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aircraft noise The Prescott Municipal Airport is one of the nations busiest General Aviation airports. During 2008, approximately 272,000 aircraft operations occurred at the airport. An "operation" is defined as either one takeoff or one landing by an aircraft. This level of operations made Prescott the 4th busiest airport in the state and the 41st busiest airport in the nation during 2008. Designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a General Aviation airport, Prescott is utilized by light aircraft, helicopters, corporate aircraft (propeller & jet), commercial airline and military aircraft.

The Prescott Municipal Airport is an integral part of the local, regional and national air transportation system providing essential aviation services. Regional population and economic growth are anticipated to increase all segments of aviation at the airport. A primary factor affecting aviation activity is the growth, both residential and commercial, in the tri-city area. This growth has and will continue to cause aviation activity to increase at a rate that is somewhat proportionate to the rate of growth.

Until recently, the airport was located away from the population centers of Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley. As the population of the tri-city area continues to grow, moving residential development closer to the airport, the natural buffer zone that once protected the airport is gradually disappearing. Adding to the aviation activity in our area is the weather. The abundance of clear skies in the Arizona area has fostered a worldwide reputation for excellent flying conditions. So the same reason that so many people decide to locate in the tri-city area has brought about a high level of aviation activity.

Much of the traffic comes from flight training activities conducted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and other flight schools. Other activity includes personal aviation, scheduled airline service, corporate & business aviation, and the military. The community benefits of these activities include medical flights, search & rescue flights, law enforcement, US Forest Service Air Tanker operations during the summer months, air tours to the Grand Canyon, etc.

In an effort to help minimize the potential impact upon the airport from residential encroachment and to allow for the development of the surrounding areas, the Airport and the City of Prescott developed and adopted the Airport Specific Area Plan (ASAP) in 2001. For further area information you may wish to contact the City's Planning Services office at 928-777-1207 and/or check the Arizona Department of Real Estate website. Additionally the City of Prescott is in the process of completing the 2009 Airport Master Plan which is updating the 1997 Airport Master Plan. For more information on the Airport Master Plan, please contact the Airport Administration Office at 928-777-1114

The procedures described below are designed to minimize aircraft noise disturbance to homes near the Prescott Airport. Compliance with our voluntary noise abatement procedures is extremely important in maintaining goodwill between the airport and the surrounding communities. These voluntary noise abatement procedures should not compromise safety of. Please take a few moments to become familiar with the procedures, and keep this sheet in your flight case for future reference. Thank you for your cooperation and support. For further information relating to the voluntary noise abatement policies of the airport, please feel free to contact airport management at 928-777-1114.

Traffic Pattern Altitudes
Small Single-Engine & Multiengine Airplanes
(maximum certificated takeoff weight less than 12,500 lbs.)
1,000 Feet Above Ground Level (AGL) – ALL RUNWAYS
Turbojet & Large Multiengine Airplanes
(maximum certificated takeoff weight over 12,500 lbs.)
1,500 Feet Above Ground Level (AGL) – ALL RUNWAYS

The airport currently has the following voluntary noise abatement policies in place:

  1. Runway 21L is designated “calm wind” runway.
  2. When Runway 21L is in use – Maintain runway heading until crossing Highway 89.
  3. When Runway 30 is in use – Left traffic for aircraft in closed traffic.
  4. When Runway 12 is in use – Right traffic for aircraft in closed traffic.
  5. Departure from Runways 12, 30 and 03R will be discouraged during the following times:
    • Monday through Friday prior to 7:00 a.m.
    • Weekends and holidays prior to 8:00 a.m
  6. Piston aircraft operators are requested to use AOPA “Noise Awareness Steps”
  7. Turbine/Jet aircraft operators are requested to use NBAA “Noise Abatement Program” procedures or comparable procedures of aircraft manufacturer.
  8. Helicopter operators are requested to use HAI “Recommended Noise Abatement Measures”
To Whom Should You Complain?

Within FAA, the Office of Flight Standards monitors aircraft operations. Locally, Flight Standards inspectors work in a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The Scottsdale FSDO services the Prescott area and may be reached by visiting their website or at the following information
  Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office
  17777 N. Perimeter Dr. Suite 101
  Scottsdale, Arizona 85255-5453
  Phone: (480) 419-0111 Fax: (480) 419-0800
  Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday
  Office hours by appointment only

For more information on filing a Low Flying Aircraft or Noise Complaint with the FAA, please visit the FAA website at either:
FAA- Aircraft Noise
FAA- No Low Fly

Aircraft noise complaints may also be filed with the airport, however the airport has no regulatory authority over the aircraft once they have departed the airport. Aircraft noise complaints filed with the airport will be documented and records retained on file.To file a noise complaint with the airport, please call 928-777-1150 and leave/provide the following information:

  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • The date and time of the occurrence
  • A brief description of the event including: Nature of complaint (noise, low flying, traffic, safety, etc.); Aircraft type (propeller, jet, helicopter); Aircraft description (color, number of engines, high wing/low wing, etc.); Type of operation (takeoff, landing, overflight, aerobatics, etc.)
  • Please indicate if you would like a staff member to return your call

Management staff is available to respond to complaints during normal business hours Monday through Friday, however, Airport Operations staff will investigate complaints received after normal business hours and weekends with airport traffic control tower staff and pass that information to Management for follow-up. Complaints that contain vulgar or threatening language will not be acted upon.

A.O.P.A. Noise Awareness Steps
(Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association)

These are general recommendations; some may not be advisable for every aircraft in every situation. No noise reduction procedure should be allowed to compromise flight safety.

