Don't Feel Sorry for the Airlines -- 3/19/2020

posted Mar 19, 2020, 3:51 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Jun 14, 2020, 2:52 PM ]

This opinion piece "Don't Feel Sorry for the Airlines,"  focuses heavily on the business practices of American Airlines, which is the major carrier at DCA.  It's worth a read. 

 The author traces how the airlines in general and American in particular have been reaping (and mismanaging) huge profits while treating their employees and customers ever more poorly.  He argues that any potential bailout of the industry should be conditioned on changing the airlines' anti-competitive advantage and their fundamental business model. 

 We couldn't agree more, and we'll be conveying to our Congressional delegation our opinion that -- if a bailout for the airline industry is ever to be considered -- the communities over which they fly must once and for all be better protected. 

2020 is shaping up to be an important year for MoCo Quiet Skies!

posted Jan 4, 2020, 7:28 AM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Feb 29, 2020, 5:49 AM ]

There is a lot on the horizon for 2020 -- and we don’t just mean airplanes! 

The update will fill you in on some very important developments that we anticipate in the coming months -- some as soon as THIS month -- in our fight against the concentrated airplane noise and emissions over our communities.

Feel free to send us your comments, suggestions, or questions at any time.  Also, please attend MCQSC meetings in 2020 whenever possible.  We will announce the meetings via this listserv, and we will share maps and other details of anticipated developments at those meetings.  

Thank you for your continued support.

2020 Update Letter

Bicameral Congressional Letter to FAA Administrator -- 12/28/2019

posted Jan 3, 2020, 10:30 AM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Feb 29, 2020, 5:49 AM ]

If airplanes roaring endlessly overhead have disturbed your holidays -- as we know they have! -- the attached letter from our Maryland Congressional delegation and numerous other U.S. Senators and Congressmen to the FAA Administrator is something you will appreciate and want to read. 

The letter extensively references an August, 2019 Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General (IG) report about the implementation of NextGen.  The IG report is also attached.   


A few choice quotes from the Congressional letter to FAA Administrator Dickson: 

As you know, since its introduction of Metroplexes in 2010, the FAA has concentrated flight paths over neighborhoods, schools, and national monuments in order to make the airspace more efficient.  This heavy air traffic produces constant noise and particulate matter that has yet to be deemed safe by the FAA or any other government agency.  

The FAA boasts of profits for airlines, shipping companies, and other industry stakeholders, but the burden of noise, health risks, and declining property values falls on the backs of hard-working Americans.  

We would appreciate your review of the [DOT IG] report and a detailed timeline of your plan to implement procedures that will mitigate harm to the communities we represent. 

The Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition is very grateful to Senator Chris Van Hollen, Senator Ben Cardin, and Congressman Jamie Raskin for this letter, and for their continued efforts to help us resolve this serious problem.

Maryland Congressional Delegation Letter

Summary and Link to Today's Oral Argument -- 11/14/2019

posted Jan 3, 2020, 10:25 AM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Feb 29, 2020, 5:51 AM ]

A huge THANK YOU to all communities members who took the time to attend the argument this morning.  It was a great show of support.

We know many of you listened in on the live stream and many others who could not listen-in have asked for an update of the argument.  Given our time constraints, we cannot answer each email individually, but you can listen to the argument here:$file/18-1173.mp3  

As predicted, the argument centered mostly on the timeliness of the challenge - specifically, whether Maryland could establish "reasonable grounds" for filing its legal challenge beyond the 60-day statute of limitations.  The court did ask a couple questions about the merits of the case, but definitely not a lot of in-depth questions.

DOT Inspector General Report on the FAA's Metroplex (NextGen) Program

posted Jan 3, 2020, 10:11 AM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Feb 29, 2020, 12:16 PM ]

The 8/27/19 DOT Inspector General’s report on the FAA's implementation of the Metroplex (NextGen) program. It basically describes FAA failures and the small and difficult-to-quantify benefits the program “theoretically” (pg. 36) generates.

As you know, our communities suffer greatly for these questionable benefits. After reading the FAA’s response letter (at the end of the report, pp 36-37), it seems the FAA is pointing to community concerns about noise as the primary reason for Agency failures.

The report and FAA response are worth reading in their entirety, but here are some highlights and questions that we are directing to our Congressional delegation:
  • The updated estimate of NextGen benefits nationwide is half of previous estimates ($31.1M instead of $61.6M) with completed Metroplex sites having achieved “significantly” lower benefits than expected. There is no consensus between the FAA and industry about actual benefits achieved.
  • The FAA is publishing conflicting information about the benefits of PBN (Performance-Based Navigation) which is another term for satellite-based navigation.
  • The FAA is blaming delays in the roll-out of Metroplex projects on community concerns about aircraft noise. The report goes so far as to state that “noise concerns have become a major obstacle to successful [NextGen] implementation” (pg. 12). In response to noise complaints, the FAA changed its approach to the last five Metroplex locations to allow public input during the initial design process. This is great to read, and hopefully the FAA will make a genuine effort to incorporate that input. However, the report is silent about FAA efforts to address existing noise concerns from completed metroplex projects, such as the D.C. Metroplex - likely because there haven’t been any.
We are engaging our members of Congress with questions such as:
  • Is it acceptable that the estimated return on the $35.6 Billion NextGen program will be less than 0.1% ($31.1M/$35.6B)?
  • Who will call out the FAA on the illogical claim that community noise concerns have compromised efficiency benefits, yet the FAA does not have current benefit estimates for completed projects nor has it made any meaningful adjustments to the new procedures communities are complaining about?
  • Since the FAA wrote in their response that it has devoted resources to making adjustments at every metroplex project and that procedures are now being designed to address new noise exposure, how can we use this to motivate the FAA to make adjustments at DCA? We don't see how the FAA can defend a change in approach for future projects while neglecting to address the harm caused by completed projects.
Click Here to Read the 8/27/19 DOT Inspector General Report on the FAA's NextGen Program

