Frequently Asked Questions
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO GET FROM MMU TO NEW YORK CITY?
For information on drive times to New York City, please CLICK HERE
WHAT TYPE OF AIRPORT IS MORRISTOWN AIRPORT (MMU)? IS COMMERCIAL AIRLINE SERVICE OFFERED?
MMU is a General Aviation Reliever Airport. The term General Aviation refers to all civil aircraft that are not classified as air carrier, commuter, or military. This category includes everything from a small single-engine propeller-driven aircraft to large corporate jets. A Reliever Airport like Morristown pulls private aircraft away from the air carrier airports such as Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK in order to reduce air traffic delays and enhance safety. A commercial service or air carrier airport is an airport that provides regularly scheduled passenger and freight service. Morristown Airport does not have, nor will it seek, regularly scheduled airline service or freight service.
CAN I CHARTER A FLIGHT FROM MMU?
Yes, charter flights are available. Please visit the Aircraft Charter Page on our website to find more information.
WHAT ARE THE HOURS OF THE OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT?
The Operations Department is available 7 days a week from 0600L-2300L. Wildlife Sweeps are available by request at (973) 538-3366 Ext 116.
CAN I REQUEST A WILDLIFE SWEEP FROM THE HOURS OF 2300L-0600L?
Yes, Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting (ARFF) is available to do wildlife sweeps via CTAF 118.10 between the hours of 2300L-0600L.
DOES MORRISTOWN AIRPORT CHARGE LANDING FEES?
Yes, please visit the Landing Fees Page to find out more about our landing costs.
I’M PICKING SOMEONE UP FROM MORRISTOWN AIRPORT (MMU), HOW CAN I TRACK THEIR FLIGHT?
You can track their flight via Flight Aware with the tail number of the aircraft they are flying in on. You may also call the FBO that they are flying into.
IS PUBLIC PARKING AVAILABLE AT THE AIRPORT?
IS FLIGHT TRAINING AVAILABLE AT MORRISTOWN AIRPORT? WHAT ABOUT FLYING CLUBS?
Yes, there are four flight training schools and three flying clubs based at the airport. Aircraft are available for rent from both. Please refer to our Flight Training Page and Flying Clubs Page for more information.
CAN I TAKE PICTURES AT YOUR AIRPORT? CAN I FILM A MOVIE AT THE AIRPORT?
Photography, filming, or video recording of any kind on Airport property is prohibited without the express written permission from the Airport Operator.
I AM SEEKING EMPLOYMENT AT YOUR AIRPORT, WHERE CAN I APPLY?
Please visit our Employment Page for further information.
WHY ARE PLANES ALLOWED TO TAKE OFF AND LAND LATE AT NIGHT?
MMU is a public use airport and as such is obligated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be open 24 hours and available to all aircraft.
WHY DO I NOTICE INCREASES AND DECREASES IN THE NUMBER OF AIRPLANES THAT FLY OVER MY HOUSE?
Over the past few years, MMU’s operation count has remained consistent. However, there are fluctuations in air traffic activity because MMU has four runways pointing in different directions. Aircraft will use whichever runway allows for the safest takeoff or landing. Aircraft generally take off and land into the wind, and smaller aircraft are more sensitive to wind conditions. Therefore, depending upon wind direction and velocity on any given day, residents may see few planes overhead while on other days they may see quite a few. The airport has two instrument approaches which are used in inclement weather. The active runway for MMU is dictated by the direction of the wind, as well as the active runways at other airports in the area, Newark in particular. Pilots flying into MMU will not be allowed to use an approach that would conflict with those being used at nearby airports. While noise abatement is an important consideration, safety and separation are the air traffic controllers’ foremost priorities.
CAN THE AIRPORT CHANGE FLIGHT PATTERNS?
The FAA-published departure procedure has remained unchanged for many years. The published departure route is for aircraft flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). MMU’s Control tower is basically a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) tower with a secondary radar feed from Newark Airport. MMU is situated in a valley, which limits the radar coverage. Therefore, aircraft departing IFR are instructed to contact New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) – the main control center for the NY Metro area – immediately after departure. This is a challenging task, as aircraft are given instructions that may vary from the published procedures in order to provide for safe aircraft sequencing and separation. MMU does not have the authority to change the FAA procedures or instructions given by NY TRACON.
