Environmental Impacts of Aviation

Noise and Air Quality

Availability Of Scientific Study

The aviation industry in the US was deregulated in the 1970's with the Airline Deregulation Act. To jumpstart the industry environmental regulations were lifted and funding was cut to programs analysing the health and environmental impacts of aviation. This was done to release any barriers to growth. A distinct lack of public scientific study now exists on the impacts of aviation in the United States.

Since the 1970's the airline industry has experienced explosive growth, yet the commercial aviation industry continues to struggle to remain profitable. This in turn keeps lawmakers from enacting legislation, which will require and fund studies on the impacts, curb growth and reassess aviation's role in transportation policy. According to the Department of Transportation in 2007, up to a tripling of passengers, operations and cargo by 2025 is predicted. Due to a legislative loophole, the DOT is not actually required to study how this massive increase in growth will impact the health, environment or aviation safety.

To determine the actual effects of jet engine noise and emissions, we must review the work produced prior to deregulation of the industry and look to studies commissioned by non-profit health and environmental organizations, for-profit environmental consultants, universities, foreign governments and multinational environmental coalitions.

Several governmental programs do exist to analyze the environmental impacts of noise and emissions, however funding for noise and air quality study is minimal and many do not make their studies available to the public.

In 1996 the NRDC published a landmark study on the effects of aircraft emissions on air quality however funding was later cut for these programs. Unfortunately due to the harsh economic situation and legislative setbacks from prior administrations environmental organizations are struggling in their role to assist in this area. Conservationists concerned about immediate impacts of aviation noise and emissions in their communities are working with non-profit networks, universities, and their local governments to commission studies. Others are working with environmental scientists to produce white papers and meta data studies.

The Department of Defense has commissioned several studies on aviation impacts however unique differences exist between commercial, general and military aircraft. Aircraft engine manufacturers are reluctant to share their studies on emissions and noise however Boeing has done an impressive job in making public aircraft noise profiles as well as noise mitigation programs across the world.

Until legislation is enacted and funding sources flow into public and private programs to study the impacts, protecting the environment falls upon the shoulders of local communities, and environmental organizations with resourceful political action committees and unfortunately litigious action against aviation manufactures, airports and the FAA.

In 2000 the FAA created Categorical Exclusions on air quality impacts to Human Health for aircraft flying above 3000 feet. The office of Environment & Energy made it legal to exempt the FAA from following environmental law which seeks to understand and mitigate human health impacts. This should be reexamined in light of finding by the EPA, DOD, ICAO, World Health Organization, Oxford, NRDC, NASA,

References & Further reading

  1. The International Civil Aviation Organization Air Transport Bureau (ATB): is the leading voice in the world on the topic maximizes compatibility between civil aviation and the environment.
  2. NRDC Noise Study
  3. FAA report

Human Health Risk Assessment

Air Quality Impacts on Human Health

According to the European Commission, emissions from aircraft raises the risk for stroke, coronary heart disease and increased blood pressure. More then 200 compounds including 147 VOCs, 15 carbonyl compounds, and 15 PAHs and 4 criteria pollutants including CO, SO2, NOx, and PM10 are known to be present in petroleum combustion based jet engines. 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, acrolein are cancer causing.

Aircraft emissions impact local air quality at ground level according to the ICAO which in turn exact a quantifiable risk to human health. Larry West, an environmentalist hired by the FAA detailed some of the health effects that they recognize. "Aircraft emissions contribute to certain health risks."

According to congressional testimony provided by Crowley, "pollution produced by LaGuardia Airport is a significant contributor to the overall asthma rates in the communities surrounding the airport. According to the American Lung Association's estimates of the prevalence of lung disease, there are 80,105 adults with asthma in Queens and there are 27,588 kids with asthma." The U.S. Citizens Aviation Watch Association has cited several studies linking pollutants common around airports--such as diesel exhaust, carbon monoxide and leaked chemicals--to cancer, asthma, liver damage, lung disease, lymphoma, myeloid leukemia, and depression.

