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Most of the jet aircraft taking off and landing at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA) are following the established departure procedures or glide path for our instrument approach and must make certain altitude adjustments at certain points to perform a safe landing. An airplane’s ability to fly the designated approach or departure is what primarily governs the design of these procedures.
An aircraft must be able to slow from its cruising speed to its landing speed during the approach, and it must maintain a certain minimum speed on departure to stay airborne. This limits a plane’s climb angle. Terrain avoidance and obstacle clearance are also primary concerns. RMMA does not have any enforcement authority over aircraft that violate regulations and fly too low. If you believe an aircraft is flying too low, please contact the Federal Aviation Administration at 303-342-1100 and report the violation.
No. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Aviation Regulations control the flight paths and aircraft routing into and out of every airport. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA) does not control traffic routing near the airport or anywhere in the Denver airspace system. Traffic arriving and departing RMMA become part of this system and must mix with traffic arriving and departing DIA, Centennial, Front Range and other airports. Each aircraft is assigned altitudes and headings that will safely integrate them in the system. The RMMA tower only controls aircraft within five miles of the airport and below 3,000 feet. Aircraft outside this envelope are generally controlled by Denver Center or are visual flight rules (VFR) and regulated by Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Changing one component alters other parts of the system; therefore, changes to our aircraft routes are significant. But again, the FAA determines them.
Noise statistics are reported in a format similar to that used by Denver International Airport. Statistics are tracked by household and neighborhood to help determine problem areas. The offending aircraft can sometimes - not always - be tracked, and when the situation warrants, we can contact the aircraft owner to discuss the situation. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (RMMA) is part of the National Airspace System, and the federal government has designated it as a National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) facility. This means RMMA is essential to the nation's air transportation system and cannot deny access to any specific user, nor does the airport have the authority to limit hours of operation. Contact us at 303-271-4850 for more details.
The airport has a weekly brief, "Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport Update," which is available by email. Contact the airport office at 303-271-4850 to be added to the distribution list.
We continually promote our program to our tenants and users and conduct biweekly meetings with the FAA control tower manager. As part of the ongoing campaign, airport staff visits each business with maps and information about why aircraft noise is a critical issue that everyone must help to mitigate. Because the program is voluntary, we focus on the most frequent airport users. It is important to note that business jets are normally on instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plans when arriving and departing, meaning they are limited in what they can do to minimize their noise footprint. As newer and quieter aircraft hit the market, airport noise will be noticeably reduced. We continue to gather information from the National Business Aircraft Association noise mitigation programs. For more information, contact us at 303-271-4850.
Those efforts are mainly for airports with residences that lie within an area of very high noise levels as delineated by the airport's noise contours. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport does not have a significant number of residences (if any) in this area, and the projected noise contours for the airport over the next 20 years show a decrease in noise contour lines due to quieter aircraft being produced. Airports that experience a classification change may also have their noise contours modified. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport is, and always has been, a "reliever” for Denver International Airport, and the master plan does not include changes to this status. For any other questions, contact us at 303-271-4850.
The line is used to track the noise program's effectiveness and attempt to identify excessively loud aircraft. There are naturally more complaints during the summer months because aircraft performance suffers in warmer temperatures and people spend time with windows and doors open or go outside to enjoy the weather. As a result, we know this is a time to heavily promote the program. Also, if there are several complaints against one particular aircraft at a specific date and time, we can sometimes track the "offender" and directly contact the company. Airport staff has found this direct company contact to be beneficial. Calling the noise line for every aircraft that flies overhead reduces the program's effectiveness.
A "Drone" is a unmanned aircraft system. Currently, small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) may be operated for hobby and recreational purposes under specific safety guidelines established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Congress. The FAA currently authorizes the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial or business purposes on a case-by-case basis. You may not fly your UAS for commercial purposes without the permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA only allows commercial operation of UAS under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Please see user information and guidance for more information or visit our Drone and UAS page.
We have a proactive noise abatement program that includes maps and guidelines for airport users. We meet with flight schools and other tenants to continually emphasize the importance of mitigating noise, and it is often a topic during our weekly brief. The noise abatement program is designed to help the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport users coexist peacefully with the surrounding communities. It is every pilot's responsibility to follow the airport recommended noise abatement procedures, while staying within safe aircraft operational parameters; however, we can't control the traffic after it departs. This is the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) area of authority.
Our traffic pattern altitude is 1,200 feet, 200 feet higher than the FAA 1,000-foot standard (traffic pattern altitude is the height above the runways). This is not an arbitrary number and is closely tied to aircraft performance limitations in the landing phase of flight; therefore, aircraft here need to lose an additional 200 feet of altitude before landing. This results in potentially higher speeds at landing. Also, aircraft in the pattern must be able to take off and climb to this altitude before landing again, which may increase noise in some instances because the planes must be at full power for a longer period. This procedure was implemented years ago and is being evaluated.
Additionally, we continue to advise surrounding cities and developers about how the airport will affect their developments. In some neighborhoods, avigation easements are included in the closing paperwork so residents are aware of the potential hazards associated with living near the airport. We will continue to make recommendations and promote our noise abatement program to try to minimize the impact of aircraft noise as much as possible. Contact us for any further questions at 303-271-4850.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations control the flight paths and aircraft routing into and out of every airport. Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport does not control traffic routing near the airport or anywhere in the Denver airspace system. The airport can only encourage pilots on visual flight rules (VFR) flights to fly over unpopulated areas, but these areas are disappearing rapidly. And VFR arrivals and departures account for only a fraction of the total operations conducted. Please call the FAA at 303-342-1100 with questions about aircraft operation in our airspace.
Airplanes at this altitude (5,670 feet above sea level) don’t perform as well as they do at lower elevations. This means they can’t climb as quickly because their wings, engines and propellers are less efficient in the thin air. The planes create more noise because they are forced into a more shallow climb angle. At lower elevations, pilots typically use the lowest power setting possible for take off, reducing engine wear, saving fuel and creating less noise. At a high-altitude airport like ours, pilots must use a higher power setting for safety reasons; plane engines don’t provide as much thrust at this elevation. The result is more noise because planes must fly closer to the ground for longer periods; nothing can change this physical fact. Call us at 303-271-4850 for more information.
Rock Creek subdivision will soon span the entire western aerial access to the airport so flights over this area are unavoidable. Currently, our noise abatement procedures encourage visual flight rules (VFR) traffic to fly south of the development; however, these procedures are not mandatory and will soon be impossible to perform. The Federal Aviation Administration flight check director determines the safest route for instrument flight rules (IFR) aircraft to follow with respect to terrain avoidance and airspace procedures. The airport can't change them, and we don't have control over aircraft after they leave our runways. Flight safety must take priority over all other concerns. Pilots generally want to limit their noise impact below, but they are occupied with the demands of aircraft control, navigation and traffic avoidance. For more details, call us at 303-271-4850.
Jet aircraft operate in the early morning and late-evening hours for various reasons. Many are medical flights with patients or critical organs on board or check-carrying cargo operations. Other flights involve corporations and businesses based near the airport.
All homeowners in our influence area are required to sign an avigation easement when they purchase their home. This document ensures residents are aware of and accept the noise and vibration aircraft may generate while operating at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport. Consult your closing documents or call your city for more information.