One of the most obvious environmental impacts of airport operations on the surrounding community is aircraft noise. The Perth area is affected by aircraft noise from seven airfields - Perth Airport, Jandakot Airport, Pearce RAAF Base, RAAF Gingin, Murray Field Airport (Mandurah), Serpentine Airport and Rottnest Island Airport – and no suburb is immune from aircraft noise.
Jandakot Airport is the major general aviation airport in Western Australia, and is one of the busiest airfields and largest training bases in Australia. The majority of aircraft movements at Jandakot Airport are for pilot training, with three major flying schools - Singapore Flying College, China Southern WA Flying College, and the Royal Aero Club of WA – based at the airport. In addition, many essential service organisations operate out of Jandakot Airport, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Police Air Wing, RAC Rescue Helicopter, and the DEC/DFES bushfire water bombers.
Airservices Australia and the Australian Airports Association have established an aircraft noise website, www.aircraftnoise.com.au, to provide information on the causes of aircraft noise, how the aviation industry is working together to manage aircraft noise, and what people can do to reduce its impact. The Australian Government has recently created www.aviationcomplaints.gov.au to provide contact details for the appropriate agency responsible for the different aviation issues.
Information is also available on this webpage to provide you with details about:
- Aircraft noise impacts
- Aircraft noise modelling
- Who is responsible for managing aircraft noise?
- What is being done?
- What can you do?
What Causes Aircraft Noise?
There are two sources of aircraft noise - airframe noise and engine noise. Airframe noise results from air passing over the plane’s body (airframe/fuselage) and causing air friction and turbulence. The more air friction caused, the louder the noise. Engine noise results from the sound of the moving parts of the engine, coupled with the sound of the air being expelled at high speed once it has passed through the engine. In the case of a helicopter or other propeller-driven aircraft, the noise is generated equally by the propeller mechanism and the air friction created by the propeller blades.
Number of Aircraft Movements
Although aircraft today are much quieter than they were 20 years ago, the number of aircraft and the frequency of aircraft operations have increased dramatically. While the average aircraft noise level is reducing, the number of times you will hear aircraft noise is increasing.
Jandakot Airport is one of Australia’s busiest airports, with an average of 330,000 movements per annum. The number of aircraft movements is forecast to increase, reaching in excess of 526,000 movements per annum within a 20 year period. A theoretical total airport capacity of 460,000 fixed wing movements was identified in the Jandakot Airport Master Plan 2014.
Types of Aircraft
Jandakot Airport is classified as a General Aviation airport. The term ‘General Aviation’ refers to aviation activity that is not scheduled commercial airline operations, such as aeromedical, agricultural, charter operations, pilot training, and aerial work (e.g. surveying and photography). It also includes private, corporate, recreational and sports aviation activity, and supporting businesses such as aircraft maintenance.
There are approximately 500 aircraft based at Jandakot Airport. This includes single-engine and twin-engine fixed wing aircraft, rotary-wing (helicopters), and sports aircraft. Due to runway and taxiway restrictions, aircraft with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) greater than 5,700kg must be assessed and approved by Jandakot Airport to ensure that the aircraft will not adversely affect the runway or taxiway pavements.
Jandakot Airport currently has three runways. The two parallel runways 06/24 (aligned approximately NE/SW) are used for approximately 85% of all movements, and runway 12/30 (aligned approximately NW/SE) is used for approximately 15% of all movements.
Runway selection is determined by wind direction and strength as aircraft prefer to take-off and land into the prevailing wind. During Air Traffic Control tower hours, the Air Traffic Controllers stipulate which runway direction must be used. Outside of ATC tower operating hours, the pilot will determine which runway to use based on the direction of the wind. Some surrounding suburbs are affected by aircraft operations on both runway directions, while other areas are only impacted when a particular runway direction is being used.
The Jandakot Airport Master Plan 2014 identifies the provision of fourth runway, which will be located parallel to runway 12/30.
Types of Movements
Due to the extra power required to get the aircraft airborne, departing aircraft are usually louder than arriving aircraft. Each aircraft has a different climb capability, based on the size and weight of the aircraft, engine type and performance (e.g. jet or propeller), fuel load (aircraft with a full fuel load cannot climb as rapidly), payload (e.g. water bombers) and specific aerodynamic performance.
60% of movements at Jandakot Airport are circuit operations. Circuit training is repetitive touchdown and take-off (“Touch & Go”) manoeuvres. Touch & Go's are a vital part of pilot training in both daylight and night-time conditions.
