Neighbors seek help after homes rocked by planes, constant airport noise – WSB-TV Channel 2
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – This wakes some homeowners in the middle of the night – loud airplane noise.
Homeowners in the Brook Glen neighborhood say it’s a constant problem, especially in the middle of the night.
Neighbors in the southern DeKalb County neighborhood — about eight miles from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — contacted Justin Gray, Channel 2 Consumer Investigator on the noise caused by incoming and outgoing flights.
They said it wasn’t always like this and things got really bad about three years ago. The owners said they have tried to get help, but it’s still a problem.
“It looks like a war zone. It’s just a rat-a-tat-tag and the shaking and shaking,” said one owner, who only asked to be identified as Debra.
“The noise is…it’s a problem. Much lower planes,” neighbor Eugene Fleming said.
“At 4 a.m. this morning I jumped out of bed,” Lanny Davis said.
It also woke up his wife.
“She said ‘What is this?’ We thought the plane crashed or something,” Davis said. “If you have something planned and you need to wake up at four, you don’t need to set your alarm .”
Planes fly over the community of Brook Glen from early morning until late evening.
“They constantly come in at 10 a.m. and it lasts until about 12 p.m.,” neighbor Tiffany Hogan said.
Loud, constant noise can be scary.
“Is the plane about to land on my house?” Because it’s so loud,” Hogan said.
Noise also prevents homeowners from enjoying their backyards.
“I can’t sit on my patio at certain times of the day,” neighbor Carolyn Jones said.
Gray spoke to a group of landlords in the Flakes Mill Road housing estate after a neighbor emailed Channel 2 Action News on loud airplane noise.
“It’s pretty low where you’re like, ‘Where are you going? Is he really going to the airport? Are you okay?'” neighbor James Bailey said.
The owners told Gray that their neighborhood has always been in the flight path of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, but more and more planes have started arriving and flying lower, which has exacerbated the noise in 2019.
It was then that the Federal Aviation Administration began using NextGen, a more efficient air traffic control system.
“And it’s never been like this?” Gray asked Hogan.
“Never. And I’ve lived here since I was a kid. We’ve never had this problem,” Hogan said.
Neighbors said they were never told about the switch to NextGen.
“Why all of a sudden we hear all this noise and the planes are flying low, and we don’t have a word?” Bailey said.
Debra lives in a nearby neighborhood. She said she tried to qualify for the airport’s noise reduction program, but was told it was only for College Park residents.
She spent $10,000 to replace her windows.
Low-flying aircraft also cause other problems.
“So it cuts off your TV signal and your internet?” Gray asked Debra.
“Oh yeah,” Debra said.
The neighbors wonder if their concerns are not being taken into account because they live in a predominantly African-American community.
“Maybe we won’t complain?” You don’t get complaints, so they can keep doing what they’re doing right now,” Davis said.
A neighbor filed a complaint with the FAA and contacted Representative Hank Johnson’s office.
“We should be able to have a way to dampen the noise that these people are complaining about,” Johnson said.
He told Gray he was expecting a NextGen noise report from the FAA which is overdue.
The FAA sent Channel 2 Action News a statement saying:
“FAA air traffic controllers use various runway configurations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport depending on factors such as runway availability, weather conditions and aircraft volume. Specific geographic areas may experience different noise levels depending on the track selection.
“The FAA examined the flight paths of aircraft flying over the Ellenwood neighborhood and found that most were at altitudes between 3,800 and 4,100 feet.
“The FAA does not implement acoustic compatibility programs for airports. Please contact the airport authority for more information.
The neighbors said they wanted some action.
“Should go back to the pattern they had before we had this problem. And that would satisfy us,” Davis said.
“What are we going to do? Keep imprisoning ourselves in our homes?” said Debra.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sent a statement saying:
“The airport has investigated the complaint and determined that air traffic procedures over the identified area have not changed since 2011. Hartsfield-Jackson recognizes its role not only as an economic driver for the region, but equally important, as a community partner. ATL has reached out to thousands of eligible homes through its noise reduction program, interacting with community leaders and elected officials who govern surrounding areas. Airport officials are working with regulators and the community to address concerns as they arise.
NextGen is being used at other airports across the country and there have been complaints in other cities as well.
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