  1. If practical, avoid noise-sensitive areas. Make every effort to fly at or above 2,000 feet over such areas when overflight cannot be avoided.
  2. Consider using a reduced power setting if flight must be low because of cloud cover or overlying controlled airspace or when approaching the airport of destination. Propellers generate more noise than engines; flying with the lowest practical RPM setting will reduce aircraft noise substantially.
  3. Perform stalls, spins, and other practice maneuvers over uninhabited terrain.
  4. Familiarize yourself and comply with airport noise abatement procedures.
  5. On takeoff, gain altitude as quickly as possible without compromising safety. Begin takeoffs at the start of a runway, not at an intersection.
  6. Use Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI). This will indicate a safe glidepath and a low a smooth, quiet descent to the runway.
  7. Retract the landing gear either as soon as landing straight ahead on the runway can no longer be accomplished or as soon as the aircraft achieves a positive rate of climb. If practical, maintain best-angle-of-climb airspeed until reaching 50 feet or an altitude that provides clearance from terrain or obstacle. Then accelerate to best-rate-of-climb airspeed. If consistent with safety, make the first power reduction at 500 feet.
  8. Fly a tight landing pattern to keep noise as close to the airport as possible. Practice descent to the runway at low power settings and with as few power changes as possible.
  9. If possible, do not adjust the propeller control for flat pitch on the downwind leg; instead, wait until short final. This practice not only provides a quieter approach, but also reduces stress on the engine and the propeller governor.
  10. Avoid low-level, high-power approaches, which not only create high noise impacts, but also limit options in the event of engine failure.
  11. Flying between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. should be avoided whenever possible.

FAA's 1976 Aviation Noise Abatement Policy described the roles and responsibilities for all of the participants in aircraft noise issues, which is repeated here in its entirety.

  • The Federal Government has the authority and responsibility to control aircraft noise by the regulation of source emissions, by flight operational procedures, and by management of the air traffic control system and navigable airspace in ways that minimize noise impact on residential areas, consistent with the highest standards of safety. The federal government also provides financial and technical assistance to airport proprietors for noise reduction planning and abatement activities and, working with the private sector, conducts continuing research into noise abatement technology.
  • Airport Proprietors are primarily responsible for planning and implementing action designed to reduce the effect of noise on residents of the surrounding area. Such actions include optimal site location, improvements in airport design, noise abatement ground procedures, land acquisition, and restrictions on airport use that do not unjustly discriminate against any user, impede the federal interest in safety and management of the air navigation system, or unreasonably interfere with interstate or foreign commerce.
  • State and Local Governments and Planning Agencies must provide for land use planning and development, zoning, and housing regulation that will limit the uses of land near airports to purposes compatible with airport operations.
  • The Air Carriers are responsible for retirement, replacement, or retrofit of older jets that do not meet federal noise level standards, and for scheduling and flying airplanes in a way that minimizes the impact of noise on people.
  • Air Travelers and Shippers generally should bear the cost of noise reduction, consistent with established federal economic and environmental policy that the adverse environmental consequences of a service or product should be reflected in its price.
  • Residents and Prospective Residents in areas surrounding airports should seek to understand the noise problem and what steps can be taken to minimize its effect on people. Individual and community responses to aircraft noise differ substantially and, for some individuals, a reduced level of noise may not eliminate the annoyance or irritation. Prospective residents of areas impacted by airport noise thus should be aware of the effect of noise on their quality of life and act accordingly.

In addition to the roles and responsibilities, the 1976 Aviation Noise Abatement Policy provides general information on aircraft noise issues that may be useful to individuals who are new to the aircraft noise issue. The FAA also issued a draft policy in the year 2000.

Arizona Revised Statutes
28-8485. Airport influence areas; notice
  1. After notice and hearing, this state or the governing body of a political subdivision that has established or operates an airport may designate as an airport influence area all property that is in the vicinity of the airport, that is currently exposed to aircraft noise and overflight and that either has a day-night average sound level of sixty-five decibels or higher or is within such geographical distance from an existing runway that exposes the area to aircraft noise and overflights as determined by the airport owner or operator.
  2. If this state or the governing body of a political subdivision establishes an airport influence area, this state or the governing body shall prepare and file a record of the airport influence area in the office of the county recorder in each county that contains property in the airport influence area. The record shall be sufficient to notify owners or potential purchasers of property in the airport influence area that property in the area is currently subject to aircraft noise and aircraft overflights.
28-8486. Public airport disclosure; definitions
  1. The state real estate department shall have and make available to the public on request a map showing the exterior boundaries of each territory in the vicinity of a public airport. The map shall clearly set forth the boundaries on a street map. The state real estate department shall work closely with each public airport and affected local government as necessary to create a map that is visually useful in determining whether property is located in or outside of a territory in the vicinity of a public airport.
  2. Each public airport shall record the map prepared pursuant to subsection A in the office of the county recorder in each county that contains property in a territory in the vicinity of the public airport. The recorded map shall be sufficient to notify owners and potential purchasers of property that the property is located in or outside of a territory in the vicinity of a public airport.
  3. For the purposes of this section:
    1. “Public airport” means an airport that is owned by a political subdivision of this state or that is otherwise open to the public.
    2. “Territory in the vicinity of a public airport” means property that is within the traffic pattern airspace as defined by the federal aviation administration and includes property that experiences a day-night average sound level as follows:
      1. In counties with a population of more than five hundred thousand persons, sixty decibels or higher at airports where such an average sound level has been identified in either the airport master plan for the twenty year planning period or in a noise study prepared in accordance with airport noise compatibility planning, 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 150.
      2. In counties with a population of five hundred thousand persons or less, sixty-five decibels or higher at airports where such an average sound level has been identified in the airport master plan for the twenty year planning period.