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Community Oriented Solutions to Minimise aircraft noise Annoyance

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

The SEFA EC-funded project (02/2004-06/2007) was the first, and so far unique, approach to applying sound engineering practices to external aircraft noise, i.e. reducing noise (annoyance), not just by lowering levels but also by improving the characteristics of aircraft noise signatures. Regarding lowering the level, related to an analysis of single events, it was a breakthrough in its innovative concept and performance.

In addressing the other, within innovative field and laboratory annoyance studies, COSMA will continue the successful collaboration amongst aircraft noise engineers, sound designers and the noise-effects experts. It provides the best possible paradigm for ensuring that the work on noise effects is clearly targeted at improving aircraft design and operations, and therefore is already taking into account the ultimate goal described above.

The COSMA objectives bring together three different scientific and engineering domains:

- the noise annoyance psychometrics domain;

- the sound engineering domain;

- the aircraft noise engineering domain.

This innovative and collaborative approach aims to reduce perceived noise annoyance by 50% by 2020.


COSMA aims to develop engineering criteria for aircraft design and operations in order to reduce the annoyance of exterior aircraft noise within airport communities. Such criteria do not currently exist since aircraft noise engineering has historically focused on achieving ever-lower noise levels for individual events and at close distance from the runway. Within the framework of a unique approach, COSMA will:

- improve the understanding of noise annoyance effects from aircraft in the airport community through field studies and psychometric testing;

- use these findings to set up optimised aircraft noise shapes;

- develop techniques for realistic synthesis of aircraft noise around airports;

- validate the optimised aircraft noise shapes and their associated engineering guidelines;

- put in place a knowledge management for design practices and scientific information on an aircraft's exterior noise annoyance effects.

The scientific research results will be used for reducing the noise annoyance at source, by technological or operational means, through an improved understanding of the effects of aircraft noise in the surrounding airport community.

Description of Work

1. COSMA will use recent and ongoing research on airport community field studies by setting up an Aviation Noise Impact Knowledge Base to collect all available data and methods on annoyance measurements.

2. Psychometric testing will be carried out in the field, as it is the only experimental paradigm to collect relevant data on acute and long-term annoyance.

3. Data will be collected within the virtual resident platform VRes, which started in SEFA. The VRes tool is going to simulate the human subjective perception and long-term annoyance. Mathematical algorithms will be developed to identify and describe the input audio data by identifying the decisive annoyance factors of aircraft noise.

4. Aircraft engineers will modify and optimise future airport noise scenarios in terms of level, duration, frequency and sound characteristic effects.

5. Optimised scenarios will be synthesised based on source components and flight path data and automatically associated with engineering criteria for aircraft designs and operations. Actual low noise technologies and operations will be considered along with future noise scenarios at aircraft and engine manufacturers.

6. Optimised future airport noise scenarios will be validated to typical current airport noise scenarios by laboratory experiments and from these engineering guidelines for aircraft design and operations will be defined.

Expected Results

This project will produce design criteria and tools, so that the measure of its success will really be associated with their effective availability at the end of the project. The specific nature of this project makes it difficult to assess the satisfaction of objectives in terms of decibels, but an important expected benefit is that the loose notion of environmental friendliness - that is often used as an expression of the ultimate goal for noise research - will be described in scientific and technical terms as being able to influence future aircraft designs and operations.

COSMA work concept
COSMA work concept