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Heathrow night flights to continue - government wins appeal

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Heathrow night flights to continue - government wins appeal

Old 8th Jul 2003, 19:09
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Heathrow night flights - government wins appeal

The anti-aircraft noise protest group 'HACAN ClearSkies' has failed to get a ruling upheld which could have led to a ban on night flights at LHR.
In 2001, the European Court of Human Rights upheld HACAN's argument that the government's 1993 decision to ease restrictions on flights between 2330 BST and 0600 BST violated the human rights of people living around Heathrow by disturbing their sleep.
That ruling was not legally binding but could have led to a ban on night flights at Heathrow and other airports in the UK and Europe.

However the government, supported by BA, successfully argued that stopping night flights would cause severe economic hardship, undermining British airlines' competitiveness and giving European airlines an unfair advantage.
It has been estimated that switching landings at Heathrow from before 0600 BST to a later time could cost BA alone up to Ģ320m a year.

HACAN claims noise problems caused by Heathrow's night flights are no longer confined to south west London.

(It also claims residents as far away from LHR as Kensington & Chelsea are affected by the aircraft noise. I can vouch for the fact that is nonsense. )

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 8th Jul 2003 at 19:53.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 20:47
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This verdict is complete common sense, I can't see how they could have reached any other conclusion. If a ban had been enforced that would have opened the floodgates to similar claims across the country, possibly across Europe.

What if I work nights in a hospital or something? Is it my human right to a good days sleep? Presumably so... does that mean I could ban all day flights at LHR too?!

And people living next to a train line, could they argue that trains starting at 5am breached their human right to a good nights sleep?

The whole country would descend into chaos if these tiny minorities got their way, so I'm pleased of course today that they did not.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 21:30
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Night Flights at Heathrow

It has to be said that leaving an asset worth so much .... billions of pounds .... standing idle for 27% of the time is crass stupidity and were BA and BAA doing it of their own volition, they would be rightly accused of commercial incompetence.

I don't know the full implications of this ruling (will the number of night flights rise above the current 16 in the 6.5 hour period ?? if so presumeably it'll give the opportunity for 27% more slots - at one a minute that's over 300 a day !!) but hope it does help to keep Heathrow (and the UK) able to provide what it's customers demand and thus allow it to remain more competetive than other European airports.

I can't believe that many people (apart from perhaps my uncle and aunt who have lived in Feltham since 1947) can say that they moved to the area totally oblivious of Heathrow and not expecting to hear any noise.

I have seen the Manchester second runway dispute run for years and then be lost, the end (I assume) of the ban on night flying at Heathrow is another step in the right direction .... the battle for more capacity in the South east is one to watch .... how come extending the runway at Luton never seems to be proposed as a part of the solution ??? .... and I guess a 3rd runway at Heathrow has to be the sensible first step to enable growth to continue on a single site.

The thing I fear - and despise - most, is the suggestion by some of the opposing groups that air travel should be taxed out of existence to protect their own little corners of England.

We have to accept that aviation (at the start of it's second century) is actually here to stay, and needs to be encouraged ... not only in our personal interests, but in the best interests of Britain.

Last edited by Three Mile Final; 9th Jul 2003 at 00:46.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 22:21
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Hopefully HACAN will have to pay costs.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 22:37
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It astounds me that these people can make a claim against the noise. It is SO much quieter than the days of 707/727/VC-10/DC-8 and Tridents. Get a life and move away if you don’t like it!!
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 22:50
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Night Flights at Heathrow

Absolutely !!!!!! I used to live in Twickenham in the 60s and a good well laden Clipper 707 with "noisy, smoky, inefficient ..." JT3s made a rare old noise. Specially a freighter.

Nowadays it is terribly easy to know when Concorde is up and about ..... Only yesterday I know it was over Guildford ... and that was on it's way into Heathrow. I reckon that 25 years ago you could barely distinguish it from one on Ira Boeing's best.
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Old 8th Jul 2003, 23:22
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"It astounds me that these people can make a claim against the noise. It is SO much quieter than the days of 707/727/VC-10/DC-8 and Tridents."

