How to Report an Aircraft Noise Violation

Squeaky Wheels

One of the FAA's stated goals when routing aircraft to or from an airport is to minimize the number of people adversely affected by the aircraft traffic. One of the metrics they use to determine whether routes need to be revisited is the number of complaints from neighborhoods.

MWAA helpfully publish the number of complaints that Reagan National Airport receives from individual cities. Here are the statistics for Accokeek and Fort Washington, from 2010 to 2015:

Accokeek

Fort Washington


Information Needed For An Effective Report

The best reports contain: 

  • Your address
  • Exact time
  • The flight number

You can obtain the 3rd piece of information from the Webtrak system. However, since the data on Webtrak is published with an hour delay, we recommend noting the exact time of the flight on a piece of paper, and coming back later in the day to submit the report.


Full Procedure For Filing An Effective Complaint

1) When an aircraft passing over bothers you, simply check your computer or phone for the exact time and date, and note it on a scrap of paper.

2) Later in the day, or even later in the week, sit down with all of your observations. For each, go to the Webtrak system and find the flight. It is easy to use once you have found your way around the interface. Follow these instructions the first time:

  1. Click on "Historical" in the lower left, and change the date & time to approximately the time of your observation. (The scrollbar to the right of the play/pause button spans an entire hour, so you can choose a time before your observation and then later scroll to it.) Once you have chosen the date/time, click "set" and wait a moment for Webtrak to load data (you'll see a green bar which shows how much of the hour has been loaded for you to look at).
  2. You can click and drag on the map to recenter it. Use the +/- buttons at the top left of the map to zoom in/out. Move and zoom the map so that you can see your neighborhood in some detail.
  3. Move the scrollbar at the right of the pause/play button (bottom of screen) forward to the time of the aircraft noise you noted. Once you find the aircraft in question, click pause, and then click on the aircraft icon itself. A small popup window will appear containing the approximate altitude of the aircraft as well as the flight number. Write these down.

3) Now click to the Noise Complaint Form for Reagan National Airport and fill in the requested details. We recommend filing a separate complaint for each incident, regardless of how far apart in time they were. Thank you for doing this! The more of us who report these, the more likely we are to be heard.