Scottsdale Airport is a general aviation reliever facility which serves to relieve smaller and slower aircraft operations from commercial airports. There is no scheduled commercial service or airliners that operate from Scottsdale Airport.

The airport is owned and operated by the city of Scottsdale, but the Federal Aviation Administration manages aircraft in flight and establishes flight patterns.

As a public airport, it must be available for public use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, the airport through the Noise Abatement program encourages operators to fly before 10 p.m. and after 6 a.m. A letter referred to as a "voluntary curfew letter," which asks for their cooperation to fly outside these hours, will be sent to an operator when a noise complaint is received and confirmed.

Serving aviation demand while managing aircraft noise within the airport's vicinity can be a challenge. Since 1999, the city has managed a Noise Abatement Program to encourage aircraft operators to comply with noise abatement procedures.

The Scottsdale Airport Noise Abatement program is based on the philosophy that good neighbors make every effort to understand the concerns of their neighbors, and take action to minimize aircraft influences experienced by residents.

Airport Noise Abatement Program

The City of Scottsdale has long history of proactive noise abatement efforts. The program was developed through a consultative process and included extensive technical analysis along with public input. The city has undergone three FAA Part 150 studies, which were completed in 1985, 1997 & 2005.

Through this study, the city created its Noise Abatement Program aimed at improving the compatibility between airport operations and noise-sensitive land uses in the area, while allowing the airport to continue to serve its roles in the community, state and national airspace system.

Some restriction proposals were evaluated through this process, but were determined infeasible. Airport noise and access restrictions require the submittal and approval of a 14 CFR Part 161 Study, which includes an extensive analysis of the costs and benefits of the proposed restrictions. Because there are no residential impacts within the 65DNL noise contour surrounding Scottsdale Airport, federal funding is not available for such a study and FAA approval of restrictions would be highly unlikely.

Noise Abatement Measures

In brief, the following measures highlight the noise abatement procedures:

  • Continue informal preferential use of Runway 3.
  • Discourage right downwind and right base pattern entry, long straight-in approaches and right turnouts prior to reaching the airport boundary for aircraft using Runway 3.
  • Continue to encourage right turns as soon as practical and discourage straight-out and left turns on departure from Runway 21.
  • Discourage descents below 2,500 feet mean sea level for practice instrument approaches.
  • Encourage operators to climb as high as possible before leaving airport boundaries, and fly high and tight patterns following the four degree PAPI.
  • Encourage left-hand traffic on Runway 3. Right hand traffic on Runway 21 and use of published approach patterns to Runway 21.
  • Runway weight restriction is 75,000 pounds maximum certificated takeoff weight. With prior permission, the takeoff weight restriction may be lifted to 100,000 pounds.
  • Prohibit touch-and-go operations between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.*
  • Prohibit maintenance run-up operations between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and only permitted at the blast fence.*
  • Intersection takeoffs, stop-and-go, formation, takeoffs/landings and simulated single-engine departures or go-arounds are prohibited.*

    *Prohibitions were instituted prior to the FAA adopting the Noise Compatibility Act of 1990
  • Encourage National Business Aviation Association standard or manufacturers' comparable noise abatement procedures as well as AOPA Noise Awareness Steps by light single-engine aircraft.

Noise Studies

14 CFR Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study Update

Scottsdale Airport's Part 150 study addresses noise compatibility by assessing and mitigating aircraft noise impacts on surrounding communities.

Noise Reduction Efforts

Scottsdale Airport's noise reduction efforts include limiting additional runways, implementing flight restrictions, and increasing pilot awareness.

Noise Compatibility Study

The Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study for Scottsdale Airport analyzes noise impacts, proposes mitigation strategies, and updates noise exposure maps.

Additional Information

Aviation Noise Disclosure

Scottsdale Airport's noise disclosure informs homebuyers about aircraft noise levels and airport influence areas.

Noise Regulation & Measurement

Federal regulations govern Scottsdale Airport's noise abatement and measurement, with updated standards and classification.

Flight Tracking Tool

Casper's flight tracker for Phoenix monitors real-time aircraft positions, flight paths, and related data.

FAA Flight Path Changes

FAA flight path updates for Scottsdale Airport focus on changes to airspace and procedures.

Flight Path Altitudes

Scottsdale Airport's flight patterns depend on wind direction, with specific runways used accordingly. Air traffic controllers assist with safe aircraft separation.

Roles & Responsibilities

Scottsdale Airport's noise management involves the FAA, state, local authorities, manufacturers, pilots, and residents.

Noise Reports

Scottsdale Airport's noise reports track complaint data to identify trends. Reports are available online.

