Skip to content

✈️ We should hear fewer planes over Longfellow this summer (but more next year)

And a mercifully brief explanation of why.

Longfellow Whatever
4 min read
✈️ We should hear fewer planes over Longfellow this summer (but more next year)
📸: MAC

As far as plane noise goes, Longfellow doesn't have it too bad, especially given our proximity to an international airport that handles 400,000 flights a year. While the sound of distant jet engines is commonplace, it’s pretty rare to have to pause a conversation for several beats mid-sentence, in the way our neighbors to the west are used to.

But by the same token, most of us haven't developed the aural callus that longtime Nokomis-dwellers say allows them to "not even hear it anymore." Nor do we have their fancy airport-funded windows. And regardless of quantity, less plane noise is better than more. 

So when the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) began a summer-long project of tearing up and rebuilding one of MSPs main runways last week, I wondered about the brass tacks: Will there be more or fewer planes overhead during construction? And, bigger picture: What exactly determines whether planes fly over the neighborhood or not? 

Here’s the gist of what I learned: 

Runways: There are four major runways at MSP, three of which can take off in either direction. So, there are basically seven options for runway takeoffs. The two most heavily-used runways during typical weather conditions are the North and South Parallel runways, which are the two that typically send planes over south Minneapolis. 

📸: MAC

Take-off and landing direction: It's safer for planes to take off and land against the wind. So, wind is the main dictator of which direction a plane takes off or lands, regardless of where it's headed. Accordingly, planes end up taking off over south Minneapolis more commonly when the winds are from the north or west, and descend over the city when winds come from the south or east.