  • Representative health effects of air pollutants

    • Ozone:  Lung function impairment, effects on exercise performance, increased airway responsiveness, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection, increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits, and pulmonary inflammation, lung structure damage.
    • Carbon Monoxide:  Cardiovascular effects, especially in those persons with heart conditions (e.g., decreased time to onset of exercise-induced angina). 
    • Nitrogen Oxides: Lung irritation and lower resistance to respiratory infections. 
    • Particulate Matter: Premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, changes in lung function and increased respiratory symptoms, changes to lung tissues and structure, and altered respiratory defense mechanisms. 
    • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):  Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment. 
    • Representative environmental effects of air pollutants (Pp. 1-5)
      • Ozone: Crop damage, damage to trees and decreased resistance to disease for both crops and other plants. 
      • Carbon Monoxide: Similar health effects on animals as on humans.
      • Nitrogen Oxides: Acid rain, visibility degradation, particle formation, contributions to ozone formation. 
      • Particle Matter: Visibility degradation and monument and building soiling, safety effects on aircraft from reduced visibility. 
      • Volatile Organic Compounds: Contribution towards ozone formation, odors and some direct effects on buildings and plants.
    • Conclusions: Overall, this report provides an estimation of the contribution of aircraft to air quality emissions in ten urban areas, confirms that investigations of cost-effective control options on aircraft emissions is warranted, and highlights to need for improvements in the quality of national level data as noted by reviews of the draft study if more certainty is desired.  (Pp. 5-1) 
      1990-2010 Kennedy (JFK)         1990             2010       Increase
      Landing & Take Offs (LTOs)              94,382       111,360         18%
      Volatile Organic Compounds             1,392           1,683         21%
      Carbon Monoxide                            4,057            5,523         36%
      Oxides of Nitrogen                          2,531            3,750         48%
      Sulfur Dioxide                               105               143         36%

    By Julie Steenhuysen
    Thu Sep 20 2007, 5:04 PM ET
    CHICAGO (Reuters) -

    Tiny particles of air pollution -- less than one tenth the width of a human hair -- can trigger clotting in the blood, U.S. researchers said on Thursday in a finding that helps explain how air pollution causes heart attacks and strokes.

    Large population studies have shown pollution from the exhaust of trucks, buses and coal-burning factories increases the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes. But researchers have not understood how these microscopic particles actually kill people.

    "We now know how the inflammation in the lungs caused by air pollutants leads to death from cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Gokhan Mutlu of Northwestern University in Chicago, who studied the effects of air pollution in mice.

    Lungs inflamed by pollution secrete interleukin-6, an immune system compound that sparks inflammation and has been shown to make blood more likely to clot.
    The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. It follows a study last week in the New England Journal of Medicine that found breathing diesel fumes interfered with heart attack survivors' ability to break down blood clots.

    Mutlu got a clue about the clotting issue two years ago when he was studying the effects of air pollution on heart failure in mice. Mice who had been exposed to pollution bled significantly less.
    "They were forming blood clots," he said in a telephone interview.
    In the latest study, he and colleagues exposed mice to particles of air pollution collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These were mixed with a saline solution and injected into the lungs of mice.

    Mice exposed to pollution showed a 15-fold increase in interleukin-6 just 24 hours later. That time frame is important because some studies have shown a spike in air pollution can boost heart attacks with 24 hours.
    Mutlu and colleague Dr. Scott Budinger said they were able to prevent this clotting by suppressing immune cells in the lungs called macrophages that attack foreign substances and secrete interleukin-6.
    Mice with suppressed immune responses did not show increased blood clotting. "This suggested that interleukin-6 was the driving force," Mutlu said.

    He said most people understand that high levels of air pollution can make lung diseases such as asthma worse.

    "The same thing is not known for patients with coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure," Mutlu said. "I think we need to increase the awareness of this link among those individuals."
    The researchers now plan to study whether aspirin can counteract the clotting effect in mice. Low-dose aspirin helps thin the blood and is already recommended for people with heart problems.

    References & Further reading

    1. Oxford Journals: Toxicological Sciences: Assessment of Skin Absorption and Penetration of JP-8 Jet Fuel and Its Components
    2. Center of International Study: Engine Emission Alteration in the near field of Aircraft
    3. NEPA Airports And Air Toxins
    4. EPA Air Pollutant Emissions Factors

    Noise Impacts on Human Health

    The general public associates noise with nuisance, however quantifieable health risks are involved, proving the myth "What you don't see can't hurt you"

    The World Health Organization commissioned a landmark study in 2007 on the Noise impacts to human health which challenged the uneducated opinion that aviation noise is only a nuisance. Several landmark studies have been conducted by renowed scholars quantifying the effects of noise on human health. Several studies and articles are included below.

    Efforts are underway by various health organizations to reassess the FAA's measures of noise. DNL averaging used by NASA and the FAA is thought to be an outdated measure inadequately assessing noise impact and don't take into consideration the latest findings.