The flight training circuits extend up to 5km from the airport, and affect suburbs including Atwell, Banjup, Bateman, Bibra Lake, Bull Creek, Canning Vale, Cockburn Central, Jandakot, Leeming, North Lake, South Lake, Success, and Willeton.
The Jandakot Control Zone is an allocated area of airspace that covers a 3 nautical mile (5.5km) radius from the airport up to a height of 1,500ft (457.2m).
The main departure tracks from Jandakot are Northwest via the Fremantle golf course, southeast via Armadale and south towards the Training Area, via Yangebup and Thompson Lakes. The main inbound tracks are via Canning Bridge, via Forrestdale Lake and Adventure World.
The indicative flight tracks for Jandakot Airport, based on the Ultimate Capacity Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF), are shown below. Please note that while the tracks are displayed as a thin line on the diagrams included below, pilots use visual landmarks to determine the flight path and as such the actual flight tracks can vary substantially.
- Runway 06 – Day [PDF 675KB]
- Runway 24 – Day [PDF 680KB]
- Runway 12 – Day [PDF 679KB]
- Runway 30 – Day [PDF 679KB]
- Runway 06 – Night [PDF 625KB]
- Runway 24 – Night [PDF 635KB]
- Runway 12 – Night [PDF 630KB]
- Runway 30 – Night [PDF 630KB]
While flight paths and procedures are generally set, in busy airspace, Air Traffic Controllers may instruct an aircraft to deviate from the established flight paths for safety, expedition or operational reasons. For example, when there is a mix of single and twin-engine aircraft in the training circuit at the same time, to maintain appropriate sequencing between the various aircraft the twin-engine aircraft may need to fly wider circuits as they are faster and more powerful than single-engine aircraft. Aircraft traffic may also be rearranged by ATC to allow a priority medical or other emergency flights to arrive or depart as quickly as possible.
The process for changing flight paths is extremely complex. Airservices Australia designs flight paths through extensive consultation, often over many years, with affected stakeholders such as aircraft operators, government, Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and the local community. With aviation safety always the highest priority, Airservices will work to minimise the environmental impacts of aviation through introducing approach and departure paths that reduce noise, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Changes to flight paths are not easy to make as they have to take into account the impact that a change in one flight path could have on other flight paths.
The Western Australia Route Review Project (WARRP) was a comprehensive review of airspace use, flight routes and aviation procedures across Western Australia. The review was undertaken by Airservices between 2006 and 2008, and the flight path changes were implemented in November 2008.
The Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 stipulate the minimum flying heights. Except when in the act of landing or taking off, aircraft must remain at a minimum height of 1,000ft (304.8m) over populous areas or 500ft (152.4m) over uninhabited areas and the sea.
The altitudes are set to ensure that aircraft can operate in airspace that is clear of all obstacles, and also to provide sufficient manoeuvring space in the event of an emergency.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) may approve aircraft operations to routinely operate at lower altitudes, such as emergency service aircraft (e.g. WA Police, bushfire water bombers, search and rescue operations), and special types of air work for which the operator has a permit (e.g. media helicopters, aerial surveying). There may also be times where aircraft need to fly at lower heights due to the weather.
Seasonal & Meteorological Variations
An aircraft will generally generate the same amount of noise every time it operates. However, the noise circulation, and thus the level of noise being received by a person on the ground, is heavily impacted by different weather conditions. Sound travels in waves by vibrating particles in the direction of their movement. The particles in a dense medium, such as rain, fog and humidity, can vibrate other particles faster and cause sound waves to travel louder and clearer. Low cloud cover will increase the noise level by reflecting noise back to the ground and producing an ‘echo’ effect, while wind causes sound waves to bend in the direction that the wind is flowing.
Aircraft movements tend to be higher during the summer months due to the favourable flying conditions and the longer daylight hours. Aircraft noise is also more noticeable during the warmer weather because windows are kept open and residents spend more time outside.
Time of Day
Jandakot Airport operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During Jandakot Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower hours, Air Traffic Controllers manage movements coming to and from the Jandakot Control Zone. The airport continues to operate while the Air Traffic Control tower is closed, with set procedures for pilots to make mandatory radio calls advising their position and to sequence themselves in the Jandakot Control Zone.
Aircraft noise is often perceived to be louder at night due to the lower ambient background community noise (traffic etc.) and the increased sensitivity to noise during normal sleeping hours.
