Report from UC Davis

03.04.2010 | Mary Ellen Eagan |

I attended the UC Davis ‘Eco-Aerovision’ Symposium in San Diego this week.  The symposium was created 25 years ago to provide a forum for California airport noise officers to share ideas, challenges, and war stories.  Over the years, the symposium has gone through significant transformation, and is now an annual international gathering of airport staff, community members, operators, land use planners, regulators, manufacturers, and academics to collaborate on a range of environmental topics that stymie airports, including noise, air quality, and climate.

Navigating Sustainability

I would say that there were two general themes that were reinforced throughout the conference:

  • First, we have been at this (noise challenge) for a long time, and it’s probably fair to say that there’s not much “low hanging fruit” left.  This suggests that the challenges that remain are difficult, and will continue to get even more so.  Several sessions supported this theme, including a discussion of Noise Beyond DNL 65, facilitated by Jessica Steinhilber of ACI-NA and Dan Frazee of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
  • Second, that addressing noise issues at airport is a very long term prospect.  Two good examples were provided by Flavio Leo of Massport and Mary McCarthy, who talked about the 32-year history of building a new runway at Boston-Logan International Airport, and 14 recent legal challenges to the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Airspace Redesign.  Ultimately, it seems, runways will be built and airspace will be re-designed to suit more efficient air travel (the FAA’s 20-0 track record on significant NEPA challenges was touted by Ted Boling of CEQ during his keynote address).  Our challenge it seems, is to make the process be as transparent, honest, and fair to airport neighbors as possible.

To that end, the FAA’s Office of Aviation Policy, Planning & Environment conducted its final workshop supporting development of a Noise Research Roadmap.  Like the symposium, this day-long session was an honest and far-ranging discussion of research needs to advance our understanding of noise issues and to identify “actionable hypotheses” and research projects that could be conducted to accomplish those goals.

Finally, at the risk of narcissism, I was humbled (and COMPLETELY STUNNED) to receive the 2010 Walt Gillfillan Award for “exemplary work addressing the challenges of reducing the environmental impacts of aviation”.  Many thanks to those who found me deserving of the nomination.

About the Author
Mary Ellen Eagan, President & CEO, Chief Executive Officer, Aviation, HMMH

Mary Ellen Eagan

President & CEO

As President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of HMMH, Mary Ellen is responsible for providing strategic, innovative leadership…

View Bio» | Read More From this Author»