be used for air traffic operations between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am. This runway is not a preferred nighttime runway. Information on the Fly Quiet Program is available on the Chicago Department of Aviation’s website or on the ONCC’s website.
4. Q: Why doesn't O'Hare have RNAV in place and why can't a more rapid descent be used to mitigate our noise issues?
FAA Response: O'Hare has RNAV procedures. They are identical to existing arrival and departure procedures. They do not provide different paths into or out of the airport than existing conventional flight procedures.
3. Q: Is the Continuous Descent Approach or Optimum Profile Descent (OPD) method the best we can do?
FAA Response: Optimum Profile Descent (OPD) is not currently being used at O'Hare. OPD can reduce noise impacts with the greatest environmental benefits realized 30 to 40 miles from the runway. Communities within 3-5 miles of O'Hare would likely not receive any noise benefits from OPD.
2. Q: Why are the planes so low?
FAA Response: The aircraft are flying the approach descent according to the Glide Slope for the runway. This is set to 3.0 degrees and is the FAA standard
1. Q: What about the variability in the flight path?
FAA Response: A plane’s approach and descent are typically determined by the Instrument Landing System (ILS). This system provides electronic guidance to the airplane. The Glide Slope portion of the ILS guides the plane at a steady rate of descent, which is 3.0 degrees. The Localizer portion aligns the plane on the centerline of the runway. A commercial jet on final approach to O’Hare will be using these signals for the last 10-20 miles of its arrival. Wind or other conditions could cause slight variations in the plane’s location on final approach.
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