July 20, 2015

The FAA recently issued a reminder to operators of jet airplanes weighing 75,000 pounds or less that they must comply with Stage 3 noise levels by Jan. 1, 2016. The requirement effectively prohibits the operation of Stage 2 aircraft within, to or from the contiguous United States after Dec. 31, 2015.

The agency warned that operators failing to meet these standards may be subject to civil penalties, although certain flights of airplanes not meeting the stricter noise levels might be conducted under special flight authorizations granted by the FAA on a case-by-case basis. For example, exemptions will be considered for airplanes being operated using an experiment airworthiness certificate, or for those being flown to obtain Stage 3 modifications or to discontinue ownership of the aircraft.

The Stage 3 requirement was codified as Part 91.881 in 2013 as part of the FAA’s response to a congressional mandate. The final rule, published on July 2, 2013, set the phase-out date for Stage 2 operations as established by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

“The Stage 2 phase-out date was established by the FAA after years of discussion between the FAA and the industry,” said Peter Korns, NBAA’s project manager of operations. “During these discussions, NBAA continuously urged agency officials and congressional lawmakers to consider the time and costs necessary for aircraft operators to ensure compliance. The Association encouraged the FAA to provide sufficient accommodations for the significant modification or replacement of an airplane as necessary to meet the Stage 2 phase-out mandate.”

This advocacy helped provide additional time for affected operators to comply with Stage 3, as the Stage 2 phase-out for business aircraft comes more than two decades after similar legislation required such restrictions on airliners.

Read the FAA’s notice on Stage 3 noise levels.

NBAA recently published an update to its Noise Abatement Program which provides business aviation operators, as well as airport authorities, with recommended guidelines for reducing aircraft noise impacts to communities surrounding the nation’s airports. The safe, standardized and straightforward operating procedures were developed for today’s business jet aircraft, which are quieter, climb faster and often operate at airports that are far more congested than when the NAP was first launched in 1967.

Read more about NBAA’s updated Noise Abatement Program.