Noise Basics


The FAA has been concerned with aircraft noise for a long time. This is a brief history of the many steps that have been taken to reduce aircraft noise.

  • 1968: The FAA was given authority to impose aircraft noise standards.
  • 1969: The FAA issued noise standards for new designs of civil subsonic jet aircraft. Aircraft that met these standards were later called Stage 2 aircraft. Those that didn't were called Stage 1 aircraft.
  • 1973: The FAA expanded its standards to apply not only to new aircraft designs, but also to newly produced aircraft.
  • 1976: The FAA ordered a phase-out of all Stage 1 aircraft over 75,000 lbs. before 1/1/85.This banned them from using U.S. airports after the determined date.
  • 1977: The FAA established stricter noise regulations for new aircraft. It also established the "Stage" designations. Aircraft that conformed to the new regulations were termed "Stage 3" aircraft.
  • 1980: The FAA is directed by Congress to: (1) make the cutoff date for four-engine airplanes apply to foreign airplanes operating in the United States also; and (2) develop a regulation for airports to follow if they choose to develop a noise compatibility study.
  • 1982: The Airport and Airway Improvement Act was enacted. This act provided for airport improvement program funding.
  • 1990: Congress passed the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA).
    • Civil subsonic jet airplanes weighing more that 75,000 lbs had to meet the Stage 3 regulations by 12/31/99.
    • A gradual phase-out of Stage 2 aircraft or a gradual phase-in of Stage 3 aircraft before the 1999 date was also required.
  • 1990: Aviation Safety and Capacity Act. The Passenger Facility Charge Funding was established.
  • 2005: The FAA adopted a new Stage 4 noise standard. It applies to new aircraft designs submitted on or after 7/5/05.


Department of Transportation.FAR Final Rule.2005. Federal Aviation Administration.22 October 2006.

Preston, Edmund."The Federal Aviation Administration and Its Predecessor Agencies."U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.22 October 2006.

Federal Aviation Administration 14CFR Parts 36 and 91 "Stage 4 Aircraft Noise Standards Final Rule" Federal Register on July 5, 2005 Volume 70, Number 127; Pages 38742-50.

United States General Accounting Office.Aviation and the environment [electronic resource]: transitions to quieter aircraft occurred as planned, but concerns about noise persist.Washington: GPO, 2001.

Glossary Words:

Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA), Aviation Safety and Noise Abatement Act (ASNA), jet, noise, Stage 2, Stage 3

For definitions of words used in this section go to the NoiseQuest Glossary of Terms.