I read somewhere that the number of people affected by aircraft noise around LHR has reduced from 2 million in the 1970s to around 300,000 today. And yet HACAN claim that aircraft noise can now be heard from Kensington & Chelsea!?! What are those guys smoking
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 00:54
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Quote from BBC's Website article on 8.7.03 ....

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"HACAN said that although individual planes have become quieter, any benefit to residents has been offset by the increase in the volume of aircraft traffic.

It said noise problems caused by Heathrow were no longer confined to the south west of London, with more than half a million people now affected by Heathrow's night flights. "
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Firstly I can't see how the first paragraph stands up to scrutiny .... as far as my mark one eyeballs tell me for the past 20 years I doubt I've seen a spare slot at Heathrow. The volume has been constant ........ full to capacity .......... with increasingly quiet aeroplanes.

If half a million are affected now vs. 2,000,000 when the footprints were larger with older generation jets ... things seem to be getting better not worse.

And much as I mourn it's passing .... and hoping that RB does get his paws on it .... Concorde is likely to pass into history soon and make things even quieter.
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 01:45
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infact cost were awarded against the government - odd decision(?)
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 02:17
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Well now that the Concorde is going to the graveyard the noise footprints around Heathrow are greatly reduced and it makes no difference.

I would still be scared if I owned a Rolls powered 744 though!
 
Old 9th Jul 2003, 07:17
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Three Mile Final

'Fraid this ruling doesn't mean more night flights, just means that the existing ones don't get scrapped just so Tarquin Hamilton-Bourgois can sleep in his Richmond mansion.

Funny how HACAN never has many folks from Hounslow or Hatton Cross present isn't it? They live right under short final (not five miles out like the toffs in Ken) and never a peep. Could it be that the majority work at, or get a lot of business, from the airport nearby? Surely not. Maybe they are just reasonable people.

Heathrow is an integral part of the NATIONAL economy and if you don't like the noise, DON'T BUY A BLOODY HOUSE NEARBY JUST BECAUSE THE AREA IS DE RIGEUR. If it were up to me, H24 would be fine. Certainly give the place some spare capacity. (Takes cover as the hand grenade of controversy sails into the air....)

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Old 9th Jul 2003, 08:37
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I just bought a house at the end of the runway ,on a busy highway ,next to a train line.
Dont you think its fair and considerable that i should get some peace and quiet.

Sorry guys ,only pulling your leg hehe.

Actually in my experience ,people who live in such locations dont even notice it after a while.A newbe moving in has one person to blame--himself for being such a f-----g idiot
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Old 9th Jul 2003, 10:11
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A sensible decision. There are hugely positive employment, trade and economic benefits from air traffic. Only the nation as a whole can decide what balance to strike. If Heathrow has to put up a Full sign, how can UK airlines expect to gain access to foreign airports if foreign airlines cannot get further access to Heathrow ?

Given the huge reductions in the noise footprints of modern airliners, I wonder what the average age is of some of these campaigners. They would do a little better to improve the quality of life of more people if, perhaps, they concentrated on other more local issues, eg. doing something to curtail the diesel fumes that spew out of buses, waste disposal, street environment, road traffic management. This campaign against aircraft is prejudiced and calculated elitism.

