Recognizing that noise is an unavoidable side effect of aviation, in 1991, the TAA initiated a 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.
Individuals may email or call Scott Robidoux, Airport Planner, with any aviation-related noise complaints, aircraft activity, questions about noise events, or the TUS Part 150 Study. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Western-Pacific Region also investigates noise complaints. Military aircraft noise complaints and related questions should be directed to either the Arizona Air National Guard Arizona Air National Guard here or to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base here.
TAA investigates noise complaints to determine if aircraft are operating in violation of FAA regulations or are operating in violation of TAA agreements. If 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 FAA.
Aviation Flight Paths and Minimum Safe Aircraft Altitudes
TAA does not develop or control any aviation flight paths; the management and development of flight paths is the responsibility of the FAA. TAA has no authority over any military operations. The FAA Flight Standards District Office for Arizona has instructed TAA 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:
- Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
- Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
- Over other than congested areas. 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. Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section 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.