What is the Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition?  
The Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition (MCQSC) is a group of concerned citizens and community associations in Montgomery County, Maryland whose daily lives are severely impacted by new flight paths and procedures into and out of Reagan National Airport (DCA).  These newly formed flight paths send hundreds of disruptively loud, low-altitude flights over our homes, schools, parks, and businesses each day. MCQSC represents neighborhoods with approximately 7,500 homes, 20,000 residents, and numerous K-12 schools.


What is MCQSC’s mission?

We are committed to working with residents, elected officials, the FAA and others to resolve the excessive levels of noise, air pollution, and health and safety risks imposed on our communities by the FAA’s flight paths and procedures at Reagan National Airport (DCA).   


Which neighborhoods are impacted?

Avenel, Bannockburn, Burning Tree Village, Brookmont, Cabin John, Carderock Springs, Fort Sumner, Glen Echo Town, Glen Echo Heights, Green Acres, Goldsboro, Kenwood Park, Mohican Hills, Persimmon Tree, Potomac (West Montgomery County Citizens Association), River Falls, Rock Creek Forest, Springfield, Sumner, Tulip Hill, Westmoreland Hills and Overlook, Wood Acres, Woodrock, Wyngate


What is causing the excessive noise? 

Four major changes have led to the drastically increased air traffic, frequency, intensity, and noise over Montgomery County residential areas:  

1.  NextGen:  To support airlines’ desire to further increase flight capacity at DCA, the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") in 2013 began implementing new satellite-based flight procedures known as Next Generation Air Transportation System (“NextGen”). The FAA's new nationwide flight procedures, collectively known as “NextGen,” employ GPS/satellite-based technology. Unfortunately, these procedures concentrate all the airplane traffic, noise and pollution into narrow bands above specific neighborhoods that are forced to absorb all the environmental, health, and human costs.  
2.  Lower Altitude Arrivals:  As part of NextGen, airplanes descend sooner and at much lower altitudes than before.  These descent procedures impose much greater noise on underlying communities.  
3.  Flight Path Changes at DCA:  In 2015, the FAA eliminated three well-established flight paths for airplanes arriving at Reagan National Airport (DCA) and replaced them with a new flight path that directs flights inland over Montgomery County neighborhoods instead of over the Potomac River.  
4.  Hours of Operation and Airport Capacity:  Airplane traffic at DCA has increased significantly in recent years, pushing departing and arriving flights into extremely early and late hours.   Unfortunately, DCA has no quiet hour flight restrictions even though it is in the middle of a densely populated urban area.   Large and loud “mainline” jets have become the unwelcome new alarm clocks and sleep disrupters for many residents.    
Thus, despite its humble beginnings as a small, regional airport, DCA has grown to a full scale, 24/7 national hub that now serves more passengers than Dulles International Airport.  Despite common belief, DCA has no “curfew.”  Flights regularly take off before 6:00 am and land after midnight, disrupting sleep for thousands of residents daily.

5c(i)- Pre&PostNextGenDepartures2.PNG

*This chart shows the change in DCA Departures.


NextGen channelizes previously dispersed air traffic into narrow flight corridors so that airplanes can land and take off in rapid succession, one after the other. 
The FAA also allows arriving flights to descend sooner and fly lower for longer stretches, which increases noise in areas 10-15+ miles from airports that did not previously experience significant aircraft noise. 
Concurrent with NextGen implementation, the FAA also shifted arrival and departure flight paths from the west side of the Potomac River to the east side of the River without notifying Maryland officials or conducting any environmental analyses.

   Before Arrivals.pngafter arrivals.png


Photo - Flights Not Over River.PNG

Yellow line indicates the Potomac River 

 Blue lines indicate arriving flights


Together, these changes have created a 6 mile sacrificial noise corridor over portions of Montgomery County wherein the underlying communities are forced to absorb all the environmental, noise, and economic costs.


Montgomery County residents under this noise corridor now experience over 400 flights per day, often at a rate of 1 commercial jet airplane flying overhead every 1-3 minutes.

Noise levels are so high and repetitive that they interfere with sleep and concentration, disrupt numerous outdoor activities, and likely will cause property values and tax revenues to decline, resulting in less revenue for public schools and county-funded infrastructure.


Residents must take action to bring peace, quiet, and value back to their communities! To learn how, please visit the Take Action tab on this website.

Click here to file complaints (extremely important! please do it often!): https://viewpoint.emsbk.com/dca3.