CHICAGO – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the Fly Quiet Runway Rotation Test 2 for O’Hare International Airport. Developed by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), the rotation plan is designed to achieve a more balanced distribution of noise exposure for Chicago and suburban communities surrounding O’Hare during overnight hours.
The first (completed), second and third Fly Quiet Runway Rotation tests will be used to develop a new interim Fly Quiet Program that will be in place from 2018 until Runway 9C/27C opens in 2020. This innovative program is the first of its kind in the country and is intended to improve upon the original nighttime noise abatement program which evolved from the 1970s until Spring of 2016.
“This second test improves upon the runway rotation plan conducted last year by incorporating feedback from the FAA, airline pilots and the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission,” said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, CDA. “The Fly Quiet runway rotation is one of many ongoing efforts undertaken by the CDA to balance nighttime noise and provide relief to the most impacted communities surrounding O’Hare.”
The second Fly Quiet Runway Rotation is a 12-week test in which the designated nighttime arrival and departure runways at O’Hare will be rotated each week. The weekly schedule was developed with a balanced approach that utilizes east-west parallel runways and diagonal runways. The test applies to overnight hours in which demand can be served by a single arrival or departure runway, or a mixed-use runway that handles both arrivals and departures. The rotation schedule is designed to minimize the impact to communities with the same operation type (arrival or departure) for two consecutive weeks.
For the second test, five of the 10 runway configurations from the first test have been replaced with new configurations. Two of the configuration changes are based on FAA feedback, two are based on ameliorating heavy runway use and one is based on a desire to reduce the number of mixed-use/single runway configurations.
The test will begin the evening of Sunday, April 30. It has been scheduled to begin approximately 30 days after FAA approval so that the FAA, CDA Operations and airlines can train and prepare for the runway rotation.
The CDA maintains a web page dedicated to the Fly Quiet Rotation Test, where residents can learn about Test 2 and view the week by week rotation schedule. The CDA will track nighttime flights at O’Hare throughout the 12-week test period. The data can be accessed here: www.flychicago.com/flyquiettest.
The CDA is also preparing for a potential third test to occur this year at the request of the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC). The third rotation test would be similar to the first and second, except that Runway 15/33 would not be included in any of the designated Fly Quiet runway configurations. The CDA expects to decommission Runway 15/33 in Spring of 2018. Runway 15/33 is being decommissioned to enable construction of the western portion of future Runway 9C/27C. The decommissioning of Runway 15/33 was contemplated in the O'Hare Modernization Program Environmental Impact Statement that was approved in 2005.