Jackson Hole Airport praises quiet fliers in effort to cut noise

August 29, 2017


Jackson Hole Airport wants to encourage pilots to fly during the daytime, take routes that avoid the Snake River and the Teton Range and opt for quieter aircraft.

Those are all strategies that can reduce plane noise, a key issue for a commercial transportation enterprise that happens to be located in Grand Teton National Park. To boost “fly quiet” behavior, every single aircraft that comes and goes from Jackson Hole Airport will be tracked, sorted, scored and held accountable, Director Jim Elwood said.

“We’ll have a chance not only to give some honey, and recognize those quieter operators,” Elwood told his board of directors on Aug. 16, “but we’ll also be able to identify those operators that don’t meet those same expectations and encourage them to improve their operations.”

The mechanism for encouraging pilots, he said, will be “classic peer pressure.” Pilots who abide by best practices will be given certificates, while those who fly late, loud and over noise-sensitive parts of Teton park will be reminded of their bad behavior. The system will be purely voluntary because federal regulations do not allow financial incentives for flying quiet or penalties for not.

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Elwood said the airport is “on the leading edge, for sure.”

The fly-quiet program is being carried out by an aviation consultant, Mead & Hunt. The company is building a system of benchmarking good and not-so good aircraft operators. The system will be so precise that pilots will be able to look back on their maximum decibel levels or see how many times they violated the airport’s voluntary curfew, Elwood said.

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