Frequency Noise and Vibration

Many residents living near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) have identified low-frequency noise and vibration, especially when generated by departing aircraft during the start of takeoff roll, as a source of annoyance. Although vibration induced by low-frequency noise from commercial aircraft is not of sufficient magnitude to cause structural damage in standard residential construction, it can be annoying and can contribute to homeowners’ concerns regarding potential damage to their property. Because of these concerns, we conducted specialized low-frequency noise and vibration measurements in residents’ homes during our September 2000 measurements.

During the measurements, we monitored vibration levels inside the homes of residents by affixing vibration-detection instruments (accelerometers) to the walls and floors. Simultaneously, we monitored outdoor noise levels while an observer in the airport’s air traffic control tower logged aircraft operations. The measured vibration levels will be assessed based upon criteria for structural damage and for annoyance. In addition, the simultaneous noise and vibration measurements will allow us to correlate interior vibration levels with measured noise levels and may help to serve as a predictor of interior vibration levels in other homes, based upon measured exterior noise levels.

Representative comments:

  • “My home is off Sand Lake and Raspberry Road near Kincaid Elementary School. The annoying noise I hear is a constant low rumble that can go on for hours at a time. I don’t hear it much in the summer but it is especially noticeable during the winter on overcast days and at night.”
  • “Loud, earth-rumbling, low-pitched [noise]. The first is heavy-jet take-off roll from the extension on Runway 32. The second is Lockheed cargo turboprop engine run-ups at night.”
  • ” . . . since you extended Runway 14/32 we have been affected by noise from aircraft spooling up their jets prior to take-off to the north. The noise is very low frequency and it shakes the house.
  • I presume we now feel it because the heavy planes are starting their roll closer to the houses in the Tanaina Hills subdivision.”
  • “The warm-ups or run-ups are very noticeable in the morning . . . virtually a roar. Even the house vibrates at times.”
  • “My house shakes – this happens before takeoff when there is a high-pitched whine before the plane takes off.”
  • “I am awakened many times at night by the rumbling and loud noises. Since Fed Ex has come – cleared all that land and increased the number of flights. My bedroom is on the upper level of my three-story house. [. . .] The windows rattle and let in more noise. During the summer it is difficult to have windows open for fresh air because the noise is too much now.”
  • “[I wait for the vibrations] to develop into a full-fledged earthquake (which it isn’t) – but it’s very unnerving.”
  • “[There is] vibration in the house, noise all hours of night.”

GARAGE UPDATE: The airport parking garage is operating at 50% reduced capacity until October 2023 as maintenance work is completed. Travelers are encouraged to allow extra time when arriving to utilize offsite parking if needed (learn more). Motorists looking for their vehicle moved due to the construction, or any other parking issue, can call Republic Parking at 907-677-1074.