Posts Tagged ‘noise’

Throwback Thursday – Where Are They Now?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

by Mary Ellen Eagan

The photo below is from HMMH’s first corporate brochure, which was published in 1984 (just before your humble author joined the firm).  The photo was taken at the Masonic Museum in Lexington.

HMMH-personnel-500px

Front: Chris Menge, Chris Conklin, Bob Miller, Cathy Abbot. Back: Carl Hanson, Monique Benoit, Andy Harris, Nick Miller, Ted Baldwin, Alice Sewall

Thought you might like to know where they are now:

Andy Harris  aka, “the first H”, is now fully retired and enjoying his retirement home near Naples, FL.  I still remember the day Andy ordered me to his cubicle to tell me I “had leadership potential, but needed to straighten up.”  Thank you, Andy.

Nick Miller (aka, “one of the M’s”) – they refuse to disclose who comes first, and btw, they are NOT brothers – is currently having the time of his life work with FAA to update the aircraft noise annoyance dose-response curve (the “Schultz Curve” – which is really awesome, since Ted Schultz was an early mentor of Nick’s at BBN.  But I digress).  He’s also trying to spend more time with his wife Andrea, kids and grand kids at his second home in Bar Harbor (ME).

Bob Miller (aka “the other M”) is also still fully engaged at HMMH, leading several NEPA projects, shepherding our federal projects, and still occasionally pulling an all-nighter (sometimes even work-related).  Bob juggles kids, grand kids, and tennis, and is happy to have Dana mostly to himself these days.  And lives for summer in Osawa.

Carl Hanson retired in 2011, and is spending much more time with his 1956 Jaguar, 1940’s-vintage Ford truck, wife Singe, and daughter Siri (not necessarily in that order).  He still stops by for an occasional social hour.

Alice Sewall was HMMH’s first Office Manager. When I met her, she was single-handedly refurbishing a beautiful Victorian worthy of This Old House.  She contributed to my workplace feminist outrage.  And taught me to knit.

Monique Benoit is now a travel consultant in Southern California.

Chris Conklin was a high school student who helped with a wide variety of tasks (in the old – pre-internet – days, it was a job called “go-fer”; now it probably has some lofty term).  I’m hoping HMMH was influential in his choosing to work in this field; he’s now a Principal at VHB in the Washington, D.C. area.

Cathy Abbot left HMMH in the late 1980s after having her third child (Carolyn recently graduated from Ithaca College with a PhD in physical therapy!).  Once all her kids were in school, Cathy spent 20+ years as a physics teacher at Lexington HS, and is now working as a content developer for a physics website.

Ted Baldwin is still very much with HMMH, and is currently working on as many Part 150s as he’s ever had at once!  He’s also Vice Chair of HMMH’s Board of Directors.  In his free time, he and Betsy sail the ‘Sarah B’, and spend lots of time with grandchildren.

Chris Menge is also still very active at HMMH, and manages our highway work for VDOT, MassDOT and other DOTs.  He and Ginny spend lots of time with family, too – including two grandchildren!

 

Throwback Thursday (TBT) – HMMH Offices Through the Years

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

by Mary Ellen Eagan

We’ve just gone through a renovation here at HMMH’s world headquarters (the major remaining punch list item is installation of a dart board for our Thursday afternoon beer crowd).  Here’s a look at HMMH’s Boston-area offices since the beginning.

HMMH’s First Office (1981-1983): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s First Boston-Area Office (1981-1983): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s Second Boston-Area Office (1983-1993): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s Second Boston-Area Office (1983-1993): Lexington, MA 

HMMH’s Third Boston-Area Office (1993-2005): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Third Boston-Area Office (1993-2005): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Current Headquarters (2005-present): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Current Headquarters (2005-present): Burlington, MA

 

 

In Memoriam

Monday, October 28th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Laymon Miller

Laymon Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of us at HMMH knew Laymon Miller personally – he was an important early contributor to the practice of noise control.  Laymon did much of the early work on aviation and highway noise control, as well as industrial acoustics, as described in this biography prepared for a University of Texas award that Laymon received:

Laymon Miller, Leo Beranek and Walden Clark of BBN in Seattle with Boeing 707 in background

Laymon Miller, Leo Beranek and Walden Clark of BBN in Seattle with Boeing 707 in background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of Laymon’s consulting work was: (1) Noise and vibration control for HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning) systems in buildings; (2) noise control for manufacturing plants, aimed at meeting OSHA noise regulations for the protection of workers’ hearing; (3) noise surveys and noise control aimed at protection of communities against the intrusion of excess noise from manufacturing plants, highways, power plants, airports, etc.; (4) noise and vibration control of products for customer acceptance; and (5) vibration isolation designs for achieving very low vibration levels for particular instruments or processes.

