Frequently Asked Questions
Am I required to disclose aircraft noise when selling my home?
The Residential Property Disclosure Act (North Carolina General Statute 47E) requires residential disclosure for resale of homes. All residential dwellings that lie within areas where the sound energy is equal to or above an annual average daily decibel level of 55 decibels as depicted on the RDU Composite Noise Contour Map, and that are being listed for resale, must include noise disclosure as part of the sales contract. A link to an example disclosure is available in the Real Estate section of the RDU noise website. If the noise exposure is below 55 decibels as depicted on the RDU Composite Noise Contour Map, then noise disclosure is not required even if flight tracks exist overhead. A map of the RDU Composite Noise Contour Map is available here.
How can I determine the impact of noise when purchasing a home?
It is always best for individuals to spend time at the property to experience actual noise impacts prior to purchasing a house. Additionally, the RDU Flight Tracking System may be used to show daily flight paths in relation to a specific address. Interested parties can access the RDU Flight Tracking System and follow the instructions below to view flight paths:
- Click on the house-shaped icon in the left sidebar to enter an address. This icon is the fourth icon down from the top of the dark back sidebar and when you hover over the icon the words “Location Search” should appear.
- Once the address has mapped, click on the icon shaped like a line graph in the left sidebar to select radar (flight) tracks to view at set time periods throughout the day. This icon is the third icon down from the top of the sidebar and when you hover over the icon, the words “Track Presets” should appear. The system defaults to the current date/time; however, users may view data from dates in the past by clicking on the date at the top of the page.
*Please note that aircraft arrive and depart from RDU 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
I can see aircraft flying overhead, why wasn’t I provided an aircraft noise disclosure?
Noise disclosure is not based on the number of aircraft flying overhead. As described above, noise disclosure requirements only apply to the resale of homes in areas depicted on the RDU Composite Noise Contour Map where the annual average daily decibel level is equal to or above 55 decibels. A map of the RDU Composite Noise Contour Map is available here.
Can the Authority change the flight tracks so that aircrafts don’t fly over people’s houses?
No, The FAA is responsible for managing the National Airspace System including all aircraft flight paths and altitudes. In this role, the FAA controls aircraft movements, including the design and implementation of flight procedures and corridors. The Authority does not control or regulate aircraft movements.
The FAA designs flight procedures and corridors for aircraft arriving from different directions, departing in different directions and passing through as overflights in different directions. The altitudes are different for jet aircraft, propeller driven aircraft and helicopters. These corridors are kept distinct and constant to prevent mid-air collisions between arrivals, departures and overflights as well as jet aircraft, propeller driver aircraft and helicopters. Local FAA Air Traffic Control must transition aircraft exiting and entering airspace beyond the range of control for the FAA Tower at RDU.
Can aircraft be restricted from flying at RDU at nighttime?
In 1990, Congress adopted the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) that prevents airport operators from imposing access restrictions, such as curfews, at airports without approval from the FAA. A small number of airports in California imposed curfews before ANCA was adopted and retained the right to enforce their curfew. RDU did not have an operational curfew in effect before ANCA and therefore cannot impose restrictions of this nature. Since the ANCA came into effect, several airports have petitioned FAA to establish nighttime restrictions, and all petitions have been denied.
Why are helicopters allowed to fly late at night from RDU?
Helicopters are subject to the same FAA control as fixed wing aircraft and airports cannot impose nighttime restrictions on them.
Why do some jet aircraft fly lower than others on approach?
On final approach, the FAA requires aircraft to maintain a precisely angled glide slope to the runway. This means that as aircraft approach the runway, their altitude constantly decreases. Some aircraft appear lower because they are larger than other aircraft. Sometimes pilots must add power when descending to maintain the glide slope, which creates additional noise that makes the airplane seem lower than it really is. Weather can also affect the course and altitudes of aircraft approaching and departing RDU.
Why are aircraft still flying over my house after I’ve submitted a complaint?
The Authority does not control or regulate airline schedules or aircraft movements at RDU. This is the role of the FAA. Aircraft fly within the National Airspace System which is open and available to all aircraft.
Why are loud military jets allowed to operate at RDU?
The federal government has the right to full and unlimited use of RDU including military operations. Military fighter jets are not subject to FAA noise requirements. However, many non-combatant military aircraft do meet current aircraft noise standards.
In addition to military jets, the N.C. Army National Guard (NCANG) stations the 1-130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at its base adjacent to RDU but not on RDU property. The NCANG helicopters also possess the same rights as military jets to use RDU.
Will aircraft get quieter?
Most aircrafts in operation meet current noise standards. Airlines continuously replace older (and noisier) aircraft with newer, more efficient aircraft that are quieter. The FAA and NASA are researching aircraft and engine technologies that will lead to advancements in efficiency and noise reduction.
Is a new runway being built at RDU?
The Authority has started planning the replacement of existing Runway 5L-23R, which is the west runway closest to Terminal 2. This runway will be rebuilt farther from Terminal 2 to meet the latest FAA airfield standards and to allow for the existing Runway 5L-23R to remain in operation until its replacement is finished. This program is currently in the environmental review and planning stage.
Who can I contact to inquire or complain about aircraft noise?
Noise inquiries and complaints associated with RDU may be reported online by clicking here or by contacting the Noise Office at 919-840-2100, extension 3. The Noise Office will respond to requests for callbacks during regular business hours.