Last week I held a meeting with an experienced airline pilot captain who has flown many times into and out of Heathrow.
He confirmed what many of us have worked out. NATs changes have meant there are more flights that are concentrated along the same route. The old dispersal pattern has been ended. There are also many more flights that are lower over the Wokingham area.
There are several simple ways this problem can be remedied, if only the airlines, Heathrow and NATs will seek to do so.
- Planes taking off should use fuller power for a bit longer to get higher sooner. This does not mean burning more fuel overall, as fuel use decreases sooner when the plane is higher. Getting planes higher sooner will spare many more homes beneath.
- Planes coming in to land during easterly operations should stay higher for longer. They should also avoid lowering their undercarriages prematurely as many do today, to both save fuel and cut noise.
- NATs should revert to asking planes to take diverging pathways out so no one line of route is subject to continuous noise all day and evening.
- Heathrow and NATS should plan arrivals better to avoid large stacks of planes flying and turning corners at relatively low altitudes over built up areas.
I am going to put these and related points again to Ministers, Heathrow and NATs.