Airport Noise FAQs

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I'm considering the purchase of a home in this area, isn't Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN) a "sleepy little airport"? The noise shouldn't bother me, right?

First, TTN is not a “sleepy little airport”. It is one of only three commercial airports in New Jersey. TTN averages approximately 150,000 aircraft operations each year. The airport is home to two commercial air carriers, the aviation units of numerous Fortune 100 companies, one corporate terminal and repair base, the New Jersey State Police, and the New Jersey National Guard.

While TTN is not a Newark International Airport or a Philadelphia International Airport, annoyance by aircraft noise is a very personal issue. One individual can be greatly bothered by aircraft noise, while another individual may hardly notice the same noise.

Additionally, this corridor is full of air traffic. Transient flights from all over the country and the world fly through to use the nearby Yardley VOR (navigational beacon) to navigate up and down the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada, very large aircraft exiting or entering Newark and Philadelphia often fly through, as well as flights from local airports such as Robbinsville Airport, Twin Pine Airport, and Princeton Airport.

Spend a considerable amount of time in and around any home that you consider purchasing. Talk to the neighbors. Go to the location on a number of different days, at a number of different times.

If aircraft noise can be a problem, why is the airport so close to a residential neighborhood?

Opening in 1929 to much fanfare, TTN has seen many of the world's aviation, political, and entertainment leaders pass through our gates, including Amelia Earhart, General James Doolittle, President Ford, President Clinton, Vice-President Gore, President George W. Bush, President George H. W. Bush, Senator Ted Kennedy, Elton John, Diana Ross, Harrison Ford, and many more. The need for quick, convenient air transportation that attracted many of these famous figures to TTN, also attracted those looking to build a home. Additionally, as the communities adjacent to the airport grew, open space became even more attractive to developers. Residential neighborhoods developed around the airport. Even today, as the Airport Administration calls for a more judicious approach to residential development around the airport, home builders are "beating down the door" to build near TTN.

Can't they just divert air traffic away from my neighborhood every once in a while?

No. First, let me state that TTN does not attempt to meet any numerical quota when dealing with air traffic control issues. The judgment of the air traffic controller (during Control Tower hours of operation), the wind, other weather factors, surrounding air traffic, the capabilities of the aircraft, and the judgment and capabilities of the pilot, all impact on the decision as to which runway to use for arrivals and departures, or which course to take. There is no attempt to use each runway an equal number of times within any given time period, or to fly over a particular neighborhood at any given interval. Safety is always our primary concern.

What is TTN doing about aircraft noise? Can't you fine those "problem" pilots? Can't you prevent them from using the airport?

Under 14 CFR 161 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not allow for the mandatory restriction of airport access in these matters without confirmation that such measures would greatly enhance noise abatement efforts and not unduly prohibit open access to the airport. The difficulty in meeting these criteria, and the high cost in performing such a study, has effectively prevented most airports from being able to mandate such restrictions since the rule came into effect in late 1990. The only exception to this rule is in cases where airports had such restrictions in place prior to the effective date of the law. Therefore, our Noise Abatement Program is voluntary. TTN is prohibited by Federal law from levying fines, or restricting access to the airport (or the routes by which aircraft access the airport) to aid our noise abatement program. We must rely solely on the continual notification, education, and compliance of our aircraft operators.

While almost everything we do at TTN is dictated overwhelmingly by safety considerations and adherence to Federal law, we continually strive to be good neighbors. We respond to inquiries in a timely manner, our noise abatement program includes a Voluntary Flight Curfew between 12 AM and 6 AM daily, we provide recommended departure and arrival procedures, we maintain a comprehensive noise report data base, and we have an aggressive educational program aimed at informing and reminding TTN tenants about our noise abatement efforts and procedures. Additionally, our efforts coupled with technological advances in the aviation industry are making a significant reduction in terms of aircraft related noise.
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Is being close to an airport going to reduce the value of my home in future years?

