Air Transport World

Noise rule deadlines create little fear in U.S. airlines.

Airline fleet noise rules hit earliest and hardest in the U.S., and as the year 1984 winds down so does the life expectancy of most four-engine subsonic airlines serving U.S. destinations. Surprisingly, there is very little hue and cry among U.S. carriers about the approaching deadline.

In fact, those majors, nationals and others who have spent hundreds of millions to buy new equipment and modify older equipment to comply with the rules are intently eyeballing the Federal Aviation Administration and Congress to make sure that carriers who have picked up discarded Boeing 707s and McDonnell Douglas DC-8s at distress sale prices are not allowed to slip through a crack in the law.

It could be said that the 707s and DC-8s long have been suffering from the twin fatal diseases of low fuel efficiency and high noise generation. But lately there has been a remission in the fuel disease in the form of declining prices, helped along by 707 and DC-8 acquisition prices that have dropped to laughable levels, though it is doubtful the aircraft owners and brokers appreciate the humor. On top of this remission, three companies are developing an operation--new nacelles and hush kits--that save the airplanes from fatally obnoxious loudness. There also is the CFM56 re-engine program offered by Cammacorp, a higher cost option applicable only to 60-series DC-8s. More on these cures later.

Federal Aviation Administration in December 1976 started this mandatory retirement or modification of airplanes for noise by issuing a regulation stating that by Jan. 1, 1985, all turbojet aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 75,000 lbs. or more not be louder than levels established in Federal Aviation Regulation Part 36 for Stage II aircraft. An analogous international standard is the International Civil Aviation Organization's Annex 16, Chapter 2. Stage II and Chapter 2 are the noise standards aircraft must meet if certificated or manufactured after certain dates. FAA said all turbojet aircraft with an MTOW of 75,000 lbs. or greater manufactured after Dec. 1, 1973, had to meet Stage II standards. Even tougher are the Stage III/Chapter 3 standards. All U.S. turbojet aircraft for which a new type certificate was applied after May 5, 1976 must meet Stage III standards. ICAO recommended a slightly different date--Oct. 6, 1977--for compliance with Chapter 3 rules. Extension for twinjets

The 1985 rule was hard and fast until Congress got a hold of it and passed the Aviation Safety and Noise Abatement Act of 1979. …

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