Local elected officials are asking the Federal Aviation Administration not to move forward with a planned flight plan change that would likely result in more airplane noise over Montgomery County communities that have already been impacted by other airplane route changes.

The latest volley in the ongoing battle over airplane noise in the county is an attempt by the officials to prevent the agency from changing routes so that planes heading westward after departing National Airport fly closer to Bethesda communities near the Potomac River. The shift, called the LAZIR-B flight procedure by FAA, would move a waypoint for the departing planes from a location over Northern Virginia to the eastern banks of the Potomac River.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council members Nancy Floreen and Roger Berliner sent FAA administrator Michael Huerta a letter Oct. 14 detailing their concerns with the flight plan shift.

“It is clear to us that LAZIR-B will exacerbate aircraft noise over thousands of Montgomery County homes already negatively impacted by NextGen,” the letter says. The officials also noted in the letter that NextGen, the new procedure initiated in December that positions planes in a narrow flight path over the county, has created “intolerable” aircraft noise.

Lazir-B flight procedure chart via FAA. (click to expand)


Earlier this month, county officials pointed out that the airplane working group comprised of affected residents from communities in Washington, D.C., and Virginia that approved the LAZIR-B change was stacked against Montgomery County. In the letter, the elected officials expressed concern that the group doesn’t adequately represent the county and that the county wasn’t represented at all when the working group voted to support the change.

The officials’ letter says the county “plans to seek a more robust and fundamental review” of flight path noises related to flights from National Airport, also known by the designation “DCA.”

“Whether through the DCA working group or through some other regional body, an analysis of actual noise data is needed in order to better quantify actual noise impact on particular communities,” the letter said.


FAA letter by AJ Metcalf on Scribd