    Publications in Science based Journals

    THE PATH TO QUIET: Don't Just Say, "No" to Noise - Say "Yes" to Quiet by Nancy B. Nadler, M.E.D., M.A
    Dancing Till Deaf by Ed Walsh and edited excerpts by Kathy Peck executive director H.E.A.R.
    Noise & Hearing - The Facts by Elliott Berger
    The Campaign For Improved Acoustics In Schools by Peggy B. Nelson, Ph.D., CCC-A
    Aircraft Noise: The Ailment & The Treatment by Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D.
    Assert Your Right to Peace & Quiet! by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D.
    Stop the Noise: An Investigation of Sound Levels in Elementary School
    Controlling Noise Is in Our Hands by Nancy B. Nadler, M.E.D., M.A.
    Participants Take Control of Noise by Amy K. Boyle
    Noise Center Recipe for a Quiet Diet
    Noise, Sovereignty, and Civility by Les Blomberg
    Intrusive Community Noises Yield More Complaints by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Elizabeth Deignan, M.A., Yael Bat-Chava, Ph.D. and Nancy B. Nadler , M.E.D.,
    Out of the Mouths of Babes: What Children Say about Noise by Nancy B. Nadler, M.E.D., M.A. and Yael Bat-Chava, Ph.D.
    It Takes a Silent Village to Harm a Child Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D.
    Volume 22 #1 (1997)
    Beware: Noise Is Hazardous to Our Children’s Development Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D.
    Noisy Toys -- Some Toys Are Not So Much Fun As They Look Nancy B. Nadler, M.E.D., M.A.
    Volume 23 #1 (1998)

    A Voice to End the Governmnet's Silence on Noise by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D.

    References & Further reading

    1. World Health Organization Noise impacts
    2. League for the Hard of Hearing Noise Studies
    3. Noise impacts

    Air Quality Degradation

    Below is a slide from a research group at Berkley.


    *1. Based on FLYING OFF COURSE: Environmental Impacts of America's Airports, report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

  • Commercial aircraft comprise almost 70% of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from the total aircraft sector (commercial, military, and general aviation) according to the US Enviromental Protection Agency.  Most Nox emissions from aircraft have been found to occur in approach, take off and climb (LTO Cycle)" says the United Nation's Aviation Agency and "they are one of the fastest growing segments of the transportation sector’s regional pollutant contribution," says the US EPA. 
  • In 1999 the EPA studied several cities where air quality problems currently exist or are likely to become more significant.  The results indicate that while airports were doing a better job of managing air quality, however aircraft – induced NOx pollution, depending on the specific scenario, increase by a factor of two to three between 1992 and 2015. 
  • The five major air pollutant species which comprise the most significant emissions from commercial jet aircraft are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), particulates (PM), and sulfur dioxide (SO2).
  • The 1999 EPA study confirmed that "commercial aircraft emissions have the potential to significantly contribute to air pollution," and that "the projected ground-level emissions from commercial aircraft increased in absolute terms."
    1. "In nonattainment areas with large airport facilities, commercial aircraft emissions represent a growing percentage of the regional area source inventories as other sources decrease due to implemented controls. In each of the ten cities, commercial jet aircraft are a larger percentage of the inventory in 2010 than in 1990.  Even in regions such as Los Angeles and New York, where aircraft are less than the 5 percent of the total mobile source emissions, the percent contribution of aircraft to regional NOx more than doubles by 2010." - EPA study
  • The New York metro area is already rated severe-17 ozone nonattainment area by the US EPA 
  • US EPA 1999 STUDY-
    Projected growth in commercial aircraft & emissions factors at Metro New York Airports
    (EWR, LGA, JFK)
    (short tons/year) Variable Mixing Height 1990 2010 % increase
    Increase in landing Takeoffs (LTO) 383,206 452,950 18%
    Volatile Organic Compounds 3,025 4,839 60%
    Carbon Monoxide 8,712 12,808 47%
    Nitrogen Dioxide 270 364 35%
    • 1990-2010 Newark (EWR): 1990             2010       Increase
      Landing & Take Offs (LTOs)             134,124       183,381       37%
      Volatile Organic Compounds            766           1,367         75%
      Carbon Monoxide                           2,210            3,603         63%
      Oxides of Nitrogen                         1,554            2,983         92%
      Sulfur Dioxide                               78               118         51%
    • 1990-2010 —LaGuadia (LGA) 1990             2010       Increase
      Landing & Take Offs (LTOs)             154,700       158,209          2%
      Volatile Organic Compounds              867           1,788        106%
      Carbon Monoxide                             2,446            3,681         50%
      Oxides of Nitrogen                           1,644            2,840         73%
      Sulfur Dioxide                                 87               103         18%
    • 1990-2010 Kennedy (JFK)          1990             2010       Increase
      Landing & Take Offs (LTOs)              94,382       111,360         18%
      Volatile Organic Compounds             1,392           1,683         21%
      Carbon Monoxide                            4,057            5,523         36%
      Oxides of Nitrogen                          2,531            3,750         48%
      Sulfur Dioxide                               105               143         36%
    1. "Airport air pollution is similar in scope to that generated by local power plants, incinerators, and refineries, yet is exempt from many of the rules other industrial polluters must follow. For example, one 747 arriving and departing from an airport in New York City produces as much smog as a car driven over 5,600 miles, and as much polluting nitrogen oxides as a car driven nearly 26,500 miles. While the government has effectively required cars to undergo emissions inspections (with resulting improvements in emissions and efficiency), airplanes have not received the same scrutiny. Meanwhile, air travel is increasing in popularity twice as fast as car travel and is projected to double within the next 20 years."
      - congressional testimony presented by Crowley in 2001
  • NASA Fact Book on Aviation Emissions:
    A jet engine is an internal combustion engine, just like an automobile engine is. In a jet engine, the fuel and an oxidizer combust (or burn) and the products of that combustion are exhausted through a narrow opening at high speed.
    Modern jet engine fuel is primarily kerosene, the same fuel used to heat homes in portions of the U.S. Kerosene, a flammable hydrocarbon oil, is a fossil fuel. Burning fossil fuels primarily produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O). Other major emissions are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen oxide (NO2), which together are called NOx, sulfur oxides (SO2), and soot.-NASA's Glenn Research Center