All individuals have differing levels of tolerance to noise. Some people move into the Jandakot area because of the airport while others move away because of aircraft noise. Previous experience has suggested that those people who are aware of aircraft noise impacts before they move to an area tend to have a higher tolerance than those who were unaware that an airport is nearby.
Noise can also affect people differently, depending on lifestyle. For example, people who entertain outside frequently tend to notice aircraft more than those who are predominantly inside.
Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF)
Jandakot Airport is required to prepare an Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) chart to display the predicted noise exposure levels for aircraft movements 20 years into the future. The ANEF is a scientific measure that takes into account meteorological conditions at the airport, forecast aircraft movement volume and frequency, allocation of these movements to flight paths and distribution over the day and night time periods, and the noise signature (intensity, duration and tonal content) and performance characteristics of the specific aircraft types.
The ANEF is used in conjunction with Australian Standard 2021-2000 ‘Acoustics - Aircraft noise intrusion - Building siting and construction’ (AS 2021) to provide the framework for land use planning and building treatments within the vicinity of an airport. AS 2021 places restrictions on the types of new developments which can be built within the various ANEF contours.
The ANEF chart illustrates noise contours plotted at 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 ANEF units. The contour plot is the calculated total noise energy at that given point on the ground on an annual average day. The higher the ANEF value, the greater the expected exposure to aircraft noise in that area. Properties located within the ANEF 20 contour and above may have zoning and development restrictions placed on the land, noise insulation included as a condition of planning approval, and/or notification of the likely presence of aircraft noise on the land title.
The Jandakot Airport Ultimate Capacity ANEF [PDF 762KB] is calculated on the theoretical maximum movement capacity of the airfield.
Noise Above Contours
Compared to the ANEF, which is primarily a land-use planning tool, Noise Above Contour charts provide a more readily understood measure of noise exposure for the general public. These charts present the expected frequency of aircraft noise events on an average day that are above 60, 65 or 70 decibels (dbA).
The N60 Contours display the calculated daily aircraft noise events above 60 decibels. A 60 decibel outside noise corresponds to a 50 decibel noise event indoors, which is the sleep distruibance level specified in Australian Standard AS2021-2000. Similarly, the N70 Contours display the calculated average daily aircraft noise events above 70 decibels. A 70 decibel outside nosie corersponds to a 60 decibel noise event indoors, which is the noise level specified in Australian Standard AS2021 as the indoor design sound level for normal domestic areas in dwellings that may interefre with activities such as normal conversation and watching television.
The Noise Avove charts show the average daily noise events, calculated by dividing the total annual events by 365. For comparison purposes, N60 Contours have also been prepared for a 'Busy Day'. The N60 Busy Day diagram shows the projected amount of noise events for a day where Jandakot Airport will be operating at its peak daily movement level (i.e. in extremely favourable weather conditions for flying training).
- Jandakot Airport N60 Contours [PDF 1.44MB]
- Jandakot Airport N60 (Busy Days) Contours [PDF 868KB]
- Jandakot Airport N65 Contours [PDF 1.55MB]
- Jandakot Airport N70 Contours [PDF 1.55MB]
Aircraft noise management is the responsibility of the entire aviation industry.
The Australian Government is responsible for overall policy and legislation. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development advises the Government on the policy and framework for Australian airports and the aviation industry, manages the administration of the Government's interests in privatised airports under the Airports Act 1996, and provides policy advice to the Minister on the efficient management of Australian airspace and on aircraft noise and emissions.
State & Local Governments
State and local governments are responsible for managing land-use planning around airports. The State Planning Policy No. 5.3 (Land Use Planning in the Vicinity of Jandakot Airport) has been developed to protect Jandakot Airport from encroachment by incompatible land use and development, so as to provide for its ongoing, safe, and efficient operation, and to minimize the impact of airport operations on existing and future communities with particular reference to aircraft noise.
The National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group, comprising transport and planning representatives from Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, have prepared a National Airports Safeguarding Framework. The Framework presents six guidelines to enhance the current and future safety, viability and growth of aviation operations.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is responsible for the safety regulation of civil air activities within Australia. This includes airspace regulatory functions such as setting flight path heights and distances, monitoring standards for holders of Air Operators Certificates and Licences, including certifying that aircraft meet the noise standards, and assessing and approving changes to Australian airspace architecture through the Airspace Change Process.
