April 5, 2014
FAA Issues Final Stage 3 Helicopter Noise Rule
Aviation International News » April 2014
by Mark Huber

On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.

Under the new rule, helicopters with an mtow of 3,125 pounds or less cannot produce noise in excess of 82 dB SEL (decibels, sound exposure level) at the maximum normal operating rpm during takeoff, flyover or approach.

For heavier helicopters the noise limit is calculated using the formula of 3.0 db SEL per doubling the weight after 3,125 pounds. For helicopters having an mtow of 176,370 pounds or more the Stage 3 limits are as follows: takeoff 106 EPNdB (effective perceived noise decibel level–a calculation that is “annoyance based” and takes into account both frequency and audibility), 104 EPNdB for flyover and 109 EPNdB for approach. In all three phases of flight the limits decrease by 3.0 EPNdB per halving of weight down to a floor of 86 EPNdB for takeoff, 84 EPNdB for flyover and 89 EPNdB for approach.

The rule amends Part 36 of the FARs to allow new helicopter type designs to be designated Stage 3 compliant under the ICAO standards. The FAA notes that the final rule does not impose incremental costs and carries the benefit of quieter helicopters manufactured and certified under the new standard, with the assumed benefit that they will then be easier to market outside the U.S. The FAA notes that the rule does not impose any new costs, since “testing procedures for helicopter noise certification already exist and will not change when certifying a helicopter to Stage 3 standards.”

Grandfather Clause

The final rule does not require existing, noisier Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters to meet Stage 3 standards. The Helicopter Association International (HAI) and other trade groups had fought for this position. At the time of the release of the NPRM in 2012, HAI president Matt Zuccaro said, “Helicopters are major capital investments, so we also believe any FAA action should include a grandfather clause for existing helicopters to allow them to continue to fly for the remainder of their operational lives, and that the new noise certification standards should not affect access to airspace for legacy aircraft.”

Helicopter noise is measured by direct acoustic sampling and calculation that accounts for both the frequency of the noise and its “annoyance” factor.

The FAA began looking at the issue of helicopter noise in 1973 as more advanced sampling and measuring technologies became available. The agency issued its first NPRM on the subject in 1979, but later withdrew it. In 1982, helicopter manufacturers and NASA began cooperative research on helicopter noise-abatement technologies. In 1988, the FAA adopted its first helicopter noise regulation as an amendment to Part 36 of the FARs and similar to ICAO Annex 16.

The U.S. Congress has long been embroiled in the issue of helicopter noise, most recently directing the FAA to develop noise-abatement policies and routes in Los Angeles if voluntary measures fail to quell noise complaints within one year. In 2012, enacted federal legislation directed the FAA and the National Park Service (NPS) to devise financial incentives for air-tour operators who use quiet technology helicopters over the Grand Canyon. That incentive took effect on January 1 this year, and operators of quieter helicopters will see their per-flight fee over the park reduced to $20 from $25. An NPS spokesman said the reduced fees will save tour operators $250,000 per year.

For the original article click here.

News Archive
April 5, 2014
FAA Issues Final Stage 3 Helicopter Noise Rule

March 7, 2014
Member Call to Action: Oppose New User Fees

February 26, 2014
Resolution Introduced at Today's Stated

February 20, 2014
FAA Issues Final Rule to Improve Helicopter Safety

January 27, 2014
New Helicopter Business Takes to the Skies

January 7, 2014
First Visualisation of Helicopter Noise

December 5, 2013
F.A.A. $$ May Jeopardize Anti-Noise Bids

November 1, 2013
Pilot, Sailor Gould A. Ryder III dies at 65

October 29, 2013
Study Shows Airport's Economic Impact on East Hampton

September 26, 2013
Tension in the air, as Hudson residents and officials battle helicopter tour industry

September 13, 2013

August 21, 2013
NASA Plans to Crash Helicopter to Study Safety

July 1, 2013
Hudson River Incident

April 9, 2013
Fatigue Management Seminar

February 27, 2013
ERHC Fly Neighborly Kickoff Meeting

November 9, 2012
Helicopters flown by volunteer pilots land at SIUH with relief supplies

November 8, 2012
Hurricane Sandy Relief

November 5, 2012
ERHC Offers Their Service For Sandy Recovery Efforts

November 3, 2012
Helicopter Emergency Response, Hurricane Sandy.

November 1, 2012
NY/NJ Helicopter Industry Cleaning Up After Sandy

October 15, 2012
Sag Harbor Express

September 17, 2012
Tragic Loss of a Friend

August 9, 2012
FAA’s LI Mandatory Noise Route Under Scrutiny

July 17, 2012
Officials Say Noise Down at Airport

July 10, 2012

July 3, 2012
NBAA Conducting Business Aviation Pilot Training Survey

June 15, 2012
Pending Congressional Action Threatens Your Access to Airspace

May 24, 2012
New Push to Deal with L.A. Helicopter Noise

May 5, 2012
Should We Regulate Helicopter Noise? Montrose, CA

May 1, 2012
HAI President's Call to Action: To maintain airspace access, we need you to act now.

April 29, 2012
Helicopter Group's LI Aircraft Noise Plan

April 26, 2012
Dangerous Senate Amendment Threatens Air Tour Industry

March 22, 2012
Emergency Response Drill

March 13, 2012
Fly Neighborly Kickoff & IFR Symposium

January 10, 2012
Kearny Heliport

December 25, 2011
Happy Holidays!

October 5, 2011
East River Accident

February 21, 2011
Hero NYPD Cops Rescue West Point Cadets Who Were Stuck on 800-ft High Cliff

February 18, 2011
New Helicopter Restrictions Proposed!

February 8, 2011
Volunteers Needed for the Red Zone Full Scale Exercise

December 29, 2010
Times Square New Years Eve TFR 2010-2011

December 10, 2010

November 24, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving!!

July 1, 2010

July 1, 2010
Downloadable NPRM Comments

May 27, 2010
FAA Issues NPRM mandating VFR Routes over Long Island Sound.

April 30, 2010
City of New York Announces New Helicopter Sightseeing Plan

March 26, 2010
WAAS Happening!

March 15, 2010
Annual Fly Neighborly Meeting and IFR Symposium

March 1, 2010
ERHC hosts HAI Fly Neighborly Booth

February 15, 2010
Hudson River Class B Transition Route Chart & New York Special Flight Rules Chart

February 10, 2010
Washington DC Helicopter RNAV Route Meeting Has Been Rescheduled

January 28, 2010
Outstanding Meeting last night!!!!!!!!

January 22, 2010
ERHC honored for work on NY Task Force.

January 15, 2010
Winter General Meeting - January 27, 2010

November 26, 2009
Chairman's Holiday Message

November 18, 2009
New ERHC Website!

November 15, 2009
Winter General Meeting

October 17, 2009
Helicoptering in and around NYC is Safe

September 15, 2009
Annual Meeting in three days!

September 11, 2009
Heliport Drill Sept 19