Photo credit: ERIC SALARD licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

by Matt Santoro

Living near La Guardia Airport can be frustrating and upsetting, especially in the morning. Like many nearby residents, I am often awakened by the roar of a plane taking off from the airport for a short commuter flight. On many days these intrusions occur every 45 seconds, with the total duration of the frequent flights lasting about 90 minutes. On other days, the flights may be less frequent but keep going until about lunchtime. Like many students, I am going to class virtually, and the noise during class and when doing homework can be quite distracting. I am looking for some peace and quiet from the overhead noise and In the late afternoon, just when I’m finally able to relax from the day at school with some quiet, the flights begin again.

I am now able to identify the aircraft without having to look at a smartphone radar app FlightRadar24 that identifies the planes, simply from the sound of the engine. I can identify the type of aircraft from the pitch emitted as well as the loudness of the engine. There is a distinctive tone of the engine that is unpleasant, and I find it especially upsetting that some aircraft are much quieter than others. If some planes can be quieter, why can’t all manufacturers make all planes quieter?

I enjoy aviation. I like to take trips on my flight simulator on my computer, which provides very realistic procedures. I enjoy taking “real” airplane trips to visit family and to go on vacations. I am not calling for the elimination of airplanes; I am asking that airlines use quieter aircraft and alter flight paths to reduce noise for those living near airports.

Matt Santoro, 15 years old, is a Museum High School Sophomore and Bayside, Queens resident. He is the grandson of Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D.