More Aircraft Arrivals over Ealing – and that’s BEFORE the Third Runway
By Tom Whiting
If Ealing residents were concerned about the current levels of aircraft noise affecting their borough, well things are going to get a lot worse under new plans by Heathrow to reconfigure its flight paths.
Currently Ealing borough residents are affected by aircraft noise in two ways: 1) by aircraft landing on ‘westerly’ operations (when the wind is blowing from the west, on average 70% of the year) in the southern part of the borough, bordering neighbouring Hounslow, and 2) by aircraft taking off on ‘easterly’ operations (wind blowing from the east, on average 30% of the year) with noise affecting a broad central swathe from Boston Manor and Northfields to Ealing Broadway and Hanger Hill.
At an ‘Airspace and Future Operations’ consultation event in the Town Hall in February, plans were unveiled for Heathrow to add 25,000 more flights per annum using its existing two runways (so even BEFORE the Third Runway is built). To cater for this huge expansion, existing flight paths need to be redesigned and a new system of operation called independent parallel approaches (IPAs) introduced.
You needed a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics (which incidentally I have) to make sense of all the bundles of literature on show. Flight envelopes, dBA contours, performance based navigation and ATMs (Air Traffic Movements – not the machine for your bank card, D’oh!) were the de rigueur phrases of the day. Beyond the smokescreen and platitudes, this is what I managed to deduce for our readers.
An IPA allows aircraft to land simultaneously on both Heathrow’s runaways during busy periods. IPA A1 is one of the plans for the northern runaway during aircraft landings in westerly operations, roughly 70% of the year (see diagram). Notice straightaway that the arrivals flight path over Ealing borough has shifted north, resulting in areas not previously affected by aircraft landings (north and south of the Uxbridge Road, roughly from Hanwell in the west to Acton in the east) now underneath the flight path envelope.
So if you’re like me and currently only affected by aircraft taking off from Heathrow, you might also soon be faced with gaping at the undercarriage of ‘the hotel in the sky,’ the Airbus A380, rattling your roof tiles before it lands at Heathrow.