Reagan National Airport's flight patterns causing noise problems for Fairfax Co. neighborhoods

- Some residents in Fairfax County say flight patterns around Reagan National Airport are causing too much noise in their neighborhoods.

At issue is a new air traffic control plan that is supposed to improve plane traffic in and out of the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic control system started at Reagan National Airport in 2014. The system is supposed to be more efficient, putting planes on more direct flight paths using GPS satellite instead of ground radar.

While it may have fixed one problem, it has created another and residents in Fairfax County neighborhoods along the Potomac River near Mount Vernon have noticed a dramatic increase in the amount of airline noise since NextGen went into effect.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) tells FOX 5 they are aware of the complaints. They say the changes send more planes out over the Potomac River, but that means neighborhoods like Mount Vernon likely have seen an increase of noise in their areas.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is sending a letter to the MWAA and the FAA demanding that flight patterns change back to older paths that saw planes fly higher and move farther south before turning towards the airport.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck says the complaints will only grow as the weather turns warmer and people head outside or open their windows at their homes.

"We know that's what we all live for – a little bit of that quality time and we're not going to get it because we are going to hear a plane going over every few minutes making a lot of noise and making it hard to hear,” says Storck.

An MWAA spokesperson says they maintain a noise information office and are aware of the complaints from Fairfax County residents. They say they are working to relay those complaints to the FAA and are looking into trying to form a task force that could possibly lead to a solution.

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