Three instrument approaches exist: the Instrument Landing System (ILS) for Runway 23, the Global Satellite Positioning System (GPS) and RNAV to Runway 5. Each is crucial in that they are the only means pilots have to land safely during inclement weather. TRACON sets up the aircraft on approach to MMU, notifies MMU Tower of the approaching aircraft, and then hands off the aircraft to MMU Tower for separation with other aircraft in MMU’s airspace. As of April 2003, the GPS approach to Runway 5 was instituted, which allows those properly-equipped aircraft to fly a more typical straight-in approach to the airport. This new technology is proving to be a considerable improvement by reducing pilot and air traffic controller workload, enhancing safety, and reducing noise for the surrounding communities to the south of the airfield.
WHY DO THEY HAVE PUBLISHED DEPARTURE ROUTES IF THEY DON’T ALWAYS USE THEM?
Published departure routes are crucial in several situations. As mentioned earlier, the radar coverage for MMU is limited. If NY TRACON does not immediately pick up the aircraft on radar, or if the controller is temporarily too busy to communicate with the departing aircraft, the controller and pilots adhere to pre-determined instructions. The published procedures will also be used if the pilot loses communication or if there is a temporary radar system outage.
ARE NEWER JETS BIGGER OR LOUDER?
The sizes of corporate aircraft have changed little in the last 15 years. Fortunately, they have become safer and quieter. The newer business jets are the most technologically advanced and quietest aircraft in service. It is the somewhat smaller and older jet aircraft that are often the noisiest. In December of 1999 the FAA completed a phase-out of the majority of the older and louder jet aircraft that weigh more than 75,000 lbs.–these are mostly commercial aircraft. No such phase-out, however, was mandated for aircraft weighing less than 75,000 lbs, those among which are smaller corporate jets that serve general aviation airports such as MMU.
HOW DOES THE WEATHER AND SEASON AFFECT AIRCRAFT NOISE?
Individuals will notice an increase in aircraft noise during warmer months when windows are usually open and people spend more time outside. During hot and muggy summer days an aircraft’s climbing performance decreases; aircraft therefore remain lower longer and more power is required for climb-out. More noise is also experienced during the warmer months, largely due to the moisture content in the air. On a bad-weather day, a low cloud ceiling will insulate noise, and this may be especially apparent with helicopter operations.
ARE THERE REGULATIONS ON HOW LOW AIRCRAFT CAN BE?
There are three phases of aircraft operation: departure, landing and en route flight. When aircraft – be they fixed-wing or helicopters – are taking off or landing, there are no minimum altitude requirements. When en route, fixed-wing aircraft must maintain 1000' mean sea level (MSL) over congested areas and 500' MSL over other areas. Helicopters, however, have no minimum altitude requirements. Because of their maneuverability, helicopters can also get a Special Visual Flight Rule (SVFR) clearance that allows them to fly below the basic VFR weather minimums. This is especially important during medivac (medical helicopter transport) operations.
WHY DIDN’T MY REALTOR TELL ME ABOUT THE AIRPORT WHEN I BOUGHT MY HOUSE?
New Jersey State law requires that real estate agents inform potential buyers if the residence is within the Airport Safety Zone. There are only a handful of residences this close to the airport. Morristown’s Noise Abatement Officer has been meeting with local Realtors so that they can relay the proper information to their clients. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the buyer to research the area and satisfy his/her concerns before purchasing a home. The Noise Abatement Officer is willing to meet with prospective buyers to provide information about the airport and answer any questions related to aircraft traffic. For information, call (973) 538-3366, ext.186.
WHAT BENEFIT DOES MMU BRING TO MORRIS COUNTY?
