Can a citizen sue the Federal Aviation Administration for noise pollution resulting from NextGen flight redirection over residential areas? EPA used to have a noise abatement division which was discontinued many years ago, now the NextGen has resulted in airline highways over our neighborhoods, where previously they were required to follow the Potomac river corridor south for 10 miles from DCA to gain higher altitude before banking west. Many people across the US are affected - and thousands have filled out petitions to no avail. State of Arizona has sued FAA but no published result. online compliant forms to Washington metro airport authority are submitted and no response, is there anything we can do?

  • Hard to prove damages in such a case
    – Viktor
    Sep 11, 2016 at 18:45
  • 1
  • Yes, a very big problem. The sad irony is Congress wrote in to law that funded NextGen, allowing them to skip any (standard) EPA testing. Or telling any of the effected communities in advance. Congress also approved the exceptions allowing more flights, and larger non-stop planes form DCA. Congressman like to go home for the weekend. They (Congress) say they want to fix it...you can read letters from Congress, yet that won't do anything re legislation. Google Fair Skies Coalition. In talking to people on the inside the airlines are a very powerful lobby, and all the additional flights NextGen Dec 28, 2016 at 3:39
  • 1
    This may be an issue of effecting a few for the good of the whole. It is accepted by most experts that the U.S. was well behind air traffic control before NextGen which has massive safety, efficiency and reliability impacts. You may just have to suffer for the good of the rest of us, and frankly that kind of thing should happen more often. If altruism don't persuade you, feel free to vote with your wallet don't fly on airlines that cause noise...
    – Sam
    Dec 29, 2016 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


You might have to be creative to find legal avenue to explore. Some airports have limits on aircraft size, times of flight and noise. Concorde for example broke many laws in the US but won an exception when it flew.

I suspect your chances of legal recourse are at best slim and likely vary from state to state.

In the late 90s, in the UK, I owned an apartment near heathrow. I rarely heard the aircraft because I was away from their path but it might surprise you that despite having viewed the property a few times prior to buying it, I did not notice a main rail line about 100feet away from the property (blocked from street level by garages and bush). First week I moved in and the noise was terrible - I investigated what grants I might get for double or triple glazing (8cm gap between panes recommended to reduce sound). I was told that since the rail line was there for many years before me and the building, and since I moved to the problem, the law meant they were not liable. Worse, I was told trains could move 24x7 and there was nothing I could do unless they altered the line for larger/wider/heavier trains.

Thus in your case - you might find aircraft up to a certain size or noise level is permitted - or aircraft limited by size/time of day. You would need investigate if any aircraft regularly breached it - if you can prove that, then you would have to show fault/harm - occasional infringement will not likely lower the value of your property, nor likely to cause long term health defects. Hence why I think your chance of legal recourse is at best slim.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .