(BRISTOW, VIRGINIA) – Looking up to the sky in anger and resentment, Virginia native Tim Witkamp shook his fist up at the sky, as if to say “when will it end?”.
Tim is part of a growing community of Americans who have become increasingly concerned with paradigms and plans to modernize aviation, such as NextGen. While some of the program aims to reduce air traffic delays and modernize the technology involved in the national airspace system, there is one component of the plan that is often overlooked: noise.
The NextGen component concerned with noise is known as the “Noise Normalization Project”, or NNP. For years, aviation authorities have known that people are more likely to complain when the sound of jets and propeller driven aircraft constantly bombard their lives. So, in an effort to offset this phenomenon, the new routes of the NextGen program help to evenly distribute noise among the masses. But this has led to other problems, such as the issue Tim Witkamp has.
“These jets, they fly right over here, and they never have before,” he said.
Still, spokespeople for NextGen feel that spreading noise over huge areas is advantageous for the future of aviation.
“I mean, it’s remarkable. This departure here brings these guys right over this neighborhood, and you know, they’ve never heard jets before. It should be really great to get people to hear it, maybe they will pick up an interest in aviation, too,” said Brian Miller, spokesperson for the NextGen Program. “Plus it drowns out the noise of say, barking dogs, or idiots driving loud cars.”
Overall, the primary purpose of the NextGen system is to keep aviation as safe as possible, while minimizing delays. But that’s not all.
“Essentially, the best case scenario is that everyone within a 25 nautical mile radius of this airport hears at least one 135dB or louder jet engine related event each day,” Miller said.
We don’t expect this debate to end anytime soon.
We continued to interview both Witkamp and Miller, but an A300 flying overhead drowned out the audio recording, rendering it completely unusable.