Recognizing that noise is an unavoidable side effect of aviation, in 1991 the Tucson Airport Authority initiated a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 150 Noise Compatibility Program Update for Tucson International Airport (TUS) that limits the impact of aircraft noise on the Tucson community. Since the program’s adoption, numerous policies, abatement, and mitigation strategies have been implemented successfully. In 2012, the TAA adopted an updated Part 150 Study for Tucson International Airport.
The TAA investigates noise complaints to determine if aircraft are operating in violation of FAA regulations or are operating in violation of TAA agreements. If the TAA determines the noise complaint requires action then the appropriate action will be taken with the aircraft operator or TAA will elevate the complaint for investigation by the FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration also investigates noise complaints.
Tucson contacts for noise issues (additional contact information and a noise complaint form are at the bottom of this page):
- Tucson Airport Authority regarding aviation-related noise complaints, aircraft activity, questions about noise events, or the Part 150 Study for Tucson International Airport. (For noise complaints at TUS it is best to submit the form at the bottom of this page.)
- Arizona Air National Guard
- Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
- Federal Aviation Administration Noise Ombudsman
Aviation Flight Paths and Minimum Safe Aircraft Altitudes
Tucson Airport Authority does not develop or control aviation flight paths and has no authority over military operations. The management and development of flight paths is the responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA Flight Standards District Office for Arizona has instructed the minimum safe altitude rules are applied the same for all aircraft flying by either Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). The following are the minimum safe altitudes rules according to FAA Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 91, Sec. 91.119 (Minimum safe altitudes):
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
- Any altitude allowing for an emergency landing if a power unit fails without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
- 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.
- An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
- Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in the two preceding paragraphs if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.