The EPA has released the first ever pollution regulations for airplanes…but they don't do anything.

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12 ÷ 2.4 = 5

But yes it’s still a lot


There’s really not a good alternative to rolling out new aircraft regulations slowly. New planes take a long time to come to market for a reason. The EPA can’t compel the FAA to change the rules on that, and could you imagine the response if the FAA tried to weaken rules on making changes to plane designs after the 737 Max?

So the the options are: 1) make rules now, knowing they’ll come into effect over many years, 2) make rules later, and delay even longer, 3) make no rules, and let emissions keep growing unabated, and 4) halt all production of new aircraft until changes are made and approved, which will take many years anyway, effectively ensuring the current major aircraft carriers go out of business (note: any regulation that did this would almost certainly be struck down in court and never take effect, and the EPA might lose the authority to try again)

And while I’d love to have seen regulations proposed many years earlier, reducing aviation emissions is a much harder problem than cars and trucks, and even a few years ago we didn’t really have a strong sense of what options were feasible beyond using lighter weight materials and a mix of biofuels.


Noise pollution has been overlooked as well. They don’t care.


With regard to the 167,000 General Aviation fixed-wing aircraft mentioned above (along with the 34,000 Experimental Aircraft and a chunk of the 10,000 Rotorcraft) it should be noted that General Aviation is the catchall term for all the aviation that’s not Commercial Aviation.

So generally, those are privately owned aircraft flown by pilots with Private Pilot’s Licences.

80% of General Aviation takes place in the US and 80% of that takes place west of the Rockies (I’m citing the movie One Six Right here, I think).

The cutting edge of GA has been focusing on fuel efficiency since the oil crises in the '70s. In the last couple of decades there has been a lot of development in aircraft powered by Unleaded Mogas, Diesel, Biofuel and Electricity. This stuff is probably far ahead of the EPA’s recommendations.

In short, General Aviation isn’t really the problem. Commercial is the problem.

PS. I know it’s bad, but that B-47 picture is glorious!


No, it hasn’t. Modern commercial jets are much quieter than they used to be, by virtue of being fitted with big turbofan jets, instead of turbojets that early passenger jets had. The only jets that are still really noisy are military fast jets - even military transport aircraft use turbofans. I live under the flight path of passenger jets going into Bristol Airport, and what used to be one of the largest military transport bases in Southern England, RAF Lyneham, and there are still significant numbers of military aircraft flying around, the big C17’s are barely noticeable, barely any noisier than the turboprop aircraft like C-130’s and Airbus A-400. Even in central London, where planes are on final approach to London Heathrow, and City Airport, their noise is lost in the background city noise.


On the inside perhaps. They are still unbelievably noisy for those who live under flight paths. FAA’s NextGen program has rerouted counted flight paths that used to be reasonably dispersed over populated areas into rivers of noise all across the country. Don’t tell me that they are quieter because they are not.

Don’t tell me that they are quieter because they are not.

This abstract would like a word.

While their use of turbofan nozzles to reduce noise in turbojets wasn’t particularly successful, the entire reason they’re doing this is that turbofans are quieter than turbojets. New passenger jets have quieter engines than old ones.


70 - 80+ db 6 miles out from an airport at 2000 ft is NOT any quieter. This is what DCA is like.

Cabin noise is what concerns airplane manufacturers not ground noise. You know how the FAA was able to implement NextGen? They bypassed environmental studies at every airport in the country. Noise and air pollution “concerns” were glossed over in the name of airline profits. More examples of the airplane industry self-regulating.

I’m not arguing about self regulation. All I am saying, and this is fact, is that the turbofan engines on modern jets produce less noise than the turbojet engines used on early jets.

New jet go brrrrr old jet go BRRRRR

edit: Looks like cabin noise is about the same due to some wonky boundary layer acoustics.

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People have been complaining about noise around airports presumably since shortly after airports were built, but modern aircraft (while noisy) have got nothing on the noise of the jets from a couple of decades back.

Feel the noise and marvel at the smoke from the multitude of tiny-ass engines on this 707…

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