Airport Touts 5,000 Homes with Sound Insulation

SPARKS, NV-- It's a fix for homeowners annoyed with loud planes flying overhead and rattling their windows. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport Thursday morning unveiled the 5,000th home it has sound insulated.

For years, homeowners in the airport's flight path have complained about the noise. This does not completely fix the problem, but residents say it is a step in the right direction.

As jets flew over an area of Sparks between El Rancho and Pyramid Thursday morning, it was easy to see -- or more so hear the pitfalls of living in the airport's flight path.

"There were times that planes would fly over and the windows would actually rattle upstairs," said Kay Raiche, a homeowner in the airport's flight path.

In the last 17 years, Kay and her husband Al have gotten used to the noise of passing planes, but they still find it a daily annoyance.

"Especially if you were on the phone, you knew you'd have to stop talking to whoever you were talking to on the phone and let the plane do whatever it was doing and then get back to the conversation," said Al Raiche.

The couple has had it much easier in the last three months. This past summer their home was sound-insulated courtesy of the Reno-Tahoe Airport.

"The predominant amount of our aircraft that leave the Reno-Tahoe Airport, depart to the north. I.E. over the City of Sparks," said Adam Mayberry, Airport Chairman.

In the last 20 years, a federal grant has paid for 2,300 homes in Sparks and 2,100 in Reno to be fitted with the sound insulation.

"We don't soundproof, we just reduce the amount of noise by five decibels which is significant. It is a perceivable difference."

It's done through a series of installations. Single-pane windows are replaced with triple panes; the same thing goes for glass sliders. Wooden doors get replaced with metal storm doors and often insulation is added in the attic.

"It's a lot quieter, um, if you are on the phone, and a plane flies over, you can still hear the person on the other line," said Kay Raiche.

"You have to really listen to hear them fly over now where you never had to do that," said Al Raiche.

Airport officials say about 95-percent of eligible homes have participated in this program; it comes to a close early next year. 70 more homes will take up the offer between now and then.

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