Noise FAQs

Scottsdale Airport noise FAQs address flight patterns, aircraft noise sources, and complaint procedures.

Airport Noise Abatement Program

Scottsdale Airport's noise abatement procedures restrict operations, encourage curfews, and define preferred flight patterns.

Online Complaint Form

File aircraft noise complaints at 480-312-FLYS or click here to file a complaint.

Airport Noise FAQs

Why do planes fly over my house?
There are several airports in the Phoenix metropolitan area: Sky Harbor, Williams Gateway, Scottsdale, Deer Valley, Glendale, Chandler, Luke Air Force Base and other private airports. In fact, there are more than 15 airports in Maricopa County alone. The FAA regulates and classifies airspace throughout the Valley to separate air traffic both horizontally and vertically. It is inevitable that air traffic will occur over all areas of the Valley, however, overflights may occur more frequently if you reside closer to an airport's flight pattern.
Why do planes seem to be flying over my house on purpose?
Pilots, like automobile drivers, tend to select the most direct route possible to their destination. There are also highly visible ground references that provide a tool for pilots and air traffic controllers to use as reporting points to help manage the air traffic into and out of an airport. In the vicinity of Scottsdale Airport pilots are identifying landmarks to initiate their entry into the controlled Airport Traffic Area. These reporting points include five miles north and south of Scottsdale Airport, as well as landmarks such as Paradise Valley Mall, Pavilions shopping center, and Pinnacle Peak. It is necessary for pilots to closely watch other air traffic in these areas, therefore they seldom have time to single out one house or yard from another.
Why don't airplane owners get rid of those noisy jets?
Aircraft owners manage their transportation budgets very much like automobile owners; they trade vehicles when it is economically advantageous to do so. For the commercial service airline fleet, the FAA mandated a phase-out program designed to provide noise relief without imposing an undue economic burden on aircraft operators. Currently there is no legislation to require "Hushkits" on jets under 75,000 lbs., which is the type of aircraft that operate at Scottsdale Airport.
What causes planes to take off in the direction of my home?
The prevailing wind at the runway determines the initial direction of flight. Often buildings, fences, trees, etc., will diminish wind effects in the surrounding neighborhoods, however, on the open area of the airport, wind at six knots or more usually make it necessary for aircraft to take off into the wind.
Why don't airplanes taking off to the southwest (Runway 21) turn immediately to the east?
Planes generally follow a traffic pattern approved by the FAA and established through the Noise Compatibility Planning process. If departing jets turned to the east when departing Runway 21, they would quickly conflict with Sky Harbor airspace. Additionally, the 1997 F.A.R. Part 150 Airport Noise Compatibility Study determined this procedure would result in an increase in population east of the airport subject to aircraft noise without reducing noise in other areas to the west.
How does weather affect aircraft noise?
In IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) the visibility and cloud cover are low enough that an airplane must fly to an airport via on-board instruments along a route identified on a published instrument approach procedure. The aircraft will fly at the MDA (Minimum Decent Altitude) to a point at which it has visual contact with the runway and safely lands or must fly the missed approach procedure because visual contact with the runway was not made and a safe landing is not possible. In IMC conditions the aircraft noise is amplified due to the cloud cover containing the noise near the ground. In aviation, safety is always of utmost importance first and in IMC conditions, an increased level of noise should be anticipated.
Who can do something about low-flying planes?
The FAA's Flight Standards District Office investigates low-flying or unsafe flight incidents, not on approach or departure from Scottsdale Airport by calling 480-284-4450 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to learn more about how to report such activities. Airport operators have no legal jurisdiction over aircraft in flight or their altitudes.
What can the airport do to restrict noisy planes?
Federal Law prohibits new local new noise abatement restrictions without first conducting a cost-benefit analysis following the F.A.R. Part 161 requirements. Noise regulations enacted prior to 1991 are "grandfathered" and are allowed to remain in place. The 14 CFR Part 161 process requires airports to demonstrate how many residential or other incompatible uses will no longer be included inside the 65 DNL noise contour boundaries by enacting the new noise regulation. Most noise complaints originate in areas far outside the 65 DNL noise contour lines due to the low ambient noise level.
How can citizens and government work together to significantly decrease aircraft noise in our community?
Noise abatement is not a local issue and there is an ongoing nationwide dialog between the FAA, legislators, residents, citizens, industry and other advocacy groups. Significant noise reduction could come from new federal legislation regarding:
  1. Hushkits of Stage II aircraft under 75,000 lbs. certificated weight or
  2. A review of the DNL noise metric and adoption of a lower noise threshold than 65DNL
  3. Reducing the onerous of requirements of the 14 CFR Part 161 process
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