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Noise Reduction Efforts

Airport Noise Compatibility Efforts

The City of Scottsdale has a long history of proactive noise abatement efforts:

  • In 1978, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 1757 jointly with the City of Phoenix to designate Sky Harbor Airport for air carrier aircraft (DC-8, DC-9, B707, B727, B737, B747) while developing Scottsdale Airport as a reliever airport with only commuter airline service.
  • In 1980, the City Council ordered the sale of excess airport land to lessen the chances the airport would have additional runways or accommodate air carrier type aircraft in the future.
  • In 1984, after a lengthy Environmental Impact Study process, the runway was lengthened to accommodate jets year-round. It was shifted 3,500 feet to the northeast to raise altitudes of arriving aircraft over the residential areas southwest of the runway.
  • The 1985 Airport Master Plan recommended no additional runways, virtually assuring that Scottsdale Airport will remain a single-runway airport for the foreseeable future.
  • The Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights at the runway ends are set at the maximum 4 degrees instead of the standard 3 degrees to encourage aircraft approaches to be as high as safely possible.
  • In 1996, lighted noise abatement reminder signs were installed at the ends of both runways to encourage and remind pilots to use noise abatement procedures.
  • The landing thresholds at both runway ends have been displaced to help raise the altitude of arriving aircraft over residential areas. The Runway 03 landing threshold at the south end of the airport is displaced 750' to the northeast, and at the northern end of the airport the Runway 21 landing threshold is displaced 400' to the southwest.
  • In 1998, Noise Abatement displays and pilot guides were placed in flight schools and fixed base operators at other valley airports to inform pilots who may only occasionally use Scottsdale Airport on local noise abatement procedures.
  • In 2004, Scottsdale Airport staff worked with the Federal Aviation Administration and local helicopter operators to update the helicopter letter of agreement for based helicopter operators; and developed a helicopter pilot guide as a reference tool for transient pilots.
  • Starting in 2005 and currently, monthly pilot briefings are held to help increase safety and awareness for noise abatement recommendations.

Ongoing Noise Reduction Efforts

In addition to the Noise Compatibility Planning process, the City of Scottsdale is engaged in ongoing efforts to reduce the effect of aircraft overflights and noise.

  • Creation of a Northeast Valley Regional Pilot Guide to inform pilots about terrain elevations and traffic corridors that create noise sensitive areas in the northeast valley
  • Developing high-tech pilot education tools such as "Pilot-eye movies" to educate pilots of noise sensitive areas that can be avoided with some awareness and pre-planning
  • Engaging the FAA in constructive dialogue regarding airspace and air traffic issues
  • Participating in the Phoenix Airspace User Working Group (PAUWG) to cooperatively identify air traffic problems and solutions with airspace users, the FAA, communities and airport operators
  • Partnering with aviation organizations (AOPA, NBAA, AzBAA) to further pilot awareness and noise abatement education
  • Partnering with the FAA and valley flight schools to form a safety and education forum for flight training and noise issues
  • Parnering with residents to identify noise issues and evaluate possible solutions
  • Monitoring ongoing legal issues involving airports noise reduction efforts involving 14 CFR Part 161, Naples airport and proposed Federal legislation

Public Involvement Efforts

In the past there has been significant public involvement on airport noise issues in addition to the 14 CFR Part 150 noise compatibility public processes. One notable effort is known as the Phoenix Ad Hoc Committee on noise that resulted in the "Phoenix 28 recommendations" for noise abatement. Many of the committee's recommendations were regarding regulatory measures that were not legal under Federal law or were not supported by the Cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale.  The Phoenix 28 recommendations (pdf / 2137KB / 10 pages) and the FAA response (pdf / 2349KB / 13 pages) are very informative and remain true today, in spite of their age (1988).

In 1989, the City again re-examined several elements of the airport noise program in
"A Focus on Community Issues" (pdf / 2618KB / 21 pages).

Additionally, following the 1997 14 CFR Part Noise Compatibility Study approval, the airport formed an ad hoc Community Working Group (CWG) to further address citizen concerns about aircraft noise. A significant number of meetings were held and the CWG Meeting Minutes contain a significant amount of information on aircraft noise abatement, flight paths and previous airport/community dialog.

A review of the 1997 14 CFR Part 150 Study public testimony, the Phoenix 28 recommendations; and the Community Working Group minutes reveals that past noise issues are similar to the current noise issues. This is not unexpected as there has been little change in Federal legislation that permits noisy aircraft to fly, and precludes local airports abilities to enact new noise regulations after 1990.

The City of Scottsdale is actively engaged in constructive community dialogue regarding aviation issues through homeowner associations (HOA) newsletters, presentations and real estate seminars, etc. If you would like to have a presentation on any aspect of Scottsdale Airport/Airpark or aviation noise issues for your HOA, business or group, please contact Sarah Ferrara, aviation planning and outreach coordinator, at 480-312-8482.



15000 N. Airport Drive, 2nd Floor, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
480-312-2321  480-312-8480 Fax
(Located at Butherus Drive and North Airport Drive) see map not part of City of Scottsdale web site

Airport Up Close Video