From my perspective, one of Laymon’s greatest contributions – not only to the field of acoustics, but also to the world – is Bob Miller, one of HMMH’s founders and former Chairman of the Board.   Bob mirrors not just Laymon’s passion for acoustics, but his courtesy and grace, and is a constant reminder that scientific inquiry and curiosity are a wonder.

Laymon will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers go to Bob and his family.

Willkommen auf INCE-bruck!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Sunday, September15, 2013

Innsbruck Aldstadt (Old Town)

Innsbruck Aldstadt (Old Town)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The understanding of Innsbruck that many Americans of my generation have begins and ends with the 1976 Winter Olympics:  Franz Klammer, Jim McKay, and Dorothy Hammil (yup, I had her famous wedge haircut).

Dorothy Hammil, 1976

Dorothy Hammil, 1976

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Didn’t think much of it again until I was invited to speak at the 2013 Internoise Conference.  So here I am, getting ready to attend the “Opening Ceremonies”, after spending a day as tourist.  I’d recommend:

  • Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum (Tyrolean Regional Heritage Museum): features a collection of folk art and displays of Austrian living in the 15th-18th century.  I was most intrigued by a current exhibition entitled “Dreck” (Dirt), which focused on cleanliness and hygiene as a social ideal (indeed, teutonic fastidiousness with hygiene was something I noticed upon my first visit to Austria, when most toilets were still of the “shelf toilet” variety).
  • Aldstadt:  the Old Town, with pretty pastel buildings, Alps in the background, and lots of touristy shops, in case you’re in need of some new leiderhosen.
  • Theresienkirche: at the top of a mountain, in the “Hunger District”.  The church has several frescoes by Max Weiler, including this one depicting Tyroleans at the crucifixion:

Herz-Jesu-Sonne, 1947  Source: Die Hungerburger Theresienkirche

Herz-Jesu-Sonne, 1947
Source: Die Hungerburger Theresienkirche

 

 

 

More later.  When the action starts.

A “perfect storm” – Recent actions by all three branches of the federal government address more types of aircraft noise, and acknowledge that adverse effects extend beyond traditional noise contours.

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

by Ted Baldwin

Serious federal attention to aircraft noise began around 1960, largely in response to community concerns (okay, complaints) related to the introduction of early air carrier jets (“airliners”), in particular the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.

For the past half century, the federal government has largely focused its attention on aircraft noise associated with succeeding generations of airline jets at commercial service airports.  General aviation (g.a.) airports, g.a. jets, propeller aircraft, and helicopters have been a secondary focus of attention to all branches of the federal government, as illustrated by the following examples:

  • Legislative branch:  Congress has focused on laws phasing out older noisier aircraft over 75,000 pounds, which largely represent air carrier jets.
  • Executive branch:  The FAA’s development of the Integrated Noise Model (INM) has largely focused on modeling air carrier jets, as exemplified by the database’s most extensive coverage for that category of aircraft, with increasing dependence on substitute modeling surrogates as aircraft weight decreases.
  • Judicial branch:  Legal decisions have largely accepted arguments that significant noise exposure and associated liability extend only to the 65 decibel (dB) Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) contour, on which g.a. aircraft and helicopters have relatively little effect;  typically the 65 DNL contour from these aircraft alone encompass little – if any – off-airport land.

To build on the “ocean” metaphor in the title of this posting, the airline jet noise “tide” is ebbing, largely as the result of federal legislation and FAA regulations that force the retirement of 14 C.F. R. Part 36 Stage 1 and 2 jets over 75,000 pounds, and require applications for new “type certification” to meet Stage 4 requirements.  Local noise abatement and land use compatibility programs have complemented these federal actions (and frequently benefited from federal funding and implementation support).

One potential federal response might be to declare “mission accomplished” on the noise front, and turn the focus to areas where the tide is rising – both literally and figuratively; e.g., emissions-related contributions to climate change, which appear to be associated with storms that threaten coastal airports and result in operational delays at airports at all elevations.

