Airport to conduct noise study

Representatives sought from Island towns. 

Martha's Vineyard Airport is looking for people to participate in its noise study. — Eunki Seonwoo

West Tisbury is looking for someone to take part in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 150 noise study action committee for Martha’s Vineyard Airport. West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand wrote in an email that those interested need to contact her at by Monday, Jan. 23.

The request for a town representative was discussed during the last West Tisbury select board meeting. The board members considered joining the committee, but could not fit it into their schedules, and decided to advertise the position. West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand said during the meeting that Edgartown also falls under the flight paths, so the airport may also be looking for a representative from the down-Island town. 

Airport director Geoff Freeman told The Times on Monday the three Island entities he requested committee representatives for were West Tisbury, Edgartown, and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. So far, he has heard back only from West Tisbury. Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty was not immediately available for comment. Martha’s Vineyard Commission executive director Adam Turner was also not immediately available for comment. 

The airport had a project kickoff meeting with HMMH, a Burlington-based environmental and transportation planning firm, in October to discuss the study’s timeline and what can be expected. A January 2022 memorandum from HMMH about the project scope is also available on the West Tisbury website. According to the memo, phase one of the project consists of preparing a noise exposure map. Depending on the results of this part of the study, phase two may consist of developing a noise compatibility program. 

Freeman said the FAA Part 150 noise study is a voluntary grant program that supports airports to “understand and address future noise impacts.” The study analyzes and reviews various factors, such as aviation activity over the years, when there is more activity, decibel levels, and more. The study provides a “picture of what type of impact airports have on surrounding communities.” 

“When this airport was originally built, it was in the middle of nowhere in World War II,” Freeman said. Freeman pointed out the increased level of development and population on the Island over the years makes it so more people feel an impact from the airport. Additionally, airport operation numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels. Freeman said conducting the study shows the airport “trying to be a good neighbor,” and provides “hard facts” from an FAA-approved study, rather than anecdotal evidence. 

“Sometimes airports don’t have as much impact as people think, sometimes they do,” Freeman said. The last preliminary noise study was in 2012, when aircraft were louder and less fuel-efficient. A large part of the study is public participation, and the meetings will be posted on the airport website and advertised in the newspapers, according to Freeman. According to an airport press release, a public information session will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School culinary arts room, located at the Sanderson Avenue entrance, from 6 to 8 pm. Freeman said this is the first of three public meetings. 

Although the study can show ways the airport can reduce its impact, with FAA support options, Freeman said there are limitations. Freeman said Martha’s Vineyard Airport, as a federally obligated airport, can provide educational material to pilots and airlines (e.g. providing data, asking to avoid late-night flights), but it “cannot dictate aircraft operations.” 

“We want to be good neighbors, and what we can implement after this study, we will do,” Freeman said, as long as the options were safe and feasible. He added that the study is not expected to finish until the end of this year.


  1. Residents of Chilmark living on the Chilmark side of Tisbury Great Pond are severely impacted by planes coming and leaving the airport. It is at its worst on Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays.
    There also should be a shut down time. Not nice to hear jets after 10 pm and before 7 am.

      • Boy, you are a charmer, Albert. You think when people buy their homes they anticipate the kind of growth Martha’s Vineyard has seen and the growth of the airport schedule? I know, I know, you’ll dig in and say “whatever.” The truth of the matter is that NO ONE foresaw THIS much development and certainly by now and that mostly is attributed to the pandemic where the island grew by 5-10K residents. Please. No one truly foresaw the extent and if they say they did they are fooling themselves.

  2. We live in Chilmark just over the West Tisbury line. The air traffic noise has noticeably increased over the last three years or so. We have wondered why. Has more traffic been redirected this way or is there just a lot more air traffic overall? Some days I can’t sit on our deck for a phone call the noise is so bad. Glad to hear they are going to look into it.

  3. Conduct all the studies u want bottom one is much of the MV population/visitors prefer to fly for many reasons. If the demand wasn’t there the Airlines would drop flights problems/noise solved.

  4. 1) Ban private jets.– That would make the environmentalist happy, and shut up the climate deniers who hate it when a wealthy liberal flies on their private jet. Al Gore, John Kerry, and Leo Dicaprio all included. No politics– ban ALL private Jets.

    2) hope that electric planes can be developed as soon as possible, and get the “anything electric is bad” crowd to quit standing in the way of it’s development.
    Electric planes are considerably quieter than fossil fuel powered ones.– There ya have it.–

    3) The airport control tower is already shut down from 10 PM to 6 AM in the summer and from 5 pm to 7 am in the winter. That actually seems reasonable.

    • Dont forget to include Obama with the private jet crowd. Or is he in the “tax payers money” jet category too?

      • Mike –I thought about including Obama, but I think the secret service would have a hard time letting him, or trump, (not that he ever would) or for that matter and former president fly commercial.
        You might also notice that I didn’t include any republican celebrities that fly private. No Mention of “Ye’s” 747, which is bigger, louder, and more wasteful than anything that the aforementioned people would ever think about.
        or Elon Musk’s $78 m jet.
        Forget about the noise or the environmental impact.
        I think you know the first rule of economics– increase demand– increased price. So why are you content to let a relative handful of billionaires drive the price of jet fuel up, which the airlines have to pass on to you when you want to go on your vacation ?
        As I said– keep the politics out— Ban them all.
        It might even get some whining conservatives to quit whining about people they don’t like doing things they would love to do.

        And just for the record, we have at least the concept of fuel free and nearly silent flight.
        I’m sure it could be brought to market in the right circumstances.

  5. Don’t you just love it when someone says (like Albert) you bought land next to the airport, now live with it. My family donated a portion of the Airport park in the 1920’s to the airport. Albert, we were here before the airport existed, so just stop. The airport impacts EVERYONE.
    I have placed numerous complaints over the years. Especially when I wake up in the early hours to a plane screaming through my bedroom. Or when I can’t hear what the announcer said during a critical Pats game and my volume is at its highest. I asked for this noise survey, because in the 80’s someone was in my front yard with a dish pointing it at the sky. I asked him why he came in October and on a week day? He needed to come on a Sunday in July or August.
    Please show up for this meeting and make some noise about How the airport impacts your life. They are terrible neighbors, whether it is the noise, the traffic or the well contamination.

    Hannah Scott

  6. The noise will only increase as the large helicopters start flying to help support the soon to be operational wind farm just South of Martha’s Vineyard. The town approved a new Helicopter Hangar at the airport to support this operation. No flight restrictions have been placed on the the number of flights per day.

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