California Northstate University, Medical Center Helicopter Noise Impact Study

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SM&W Contribution

In addition to complete design services for the new hospital and central utility plant at California Norhtstate University (CNH), SM&W was hired to conduct a study of noise impacts on the surrounding community due to future helicopter operations at the hospital. The study was commissioned by the University as voluntary portion of the project’s environmental assessment as part of a “good-neighbor” effort.

SM&W‘s notable contributions included an extensive noise measurement program during helicopter flight demonstrations inclusive of key areas in the surrounding community near the flight path. This required extensive preplanning and close coordination with the project’s flight consultant to ensure that not only comprehensive measurements were gathered but also to minimize costs for the demonstration.

Computer modeling of future flight scenarios were carried out using the FAA’s noise modeling software and assessed against Federal, State and Local regulations. This included multiple possible flight paths, aircraft models and flight frequencies. The acoustical predictive model was also calibrated within acceptable tolerances to the data measured during the flight demonstrations to further validate the results and findings.

A secondary computer model was developed using the SoundPLAN software to supplement the FAA’s standard modeling procedures. This model included details the FAA model is not capable of including acoustic shielding from the existing and future buildings and highlighting the unique advantages of the project site through comparison of helicopter noise to existing traffic noise from the adjacent interstate highway.

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