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Training planes receive quieter mufflers

September 11, 2012, 02:29 pm

In response to complaints by local residents concerning noise from their training aircraft, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has installed new noise reduction exhaust systems, after five years of research and a $250,000 investment. The company is still continuing to conduct research for quieter propellers at its Daytona Beach campus.

“We’ve listened to our community and spent many hours trying to come up with solutions - serving on local noise committees, developing alternate procedures, producing noise abatement handouts and training videos whatever it took to try to resolve this,” said Ken Byrnes, chairman of flight operations at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. “But it always came back to a mechanical solution.”

Embry-Riddle found that it received the best results from a Gomolzig Company exhaust sytem, along with a resized propeller. Byrnes added that they are the first training organization in the United States to install a noise reducing system in its fleet of Cessna 172 training aircraft. There are 41 planes on the campus used to train students.

Jason Kring, an assistant professor of human factors at Embry-Riddle who conducted noise tests with a team of students, found that before the mufflers were installed the planes made 75 decibels of sound, equaling the volume of a washing machine. After the installing the mufflers Kring and the students reduced the sound to 70 decibels, or the equivalent of a normal conversation from a few feet away.

Embry-Riddle was able to find a solution through exhausting various resources and communicating with the general aviation industry. The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association is looking to assess aviation safety through similar means.

The LSA is encouraging Light-Sport Aircraft pilots to participate in the 34th annual General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey.

“As the LAMA representative to the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee for Aviation Safety, I have come to appreciate the importance of participation in the FAA GA Survey,” said Tom Peghiny, director of LAMA. “The data from the GA survey is used by the FAA, NTSB, and even Congress in their oversight of recreational aviation. It is crucial that owners in our segment make the effort to respond.

Peghiny added that the only way to know how safety records compare to other parts of general aviation is to have accurate operational statistics.

Pilots in the general aviation community are also encouraged to obtain pilot life insurance, even while survey results are expected to improve safety standards.

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