Err, no George, just no

Other industries must limit the noise they make; but aircraft, thanks to an obscure clause in the 1949 Civil Aviation Act, are exempt.

You might have noted that there are restrictions on night flights at London airports. Because, you know, noise. Further, the FAA has been imposing ever greater limits on engine noise since the 1960s. And given the weight of the US in the global aviation industry everyone does manufacture to those standards.

It’s simply not true that there’s no regulation of aircraft noise.

36 thoughts on “Err, no George, just no”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    He makes the usual dishonest claim that not imposing a tax on fuel is a subsidy. But if he doesn’t like the noise levels, I am sure he will support Boris Island or the like. Right?

  2. It’s typical Monbiot – seize upon one claim (possibly even a factually accurate one, but usually something in a ‘usual suspects” report), ignore the wider context, and declare that “I, George have uncovered the great conspiracy against right-thinking people!”

  3. Total bollox. Axial jets (e.g. 707) were regulated out of operation unless they were fitted with “hush kits”. Modern jet aircraft use Turbofan engines because of their greater efficiency, plus they are much quieter than axial jets.

    If this is Monbiot (I’m very reluctant to visit the Gurniad), he’s absolute bullshit on stilts. Again. Aircraft are subject to noise regulation. He’s a lying cunt.

  4. ‘Aviation enjoys some astonishing exemptions from the civilising rules that constrain other sectors.’

    Fascist dictates are ‘civilising.’

    Military craft are exempt. There are still some loud old 727s out in the overnight freight business in the U.S. People don’t notice them much because they are asleep.

  5. Aviation enjoys some astonishing exemptions from the civilising rules that constrain other sectors.

    No speed bumps?

  6. Turbofans are generally axial flow as well, you know: it’s the bypass ratio that distinguishes them from turbojets. Talking about axial jets is generally to distinguish the from centrifugal jets, such as Whittle’s early designs; it’s not impossible to design (partially) centrifugal turbofans, though no-one much does it these days.

    That said, the point about turbofans’ efficiency and relative quietness are true, though even early, low bypass ratio turbofans, like the Conways on the VC-10, have been effectively noise-regulated out of use in many parts of the world.

  7. Modern jets are surprisingly quiet compared to those even 20-odd years ago.

    And Concorde. But then a 60MT nuclear explosion is quieter than Concorde was.

  8. Yes I know that turbofans are axial jets with bypass. The small point you have missed is that Monbiot (apparently) believes that aircraft are exempt from noise regulations. They are not.

    Were he the Pub Bore whaffling on, I’d simply give him a miss. He’s not. He’s a lying cunt getting paid to publish his agenda. No facts needed, make stuff up, the Gurniad will print it.

  9. What a prat. The 1949 CAA gives an exemption from prosecution or litigation under normal environmental laws and regulations, but other regulations llimit noise levels. Noise levels on aircraft are determined by international agreements because planes have a habit of taking off in one country and landing in another. They are not unilateral because that might give an advantage to the carrier that goes and buys the latest jets and gets the local law changed to make their competitors’ planes obsolete.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Military craft are exempt.”

    Maybe, but in peacetime they are severely restricted in the time, location and duration of any low level and other flying that may cause a nuisance.

    ISTR at one time the RAF was banned from low level flying over land during lambing.

  11. “Military craft are exempt.”

    My brother lives in the village next to the dutch “Apache farm”.
    When coming in or going out, the birds quite rapidly stopped using low-noise mode because it turned out having a military helicopter passing over your backyard at low altitude almost unannounced tended to regularly scare the bajeezus out of the locals. Especially the ones used to the sound of Starfighters, NF-5’s , and later F16’s , plus assorted visitors.

  12. It is a courtesy, not a legal requirement.

    I did think of one noise regulation on military aircraft: no sonic booms over CONUS. I loved hearing them when I was a kid.

  13. “but even when air passenger duty is subtracted, aviation’s various tax holidays amount to a subsidy of some £7bn a year”

    Really? Transatlantic ticket prices are 80% tax, or similar, domestic US less.

    I just don’t think this can be true.

  14. Gamecock (and Monbiot )are right :it is not against the law to cause noise disturbance with planes ; the noise is limited by private restrictions imposed by airport authorities , generally covering night times.
    (The jihad against the Guardian continues in the above comments.Are we not allowed one newspaper that is not in lock step with the economic suicidalists bent on high house prices and low wages?)

  15. Last time I worked in aerospace I remember there was lots of regulations and hoops to jump through about noise when they built a new engine test cell as someone had built a residential estate next to the factory since we had built the last one. They also had to install noise meters all around it and keep logs of the noise level. Actually it was impressive how quiet they could engineer the building especially compared to the old Concorde test cell, my desk would shake when they were running that one.

  16. Is George aware that the Civil Aviation Act 1949 was repealed in 1982 (he was presumably referring to what was section 40).

    There is an equivalent section, section 76(1) in the Civil Aviation Act 1982 which states that:

    “No action shall lie in respect of trespass or in respect of nuisance, by reason only of the flight of an aircraft over any property at a height above the ground which, having regard to wind, weather and all the circumstances of the case is reasonable, or the ordinary incidents of such flight, so long as the provisions of any Air Navigation Order and of any orders under section 62 above have been duly complied with.”

    This is necessary to allow any aircraft to operate, really, otherwise the landowners at either end of an airport would most likely be able to get an injunction to prevent planes flying over their land.

    There are then sections in that Act giving power to the Secretary of State to regulate noise and vibration at aerodromes so that it isn’t a total free-for-all.

