Easier to measure aircraft noise during the pandemic

Published: 18 May 2021 16:05

LFV recently participated in a research project at KTH. In less than 3 hours, 18 flights were carried out where noise was measured using microphones next to the runway. ‘I am glad that we have been able to participate and contribute to the research.

Several parties, both internally and externally, have participated and it is great that we made this possible with joint efforts. These times provide a unique opportunity,’ says Mayte Åqvist, Deputy Head of Unit at the towers Arlanda and Bromma.

Positive pandemic effect
The reduced number of takeoffs and landings during the pandemic made the project possible. In the past, when there were many aircrafts in the air at the same time, it was difficult to make good noise measurements. Qualitative noise data requires measuring the noise from individual aircrafts. On April 8, when the study was conducted, there were about 150 movements at Arlanda, while in previous years the same period saw up to about 700.

18 flights in less than 3 hours
Novair, which operated the flights, had no priority over other flights but made the 18 approaches in less than 3 hours. It is unique to be able to conduct the study in this way in these times; at a real airport in one day along with other traffic and with different flap configurations and speeds.

‘There were two aircrafts in the air at the same time to be able to examine two different profiles. It went well. The second flight took off about 20 minutes after the first. The conditions were good. All staff knew what was going to happen in advance and there were also requirements posed on weather and wind. Pre-flight, a flight safety assessment was carried out,’ says Mayte Åqvist.

Consideration for surrounding residents
The purpose of the study is to contribute to knowledge about aircraft noise and to be able to create quieter routes for the sake of the surrounding residents. In addition to measuring noise using microphones, the positions of the aircrafts' flaps, engine load conditions, and when landing gear deploy were also measured.
‘At the Arlanda tower, we follow the airport owner Swedavia's environmental conditions, where noise is regulated and there are requirements on approach and departure routes,’ says Mayte Åqvist.

In addition to measuring noise using microphones, researchers will also have access to information from the aircrafts' black boxes. The research project is funded by the Swedish Transport Administration and partners are KTH, Novair, Swedavia, and LFV.

If you are disturbed by noise
If you are disturbed by noise, you can contact the airport to express your views. Airports have environmental permits. They often have procedures for dealing with noise issues and can also direct you further if you wish.