Complaints & Inquiries
Concerned about aircraft noise?
Check out answers to common questions that we've gathered. If you have additional questions, our dedicated Noise Program staff is ready to listen and provide answers to your concerns regarding aircraft noise at John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker International Airport and Bolton Field Airport.
Q. Have the flight paths changed for aircraft arriving into and departing out of John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)?
A. As of now the flight paths have not shifted or altered since 2013, when the south runway, Runway 10R-28L, was moved 702 feet to the south of its original location. The FAA is currently working on updating the National Airspace System by shifting navigation from ground based equipment to satellites. This is also referred to as NextGen. The Columbus Regional Airport Authority is working closely with the FAA to minimize any changes to noise levels around CMH. More information regarding these updates can be found on the FAA’s Community Involvement page.
Q. Why are the airplanes louder today than they were before?
A. At CMH we have experienced a gradual decrease in aircraft noise levels around the airport. A current Noise Exposure Map of CMH can be found here. Aircraft noise is a product of both the noise generated by the thrust of the engine as well as the structure of the aircraft. As an aircraft is traveling through the sky, it is displacing the air around the fuselage, engines, landing gear, wings and control surfaces. This displacement of the air creates vibrations, or sound. New technologies are constantly being developed to help reduce the overall noise footprint of aircraft. Airlines have also been in the process of modernizing their fleets by phasing out older, noisier aircraft in favor of newer, quieter, and more efficient aircraft. These efforts have helped reduce the amount of noise that is experienced at and around CMH, LCK, and TZR.
Q. Why did an aircraft turn early over my residence?
A. Safe and expeditious flow of aircraft traffic is paramount to the operation of the Columbus airspace. However, at times aircraft may need to be turned early in order to ensure this safety. A few circumstances that may cause an aircraft to turn early include:
- Inclement weather is near the airport.
- The departing aircraft is travelling to a larger “flow” city and may incur a delay.
- The airport is operating on a single runway.
- Departing aircraft need to maintain a safe distance between one another.
- Temporary flight restrictions due to OSU football games and VIP visits.
Q. How does the environment play a role in the aircraft noise I’m experiencing?
A. Weather conditions are constantly changing in Ohio. How this may affect the noise that is experienced for that day is dependent on the winds, cloud coverage, inclement weather, temperature, and even the amount of leaves on the trees. Airplanes need to take off and land into the wind. Since the winds change from day to day, this means that the arrival and departure flow at CMH, LCK, and TZR may change from day to day. Winds at the surface can also differ from the winds at higher altitudes. This can have an effect on the direction of aircraft taking off and landing for that day. The winds can also push aircraft noise to areas that normally do not experience this noise.
If inclement weather is within the vicinity of the airport, aircraft may turn earlier than normal in order to remain clear of any severe weather conditions. If there is a low lying cloud layer resting over Columbus, this acts as a barrier than can reflect aircraft noise back down to the ground. In the winter months, cooler, denser air mixed with fewer leaves on the trees can cause aircraft noise to travel farther than during warmer weather.
Q. Is my house eligible for sound insulation?
A. The FAA currently does not have any Residential Sound Insulations Programs open at this time. All residences within the 65 dB noise contour that were eligible have been offered sound insulation.
Q. Is there a way for me to view aircraft flight tracks around my residence?
A. Our WebTrak system can be found here. This system offers both real time and historical flight data. Note: The real time data is delayed by 21 minutes to maintain aviation security.
Q. Are aircraft allowed to conduct operations at night?
A. John Glenn Columbus International Airport is a public use airport that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., our north runway is deemed noise sensitive. This restricts certain operations from taking place on the north runway at night. Since the north runway resides closer to more residential areas, the south runway is preferred for nighttime operations. Arrivals and departures operate over more compatible land uses while utilizing the south runway. However, the north runway may be utilized during these times if there is an operational need for it.
Q. Why don’t all of the operations depart to east over the industrial park?
A. Since airplanes need to take off and land into the wind, the direction of flow for the airport is dependent on the winds for that day. If the winds are prevailing from the west, the airport will be operating in a western flow.
Q. Does the airport control where the aircraft fly?
A. The FAA is responsible for controlling aircraft in the National Airspace System (NAS). The Columbus Regional Airport Authority may coordinate with the FAA regarding noise abatement procedures, however only the FAA can approve and implement these changes.
Noise Complaint Summary
Review the latest annual report summarizing noise complaints and operations-related statistics for CMH, LCK and TZR.
Track Air Traffic Flow
View current and historical aircraft activity on the FlyColumbus.com WebTRAK electronic system.