Assess the Homesite
Take at least two hours at the homesite to observe aircraft operations in each operational mode. There are two modes for aircraft operations at RDU. When the winds are south, southwest or west, the planes depart towards Morrisville and Cary and arrive over north Raleigh. When the winds are north, northeast or east, the planes depart towards north Raleigh and arrive over Cary and Morrisville. The noise impact will be different for each operational mode at the homesite. A good time to observe is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Most planes fly during the day and early evening. Some flights occur late at night. Weekends may be busy too. Personal observations are important. However you probably don't have the time to observe at all hours. Airplanes fly at all hours. There is no curfew at RDU.
The flight tracks affect areas in Wake County, Durham County, Chatham County, Orange County and beyond. Become aware of what aircraft noise impacts there may be at the homesite by calling the Noise Officer.
The flight track map depicts one day of operations for each operational mode. Although there can be some day-to-day variation in the airspace where airplanes operate, in general the flight track map shows where airplanes fly when operating at RDU. There can be variation in the altitude of the airplanes due to various reasons, both on departure and on approach. An airplane flying lower than other airplanes can cause a noise disturbance. (See Noise Information)
Currently, Raleigh-Durham International Airport has two parallel runways that handle all jet and most propeller aircraft operations. A short perpendicular runway handles some propeller aircraft. Another parallel runway is planned to be operational in the future. A new runway located on the west side of the airport will be built when demand for air service requires it. The two existing parallel runways and the planned third parallel runway are shown on the RDU Composite Noise Contour Map. (See Noise Information)
Screen Information Carefully
Be careful with what people tell you. Real estate agents, property developers, neighbors and concerned citizens may not be familiar with aircraft operations at RDU. So when they tell you that the airport shuts down at night or that the planes usually fly the other way or that it's not that bad or that the noise is getting worse every day or that the flight tracks just got changed or that the property value is going down or anything else, please call the Noise Officer. The Noise Officer will discuss flight tracks, current aircraft operations, noise disclosure and future growth at the airport.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
It is important for the public to know that the authority to control aircraft in flight and on the ground is vested exclusively in the FAA. The FAA, however, cannot control the number of flights or the time of day of aircraft operations. Federal law preempts any local government agency from implementing any action that is intended to control the routes of aircraft in flight. Therefore, the noise committee, local elected officials and airport management cannot control the routes of aircraft in flight or on the ground.
In November 1990 Federal law directed the FAA to establish a program to review aircraft noise and access restrictions proposed by airports. The FAA must approve any new noise restriction if it affects turbojet aircraft that are compliant with Stage 3 noise standards. Local governments cannot propose aviation noise restrictions.
North Carolina law requires residential disclosure for resale of homes. Noise disclosure is necessary for resale of homes located within the noise-impacted area designated by the RDU Composite Noise Contour Map (See Noise Information). The Airport Authority has notified property owners within the noise-impacted area by mailing an Aircraft Noise Notification to them (See Homeowner Information). Recent homebuyers should have received noise disclosure when purchasing a home from the previous homeowner. Ask the seller about noise disclosure.
Be advised of the following exemption in the residential disclosure law: “Transfers involving the first sale of a dwelling never inhabited”. Newly built homes being sold for first time occupancy are exempt from disclosure by law. A seller of a new home built in the noise-impacted area can choose not to disclose noise. If you buy a newly-built home in the noise-impacted area, you will have to disclose noise should you choose to resell the home. If you have any questions about noise disclosure, please call the Noise Officer.
Property owners have the right to request a zoning change for residential development. The cities and counties have the right to exercise land use decisions that include approval of residential subdivisions directly underneath existing and future flight tracks. You have the right to buy one of those houses. The Airport Authority has the right to develop the airport to accommodate any and all aviation needs for this region. The FAA has the right to guide the aircraft in the airspace. Pilots have the right to operate the aircraft. All of this is done to promote the economic prosperity of the Triangle region and eastern North Carolina.
The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority desires to provide you with the opportunity to learn about aircraft noise and airport development. Then you will be able to make an informed decision regarding the purchase of property. Call the Noise Officer at (919) 840-2100 for more information regarding aircraft noise and airport operations.