    This is a diagram of emissions from a stack burning fossil fuels. Not unlike the emissions released by jet engines, pollutants are dispersed at different atmosphereic levels according to altitude.

    As published in the Environmental Protection Agency:

    Emissions Factors & AP 42

    An emissions factor is a representative value that attempts to relate the quantity of a pollutant released to the atmosphere with an activity associated with the release of that pollutant. These factors are usually expressed as the weight of pollutant divided by a unit weight, volume, distance, or duration of the activity emitting the pollutant (e.g., kilograms of particulate emitted per megagram of coal burned). Such factors facilitate estimation of emissions from various sources of air pollution. In most cases, these factors are simply averages of all available data of acceptable quality, and are generally assumed to be representative of long-term averages for all facilities in the source category (i.e., a population average).

    The general equation for emissions estimation is:

    E = A x EF x (1-ER/100)

    • E = emissions;
    • A = activity rate;
    • EF = emission factor, and
    • ER =overall emission reduction efficiency, %

  • Source Material

    1. US EPA Evaluation of Air Pollutant Emissions from Subsonic Commercial Jet Aircraft-April 1999
    2. EPA Emissions Factors and Policy Applications Center (EFPAC)  


    1. Internal Civil Aviation Organization Studies
    2. Special Report on Aviation and Global Atmosphere
    3. NASA- study on Aircraft emissions and Air Quality Degradation
    4. ARGONNE NATIONAL LAB- Impact of aircraft emissions on air Quality
    5. UN Aviation Agency Actions to combat Aircraft Emissions
    6. UK's National Aircraft Emissions Inventory studies
    7. Nature Journal of Science- Aircraft emissions dabates
    8. Environmental Studies Associates

