Flight Paths

Part 150 Noise Studies

An FAA "Part 150" Noise Study is a voluntary study that is undertaken by an airport operator. It is used to identify noise issues at airports that may warrant remediation. In addition, the Part 150 Study identifies noise abatement procedures and land use measures, to minimize community noise impacts. 

The last Part 150 Noise Study for TPA was completed in calendar year 2000, and approved by the FAA in January 2001. 

The entire document is available for review at the Aviation Authority offices. Please contact our Central Records Department at (813) 870-8700 to set up an appointment. 

The approved 5-year noise exposure map will be monitored to determine if an update to the Part 150 Study is necessary.

Flight Corridors

The direction of the prevailing wind dictates the operational flow of air traffic at any airport. At TPA, the winds are primarily from the northeast (winter) and south (spring and summer) with the occasional crosswind from the east or west. Considering this, the two primary flight paths at the airport are a North Flow and South Flow. This also explains the orientation of our primary runways 1L/19R and 1R/19L in a north-south direction. Runway 10/28 is used by all aircraft during cross-wind conditions. 

North Flow

  • Arrivals: To avoid turbojet aircraft over-flights over residential communities located south of the airport, it is recommended for turbojet aircraft to commence their turn south of MacDill A.F.B. Runway 04 [base leg] and then turn to intersect the extended centerline for runway 1L to land [final leg]. Turbo-propeller and propeller aircraft are exempt from the aforementioned noise abatement procedure.
  • Departures: All aircraft depart to the north over Hillsborough Ave and are instructed to maintain runway headings of 360-degrees before given instructions by ATC to turn to their initial course destination.

South Flow

  • Arrivals: As a majority of air traffic operating at TPA originate from destinations north of Florida, these aircraft will be given instructions by the FAA-ATC to intersect the extended runway centerline (180-degrees) at a distance of 10 miles or greater for a straight-in approach. Aircraft approaching the airport from the south will navigate on the eastern and western sides of the airport on a northerly heading. They will commence their base turn when they are perpendicular to the assigned runway end and eventually turn to intersect the extended runway centerline to land on runways 19L and 19R.
  • Departures: Aircraft departing on runways 19L and 19R are instructed to turn to a heading of 210-degrees and 200-degrees respectively upon reaching an altitude of 3,000 feet, unless operationally required.

Aircraft operations at TPA experience considerable seasonal and daily peaks. This often requires a change in how airplanes are routed to allow the airport to handle the additional demand. Seasonal weather patterns also influence the flight patterns at the airport. As weather fronts come through or the seasons change, wind patterns often shift. This results in changes in which runway ends are used by the arriving and departing aircraft as previously explained (north and south flow).

Flight Tracks

The following exhibits show typical flight patterns around Tampa International Airport on both a "north flow" day (where aircraft operate on Runways 1L and 1R), and a "south flow" day (where aircraft operate on Runways 19L and 19R). The first exhibit, called "Base Map" simply shows a map of the Tampa Bay area so that you can locate your community relative to the airport. The following exhibits then show a typical complete day's activity in the north and south flow conditions. Exhibits are also included to show just the turbojet activity in the Tampa Bay area. Often, people are more concerned about the larger jets because they are louder than the smaller, turboprop aircraft.

Using these flight tracks, in combination with actual and projected aircraft types operating at the airport (called the "fleet mix"), resulted in projections of noise impacts in the areas surrounding the airport. These noise impacts are determined from the generation of noise contours from an FAA approved noise modeling software.

Noise Exposure Maps

Once the noise footprint from aircraft operations from TPA has been determined, a method of illustrating the location of various levels is needed. The development of a Noise Exposure Map (NEM), or commonly referred to as a Noise Contour, is the accepted FAA method for illustrating the location of aircraft-generated noise levels surrounding airports. Noise contours are continuous lines on a map of the airport vicinity connecting all points of the same noise exposure level, in much the same manner as ground contours on a topographic map represent lines of equal elevation. Noise contours are generated in 5-decibel (dB) decrements from the airport to the limits of the 65 DNL. These noise contours provide a basis for making important zoning and land use decisions.

Click here for the existing (year 2000) noise exposure map (NEM).

The five-year projected noise exposure map is here.

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