MMU is used by corporate jets and helicopters as an alternative to Newark International Airport. It is essential to North Jersey’s daily commerce, connecting residents and businesses to state, regional and worldwide markets. Morristown Airport’s tenants and visitors provide and estimated $187 million total output/spending to the community. In addition, MMU serves the needs of individual aircraft owners and pilots who also conduct business throughout the Northeast. The Airport plays an important role in attracting and sustaining economic growth and development in the area. Many companies consider the adequacy and efficiency of aviation facilities when they are establishing or expanding their business operations. Several large pharmaceutical, technology, and communications corporations in the area have aircraft hangared at the Airport.
Morristown Airport serves as a valuable site for the medical community as well. Many hospitals use MMU to transport patients, medical supplies, and vital human organs to various locations around the country. Corporate tenants aid the medical community by occasionally operating flights for the Corporate Angel Network, a program designed to transport cancer patients free of charge, and for Air LifeLine, an organization that flies patients who can’t afford the cost of travel to medical facilities for treatments. The State Police and Aeromedical Evacuation Transport helicopters (Medivac) also frequently use MMU as a fueling station near St. Barnabas in Livingston, a national burn center, and Morristown Memorial Hospital, a Level II Trauma Center.
WHAT IS MMU DOING ABOUT NOISE?
The following is a list of MMU’s proactive noise abatement program’s recent accomplishments:
The Route 80 Visual Approach With the help of residents, and the FAA we have been able to adopt a published visual approach for Runway 23. This approach guides aircraft away from residential areas by using three major roadways: Route 287, Route 80, and Route 46. Limitations are that it can only be used during the daytime; it requires cloud ceilings of 3,500 feet or better and at least 5 miles visibility.
Increased pattern altitude for helicopters to 1000' MSL
Implemented voluntary helicopter procedures:
Departing A/E or Runway 5 -When able fly heading 050 until reaching 1,000 MSL before proceeding on course
Departing B/C or Runway 31 -When able climb to 1,000 MSL within airport boundary before proceeding on course
A/E, Rwy 5, C/B, or Rwy 31 -When able maintain at or above 1,000 MSL before descending over the airport
Helicopters arriving/departing MMU east or westbound should fly overhead either Route 24 or Route 10 avoiding densely populated residential areas when possible. If the Columbia Road Route must be flown, avoiding the area south of Columbia Road and flying as high as possible will aid in alleviating noise.
Weekend VFR Fixed Wing Alternate Traffic Pattern In an effort to equally distribute aircraft traffic pattern work on the weekends over the surrounding communities, VFR aircraft will fly the right or left traffic pattern designated by Air Traffic Control (ATC). The VFR aircraft traffic pattern will be alternated between the hours of 0830 local and 2200 local. If the weekend pattern work over an area has been excessive and you do not believe the aircraft have been alternated, please call our Operations Department and they will request a pattern change. Some weekends this may not be possible due to weather conditions, controller workload, or other safety concerns. The traffic patterns are always established at the discretion of the on-duty Controller In Charge (CIC)
Requested an FAA Airspace review of the Runway 23 departure route and any recommendations for alternate routes that will have the least impact on residential areas
Presentations to local realtors familiarizing them with MMU
Meetings with local legislators to discuss community aircraft noise concerns
Placing signage at the approach to each runway that includes the noise abatement procedures.
HOW CAN I MAKE A NOISE COMPLAINT?
There are three ways that you can make a noise complaint:
Call the Noise Abatement Hotline at (973) 538-3366 x122. If an Operations Coordinator is not available to speak with you please leave a message containing the following information:
Name, address, phone number
Time of day of disturbance
Type of aircraft (jet, propeller, helicopter)
Additional description (too low/loud)
Send an e-mail to [email protected] that includes the above information
Remember, the more complete information we receive, the better able we are to investigate your complaint.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I PLACE A NOISE COMPLAINT? WHAT DOES THE AIRPORT DO WITH THAT INFORMATION?
We research all complaints. When we receive multiple complaints from one operation we will notify the operator and inform them of the complaint and review with them our Noise Abatement procedures. We log all complaints and use the information to identify areas in the noise program where modifications may be needed. The data is also valuable during meetings with the FAA and local communities.