New runway rotation at O'Hare inches forward

 
 
Updated 2/22/2017 7:07 PM

Chicago's latest overnight runway rotation test at O'Hare International Airport offers new options, but divisions remain over who gets jet noise.

Members of an O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission ad hoc committee voted 6-2 Wednesday to try a second overnight rotation experiment that could start this spring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

An earlier rotation ran from July 6 to Dec. 25. The trial was an effort to give people living near O'Hare some shut-eye by balancing use of parallel and diagonal runways, east and west flight paths and other factors that affect communities near the airport.

Chicago Department of Aviation planners have changed some of the options after the FAA raised concerns about taxiing planes being in conflict with incoming aircraft and using the same runways for takeoffs and landings.

Instead, the aviation department has suggested using for departures Runways 9-Right and 4-Left, and for arrivals 22-Left.

Chicago aviation planners noted that planes leaving on 4-Left could bank over Des Plaines and arrivals on 22-Left could bank over Rosemont, Niles and Park Ridge.

Schaumburg and Des Plaines committee members voted against the rotation trial.

"It's going to have additional impacts on parts of Des Plaines because of the banking," Alderman Malcolm Chester said.

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Bensenville Village Manager Evan Summers urged colleagues to move forward.

"We shouldn't overthink this," he said. "This is a test."

During public comment, Fair Allocation in Runways group member Al Rapp said he worried about increased night noise that would come with growth in cargo planes.

"Cargo operations have increased by 50 percent with projections showing dramatic increases in heavy widebody cargo operations at night," he said.

The proposal needs approval of the full noise commission board and Federal Aviation Administration.

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