Airport Noise Issue

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the city or FAA do to reduce airport noise?

The federal government regulates airport operations, airspace, and aircraft. The Grand Prairie Municipal Airport is owned and operated by the City of Grand Prairie; however, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates virtually all aspects of airport operations.

The FAA also manages the airspace nationwide, controls aircraft in flight in most airspace, establishes flight patterns, and determines minimum flight altitudes for aircraft. Aircraft taking off and landing use flight paths established by the FAA, and generally must achieve and operate at a minimum altitude of 1,000 ft. above ground for aircraft and 500 ft. for helicopters.

The reduction of aircraft noise, through development of quieter engines, has been a key goal of the FAA. Aircraft are classified in different noise “Stages”, with Stage 1 being the noisiest and Stage 3 being the quietest. As of Dec. 31, 2015, the FAA prohibits airplanes with a maximum weight of 75,000 pounds or less from operating within the 48 contiguous states in the U.S. unless they meet Stage 3 noise levels. This includes all aircraft currently operating at Grand Prairie Municipal Airport.

Why do planes fly over my home?

The airspace over Grand Prairie area is very congested, with over a dozen airports in close proximity to our city. The FAA establishes air traffic patterns throughout the Metroplex, to safely separate aircraft, both horizontally and vertically. Aircraft seen overhead can be using DFW (one of the busiest airports in the nation), but could be flying to or from: Dallas Love Field, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Alliance, Meacham, Spinks, Dallas Executive or other smaller airports. Military jets and helicopters generally operate from the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth.

Isn’t Grand Prairie Municipal Airport just an airport for little planes?

No, Grand Prairie Municipal Airport is designated to relieve traffic from DFW and Love Field, averaging about 120,000 aircraft operations per year. The Airport regularly lands small piston powered aircraft, helicopters, turboprop aircraft and light jets. AirBus Helicopters has flight test and training facilities here, and there are two large flight schools.

What causes planes to take off in the direction of my home?

The prevailing wind at the runway determines the initial direction of flight. Obstructions such as buildings, fences, and trees will diminish wind effects in the surrounding neighborhoods; however, on the open area of the airport, wind at six knots or more usually make it necessary for aircraft to take off into the wind.

How does weather impact aircraft noise?

Just about everything an aircraft does, including the noise it makes, is affected by the weather. Aircraft climb more slowly in warm weather, making operations louder on the ground. On cloudy days, the noise from aircraft rebounds down to the earth’s surface from the bottom of the clouds, making it louder. On windy days, aircraft noise carries further at ground level.

What is quieter - an arrival or a departure?

Arriving aircraft at low altitudes are generally quieter than departures of the same aircraft type because the landing requires much less engine power. However, close to the airport, the relative “quietness” of an arrival may be offset by the fact that aircraft are typically lower in altitude than departures over the same location.

Can a loud aircraft be fined?

No, the City does not have the legal authority to levy a fine or otherwise penalize an aircraft operator for the amount of noise an aircraft makes.

Can the city create aircraft curfews?

No, the City cannot establish any type of curfew without FAA approval. The FAA requires that the Airport be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No airport curfews have been approved by the FAA in many years.

What are the criteria used by the FAA to evaluate an application for a curfew?

Listed below are the criteria used by the FAA for evaluation of curfew requests. Please note that the sponsor must justify or comply with all six elements:

  1. The restriction is reasonable, non-arbitrary, and nondiscriminatory;
  2. The restriction does not create an undue burden on interstate or foreign commerce;
  3. The proposed restriction maintains safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace;
  4. The proposed restriction does not conflict with any existing federal statute or regulation;
  5. The applicant has provided adequate opportunity for public comment on the proposed restriction; and
  6. The proposed restriction does not create an undue burden on the national aviation system.

What are aircraft traffic pattern rules?

General Aircraft Traffic Pattern Rules: Aircraft should fly at approximately 1,000 feet above the ground while arriving or departing the airport environment. Please note aircraft do fly lower than 1,000 feet during takeoff and landing phases of flight.

How can I complain about airport noise?

Please submit the following online form.

Report Airport Noise Issue