Which flight corridor impacts me?

Aircraft associated with SFB tend to fly within broad airspace corridors as the FAA directs aircraft to and from the airfield. If you live within one of these corridors, you will likely experience aircraft over flights. However, other land areas not under the modeled flight tracks can be impacted. How and to what frequency any particular land area is impacted depends on the weather, the runway end being used, the type of aircraft, aircraft engine characteristics and relative distance from the Airport.

Why do some aircraft seem louder than others?

Aircraft operating at SFB have a diverse range of noise levels. These noise levels primarily depend on the type of engine used by the aircraft, the size of the aircraft and whether the aircraft is taxiing on the airfield, landing or taking off. The newest “full stage 3” aircraft tend to be the quietest aircraft in the fleet. Aircraft with stage 3 “hush kitted” engines tend to be the loudest. Departures tend to be louder than arrivals since the pilot is forcing more power to the engine to achieve lift.

Who tells the pilots where and when to turn?

Commercial pilots fly prescribed routes to and from SFB as instructed by air traffic controllers. The FAA is responsible for managing SFB’s airspace and for ensuring the safe and expeditious flow of traffic.

It seems like the Airport has been operating on the same flow pattern for days. Is this fair?

Wind and weather dictate which runway end or flow direction (northeast or southwest) the FAA can use. If Sanford is in a persistent weather pattern, this may force the FAA to rely on the same runway end for a long period of time.

Why do airplanes fly out of the corridors?

There are many reasons, sometimes beyond the airline’s control, why a jet may fly out of the preferred voluntary noise abatement corridors. These include traffic conflicts, weather, air traffic control directives, safety considerations, aircraft performance and pilot technique.

Why do I always get aircraft flying over my house during bad weather?

Modeled noise abatement preferred flight corridors are used frequently during periods of good weather. During periods of reduced visibility (rain, fog etc.), aircraft must use an Instrument Landing System (ILS). Three of the Airport’s runways are oriented in an east/west direction and there are instrument approaches from both of these directions. During these periods, residential areas east and west of the Airport will be impacted by aircraft over-flights.

What are the rules regarding how low an aircraft can fly over a residential area?

Aircraft altitude is established by Federal law, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations Section 91.119, which governs flight, states:

“Except when necessary for take-off or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

  • Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
  • Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle or structure.
  • Helicopters. Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.”

It is important to be aware of two aspects of this regulation. First, most aircraft operating in the vicinity of SFB are in the process of landing or taking off, thus this regulation does not apply. Second, helicopters are specifically exempt from this Federal regulation.

What good does it do to call-in or enter a noise complaint when the noise abatement procedures are voluntary?

Pilot education is a major part of our noise abatement program and the noise comments assist the Airport in this effort. The noise complaints are compiled into monthly reports that allow the Airport to see trends, which assist staff in enhancing the education program.

My house is not supposed to be under the flight path, why do I get over-flights?

SFB’s modeled flight tracks/corridors are often used by pilots under ideal conditions. Factors such as weather, FAA Air Traffic Control Tower instructions, safety and the presence of other aircraft will often dictate a flight path that is different from the voluntary modeled noise abatement flight tracks.

Why doesn’t SFB have a curfew or rules similar to those at other airports?

1990 Congress passed legislation that made it extremely difficult for airports to initiate curfews or other noise and access restrictions. This Federal legislation “grandfathered” all existing noise/access restrictions at other airports that had such restrictions. These airports already had noise restrictions that were allowed to remain in place. SFB has a voluntary Noise Abatement Program, which emphasizes noise abatement operational procedures and pilot education.

What do complaints represent to the Airport and to the Public?

  • Airport management maintains a sense of public sentiment through the administration of a program to address community noise concerns. Furthermore, management utilizes this point of contact for public education purposes and attempts to discern between the realities and the subjective nature of complaints. Communications with the public about aircraft noise complaints also allow the opportunity to identify problem areas and sometimes an opportunity to correct something before it becomes a greater issue.
  • The public wants to have complaints documented and sometimes seeks information. Most of all, the public seeks change in the condition; they want the noise to go away. People are concerned about aircraft noise and complain because they would like to see changes occur. A call may alert SFB of an unusual noise event and/or a recurring problem that can be investigated and resolved. However, a noise complaint may not bring about an individual’s desired change. The noise complaint form and telephone line provide individuals the opportunity to express their concerns about aviation noise at SFB.

People file complaints for different reasons and have different expectations. The Sanford Airport Authority tries to be responsive to the public and take action when appropriate and when they are able to do so, but some callers become frustrated when they learn that changes cannot be made. Other people are satisfied they have “gone on record” and voiced their concerns. Complaints do not necessarily result in a call back from the Airport.

Over what areas do planes most often fly?

Residents living within 35 miles of any major metropolitan airport can expect to see aircraft at some point during the day. Aircraft can deviate from one of the predominant flight patterns due to wind direction, speed, storms, instructions from air traffic controllers and safety etc.

Why do so many planes take off and land in the same direction?

Planes must take off and land into the wind, so the direction of arrivals and departures is determined almost exclusively by wind direction. Approximately 70 percent of take offs annually are to the east with landings from the west. About 30 percent of take offs annually are to the west with landings from the east. The Federal Aviation Administration is in charge of air traffic control at SFB.

When do most planes depart or arrive at SFB?

Airlines design their schedules for the convenience of their customers. The heaviest travel periods are early to mid-morning and mid-afternoon to early evening. The day’s final flights typically occur from early evening to about 11:00pm. Aircraft can access SFB at any time of day or night.

What should prospective home buyers in Seminole County do before purchasing property?

The Sanford Airport Authority can help you learn about flight patterns, the peak travel month and potential noise impact areas from aircraft operations. We encourage home buyers to visit properties at several different times of the day and during various seasons.

Why are your noise abatement procedures voluntary and not mandatory like other airports?

The FAA established the 65 DNL noise contour line as the threshold limit for the determination of compatible and non-compatible land uses to airport operations. AS SFB’s 65 DNL noise contour line is within the boundary of the Airport and does not impact residential and other noise-sensitive areas, the FAA approved SAA noise abatement procedures are voluntary.

What is a Part 150 Study?

A Part 150 Study is a voluntary study initiated by an airport sponsor to determine ways to reduce noise over residential and other noise-sensitive areas. It also aids in the determination and planning of compatible and non-compatible land areas surrounding an airport. The purpose of the approved Part 150 Study was to evaluate existing conditions and recommend proposed noise abatement and land-use management measures intended to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on residents and land areas surrounding SFB.
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