Mapping the noise levels surrounding Burlington International Airport


Mapping plane noise in and out of Burlington International Airport.

The airport has released its noise exposure map for 2023 and the area affected by the sounds of planes flying in and out has expanded in some locations.

“This map is not just defining one single aircraft but rather explains the overall picture of noise exposure at the Burlington International Airport,” said Nic Longo, the airports Deputy Director of Aviation.

In 2015 the 65-decibel contour line took up just over 2,000 acres surrounding the airport, but in 2018 that number was reduced to just over 1,000 acres.

Officials say that reduction was based on 2 factors, V-Tang reduced its F-16 flights as it transitions to the newer fighter jets and construction also meant some runways were used less.

With these projects done and the late summer arrival of the F-35’s the contour projected 65 decibel line expands to over 2,600 acres in about 4 years, mainly in the northern and southern ends of the runway.

That means that there will be 1,800 more people living within that high decibel zone around the airport, currently there are only 311 people in that zone.

Airport officials are looking at mitigation programs to help people who now find themselves in a much nosier living situation.

Some of those include Sound Insulation Programs, Sales Assistance Programs and Purchase Assurance Programs, all of which will help people to noise proof their home, purchase properties for people who want to move out of these areas, and help the airport to sound proof the property and re-sell it.

”If somebody doesn’t want to live here, and they want to purchase assurance we will offer it, but we won’t remove the property, what we will do is we will improve the property and put it back on the market,” said Airport Director Gene Richards.

The creation of the noise exposure map is a critical first step in receiving FAA funding for these programs and to help those living within the higher levels.

Wednesday night the airport held an open house for folk to come and get questions answers and give comment on the plans and the map.

Many had a lot of questions on the topic, and on the noise mitigation programs that are to come.

Some folks say they felt there was a lot of unanswered questions, while other believe all the information was vague.

One group we spoke with was very against the noise and the arrival of the F35’s

“I think people are going to lose a lot of values on their homes and I think it’s really irresponsible to put it at a civilian airport, a program like this, not to mention it’s the most expensive program in US history,” said Stan Hills, a Burlington Resident.

If you’re wondering where your house falls within this noise exposure map, BTV has provided an interactive website where you can put you address in and find out exactly what the average decibel is at your location.

The next public open house will take place at the Obrien community center in Winooski on May 30th from 5-7pm

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