O'Hare Noise Complaint

The Village of Skokie is located approximately 11 miles northeast of O’Hare International Airport which results in flight traffic and aircraft noise occurring over the village. Many factors influence whether or not planes fly over Skokie including runway utilization, wind direction, construction, and safety.

5 Things You Can Do

  1. Submit noise complaints, using the Chicago 311 System and / or the Air Noise button.
  2. Contact your Federal Elected Officials.
  3. Join FAiR! (Fair Allocation in Runways, NFP)
  4. Make a public comment at ONCC (O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission) meetings.
  5. Identify supporters in nearby communities. 

Latest News

The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) has voted to approve a new Fly Quiet Program at a special meeting on August 17, 2022. The recommended nighttime runway rotation program was developed by the 11-member ONCC Fly Quiet Committee.

The new Fly Quiet plan features six runway configurations that alternate weeks from the north airfield to the south airfield and air traffic flow from east to west to balance nighttime noise impacts, avoid consecutive impacts, and offer predictability to communities located within the O’Hare region. In addition to approving the plan with nighttime primary and secondary runway headings and long runway designations, the committee also established operational, procedural, and implementation recommendations.

The original Fly Quiet Program, in place since 1997, has become obsolete due to the O’Hare Modernization Program, which completely reconfigured the airfield by deactivating runways, adding new parallel runways, and extending existing runways. Now that the plan has been approved by the ONCC, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will assemble the proposal for review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  

Among the committee’s recommendations were that outreach materials be provided to the FAA, airlines, and communities about program changes; regular program updates including a dedicated website, schedules, and construction alternatives; that the Chicago Department of Aviation seek funding for sound insulation to mitigate noise to impacted residents and students; and that the ONCC, CDA, and FAA meet regularly to discuss program accomplishments, issues, and potential enhancements, and to participate in annual audits conducted by the Fly Quiet Committee.

Runway Utilization

Runway utilization, or how often each runway is used for plane landings and departures, has a significant impact on the number of planes flying over Skokie. O’Hare Airport currently has a total of 8 active runways (an additional runway was commissioned in October 2015). View an airport layout diagram.

Air traffic controllers determine which runways are used for landing and departing flights. Factors that are taken into consideration when deciding which runways to use include wind direction, length of the runway, the size and weight of the plane and the time of day.

Wind Direction

Wind direction is the largest contributing factor to determining which runways are used. For safety reasons, planes take off and land into the wind. When winds are from the east, planes land toward the east and take off from the west heading east. 

Construction

Temporary construction projects take place at O’Hare Airport each year, and these projects can often require the closure of runways. When runways are closed for construction, flights that would normally use those runways to take off and land are diverted to other runways, resulting in a temporary shift in air traffic. 

Safety

Identified safety concerns can also influence runway usage. Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified a safety concern with converging runways. Converging runways occurs when the flight path of two or more runways intersects less than 1 mile from the departure end of the runways. O’Hare has several converging runways, and corrective actions taken to address the safety concern include providing greater separation between planes and limiting the use of the converging runways when possible. These corrective actions have shifted air traffic in order to minimize the safety concerns identified by the FAA.