Maryland Residents Upset by Plan to Alter Flight Paths

Residents packed a meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, Thursday night to express their frustration over the Federal Aviation Administration's plan to alter flight paths, which will likely create more aircraft noise above their heads.

The FAA has proposed to change the flight patterns for planes departing Ronald Reagan National Airport, which would bring the planes closer to homes in Bethesda neighborhoods near the Potomac River.

These flight path changes are part of NextGen, or the Next Generation Air Transportation System, which will transform America's air traffic control system from a radar-based system to a satellite-based system that uses GPS technology to shorten routes and increase capacity.

Residents in the area said aircraft noise has already been exacerbated by NextGen flight path changes implemented in December 2015.

"It's constant all day long. Literally, if you stand out in our yard, you'll see three planes in five minutes," said Patrick Nevins, who lives beneath the flight path.

Resident Deborah Schuman bought a decibal meter to measure the aircraft noise.

"It wakes me up in the morning. I wake up early, but before 6 o'clock I hear planes zooming over my neighborhood," Schuman said.

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"We don't feel that Maryland had input in the workgroup that set this route. So, we're here to express our voice in this," said Maryland State Sen. Susan Lee.

Officials with the FAA said the agency will implement NextGen across the country in stages until 2025.

"There's actually two goals here: Increase our time over the river; there also is the need to increase separation from the prohibited airspace...over the White House," said FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray.

The proposal is currently in its earliest stage.

Residents can submit their comments to the FAA by visiting this website.

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