However, recent actions show that the federal government is taking a different approach, and turning its focus to previously neglected – or at least lower-profile – noise issues associated with g.a. airports, g.a., jets, and even helicopters.  Again, this “changing tide” is reflected across the board at the federal level:

  • Legislative branch:  In the “FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,” Congress prohibited, after December 31, 2015, regular operation in the contiguous 48 states of civil aircraft weighing 75,000 pounds or less that do not meet Stage 3 noise levels.  See http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-02/pdf/2013-15843.pdf.)
  • Executive branch:  As summarized in its “Aviation Noise Impacts Research Roadmap,” the FAA is supporting a number of initiatives recognizing a broader range of noise issues, such as the accuracy of the INM for modeling g.a. aircraft and enhanced modeling of taxiway noise.
  • Executive Branch:  In a more applied case, the FAA adopted a final rule on July 6, 2012 that requires helicopter pilots to use the North Shore Helicopter Route when operating along the north shore of Long Island, New York.  The purpose of the rule is to “protect and enhance public welfare by maximizing utilization of the existing route flown by helicopter traffic one mile off the north shore of Long Island and thereby reducing helicopter overflights and attendant noise disturbance over nearby communities.”  (see http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/media/NYNShoreHelicopterFinalRule.pdf)
  • Judicial branch:  In a recent opinion that denied a petition by the Helicopter Association International (HAI) for judicial review of the preceding mandatory helicopter route, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit supported the other executive branches in their focus on lower levels of noise exposure related to operations by non-airline aircraft.  (see http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/1C20D137DFF53DAD85257BA600539826/$file/12-1335-1446255.pdf)

It should be noted that the Long Island helicopter route rule addressed in the preceding two bullets was initiated by two federal legislators representing Long Island residents – Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Tim Bishop – who conducted a meeting in October 2007 with the FAA, local helicopter operators, and airport proprietors to specifically address noise complaints stemming from helicopter operations along the north shore of Long Island.  While only the executive and judicial branches took formal action, the process involved significant input by these legislators as well.

The mandatory helicopter route is particularly significant because it represents divergence from several prior federal positions related to the longstanding “line in the sand” that the federal government has drawn at the 65 decibel (dB) Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) contour: 

  • First, it reflects major divergence from the prior federal position that reduction of sensitive land uses exposed to noise above 65 dB DNL was a de facto prerequisite for approval and support of noise abatement or compatible land use actions.  In its brief responding to the HAI petition, the FAA acknowledged that the route would not produce any benefit at or above this level of exposure, and noted that it “has authority to act without first demonstrating that a specific noise level has been exceeded.”  Furthermore, the FAA brief cited the “Long Island North Shore Helicopter Route Environmental Study,” which it had tasked the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to conduct.  That study concluded that prior to the adoption of the mandatory route, no residential population along the route was exposed to noise above 45 dB DNL, even on busy holiday weekends (e.g., around Memorial Day and July 4th, 2011).
  • Second, it reflected the first time – of which this author is aware – that the FAA relied on complaints as a fully sufficient basis for adoption of a formal noise abatement procedure.  In perhaps its most blunt statement regarding complaints, the FAA brief responding to the HAI petition stated “[w]hen people take the time to complain about helicopter noise to the FAA and their elected officials, there is a noise problem.”

The FAA’s justification for and defense of adopting a mandatory noise abatement rule based on noise complaints and with open acknowledgement that the benefit outside the 65 dB DNL contour by a 20dB margin is an extraordinary divergence from decades of FAA policy and decisions regarding noise compatibility actions.  As just one example, readers may recall that in its determination that the Naples (FL) Airport Authority (NAA) adoption of a ban on Stage 2 operations “was unreasonable and unjustly discriminatory” and therefore in violation of federal law, in part because the “NAA’s use of complaints … does not support a finding that the Stage 2 ban is reasonable.”  (”Director’s Determination,” FAA Docket No. 16-01-15, March 10, 2003.)

These recent actions by all three branches of the federal government clearly acknowledge that aircraft noise impacts worthy of addressing in the most formal manner need not be justified by federal land use compatibility guidelines, are not limited to particularly noisy aircraft, and do not even require quantification in decibel-based terms.

While the applicability of these actions as precedents in addressing other noise concerns across the U.S. will undoubtedly be the topic of vigorous debate for some time, airport noise stakeholders – including aircraft operators, pilots, airport proprietors, state and local government land use jurisdictions, airport neighbors, and others – should follow the federal lead in taking a fresh look at creative bases for demonstrating benefits and considering – or reconsidering – the full spectrum of noise abatement and compatible land use measures that might be applied to aircraft noise sources of local concern.