That all being said, ladies and gentlemen, it is probably not much point the members of Pprune consoling each other over the issue on an industry-focused website. Shouldn't the commercial air transport industry be much more proactive in putting its message forward publicly to counter some of more absurd propaganda being waged against aviation - local flyers in neighbourhoods of West London to set the message straight, full page advertisements in newspapers, radio adverts, opinion surveys to see what the silent majority think and want, and so on. It seems some of this may be under way, given British Airways's involvement in this case, but I am sure the industry could be doing more (though I hope I'm wrong !).
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Old 11th Jul 2003, 14:52
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Have to take issue with some of the points raised here. Some of you need your heads forcibly removed from the dune.
When people buy houses within the noise footprint of an airport, they can have no idea of how things will develop - there is no way of predicting what will happen to the noise footprint.
In the last 2 years, LHR has installed MLS which now means that flights can be vectored to short finals from all sorts of approach angles. This takes planes over places that have never heard them before - and makes for noisier joins on to finals, thereby adding to the misery of those already under finals.
In the last 7 years seperations have shortened and it is not uncommon to see an 80 second gap - that gap was 120 secs 7 years ago.
With regard to nightflights into LHR - here's the real pattern (as opposed to the one they talk about). Most nights the last landing will scream over West London at around 2330 local (last night it was midnight). Then the first early arrival (but deemed a nightflight) comes in around 0420. If that doesn't wake you, it'll be followed by several more at sporadic intervals - thereby ensuring that if you've dozed off, it won't be for long.
Then at 0600 the 1997 Prescott experiment continues - dealternation of the runways for one hour. That means landing on both runways if ATC need it. And funnily enough, they always do. This experiment appears to be permanent.
Finally, far be it from me to offer critique on immensely well-trained and skilfull pilots, there are some c**p approaches flown at all hours. I am seriously concerned for some of the flying I've seen onto finals at LHR. At least 20% appear to believe that the glideslope is actually a staircase. The sound of a throttle-joggler doing an imprecise balancing act in smooth conditions does not make for great PR on the ground.
So - all the above I hope goes some way to explain why people complain in increasing numbers about LHR noise. And why, when you read threads like the one about T4 congestion and the abysmal state of ops at LHR, you can't help wondering why they don't close the place after building a fab new London airport with six runways and 7 terminals somewhere at the end of a high-speed rail and 8 lane motorway.
Oh - they did. We just need the rail link to Holland.....
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Old 11th Jul 2003, 15:45
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When Flying Lawyer and I were students at London University, it was the era of the Trident/707/VC10/DC8 etc. The noise those made even over the East End was pretty loud - nowadays they're barely audible even 'up West'.

But my personal view is that expansion of Thiefrow should only go ahead after expansion of the grossly under capitalised UK regioanl airports such as Bristol Lulsgate, Cardiff, Exeter, Coventry, East Midlands, Teesside, Humberside, Norwich etc etc.
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Old 11th Jul 2003, 16:10
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Headsethair,

your MLS comment sounds doubtful to me. One major driver for MLS (and FMS approaches/departures) was precisely the capability of mitigating noise by allowing routeings around communities. There is no question that that is in fact how the FMS procedures have been used. I don't think there is any evidence for your theory about MLS. Would be interested to hear it though...
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Old 11th Jul 2003, 16:14
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But BEagale, the airlines donīt want to fly into BHX, EMA, etc (except the low cost ones) The transit pax, i.e (Americans and Europeans we syphon off the mainland) want LHR. If we want to keep their business, I believe, we have to expand in the South East. We have to decide whether we want to a "player" in global aviation or not. If not , then let us keep everybody happy and build it in the Thames Estuary . However, we cannot keep giving UK jobs away faster than we are generating them, whether it be merchant shipping, fishing or manufacturing. We have to create value added jobs. Anybody that has been to the rest of the world can see that all these countries are thinking the same thing and ACTIVELY fighting for these types of jobs for their population. It would appear other countries in Europe have realised this and steam rollered expansion at airports and transport infrastructure through. However, H.M government have a long history of hesitation and lack of foresight, whether they be Labour or Conservative. I live in Spain now, and the public infrastructure and investment has to be seen to be believed.Most PPruners that fly shorthaul must get off the aircraft and think "Wow, why canīt we have terminals/trains/trams/railway station like this." What is the answer? I donīt know, but then I havenīt put myself up for election. If these politicians donīt have the answers , then they shouldnīt be there....
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Old 11th Jul 2003, 16:44
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Headsethair....

