Aviation and the Environment
Air Emissions: The impact of aircraft emissions on the environment is subject to debate. As aircraft operate all over the world, environmental efforts are debated on an international level. A source of information of the impact of aviation on the environment is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Locally, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) air quality model, assigns aviation emissions 2% to 3% of the total valley air emissions. Most of the air emissions or concern consist of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Propeller aircraft burn unleaded aviation gasoline, while jet aircraft burn jet fuel which is similar to diesel fuel. Jet exhaust is sometimes visible from older aircraft and is roughly equivalent to the type of emissions that emanate from diesel cars and trucks. Occasionally concerns are raised about fuel being vented by aircraft in flight. Fuel venting in flight is an extremely rare occurrence.
Ground vehicles contribute the majority of air emissions on a daily basis in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. The recent newspaper article noted that air quality monitors in Phoenix had almost no change during the two-day period when all commercial and private aircraft operations were suspend at Sky Harbor airport following the terrorist attacks (Arizona Republic, September 19, 2001, "Ozone levels same despite halt in flights " Authors - Mary Jo Pitzl & Betty Beard).
Additionally, a significant research effort to reduce future aircraft engine emissions is taking place at NASA (Aircraft Emissions).
Noise: The Technical Information Paper below is an appendix to the 1997 Scottsdale Airport Noise Compatibility Study and discusses the Effects of Noise Exposure on people. Measuring the Impact of Noise on People - Technical Information Paper. (pdf / 215 KB / 9 pages)
NASA (Noise reduction) is also currently engaged in research efforts to reduce aircraft noise emissions. Additionally, there is a significant international dialog about adopting a new quieter Stage 4 standard at the ICAO CAEP, and a possible phase out of Stage 3 aircraft that are only marginally complaint by 5db.
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