  17. I refuse to read anything by moan-bigot, but I assume he’s whinging about aircraft noise over his mid Wales house.

    Unfortunately for him, that noise is very probably from the RAF training route over mid Wales, so no civil aviation regs would cover it anyway.

    As for no low flying over farms etc, the RAF are meant to avoid low flying over sensitve areas, but they very rarely take heed. Annoyingly, they love flying nice and low over my office when its a sunny day. It’s so blooming loud you can’t hold a conversation!

  18. One of the best things in the world is to be up a mountain in the Highlands and look down to see RAF jets practicing their low flying in the glens below.

  19. So Much For Subtlety

    abacab – “Modern jets are surprisingly quiet compared to those even 20-odd years ago.”

    What George presumably knows but doesn’t think about, is that the noise of an engine is waste. That energy has to come from somewhere and if it is annoying the neighbours, it is not driving the vehicle forward. This is true of cars and motorbikes but nowhere is it more true that airplanes as most of the cost of the tickets is fuel. You don’t want to be wasting energy in that fuel making noise. A lot of what engine design is involves reducing noise – and they would do it regardless of regulation. It is wasteful.

    Modern engines as a whole are getting so quite that some motorbikes – like Harley Davidsons – and some super cars have to design their mufflers to make the engines sound more noisy.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    Just in passing, and semi-off topic, it is now cheaper to rent a Ferrari for a day than a bulk tanker:

    Rates for Capesize-class ships plummeted 92 percent since August to $1,563 a day amid slowing growth in China. That’s less than a third of the daily rate of 3,950 pounds ($5,597) to rent a Ferrari F40, the price of which has also fallen slightly in the past few years, according to Nick Hardwick, founder of

    The Baltic Exchange’s rates reflect the cost of hiring the vessel but not fuel costs. Ships burn about 35 metric tons a day, implying a cost of about $4,000 at present prices, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

    Zerohedge quoting Bloomberg.

    So notice that a bulk dry tanker *and* fuel is about the same as a Ferrari per day.

    So why is George wittering on about airplanes? Think for a moment about the type of economy where that is true. Think what is going on in the real economy that the froth has not yet caught up with. Think what is going to happen when it does.

    If the Ferrari is froth on top of the real economy, George wittering on about airplane noise is less than a second order effect – froth wittering on about the froth it is on top of.

    The best advise is to ignore him and stock up on shotguns and canned food.

  21. Civilian aircraft in the U.S. are regulated for noise by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. The regulations led to a wholesale replacement of the passenger fleet.

    @DBC Reed

    I was saying that It is a courtesy for military planes to limit their noise. There are strict Federal standards for commercial planes.

  22. Are we not allowed one newspaper that is not in lock step with the economic suicidalists…

    Sure, but even you, DBCR, would surely prefer that the paper also make a stab at accuracy?

  23. I happen to work in the industry down here in Godzone. Not sure how things work in the UK but we’ve had to replace aircraft due to noise regulations at some of the airports that we operate in.

    I’ve got a bloody great big accrual on my balance sheet for disputed noise fines at an airport as we had to fly there (it was the only option available) to move an aircraft into the desert in the USA for decommissioning.

  24. We’re talking about the views of a man who thinks obesity is incurable. He’s not going to worry about whether he is right or not.

    He made his name with investigative travel journalism. Hypocritical cunt doesn’t even start to cover him.

  25. DBCReed: ‘Are we not allowed one newspaper that is not in lock step with the economic suicidalists bent on high house prices and low wages?’

    One..? There’s the ‘Indy’ too.

  26. GlenDorran: ‘One of the best things in the world is to be up a mountain in the Highlands and look down to see RAF jets practicing their low flying in the glens below.’

    This. So much this.

    If you replace ‘Highlands’ with ‘North Yorkshire’ you’ve described my favourite childhood holidays.

  27. @SMFS

    Indeed. Noise is wasted energy – the engine is doing work on something (usually air) in a way that is not generating thrust.

    Which is why high bypass turbofans are quieter and more efficient – the bypass reduces the flow shear at the exhaust, reducing the formation of vortices and other wasteful nasties around the outside of the exhaust flow. Making air turn around in circles like that is a) noisy, and b) not contributing to moving Mr. Boeing forwards.

    In respect of car engines, at cruise speeds road noise is now typically higher than engine/exhaust noise. Because we’ve eliminated a source of waste there.

    I suspect that Moonbat thought that Captain Planet was a documentary, with the baddies just wanting to waste and pollute for their own sakes.

  28. the biggest source of noise on a modern airliner is the airframe, not the engines – there is a limited amount one can do to reduce the noise further, especially when the flaps are down for landing and take off

  29. The Guardian is written by writers who go for laughs most of the time, particularly the women writers; the Indy is too dull; the Mirror manages to be less dull but not funny enough over a narrow range of stories and subjects.
    ( I like Tim Worstall because he may be right-wing blowhard but is funny with it. He is also supposed to be a land value taxer but appears to keep off the subject nowadays, probably because his audience has got more lumpen of late)
    I am not surprised that it is generally accepted that, apart from these few, all our press is of the Hooray for House Prices !; House price inflation good /Wage inflation bad !variety

  30. @ DBC Reed
    I disagree – the “Morning Star” stands for sense on house prices. And it’s not just “The Mirror” it’s dozens of local papers in the Trinity Mirror group.
    I doubt whether many of Tim’s readers read the gutter press so do not know the views of the “Daily Star” and its ilk.
    So “generally accepted” = accepted by DBCR and Arnald, but not by me.

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