Aircraft noise as it relates the noise levels around airports is usually defined in terms ofa more complex measure, the day/night average sound level - denoted either as DNL orLdn. This is a measure of total aircraft-generated noise averaged over a 24-hour period,with a penalty for nighttime noise. DNL measures are typically calculated from datacollected from alternative locations surrounding an airport over a period of time. Thelatest published DNL data for Luke AFB was calculated by the Air Force from datacollected in 2001.
Conventionally these calculated DNL measures are represented in terms of DNL noisecontours that show the areas surrounding an airport in which the DNL is equal to orhigher than a particular value. Figure 1 shows a set of such contours for the areasurrounding Luke AFB.
The Federal Aviation Administration identifies a DNL level of 65 as the upper limit ofacceptable aircraft-generated noise levels. The Environmental Protection Agency on theother hand defines the threshold level at 55+.There are ongoing debates on the relative strengths/weaknesses of the alternatemeasures. But it is important to remember that all these metrics are alternativeapproaches to measuring the level of noise. They do not directly measure the level ofannoyance caused by the noise. In particular, since noise levels around airports areusually described in terms of DNL noise contours, it should be noted that the DNLmeasure has been criticized for understating the practical effects of noise and itsannoyance (FAA WebPages 1999).
Noise Levels and Current Land Use Restrictions
In Arizona, noise-based constraints on land use are regulated by state law and localzoning ordinances. State law requires disclosure to property owners/buyers thatproperty is in the vicinity of a military airport with the potential for accidents and highnoise levels. All political subdivisions in the vicinity of a military airport are required to