Yesterday, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, as well as Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, and Jamie Raskin (all D-Md.), met with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell to discuss the ongoing community concerns surrounding the development of NextGen flight paths at both Baltimore-Washington International and Ronald Reagan National Airports. Steny Hoyer did NOT participate, he continues to ignore his constituents.

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The Trombone queuing system at DCA

When DCA operates in North Flow, aircraft are queued to make the final approach over the river from Piscataway Creek to Runway 1/19. Aircraft approaching from the south can simply get in line further south of Accokeek; aircraft approaching from the east or west meet a parallel path to the approach heading south before making a 180 degree turn onto the approach. This path and turn is known as a "Trombone Maneuver".

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Why DCA air traffic arrives from the south more often than from the north

DCA airport has two operating patterns: "North Flow" and "South Flow". In North Flow, planes arrive from the south and depart to the north. In this pattern, they often pass over Accokeek and Fort Washington. In South Flow, planes arrive from the north and depart to the south. There are multiple factors that go into the FAA's decision to use North Flow or South Flow on a given day, all ostensibly weather related, but the FAA has a strong preference for North Flow.

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Coordinating Committee Meeting, Chair Elected

On Monday 9/26/16 the coordinating committee met in a closed meeting for the purposes of establishing goals and electing a chair.

In attendance were John Mitchell, Reuben Firmin, Paul Jett, Phil VanWiltenberg, and Kent L. Hibben. 

The meeting began with a recounting of facts as known, since not all were in attendance at the prior meeting. We then moved on to discuss ideas about ways the group could focus effort, and proceeded to formalize the following goals:

1) Seek an equitable distribution of aircraft passing over the region. This encompasses a range of activity, including research & collection of data, engagement with political representatives, and community outreach.

2) Learn from other communities and their experiences to guide our approach. The introduction of NextGen has been protested by communities near seemingly most airports that have implemented it. Palo Alto, Phoenix, Baltimore, Brooklyn, San Diego, Boston, Chicago and others each have active community led groups, sometimes involving city governance and/or including litigation among their methods, who are protesting to the FAA about the rollout.

3) Formalize our coalition. This was our first meeting as a committee; we seek to partner with other regional groups who are also focusing on Reagan aircraft noise.

Finally, we elected Kent L. Hibben as chair of the committee.  An open followup meeting will take place within the next several weeks.



Initial Meeting Held

A meeting involving representatives from GACA (Greater Accokeek Association), the Moyaone Association, MWAA (Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority), and concerned neighbors took place at the Wagner Center on 09/14/2016. The outcome of the meeting was to nominate a steering committee who will coordinate action. More detailed minutes will be published soon.