Thursday, December 18, 2008

Unsung Heroes Of The Flight Patterns

The next time you fly into Boston, remember those faceless, dedicated bureaucrats at the Federal Aviation Administration who worked hard to make your flight as short as possible. In Town of Marshfield v. FAA, No. 07-2820, the First Circuit tells their story.

The FAA used the Integrated Noise Model (INM). Marshfield found this to be very uncool. Marshfield insists that the FAA should have used the Noise Integred Routing System (NIRS). Well of course it should have.

The First Circuit was not persuaded. In part because, it seems, neither side did all that great a job being persuasive. As the Court states: "Where neither side has shed much light on a matter, judges tend to fault the appellant; . . . In this case, the FAA's assessment of minimal impact is not implausible. If there is a stronger argument for insisting that the FAA use NIRS or some other computer modeling program in cases like this, it can await an instance in which a more powerful argument is presented."

There's other stuff going on here, but it's so exciting that you'll just have to read the case for yourself.

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