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Representative Mike Capuano asks NASA Administrator Dan Goldin to Consult Residents When Devising Noise Reduction Projects for Airplanes

February 16, 2000 -- Rep. Mike Capuano questioned NASA Administrator Dan Goldin during the February 16 Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee hearing about NASA's noise reduction proposals. After underscore the importance that NASA stay focused on improving its education outreach programs, Rep. Capuano then turned his focus on NASA's airport noise reduction plan.

Referring to the Administration's Fiscal year 2001 request for NASA funding, Capuano questioned the math involved in NASA's proposals. Under the Aviation Systems Capacity Program, the goal is to triple the throughput of the U.S. aviation system in all weather conditions, within 10 years, while maintaining safety. At the same time, the Quiet Aircraft Technology Program objectives include cutting noise levels by a factor of two within 10 years. Capuano claimed that although he wasn't a math major in college, he couldn't understand the discrepancies between these proposals. With air traffic growing at an exponential rate, Capuano said he hoped NASA would begin noise reduction efforts immediately and with greater success than two or three factors per decade.

Being from a district with an airport which keeps people up all hours of the night, Capuano emphasized that airports need to be considerate of the nearby residents. When developing technology, scientists many times tend to focus solely on the numbers and statistics involved. Rep. Capuano urged Goldin to take a different approach, "Get your butt under one of these runways", talk to the residents living next door to the airport, find out what they really want, and devise the technology around them. After all, they're the ones living in the area.

Goldin readily responded to Rep. Capuano's requests, and said NASA's ultimate goal is to contain airport noise within the airport itself using quieter engines and improved airframe designs.