FAA investing $19m in AAM noise pollution research


The FAA has awarded $19m in ‘Quiet Skies’ research grants to 14 universities across the US in a drive to understand and reduce noise pollution associated with AAM and aviation as a whole.

The move comes one year on from the US Government Accountability Office asked the FAA to better address aviation noise concerns. If and when the nascent AAM industry scales there will thousands of new aircraft operating in the skies. Alongside an increase in aircraft, it seems logical that the noise levels generated by aviation should also increase.

“Research is the gateway to breakthroughs. With the best minds, we can reduce noise and fly with net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.

Firstly, the research will develop noise models for different types of AAM vehicles. This will be undertaken by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after it received a $315,000 grant. MIT has also been awarded a further $300,000 to conduct research to estimate if any housing value loss has occurred due to aircraft noise exposure.

Pennsylvania State University has been awarded $280,000 and $170,000 to develop acoustic modelling for UAM vehicles with low noise operations and noise abatement procedures for helicopters in various phases of flight through computer modelling. The university has also received $1,077,621 to investigate the effects of aviation noise on sleep disturbance.

An evaluation of the noise exposure that could result from large numbers of commercial and private UAS vehicles will be researched by the Georgia Institute of Technology following a $300,000 grant.

Finally, Boston University has been given $1,999,608 to assess and quantify if any correlation exists between aircraft noise, sleep, cardiovascular health and mental health.

Assistant Administrator for Policy, International Affairs, and Environment, Laurence Wildgoose said: “The university teams are creating a new path for the aviation industry and our investments in the research are paying dividends today.”

As well as the noise reduction and exposure studies, the FAA has invested in other projects with a focus on sustainable aviation fuel, alternative jet fuel supply chains, engine technology, commercial space and environmental measurement. During the past year, the FAA has invested more than $35m.