No. According to testimony provided to the New Jersey General Aviation Study Commission at a public hearing held on March 26, 1996, there is no negative impact on value. Mr. Winthrop Perkins, an expert on real estate issues dealing with airports and their environs, testified, “ New Jersey when the market is essentially considered to be good in residential housing [property values], there is little or no distinction made between airport-related properties and properties that are [located] far away from an airport.... When the market is a soft market, you then begin to see some difference, the price...but in how long it takes to sell...[the property]". Additionally, a 2001 report prepared by the professional engineering firm, DMJM Harris, found that “property value studies for other airports as well as assessed values and available housing around TTN found no indication that TTN has any adverse effect on surrounding property values”.

What time does TTN close?

Consistent with Federal Law; the airport is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52-weeks a year. The Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) closes at 10 P.M., but aircraft still may operate after that time.

That plane was really low, aren't there rules about how high a plane or helicopter has to travel over a residential neighborhood?

Yes, but remember, the judgment of the air traffic controller (during Control Tower hours of operation, 6 A.M. to 10 P.M.), the wind, other weather factors, surrounding air traffic, the capabilities of the aircraft, and the judgment and capabilities of the pilot, all outweigh any other considerations, including any noise abatement procedures that are in place. If you wish to report such activity, you may leave a message on our Noise Report Mailbox at (609) 882-8965. You can also make a report on the Internet using the Trenton-Mercer Airport Noise reporting Form, or you may speak with the Noise Abatement Specialist at (609) 882-1601, during normal business hours.

Yesterday afternoon, a plane flew past my house at a very low altitude. I want to complain to the pilot and his boss. Who is this individual?

There is no way to be sure. Federal Law does not require TTN to keep records on the identity of those pilots departing or arriving here. If you happen to see the aircraft’s tail number, we may be able to research it further; otherwise we can only put your complaint into our database for general noise report analysis. While the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) does maintain certain pertinent records for a limited period of time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the release of such information to the public, due to aircraft security concerns.

You may also contact the FAA Flight Standards District Office at 610-595-1500.

Please remember, Federal Law calls for the greatest possible access to public airports. Anything that inhibits access, or invades the expectation of pilot privacy, is greatly restricted. In many ways, it’s much like traveling on an interstate highway; the government has very little knowledge of most individual automobiles’ destinations, reason for travel, etc., so to in the case of private air travel. 

I heard about this "Voluntary Nighttime Flight Curfew". How does it work?

The curfew is in effect from 12 A.M. to 6 A.M., daily. The tail numbers of those aircraft utilizing TTN during the curfew period are recorded by contracted personnel, and forwarded to airport administration. If a “violation” of the voluntary curfew is identified, an advisory letter and information regarding TTN’s Noise Abatement Program is then sent to the owner/operator in question.

Although it is voluntary, and no penalties exist, activity during the 12 A.M. to 6 A.M. time period is much, much less than during our normal hours of operation.

There is a "Noise Ordinance" in my town, isn't TTN in violation if they let aircraft fly at all hours?

No. As noted above, airport access is regulated by Federal Law, and as such, supersedes state and local ordinances.

Is the airport expanding?

No. TTN is proposing to replace our functionally obsolete two gate terminal with a new, modern two gate facility. Our existing terminal, designed in the 1970s, is too small to allow for the adequate care and control of passengers. The retrieval and handling of luggage is equally troublesome. In addition, improvements must be performed to allow for the size and weight of new security screening equipment, mandated by the FAA. We will be upgrading and standardizing our taxiways to improve upon the high level of safety and efficiency we currently enjoy. Additional passenger parking and a new building to house maintenance and snow removal equipment are also planned. We will not be lengthening any runways. We are improving the airport, not expanding it. This “upgrade” will allow us to more effectively serve our current commercial passengers, while providing the infrastructure to serve expected demand in the future.

How can I report bothersome aircraft noise?

You can report airport noise to TTN in three easy ways. You may call the Airport Administration, weekdays, 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., at (609) 882-1601. You can also leave a message on our 24-hour Noise Report Hotline at (609) 882-8965, or contact us through the web at: You may also contact the FAA at: The New Jersey Division of Aeronautics is also available to respond to your inquiries; their phone number is 609-530-2900.

There was a pilot obviously flying too low or in an unsafe manner, can I report him?

If you witness aircraft flying in an unsafe manner, please contact the FAA Philadelphia Flight Standards District Office at 610-595-1500.