Airservices Australia is a government-owned corporation that is responsible for airspace management, aviation communications, radio navigation aids, aviation rescue and fire fighting services, and aeronautical information. Airservices has established a Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS) to manage complaints and enquiries about aircraft noise and operations.
Aircraft Noise Ombudsman
The Aircraft Noise Ombudsman conducts independent administrative reviews of Airservices Australia's management of aircraft noise-related activities, including the handling of complaints or enquiries made to Airservices Australia about aircraft noise, community consultation processes related to aircraft noise, and the presentation and distribution of aircraft noise-related information.
Jandakot Airport Holdings
Jandakot Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (JAH) operates Jandakot Airport under a long term lease agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia. As the airport operator, JAH is required to manage the airport in accordance with the Airports Act 1996 and Airports Regulations 1997. Under the Airports Act, JAH must prepare a Master Plan every 5 years. The Master Plan includes an Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) for 20 years into the future.
JAH is also responsible for those aviation activities that take place on the ground and within the airport boundary.
Regardless of size, purpose or ownership, all civil aircraft operating in Australia must comply with the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 1984. Aircraft operators are required to obtain an Aircraft Noise Certificate, which must be reassessed if the aircraft is modified in any way which may affect its noise characteristics.
Aircraft operators are also responsible for ensuring that noise abatement principles are adhered to.
Noise Abatement Procedures
‘Fly Neighbourly’ is a voluntary code of conduct for pilots that was introduced at Jandakot Airport in January 2000. While it is impossible to stop aircraft noise emanating from an airport, Fly Neighbourly recognises that there are opportunities to reduce the effect of aircraft noise on surrounding communities.
Community Aviation Consultation Group
The Jandakot Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group (CACG) is an independent committee established to provide a forum for appropriate community engagement on airport planning and operations. The Jandakot Airport CACG comprises representatives from Federal, State and Local Governments, Airservices Australia, Jandakot Airport Holdings, aircraft operators, and local community organisations. The role and purpose of the CACG is to enable residents affected by airport operations, Jandakot Airport Holdings and aviation operators at the airport, local authorities, airport users, and other interested parties, to exchange information on issues relating to the operation of Jandakot Airport and its impacts.
Aircraft Noise Monitoring
Airservices Australia produces quarterly Noise Information Reports for major urban areas. The reports include information and analysis on aircraft movements, noise monitoring and complaint issues.
Airservices Australia manages complaints and enquiries about aircraft noise and operations through its Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS). Complaints, enquiries and requests for information about aircraft operations received by the NCIS are collected and stored in a database for the purpose of complaint management, analysis of issues and identification of causal factors.
Airservices provides Webtrak, an online system that provides a visual display of where and how high aircraft fly over metropolitan areas. Information can be viewed for movements three months prior through to movements occurring 40 minutes ago.
Enquiries or complaints can be made by:
- contacting NCIS by telephone 1800 802 584
- online via WebTrak (select an individual aircraft and make a complaint about that specific flight)
- mail to PO Box 211 Mascot NSW 1460
Aircraft Safety Concerns
To report concerns with low-flying aircraft, or aircraft that are considered to be operating in an unsafe manner, details of the incident - including an exact time and location - can be reported to Civil Aviation Safety Authority by telephoning 131 757.
Preparing to Rent or Buy
If you are considering buying or renting a property in the area, especially within the 3 nautical mile (5.5km) Jandakot Control Zone, you should consider the following before making a decision:
- check if the area is on one of the major inbound or outbound aircraft tracks;
- speak to residents already living in the area about their experience with aircraft noise;
- spend a lot of time in the area/street where you plan to buy or move to and listen to the noise of the traffic and aircraft movement (you may need to visit on a few occasions so that you can be there when aircraft are operating on the runway direction that impacts the area);
- check whether the property is properly insulated; and
- consider whether you are sensitive to noise - if you are easily disturbed or wake up often you will be more affected by the aircraft noise.
If you already live in a house and are being adversely affected by aircraft noise, there are practical options to reduce the level of noise entering the house. Some things to consider are:
- insulate ceilings;
- line or enclose roof eaves;
- fill in gaps around windows and doors;
- install solid core doors;
- insulate weatherboard walls;
- if not required, seal or remove ceiling vents and exhaust fans;
- install laminated or double-glazed glass windows ;
- seal openings in the walls and roof; and
- install a sheet of laminated glass in front of skylights.
- NCIS Factsheet – Reducing the Impact of Aircraft Noise at Home [PDF]
- Department of Environment - Aircraft Noise and its Effects brochure [PDF]