    References & Further reading

    4. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Indicators , December 2002.
    5. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, FAA Long-Range Aerospace
      Forecasts Fiscal Years 2015, 2020 and 2025, Office of Aviation Policy and Plans, FAA-APO-00-5,, June 2000.
    6. GDP - U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Accounts Data; RTM - U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation
      Statistics, Historical Air Traffic Statistics,
      2001.html; VMT – U. S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Traffic Volume
      Trends, December 2002
    7. Wickrama, Upali, International Civil Aviation Organization, Committee on Environmental Protection,
      Forecasting and Economic Analysis Support Group, Report of the FESG/CAEP/6 Traffic and Fleet
      Forecast, copy of Figure 8, 2003 op. cit.
    8. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Air Quality 2001 Status and Trends,, September 2002.
    9. Waitz, I. A., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, private communication based on Boeing data,
      November 2003.
    10. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Average Annual Emissions, All Criteria Pollutants; Years
      Including 1980, 1985, 1989-2001,, February 2003.
    11. Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Title I – Provisions for Attainment and Maintenance of National
      Ambient Air Quality Standards, Section 101(d)(1), November 15, 1990.
    12. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 8-Hour Ground-level Ozone Designations,, May 6, 2004.
    13. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Enplanement Activity at Primary
      Airports, , November 6, 2003.
    14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Classifications of Ozone Nonattainment Areas, op.cit.
    15. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration
      (cooperating agency), Final Environmental Impact Statement for 9,000-Foot Fifth Runway and Associated
      Projects: Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, August 2001.
      Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois 1999 Periodic Emissions Inventory And Milestone
      Demonstration, December, 2001. The higher value for in the area inventory data in the table is for a typical
      summer day, which is the ozone season and probably represents a worst case since it is the most active
      period for aviation activity. The non-road data also is based on typical summer day. The lower value, which
      is more representative for an annual value is from U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation
      Administration, Final Environmental Assessment for the World Gateway Program and Other Capital
      Improvements: Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, June 21, 2002.
    16. South Coast Air Quality Management District, Emissions by Category, 2001 Estimated Annual Average
      Emissions, South Coast Air Basin. =SC , 2001.
    17. Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, Dallas/Fort Worth Ozone Nonattainment Area
      Emission Data,, 1996 inventory data. Data includes all
      airports in the nonattainment area including, DFW International Airport, Dallas Love Field, and Alliance
    18. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Final Environmental Impact
      Statement Runway 8L-26R and Associated Near-Term Master Plan Projects; George Bush Intercontinental
      Airport/Houston, July 2000.
    19. Compilation of data from the SIP inventories for New York and New Jersey provided by Mr. Raymond
      Forde, Region 2, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, June 16, 2004. Additional data provided by Mr.
      Kevin McGarry, New York State Department of Conservation and Ms. Tonalee Key, New Jersey
      Department of Environmental Protection.
    20. Agyei, Kwame, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, airport emissions calculated using EDMS 4.0; area non-
      road and total emissions from 1999 Air Emission Inventory Summary spreadsheet, February 11, 2003.
    21. Nonattainment area non-road and total NOx emissions, 68 FR 25431, May 12, 2003; Airport emissions
      escalated from 1995 estimate by URS Greiner, Inc. (1997) based on 2000 data provided by Tony Petruska, U.S. EPA.
    22. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Periodic Emissions Inventories
      1999, April 2003, for nonattainment area off-road emissions and total emissions, which are based on
      summer day emissions. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Final
      Environmental Impact Statement, Logan Airside Improvements Planning Projects: Boston Logan
      International Airport, June 2002 for Logan Airport emissions, which are typical for an annual value.
    23. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Air Pollutant Emission Trends, 1990-1998,, March 2000.
    24. For NOx, aircraft represent anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of total airport emissions with the balance
      coming from the other sources like ground support equipment and ground access vehicles. This is based on
      a review of recent Environmental Impact Statements for eleven airports (ATL, BOS, CLE, DFW, IAD,
      IAH, LAX, ORD, PTI, SFO, and STL).
    25. For more information about the production of contrails by aircraft, see U.S. Environmental Protection
      Agency, Aircraft Contrails Factsheet,,
      September 2000.
    26. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-
      final-inventory.pdf, April 15, 2003. Estimates are presented in units of terragrams of carbon dioxide
      equivalents (Tg CO2 Eq.), which weight each gas (e.g., CO2 and NOx) by its Global Warming Potential, or GWP, value.
    27. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-
      2001, 2003 op.cit.
    28. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Aviation and the Global Atmosphere, 1999.
    29. Actual Emissions 1990-2001 – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse
      Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2001, 2003 op.cit.
    30. Forecast Emissions 2001-2025 calculated based on FAA long-range activity forecasts assuming a
      constant rate of emissions from aircraft. The forecast is deemed conservative since it does not account for
      improvements in aircraft energy efficiency over the next 20 years, which are deemed likely. Estimates are
      presented in units of terragrams of carbon dioxide equivalents (Tg CO2 Eq.), which weight each gas (e.g.,
      CO2 and NOx) by its Global Warming Potential, or GWP, value.
    31. U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition
      22,, September 2002.
    32. US Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics
      2002 (BTS 02-08), Table 4-20: Energy Intensity of Passenger Modes (Btu per passenger-mile), page 281,
    33. See FAR Part 33 – Airworthiness Standards: Aircraft Engines art=1&Count=200&Expand=10.
    34. Colpin, J. and Altman, R., Dependable Power Reinvented, AIAA 2003-2882, AIAA-ICAS International
      Air and Space Symposium and Exhibit: The Next 100 Years, July 14-17, 2003, Dayton, OH.
    35. The use of market-based options for limiting or reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation may
      also prove potentially useful applied to local air quality emissions.
    36. Air Transport World, United says cutting APU runtime to save $12 million, ATW, February
      10, 2003.
    37. International Civil Aviation Organization, Circular 303 - Operational Opportunities to Minimize Fuel
      Use & Reduce Emissions, February 2004.
      Aviation & Emissions – A Primer
    38. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, National Airspace System
      Operational Evolution Plan, December 2002
    39. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Final Regulatory Impact Analysis,
      Final Regulatory Flexibility Determination, Unfunded Mandates and Trade Impact Assessment, Reduced
      Vertical Separation Minimum Operations in United States Domestic Airspace, March 10, 2003
    40. Drew, P., et al., Technology Drivers for 21st Century Transportation Systems,” AIAA 2003-2909, AIAA-
      ICAS International Air and Space Symposium and Exhibit: The Next 100 Years,” 14-17 July 2003,
      Dayton, OH
    41. Waitz, I. A., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aircraft, Gas Turbine Engines and Emissions
      Primer, August 3, 2001.
    42. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1999 op.cit.
    43. ICAO has established a Long-Term Technology Goals (LTTG) task group within Working Group 3 to
      monitor and track future aircraft technologies that may demonstrate better environmental performance. The
      LTTG will evaluate the prospects for setting emissions goals as targets for future technology performance.
    44. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Aerospace Technology Enterprise Strategy –
    45. More information on the FAA-NASA Center of Excellence for Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions
      Mitigation can be found at
    46. Waitz, I. A., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001 op. cit., estimates “22 to 37 years total time
      from basic technology (e.g. NASA research) to significant fleet impact.”
    47. National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Aeronautics and Space
      Engineering Board, Committee on Aeronautics Research and Technology for Environmental Compatibility,
      For Greener Skies: Reducing Environmental Impacts of Aviation, available at, 2002.

