FOX25 Investigates noise complaints near Logan

FOX25 Investigates noise complaints near Logan

BOSTON — UPDATE: In March 22, the Town of Milton sent a letter to the FAA regarding extended periods of use of the airport creating a disturbance for residence.

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The constant roar of airplanes flying overhead can rattle a home's windows and residents' nerves. 
While some towns have been dealing with this for years, a new system for guiding flights into Logan Airport is making for suddenly turbulent times in towns like Milton. 
Airplane noise is making it hard for Milton residents to be heard, and the town is looking for help in getting the planes to take a new approach. 
"Today it's a nuisance, it's beyond a nuisance. It's affecting people's quality of life," said State Representative Walter Timilty.
Timilty grew up in Milton and says it has never been like this. 
"People are going to move, people are talking about putting their houses up for sale," Timilty said.
The town finds itself under a noise airplane super highway. Recent flight pattern changes in and out of Logan Airport have up to 500 flights a day roaring over a more concentrated area of Milton. 
"Planes come over the roof from over there about 1,000 feet with their gear down," said Milton resident Sebastian Barbagallo. "They probably come every 90 seconds or so starting at about 5:30 a.m. until 12:30 at night."
Massport has received 11,000 noise complaints as of September, and 17 percent of those are from Milton. Since the new flight patterns went into effect, noise complaints have more than doubled in towns like Hull, Belmont, Arlington, and Winchester. 
"I think there are some very real health consequences to having 500 planes a day flying over your house every single day. It cannot be good for you," said Massachusetts Congressman Steve Lynch (D). 
Lynch is looking into the problem. He says all of this is a result of a new low altitude GPS called NextGen. 
Now, on days when the winds call for it, new GPS planes take a more condensed, narrow approach into the runway. The FAA says the system is much more fuel efficient and cuts down on travel time. 
In a statement to FOX25, Massport said:
"Logan is an urban airport just three miles from downtown Boston. As a result, some 35 communities are overflown by Logan flights.  Because flights in and out of Logan are a shared concern they need to be dealt with in a region-wide way and it is important to know that although Milton does receive noise from Logan overflights many communities bear more noise.
The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for controlling the movement of aircraft and selecting runways for use. Runway selection is based primarily on wind and weather for safety reasons.  Massport understands community concerns about aircraft noise, and Massport has met seven times with Milton residents or their representatives to discuss overflights, and participated in dozens of calls with elected officials. Massport will be at the Dec. 3 meeting.   The airport and the FAA have worked together to reduce noise in communities like Milton, such as a noise abatement procedure that requires planes departed runway 22R and 22L make a sharp left turn over the harbor instead of flying straight over Milton."
When asked about a solution, Timilty would like to see the air traffic dispersed evenly around neighboring towns. 
"I believe the pain needs to be spread around, and right now it's not being done," Timilty said. 
Residents in Milton and surrounding towns hope a solution can be found soon in order to put the airplanes and their lives on a new path. 
"I would like to think there are smart people in the government that can figure out a way not to effect the same people all year long," Sebastian said.
The agency has agreed to hold a forum with residents in Milton on Dec. 3 at Milton High School. 
Boston is not the only city dealing with these issues. Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, and others have filed lawsuits against the FAA because of noise issues relating to the new GPS system. 

For more on the FAA's study, click here.