Neighbors: Berkshire County airport is too loud; creating noise pollution

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Three people living in Berkshire County near a small airport said it’s too loud, creating noise pollution.

That’s the claim in a 33-page lawsuit that’s been put on hold.

13 Investigates went to the Great Barrington airport, the Walter Koladza Airport, to test how loud the planes can get using a decibel reader.

The lawsuit stated the airport’s unauthorized operation creates an ongoing safety hazard for drivers on Seekonk Cross Road, next to the edge of the airport’s landing strip. That’s where the I-Team went first.

The highest number was 87 decibels.

The Federal Aviation Administration has a comparative noise levels chart that says how loud the sound of a plane is, compared to sounds you hear every day. At about 90 decibels, the FAA’s chart says it’s like the sound of a blender or a lawnmower three feet away.

The I-Team used the decibel reader next to the airport’s single runway, testing takeoffs, landings and taxiing.

At most levels, we were getting hits between 60 and 90 decibels.

According to the FAA’s chart: 60 decibels are similar to the sounds of a commercial area or someone talking in a normal tone if they’re standing three feet away from you.

Noise can be a subjective component that considers a person’s perception or reaction to a sound, the FAA also said.