    Noise Abatement

    According to the NRDC's 1997 study, "In adapting a threshold of 65 dbDNL, FAA rejected EPA's health based recommendations and chose, instead, to balance the protection of public health and welfare with competing economic and technological considerations".

    The FAA's Noise Abatement guidelines push the implementation of such rules in to the hands of the air traffic controllers and the pilots. The responsibilty of noise abatement is then shared between the airports, airlines, local and regional government, and citizen of the communites effected.

    The FAA asks local governement to form "Noise Response Process" to address incidents where noise levels become intolerable. So, for example, if you are a resident of a community who is under a flight path, the FAA then makes it YOUR responsibility to call a local hotline, lodge a noise complaint with visual sighting of said aircrafts' tail number. The airport then has the responsibility of then contacting the aircraft carriers owner and levying a fine against them for violating the noise abatement procedures.

    If a copious amount of calls are made then, in theory, the air traffic controllers will be more apt to redirect flights away from the 'problem' area.

    The flaw in this program is that pilots are now encouraged to utilize parks and open spaces which will suffer from the increased air quality degradation, and the newly impacted areas will suffer the same resonsibility of having to report noise until sufficiently heard and then moved to the next community.

    FAA documents:

    Further Reading on Aircraft Noise

    1. Federally Funded Noise Abatement Program defunded in the 1970's
    2. New Jersey Institute of Technology Impact Analysis (For Design Phase FAA)
    3. FAA's Noise Abatement guidelines for Helicopter aircraft
    4. WorldWide Fund for Nature International Mark Barrett Studies
    5. 2000 Letter to DOT Regarding Noise Abatement procedures

    Fuel Jettison over land

    Risk analysis studies need to be executed and delivered to area at risk for Fuel Jettison over land. In the new NAR, the land is a preferrable route to the sea where Fuel Jettison Risk was mitigated.

    Flora/ Fauna

    1. Transportation research board studies on impacts of Aviation Jet engine emissions on flaora and Fauna.
    2. Impact to Flora Fauna find latest Studies on Flora Fauna through Google Scholar
    3. Center of Atmospsheric Science Seminars


    National Academies Study on Aircraft Emissions on Wetlands

    Evaluating Particulate Emissions from Jet Engines: Analysis of Chemical and Physical Characteristics and Potential Impacts on Coastal Environments and Human Health Journal
    Transportation Research Record
    Publisher: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies
    ISSN 0361-1981
    Issue Volume 1517 / 1996
    DOI 10.3141/1517-01

    Karleen A. Boyle1
    1Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024-1606


    The results of this study suggest that the range of size of particulate emissions from some jet engines clusters below 1.5 ?m and that the emissions contain heavy metals. Therefore, jet exhaust particulates (JEPs) have the potential to adversely affect both the environment and human health. Little is known about the particulate component of jet engine emissions. Baseline physical and chemical data on JEPs were obtained to evaluate their potential effects on the environment. Particles collected from the exhaust stream of two types of jet engines were examined using scanning electron microscopy. Analysis indicated that 100 percent of the particles collected were below 1.5 ?m in size. Particles in this size range can penetrate to the alveoli of human lungs. Chemical analyses of jet engine exhaust were conducted in an attempt to identify chemical fingerprints that would distinguish aviation emissions in the environment from other anthropogenic emissions. Certain heavy metals, especially vanadium, were found in jet exhaust and may be useful chemical fingerprints. Analysis of JP-5 fuel standards revealed a suite of alkylbenzene hydrocarbons, which may also aid in fingerprinting aviation emissions. Sediment samples taken at coastal wetlands near airports indicated the presence of the same heavy metals as those found in jet exhaust samples. Field sites exposed to higher volumes of air traffic contained higher levels of sediment heavy metals, supporting the hypothesis that aerial deposition of heavy metals is occurring in areas near some airports.

