Understanding Aircraft Noise

The level of noise you hear from an aircraft during take off, landing and during flight can vary. Aircraft noise is influenced by a number of different factors, including:

  • the weather, including season, wind and cloud cover
  • the height of an aircraft
  • changes in engine thrust
  • type of aircraft.

People react differently to noise and what you hear can be influenced by your surrounding environment.

How aircraft noise is measured

Sound is usually measured in decibels (dB). Aircraft noise is measured in decibels adjusted (dB(A)) which means decibels have been adjusted to reflect the ear’s response to different frequencies of sound.

Flight paths and wind directions

New flight paths at Sunshine Coast Airport have been designed to optimally align with prevailing wind conditions when taking off and landing on the new runway.

It is proposed all aircraft will use the new runway once complete in 2020, arriving over land from the north-west and departing over the ocean to the south-east.

When the wind prevails from the west and north, aircraft will use the new runway to arrive over the ocean and take off over land to the north-west.

What will aircraft noise sound like for residents?

People often question what aircraft noise will sound like. While dependent on a range of factors, noise forecasts indicate aircraft noise from the new flight paths will be less than 75 decibels.

While these forecasts assume aircraft are arriving to land at the lowest design height, it is expected that most aircraft will actually be higher than this, which will further reduce the noise impact on the ground.

As a guide, typical sound levels experienced during normal conversation sit at 60 decibels. A café may range from 50 to 70 decibels, while a household appliance like a dishwasher or vacuum cleaner sit between 70 and 75 decibels.

Aviation technology to reduce noise

Aviation has come a long way in terms of lowering noise and emissions and advances in technology mean aircraft are quieter and more fuel efficient than ever before.

Airservices Australia is introducing new approach and departure procedures which will improve management of aircraft operations by aircraft and air traffic control systems, reducing pilot and air traffic control workload and resulting in reduced fuel burn and lower emissions.

This means the new Sunshine Coast Airport flight paths are considered to be less noisy and more environmentally efficient while still maintaining the highest levels of safety.

Further information

To find out more about how Sunshine Coast Airport manages aircraft noise see our Frequently Asked Questions.

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