Buchanan Field Noise Program

Airports staff takes noise management and community concerns seriously. 

This page is a resource for understanding what the County Airports are doing to minimize noise and disturbances, learn about how noise complaints are handled, and/or Submit a Complaint.
What is the County Airports Division doing to minimize noise?

  • Flight training operations are restricted from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM.
  • The Noise Management Program provides aircraft specific noise abatement procedures for pilots intending to land or depart from Buchanan Field Airport.
  • The Airports Noise Ordinance allows only the most quiet jet aircraft at Buchanan Field. Between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM, only aircraft that operate below 75 dBA may operate at Buchanan Field. At all other times, the noise threshold is 78 dBA for aircraft operating at Buchanan Field.  FAA document AC36-3H lists the sound levels for specific aircraft.
  • Airports staff maintains active communication with Airport pilots and businesses to minimize noise and disturbances associated with the Airports.
  • Pilots are asked to fly courteously and avoid flying over residential neighborhoods whenever possible.
  • The Noise Complaint Process includes researching complaints using the FAA ATCT Flight Recordings to determine if specific aircraft are in violation of FAA Rules and Regulations. 
  • Educating the public about benefits the Airports provide (e.g. emergency medical response, law enforcement and military aircraft) and how these services may contribute to noise.
  • Not all aircraft noise in the area is associated with Contra Costa County Airports.  There are over 25 airports in the greater Bay Area.
Submitting a Complaint

The top priority for Contra Costa County Airports is safety.  Safety always supersedes noise management.  If you witness an aircraft operating extraordinarily low or objectionably loud, Airports staff values your feedback.  

In order to make your feedback more useful, please use the Submit a Complaint Form to provide as many details about the experience as possible.  Be sure to include the following:

  • Your full name
  • Your full address
  • The date and time of the disturbance
  • The type and color of aircraft (e.g. prop, jet, helicopter)
  • Any other information you have regarding the incident.

FAA Air Traffic Control Tower at Buchanan Field

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Role

Once an aircraft has left the ground, it is in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) jurisdiction. Only the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) can direct an aircraft to change its altitude, flight path or runway assignment. Runway activity is often determined by wind, weather and air traffic conditions.

The ATCT at Buchanan Field has a three-mile radius control area. Typically, aircraft operating outside of the control area are only required to radio the ATCT if planning on landing or departing from Buchanan Field. All communications with the ATCT are recorded. Researching these recordings may allow Airports staff to determine which aircraft are operating in the area and if specific aircraft are causing multiple disturbances. Aircraft operating outside of the control area are not likely to be identified based on FAA recordings.
Airport Noise Sign Mt. Diablo