Burbank residents and members of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority tried to pinpoint the cause of increased noise from takeoffs at Hollywood Burbank Airport on Thursday.
Members of the authority's operations and development committee held a special meeting at the airport to allow Burbank resident Audrey Ford and other members of Burbank for Quiet Skies, a local Facebook group, to have a dialogue with authority members and airport staff regarding the possible effects of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, better known as NextGen, which was implemented at airports in Southern California last March.
For several months, residents have been approaching airport officials and the Burbank City Council with their concerns and frustrations regarding NextGen, which is the Federal Aviation Administration's new satellite-based radar system.
The system's goal is to make departures and arrivals at airports safer and make travel routes more fuel and time efficient.
However, Ford and other residents have said noise from airplanes departing from Hollywood Burbank have gotten louder since NextGen was implemented.
Patrick Lammerding, the airport's deputy executive director of planning and development, has stated on two occasions — once during an authority meeting in December and again during a Burbank City Council meeting on Jan. 23 — that the perceived increase in noise from takeoffs may be due to heavier passenger and cargo loads on aircraft, warmer weather or wind direction.
Ford gave a presentation during Thursday's meeting, citing data that she said she has pulled from Hollywood Burbank's quarterly noise monitoring reports and data she has compiled from WebTrak, an online flight-tracking service used by numerous airports that the public can use to track noise and flight paths of aircraft.
From the information she gathered, Ford said that she and her neighbors think that airplanes have been departing the airport at a lower altitude, thus the increase in noise during takeoffs.
According to her data and information that Lammerding provided during the meeting, the average noise at certain monitors ranges from about 58 decibels to roughly 63 decibels.
"Residents complain quite often that their windows are rattling as aircraft go over," Ford said. "We frequently cannot go out in our backyards because it's so loud."
Lammerding said there is no reason to doubt the data that Ford has gathered, but added that the noise levels have gone down compared to levels in 2011.
However, Terry Tornek, the authority's president and mayor of Pasadena, rebutted by pointing out that noise levels have been on the rise since 2015.
"What I tend to do is look at trend lines, and the trend line as I look at 2015 forward is that [noise levels] at each of these monitors is up," Tornek said.
Though there was not a consensus between both parties about the cause of the increased noise levels, it was clear from both sides that more work needs to be done to figure out the cause.
Ford asked if there can be additional noise monitors installed in the Magnolia Park neighborhood in Burbank, and Tornek said that airport staff would look into it.
Additionally, Tornek asked the airport staff to bring back further information on departure altitudes at the airport.