Oral Argument Scheduled in Maryland v FAA

posted Aug 9, 2019, 2:33 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Feb 29, 2020, 5:53 AM ]

Oral argument in Maryland v FAA is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse located at 333 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.   

Recent Developments

posted Jun 4, 2019, 1:48 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Jul 5, 2019, 5:59 AM ]

Please click on the following links for recent developments:


- Our Elected Officials Send Letter to the FAA Administrator, and Request a Meeting, June 24, 2019


- Congressman Raskin on the House Floor Discussing Montgomery County’s Air Traffic Issue, June 24, 2019


Rep. Jamie Raskin yesterday joined 28 other Members of Congress in requesting that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate "how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has considered community noise impacts while implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) in major metropolitan areas," including the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  

- Blindsided by the FAA:

- Recent Court Filing in the DCA Lawsuit:

A copy of these recent developments documents is also available on the Downloads and Templates tab.

Maryland v. FAA: Petitioner's Brief Filed on January 16, 2019

posted Jan 23, 2019, 6:41 AM by Anne Hollander   [ updated Jan 24, 2019, 12:02 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies ]

The State of Maryland on January 16, 2019 filed a Petitioner's Brief in Appellate Court, challenging FAA’s arbitrary change of aircraft flight paths to Reagan National Airport.

The Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition ( applauds Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Attorney General Brian Frosh for taking legal action to protect Maryland citizens and resources from the damage and suffering caused by highly concentrated noise and emissions from airplane overflights into Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA).

Maryland’s legal action challenges the FAA’s deeply flawed decision in 2015 to move and simultaneously consolidate multiple flight procedures for airplanes approaching DCA into a single flight path over Maryland’s citizens and resources. As stated in Maryland’s legal brief filed last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit), the FAA in altering and consolidating the flight paths “provided no public notice of its plan, performed no noise analysis, and did not evaluate the potential impacts to historic resources, parks, or recreational areas.”

The brief further notes that there is “no evidence that the FAA performed any environmental analysis” before altering the approach paths to DCA from the north. “The FAA has never issued a public decision document explaining why, when, or how it revised the … approach procedures,” the brief says. “Instead, the FAA published the revisions only on a technical website maintained by the FAA for pilots, airlines, and air traffic controllers.”

The FAA’s altered flight path, the brief states, had the effect of shifting the brunt of the noise from aircraft approaching DCA “from west to east away from Virginia and into Maryland.”

The brief is a central part of Maryland’s petition for review in the Court of Appeals about how the FAA went about altering the approach flight paths, a move that has had adverse effects for thousands of people in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County residents, thousands of whom purchased their homes before an airplane superhighway was effectively and arbitrarily built over their neighborhoods, without their knowledge or input, hope that the Court will agree with Maryland and require the FAA to perform the legally required noise and environmental analyses, and to work with the State of Maryland to mitigate the impacts of DCA's aviation traffic on all affected communities.

Please click on the links below for:

-A copy of the State of Maryland's January 16, 2019 State of MD Opening Brief

-A copy of the January 23, 2019 MCQSC News Release Regarding MD v FAA Opening Brief 

-A copy of the January 10, 2019 MD v FAA Schedule Amended Order for Revised Briefing Schedule

A copy of these documents is also available on the Downloads and Templates tab under the "LAWSUIT_MD Lawsuit Court Documents (DCA & BWI)" folder.

FAA's Reply to State of Maryland's Response -- September 10, 2018

posted Oct 12, 2018, 4:39 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Dec 31, 2018, 2:47 PM ]

Please click here to read the PDF file: FAA's Reply to State of Maryland's Response

State of Maryland Files Its Response to the FAA's Dismissal Motion -- August 31, 2018

posted Sep 1, 2018, 2:33 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Oct 12, 2018, 4:44 PM ]

Yesterday (8/31/2018), the State of Maryland filed its response to the FAA's Motion to Dismiss Maryland's Petition for Review.

You can view and download the State of Maryland's August 31, 2018 Response Filing and Exhibits by clicking on the links below:

PDF copies of these documents are also available under the folder "LAWSUIT_MD Lawsuit Court Documents (DCA & BWI)" on the Downloads and Templates tab.

1-10 of 51