Airport Noise Contours


Airport noise contours are a graphical representation of projected noise exposure levels associated with aircraft operations in areas adjacent to an airport. 

Washington Dulles International Airport

The following describe the noise contours associated with Washington Dulles International Airport:

  • The noise contours have been developed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) through the use of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Integrated Noise Model.  
  • The Integrated Noise Model takes into consideration the following information when developing the noise contours:
    • Information and projections regarding the locations and use of average flight paths.
    • The frequency of use of each runway.
    • Aircraft operating procedures.
    • The average number of daily operations by type of aircraft and time of day were taken into account by MWAA in this model.  
  • The noise contours reflect long-term average projected noise conditions and do not necessarily reflect the conditions that may exist on any given day.  
  • Actual noise exposure on any given day will vary from the noise exposures shown on noise contour maps. 
  • The contours reflect average, rather than event-specific, noise exposure conditions. 

The noise contours for Washington Dulles International Airport are depicted in the Overview section of the Area III volume of the Comprehensive Plan. (PDF-Page 20)

  • These contours are based on the most recent official noise contour projections provided by MWAA. 
  • The DNL 60 dBA, DNL 65 dBA, DNL 70 dBA and DNL 75 dBA noise contours have been adopted within the Comprehensive Plan, and the DNL 65 dBA, DNL 70 dBA and DNL 75 dBA noise contours have been adopted within the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Visit the Noise Basics page for guidance on dBA and DNL.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has developed noise projections and contours for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.This information is presented in the airport’s FAR Part 150 Noise Exposure Maps and Noise Compatibility Program

While flights from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport generate noise in Fairfax County (particularly in areas near the Potomac River), the county is located outside of the airport’s DNL 65 dBA noise contour, and no impacts above DNL 60 dBA from the airport have been projected within Fairfax County. 


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