    Global Warming & The Jet Engine

    According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Aviation Jet emissions directly contribute to global warming(1.):

    1. Aircraft emit gases and particles directly into the upper
      troposphere and lower stratosphere where they have an impact
      on atmospheric composition. These gases and particles alter
      the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including
      carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), and methane (CH4); trigger
      formation of condensation trails (contrails); and may increase
      cirrus cloudiness—all of which contribute to climate change in the stratosphere.

    According to an article published Dec 6, 2006 in USA Today, Gary Stoller writes:

    Aviation and the environment are on a collision course." The number of airline flights worldwide is growing and expected to skyrocket over the coming decades. Aircraft emissions pollute the air and threaten by 2050 to become one of the largest contributors to global warming, British scientists have concluded.

    New York Times Article published Jan 7, 1992:

    Global Warming Threat Found in Aircraft Fumes
    NITROGEN oxide fumes emitted by aircraft exert 30 times as great an effect on climate as the same fumes emitted at ground level by industrial processes and the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, British scientists have calculated. The nitrogen oxides react with other chemicals in the air to create ozone in the troposphere, or lower atmosphere. At higher altitudes, in the stratosphere, ozone blocks ultraviolet rays from the sun that can cause cancer in humans.


    1. NOAA

    Studies on Global Warming and Aviation

    1. NASA/Boeing inventories (Scheduled, Civil, Global) for 1976, 1984, 1992 and 1999 [Baughcuma,b 1996 and Sutkus 2001]
    2. Aviation and The Global Atmosphere (Columbia University Press) [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1999]
    3. ANCAT/EC2 (Civil and Global)inventories for 1991/92 [Gardner 1998]
    4. DLR (Civil and Global) inventories for 1992 [Schmitt 1997]
    5. AERO-MS inventories for 1992 [Pulles 2002]
    6. According to the FAA SAGE was developed by FAA in large part because there was no up-to-date non-proprietary model that could be used to estimate aircraft emissions on a global level. As such, FAA developed SAGE (now at Version 1.5) from the best publicly available data and methods in order to provide the international aviation community with a high-fidelity tool that can be used to analyze various policy, technology, and operational scenarios. So far, SAGE has been used to develop inventories for 2000-2004. The current commitment from FAA is to continue development and validation of SAGE to produce inventories of fuel burn and emissions on a yearly basis.Get the report here


    1. Baughcuma, S.L., T.G. Tritz, S.C. Henderson, and D.C. Pickett. “Scheduled Civil Aircraft EmissionInventories for 1992: Database Development and Analysis.” NASA CR 4700. April 1996.
    2. Baughcumb, S. L., S. C. Henderson, and T. G. Tritz. “Scheduled Civil Aircraft Emission Inventories for 1976 and 1984: Database Development and Analysis.” NASA CR-4722. 1996.
    3. Federal Aviation Administration (FAAa). “System for assessing Aviation’s Global Emissions (SAGE), Version 1.5, Technical Manual.” FAA, Office of Environment and Energy. FAA-AEE-2005-01.September 2005.
    4. Federal Aviation Administration (FAAb). “System for assessing Aviation’s Global Emissions (SAGE),Version 1.5, Validation Assessment, Model Assumptions and Uncertainties.” FAA, Office of
      Environment and Energy. FAA-AEE-2005-03. September 2005.
    5. Gardner, R. “Global Aircraft Emissions Inventories for 1991/92 and 2015, Report by the ECAC/ANCAT and ED Working Group.” Editor: R. M. Gardner. EUR18179. 1998.
    6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Reference Manual (Volume 3).” http://www.ipccnggip. 1997.
    7. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Aviation and the Global Atmosphere.” A Special Report of IPCC Working Groups I and II. Edited by J.E. Penner, D.H. Lister, D.J. Griggs, D.J. Dokken, and M. McFarland. Cambridge University Press. 1999.
    8. Pulles, J.W. “Aviation Emissions and Evaluation of Reduction Options (AERO), Main Report.
      Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Watermanagement, Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, the Hague. ISBN 90-369-1792-1. July 2002.
    9. Schmitt, A., B. Brunner. “Emissions from Aviation and their Development over Time". In Final Report on the BMBF Verbundprogramm, Schadstoff in der Luftfahrt. DLR-Mitteilung 97-04, Deutches Centrum Fuer Luft- and Raumfahrt. 1997.
    10. Sutkus Jr., Donald J., Steven L. Baughcum, and Douglas P. DuBois. “Scheduled Civil Aircraft Emission Inventories for 1999: Database Development and Analysis.” National Aeronatics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center, Contract NAS1-20341. NASA/CR-2001-211216. October 2001.
    11. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Article 4 of the Framework Convention on Climate Change published by the UNEP/WMO Information Unit on Climate Change (also identified in Article 12). See <>. 2000.

