Gillfillan 1 web3O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) Chair and Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene A. Juracek was named as the recipient of the Walt Gillfillan Award on March 4, 2019 at the UC Davis Aviation Noise & Emissions Symposium held in Jacksonville, Florida. The award is presented annually to an individual or organization whose exemplary achievements and contributions to noise abatement in aviation deserve special recognition.

“I am truly honored to receive this award, which would not have been possible without the commitment and regional stewardship of the full ONCC membership and the Chicago Department of Aviation,” said Juracek. “I also commend the FAA for its longstanding dedication in the Chicago region to community involvement.”

 

Mayor Arlene Juracek has served as the ONCC chair since 2015. Its members represent close to 1.3 million residents living in Chicago and communities near O’Hare International Airport.

ONCC has accomplished much under Mayor Juracek’s leadership. Physical changes at O’Hare due to the O’Hare Modernization Plan (OMP), changes in technology, and changes in public involvement have all challenged ONCC to adapt and grow as an organization over several years. Thanks to her efforts, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has described the ONCC as the “gold standard” of community round table participation.

To offer nighttime relief and predictability to residents, Mayor Juracek established an ad hoc committee in 2015 to develop a proposal for an Interim Fly Quiet (IFQ) Runway Rotation Program at O’Hare. A series of three runway rotation tests were conducted which led the committee to develop the Interim Fly Quiet Proposal (IFQ). It was approved by ONCC members in December 2017.

The IFQ proposal features an eight-week rotation plan with six configurations arranged to alternate each week between parallel and diagonal runways, rotating east flow and west flow. The plan is currently under environmental review by the FAA; if approved, it will be in place from fall 2019 until Runway 9R/27L is closed for construction in 2021.

The commission is currently developing the next step in the process - a modified nighttime noise abatement program, Fly Quiet 21, with the goal of it being in place by the completion of OMP full build out in 2021.

Another goal of Mayor Juracek was to make ONCC meetings a citizen’s forum for aviation related dialog. During her tenure, ONCC has hosted two aviation discussion panels on noise abatement and departure procedures, as well as heard from experts in the field about the latest technological advances, with guest speakers representing Pratt & Whitney, The Boeing Company, United and American Airlines and the FAA Environmental Division.

At ONCC’s 20th Anniversary meeting in 2017, then FAA Administrator Michael Huerta commended the commission as a national model of advocacy and citizen engagement. Mayor Juracek has reaffirmed ONCC’s commitment to a regional approach to policy-making decisions.
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The 2019 UC Davis Aviation Noise and Emissions Symposium is held annually and focuses on efforts being undertaken by elected officials, airports, consultants, communities, and the FAA to develop ways to work cooperatively to mitigate the environmental impacts of NextGen flight path changes.

The award is named for Walt Gillfillan who founded the symposium, and was an aviation and transportation planning expert who provided advice and support to airports and others for more than 40 years. Former ONCC Chair/former Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder is also a past recipient of the award, having received it in 2007.

ONCC represents 43 communities and 22 school districts dedicated to reducing aircraft noise and is the only inter-governmental agency dedicated to reducing aircraft noise in the communities around O’Hare International Airport. It was established in 1996, following an invitation from the City of Chicago to suburban mayors to begin constructive dialogues on aircraft noise issues. To date, the Commission has overseen the sound insulation of 10,924 homes and 123 schools in the area.