Buchanan Field Noise Program
Airports staff takes community concerns seriously and continuously works with pilots and Airport businesses to reduce noise disturbances to neighboring, noise sensitive communities by communicating the Buchanan Field Noise Program (PDF).
This page is a resource for understanding what the County Airports is doing to minimize noise and disturbances, learn about airport operations and aircraft noise through our Airports Noise Program Frequently Asked Questions (PDF), and/or Submit a Complaint.
Public Flight Tracking Websites
Please note that not all aircraft will appear on the above websites, reasons may include:
- The aircraft may not be fitted with an ADS-B transponder meaning it is not compatible with their receiver network.
- The aircraft might be flying outside of their coverage areas.
- The aircraft might be blocked, such as sensitive aircraft associated with military or governmental operations and/or for private aircraft at the owner's request.
*Contra Costa County Airports cannot verify accuracy of third-party public flight tracking websites.
What is the County Airports Division doing to minimize noise?
- The Airports Noise Ordinance states that only aircraft that operate at or below 78 dBA are allowed to operate at Buchanan Field. From 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM, the noise threshold is lowered to 75 dBA. FAA document AC36-3H (PDF) lists the sound levels for all aircraft, so pilots can know if/when to fly to CCR.
- Touch-and-go and pattern operations are restricted from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM (8:00 AM on Sat/Sun)
- Airports staff maintains active communication with Airport pilots and businesses to minimize noise and disturbances associated with the Airports.
- The Noise Management Program (PDF) provides aircraft specific noise abatement procedures for CCR pilots.
- Pilots are asked to avoid flying over residential neighborhoods whenever possible.
- The Buchanan Field Noise Program Overview (PDF) details airport operations, noise roles and responsibilities, and contact information.
- The Noise Complaint Process (PDF) includes researching complaints using FAA ATCT flight recordings to determine if specific aircraft are in violation of FAA Rules and Regulations.
- Educating the public about benefits the Airports provide and how services may contribute to noise.
- Remember: Not all aircraft noise in the area is associated with Contra Costa County Airports. There are over 20 airports in the greater Bay Area.
The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Role in Air Traffic Control
- The FAA's primary mission is to ensure the safety and efficiency of navigable airspace. The FAA does not have the authority to prohibit aircraft overflights of a particular area unless the operation is unsafe or the aircraft is operated in a manner inconsistent with FAA Regulations.
- Once an aircraft has left the ground, it is in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) jurisdiction.
- Only the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) can direct an aircraft to change its altitude, flight path or runway assignment. Runway activity is often determined by wind, weather or air traffic conditions.
- All communications with the ATCT are recorded. Researching these recordings allows Airports staff to determine which aircraft are operating in the area and which may be responsible for a complaint.
- The ATCT at Buchanan Field has a three-mile radius control area. Typically, aircraft operating outside of the control area only radio the ATCT if planning on landing or departing from Buchanan Field.
- Aircraft operating outside of the control area are not likely to be identified based on FAA recordings.
- Help the FAA identify unauthorized low-flying aircraft. FAA Reporting Low-Flying Aircraft Brochure
- FAA document AC36-3H (PDF) lists the sound levels for all aircraft.
- Visit the FAA's noise issues webpage here.
- Visit Noise Quest here for more information.
Submitting a Complaint
The top priority for Contra Costa County Airports is safety. Safety always supersedes noise management. If you witness an aircraft operating extraordinarily low or objectionably loud, Airports staff values your feedback.
In order to make your feedback more useful, please use the Submit a Complaint Form to provide as many details about the experience as possible. This may allow Airports staff to determine which aircraft is causing the disturbance so it can continue to work with pilots on noise abatement procedures. Be sure to include the following:
- Your full name
- Your full address
- The date and time of the disturbance
- The type and color of aircraft (e.g. prop, jet, helicopter)
- Any other information you have regarding the incident.
Aviation Advisory Committee (AAC)
- Established in 1977 to provide advice and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on aviation issues related to Contra Costa County Airports.
- Works to advance aviation while giving community members living and working near the Airports an opportunity to stay informed on Airport matters.
- Provides a forum for voicing opinions/concerns and vetting policy matters related to Buchanan Field and Byron Airports.
- Meetings are open to the general public and are typically held at 10:00 AM, on the second Thursday of each month, at 550 Sally Ride Drive in Concord, CA.
- Visit the AAC webpage for more information.