DC Fair Skies

Northwest DC Neighborhood Associations file Opening Brief to challenge disruptive new aircraft noise created by the FAA’s new northern departure flight path.

Residents of communities near the Potomac including Georgetown are increasingly subjected to excessive aircraft noise, eroding the quality of life and damaging property values. In Spring 2015, the FAA authorized a new northern flight path called LAZIR that brings planes over Georgetown and Georgetown University and nearby communities including Foggy Bottom, Foxhall, Hillandale, Burleith, Colony Hill and Palisades as early as 5 am and well after midnight. The number of flights has also increased. The resulting significant increase in aircraft noise is disruptive to the peace and quiet of all residents near the new flight path.

As a result of residents’ growing frustration with this nightly elevation in noise levels, in August 2015, Citizens Association of Georgetown and the other communities near the Potomac River, joined by Georgetown University, filed a Petition for Review of the new flight path with the DC Federal Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the new northern route as unlawful. The CAG vs FAA, DC Cir Case No. 15-1285. The Petitioners also formed the DC Fair Skies Coalition to pursue aircraft noise mitigation and filed a formal petition with the FAA seeking relief from the aircraft noise this new route has caused. Not only are residents seeking relief from this noise, but Mayor Bowser, City Councilman Jack Evans and all at large Council members declared their support for an immediate change to this flight path and co-signed the petition. (You can review the petition here, and the appendix here.)

The Coalition had hoped to come to a settlement with the FAA via mediation but unfortunately mediation failed. As a result, the Coalition recently filed its Opening Brief with the Court of Appeals. (You can view the brief at DCFairSkies.org). The brief argues that the FAA improperly instituted LAZIR without the required environmental review of noise impacts and did so without any notice to the impacted communities or their elected representatives. The brief explains why an environmental review of LAZIR is required and was not performed and seeks a Court order requiring the FAA to revert to the former flight path for northern departures until the required review is performed.

We expect that the FAA will file its response to the brief and the Coalition will then file its reply. We expect oral argument to be scheduled before summer.

If you are frustrated by aircraft noise, please support the Coalition’s Aircraft Noise Fund. Appellate litigation is a marathon not a sprint and we need to raise an additional $60,000 more to continue to fight the FAA.

Click here to download the form to make donation by check or credit card or use the dropdown below to select your neighborhood and pay with credit card or bank account via PayPal.

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What can I do to help?


2. REPORT THE FLIGHT  If there is a particularly noisy flight, especially early in the morning or late at night, please report it. Our case will be strengthened with more reports.

The complaint form can be found at: http://bit.ly/DCAnoise

The "Noise Information Office" can also be contacted at 703-417-1204.

If you want to see and provide detailed information on the planes that bothered you, go to the DCA webtracker that provides real time flight data to and from DCA on a one hour delayed basis:  http://​webtrak5.​bksv.​com/​dca

The tracker provides data on flight path, airline, type of plane, altitude as it passes Georgetown, and the noise registered at the ground near Visitation School in West Georgetown. Anything over 65 dBA is loud and can be heard all the way to Rock Creek park. You can rewind the flight information to a particular past time period,  You can also link directly to the complaint form from the flight tracker.

Click on the "Investigate" button just below "Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport".  Scroll all the way down and click on "Show Complaint Form" and the complaint form will pop up.


Citizens Association of Georgetown is a non-profit civic organization representing the interests of Georgetown residents. CAG’s members, programs, and advocacy make Georgetown safer, more beautiful, and more connected.

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