    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Aviation and Global Warming

    Harmonic Vibrations

    The Australian government has commissioned severeal environmental studies on health, social, environmental, mental impacts to aircraft noise, emissions and vibrations. Based on these finding, they have adopted legislation which specifically protects the airline industry from full control of airspace.

    Below is an excerpt from their findings which has been incorporated into Australian law.


    Harmonic vibrations can be caused in buildings and in items within buildings by the
    low frequency component of aircraft noise. Vibrations caused by aircraft noise can
    cause archaeological resources, structures and museum objects to vibrate. Although
    rarely, if ever, harmful or destructive, some people and animals are sensitive to them
    and find them a cause of concern.

    For vibration and its effects on structures purposes the noise from aircraft has been
    divided into three distinct types; sonic booms, fixed wing noise and helicopter noise.
    Supersonic aircraft flight, overflights by very large aircraft, and helicopters can all
    produce levels that may cause structural vibrations. In the case of subsonic flight, the
    aircraft must fly relatively near the structure for vibrations to be great enough to result
    in risk of damage.
    Any proposal for airspace change that may lead to a change in the pattern or
    intensity of vibrations in areas under a flight path, especially sensitive areas such as
    archaeological sites, historical sites and cultural sites, must be further investigated in
    order to avoid long-term damage.

    "Any proposal for airspace change that may lead to a change in the pattern or
    intensity of vibrations in areas under a flight path, especially sensitive areas such as
    archaeological sites, historical sites andorder to avoid long-term damage.

    NRDC's report on Pollution effects

    Endangered Species Extinction

    Australia Governmental impact study Analaysis

    References and Further Reading

    1. Anderson, C., S. Augustine, Embt, and T. Thrasher, Emission and Dispersion Modeling
    System (EDMS) Reference Manual, U.S. Dept. of Trans., Federal Aviation Administration,
    Report No. FAA-AEE-97-01, Washington, D.C., April, 1997.

    2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, MOBILE5a, Office of Mobile Sources, Ann Arbor,
    Michigan, February, 1995.

    3. International Civil Aviation Organization, Aircraft Engine Exhaust Emissions Databank,
    Defence Evaluation and Research Agency,
    , last accessed, March, 2001.

    4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Compilation of Air Pollution Emission Factors, AP-
    42, Fifth Edition, Research Park, N.C., May, 1998.

    5. Petersen, W.B. and E.D. Rumsey, User’s Guide for PAL 2.0 - A Gaussian Plume Algorithm
    for Point, Area, and Line Sources
    , Environmental Sciences Research Laboratory, Research
    Triangle Park, NC, October, 1986.

    6. Benson, P., CALINE3 - A Versatile Dispersion Model for Predicting Air Pollutant Levels
    Near Highways and Arterial Streets
    , Report No. FHWA/CA/TL-79/23, California Dept. of
    Transp., Office of Transp. Laboratory, Sacramento, CA., Nov., 1979.

    7. Federal Aviation Administration Office of Environment and Energy Home Page. (accessed January, 2001).

    8. Cimorelli, A.J., S.G. Perry, A. Venkatram, J.C. Weil, R.J. Paine, R.B. Wilson, R.F. Lee, and W.D. Peters, AERMOD - Description of Model Formulation, Draft, Environmental Protection
    Agency, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards,
    Research Triangle Park, NC, December,

    9. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, User’s Guide for the National Nonroad Emissions
    - Draft Version, Ann Arbor, MI, June 1998.

    10. Federal Aviation Administration, Consolidated Operations and Delay Analysis System
    (CODAS), (accessed
    January, 2001).

    11. Society of Automotive Engineers, Procedures for the Calculation of Airplane Noise in the
    Vicinity of Airports
    , Report No. SAE-AIR-1845, 1998.

    12. Guiding, J., J. Olmstead, R. Bryan, L. Mirsky, G. Fleming, J. D’Aprile, P. Gerbi, Integrated
    Noise Model (INM)
    Version 6.0, User’s Guide, U.S. Dept. of Transp., Federal Aviation
    Administration, Report No. FAA-AEE-99-03, Washington, D.C., August, 1999.

    13. Wayson, R.L., G. G. Fleming, W. L. Eberhard, B. Kim, W. A. Brewer, J. Draper, J. Pehrson, and R. Johnson, 2003: The use of LIDAR to characterize aircraft exhaust plumes, Proceedings, 96th Ann. Meeting of AWMA, San Diego, CA, Air and Waste Management Association.

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