We only have MLS on one runway at the moment (27L), and it won't be available for use until Autumn 2004. We're expecting the other runways' MLS to be certified before Christmas 2004. The first MLS equipped aircraft will fly just about then. By 2007 only 60-odd BA Airbuses will be equipped.

We do not always land on both runways....One one of my last night shifts, which covered Monday morning to 0700, we only landed ONE on the departure runway before that time, and that was only because it came in too fast and was catching up the one ahead, so we had to switch it

What do you mean by 'staircase'? You think aircraft on approach keep levelling off, then going down a bit, then levelling off once more? Doesn't happen.

About power variations, I'd imagine that's because aircraft on approach fly generally 160kts to 4 miles, so to maintain a constant speed and descent rate while the aircraft configuration (gear, flaps etc) is changing, then I'd imagine some power changes are needed.

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Old 11th Jul 2003, 17:20
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Gonzo - thanks for the info. Healthy discussion! I am pro-airports and flying - but I am worried that the industry is doing itself no favours with its attitude to aircraft noise. How many nightflights are REALLY necessary ? There's one that comes in from Boston at around 5am - why couldn't that come in later? (Maybe because it has to get out of Boston before they shut ? I don't know).

The HK flights used to come in very early to LHR because of the curfew at the old HK airport.

If other international airports can have strictly observed curfews, why can't LHR?

MLS - I hear what you say. But please explain what appears to be an increasing habit of planes being given short finals and vectoring over areas not covered by long finals.

Dealternation - one quiet Monday doesn't a summer make! The general situation is that you make use of both runways from 06-0700 local on most weekdays. (And often you delaternate during the day - which isn't such a problem.)

Power alterations/staircases : please believe me. I see/hear it every day 7 miles out. I even know the names of the worst airlines - but I'm not going to state them here.

All I know, from actual experience under a busy approach - the plane that comes in quieter does more good for the industry than the one making the noise.

And, Gonzo and others, one simple question.

Is it possible to steepen the glideslope into LHR ? Would this put aircraft at a higher alt over London and reduce the noise complaints ?

I'm only asking. I've asked this question before and never got a direct answer.

I am wearing a steel helmet, just in case you're gonna start throwing things.
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Old 11th Jul 2003, 17:51
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Me? Throw things? You obviosuly don't know me........disconnecting your car's brake cable, that's more like me.....

How many night flights are necessary? Don't know.

I realise that it was 'one quiet monday' as you put it. However, the reason why we usually use both runways from 0600-0700 is there are up to 20 a/c going round the holds waiting until the night jet ban to end at 0600, and all our flow control planning is based on zero inbound delay at 0700, becuase we'd all quickly go under if there's 20 mins inbound delay already existing at 0700. That'll quickly build past 30 mins, and then a/c start holding higher and higher and further out which has a pretty bad consequence for my radar colleagues, less airspace capacity, more delays for overflights, delays build up all over Europe. Not saying this is right, but it's what happens if we don't land both runways to 0700.

On last Monday, there was a Cathay Pacific freighter 747 that arrived at the Lambourne hold at 0510 local, but cannot land until 0600 and thus was circling LAM for 50 minutes.

This past year it has been quieter generally than usual due to Iraq and SARS, and what happens when it's quiet is that inbound a/c tend to be given a more direct routeing to a shorter final approach. When it gets busy, the 'length' of the final approach increases.
About 'staircases'....well, all I can say is that sitting in the tower 6 out of every ten days one can see if an a/c levels off when he's on the glideslope, when one is below or above it, and while I've sometimes seen a/c high on approach, I've only ever seen an a/c noticeably low once. That looked scarily low, but we found out later it was only 100ft below the glideslope at 3 miles (so 800ft rather than 900ft).

Making the glideslope steeper?

Well, I'm no expert, but a/c need special certification to be able to use London City's 5.5 degree (I think) slope, and many of the aircraft using LHR at the moment (777-300, MD11, 747 freighter) have problems flying at 160kts on a 3 degree slope, so not sure if it would be possible

Gonzo.
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