ERCD news items


Third edition of ERCD Report 1004 is published


This report describes the NTK noise monitor positions used by ERCD between 2007 and 2011 to validate ANCON, the UK civil aircraft noise contour model. Future editions of this report will be published to describe new monitor positions as they become known.

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'Tranquility - An overview' report published


This report aims to provide an overview of the current area and state of knowledge of tranquillity and tranquil spaces within the UK. It forms part of the CAA’s activity to support the Department for Transport’s objective that the Directorate of Airspace Policy should pursue policies that will help to preserve the tranquillity of the countryside. This overview provides a summary of key research into tranquillity with special attention to aviation.

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Report published on 'Environmental Metrics for FAS'


The report describes a selection of metrics that may be used to quantify and explain various environmental impacts. There are primary impacts, which can be thought of as direct environmental indicators, and also secondary measures, which are not directly related, but which may be associated with or resulting from the primary metrics. The aim of the report is to include descriptions of a selection of metrics that have been consulted upon as part of the development of the Future Airspace Strategy (FAS). It should be noted that the inclusion of such metrics in this report does not necessarily mean they are in actual use at present.

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Report published on Noise Measurements of Reverse Thrust at Heathrow and Stansted Airports


This report describes a noise measurement study undertaken by ERCD to support the development of improved reverse thrust modelling assumptions to be included in ANCON, the UK aircraft computer noise model. A summary of the measured noise levels is also provided.

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ERCD publishes report on measurement and modelling of aircraft noise at low levels


This report describes a study undertaken by ERCD on behalf of the Aircraft Noise Monitoring Advisory Committee (ANMAC) to investigate and potentially improve the accuracy of aircraft noise monitoring at locations outside of the 54 dBA Leq 16hr contours, and to consider issues related to modelling at these lower contour levels.

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ERCD publishes a review on Environmental Noise and Health


This review provides an overview of literature in the field of noise and health. It focuses on transportation noise, particularly aircraft noise and looks at the possible effects on health to include annoyance and psychological health, cardiovascular and physiological health, performance, and the effects of noise on children. Suggestions for future research areas are given.

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ERCD publishes a review on Aircraft Noise and Children's Learning


This report is a literature review of the research into the effects of aircraft noise on children’s
learning and cognition. The primary cognitive processes that are examined in relation to aircraft
noise are episodic memory, semantic memory, sustained attention and reading comprehension.
The review includes early work in this area from the 1970s, to the most recent studies. Key
studies are described, along with suggestions for future research.

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ERCD publishes report on accuracy of data in the NTK system at the London airports


This report describes a study that was undertaken to assess the accuracy of the flight path information provided by ANOMS 8 – the Noise and Track Keeping (NTK) system installed at the London airports. Aircraft positional data recorded using Mode S/ADS-B receiving equipment were used for independent comparison against ANOMS 8 outputs, which are based on Mode C Secondary Surveillance Radar. For the sample of flights analysed, the results indicate that the accuracy of ANOMS 8 NTK data is, on average, no worse than ±55 ft in aircraft height and no worse than 30 m in position. These are within the expected tolerances of the radar data. The study has shown no clear evidence of a consistent bias in the NTK height or position data at any of the airports.

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ERCD publishes a review on aircraft noise and sleep disturbance


This review covers the main findings of research into the effects of aircraft noise exposure on sleep,
and includes the effects on electroencephalogram (EEG) and changes in sleep architecture, and their implications for sleep quality, mood and performance. Field and laboratory studies are compared, and the use of actigraphy versus polysomnography as a means of measuring sleep disturbance in large populations around airports is discussed. The physiological implications of noise-induced sleep disturbance are examined, including the main stress hormone concentrations, heart rate and cardiovascular responses to noise during sleep.

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ERCD publishes report on 'Metrics for Aircraft Noise'


This paper was originally produced for the Aircraft Noise Monitoring Advisory Committee (ANMAC) to provide an overview of the current metrics used to measure aircraft noise. The review is a factual account of the methods used to measure noise internationally and outlines the main strengths and weaknesses of each metric.

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ERCD publishes London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted strategic noise map reports


ERCD has published three reports: ERCD Report 0706, ERCD Report 0707 and ERCD Report 0708, which present the 2006 strategic noise mapping contours for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports.

The noise maps have been produced in accordance with Statutory Instrument 2006 No. 2238 The Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006.

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ERCD publishes report on 'Revised Future Aircraft Noise Exposure Estimates for Heathrow Airport'


This document presents revised future aircraft noise exposure estimates for Heathrow airport. The work has been undertaken in support of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Consultation: Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport.

The assessment does not constitute a full environmental impact assessment; rather it attempts to identify the types of scenarios that would be compatible with the stringent criteria stated in the Air Transport White Paper.

The report describes a range of new and updated scenarios for Heathrow airport, superseding those reported previously in ERCD Report 0308.

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Updated Code of Practice for Limiting Noise from Arriving Aircraft


Noise from Arriving AircraftThe Civil Aviation Authority’s Environmental Research and Consultancy Department (ERCD) has played a key role in the development of an updated code of practice for limiting aircraft noise.

Produced in conjunction with BAA, the Department for Transport, British Airways, easyJet, MyTravel, Virgin Atlantic and NATS, it covers operational issues for flight crews and air traffic controllers as well as considering airport, regulatory and strategic factors.

The code gives pilots, air traffic controllers and airport operators guidance on techniques to minimise noise from aircraft landing at airports.

It was produced by a working group set up by the DfT’s Aircraft Noise Monitoring Advisory Committee (ANMAC). Although primarily concerned with Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, the Code contains much of relevance to airports worldwide.

ERCD’s input to the Code included assessments of:

  • the factors affecting approach noise;

  • the best means of mitigating the noise; and

  • the noise benefits that can be obtained from flying ‘Continuous Descent’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘Low Power Low Drag’ Approaches.

  • ERCD, in conjunction with British Airways, also produced guidance material for pilots to assist them to fly approaches with the least noise impact.

    Spreading the word on new noise modelling guidance


    ECAC News Autumn 2006Following approval of the 3rd Edition of ECAC Document 29, 'Report on Standard Method of Computing Noise Contours Around Civil Airports' and its publication on the ECAC website in July 2006, the Autumn 2006 issue of ECAC News presents an article by Dr Darren Rhodes of ERCD, summarising the key changes associated with the new noise modelling guidance.

    Dr Rhodes commented, "...the new guidance addresses three key limitations: out of date algorithms, a lack of real practical guidance on applying a noise model, and the lack of associated data."

    The new ECAC guidance is now being used as a basis for updating ICAO's equivalent noise modelling guidance, ICAO Circular 205, which has not been updated since it was published in 1988. ERCD is also taking a lead role in this effort as part of its involvement in ICAO's Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP).

    ERCD publishes report on precision of aircraft noise measurements at the London airports


    ERCD Report 0506 'Precision of Aircraft Noise Measurements at the London Airports' describes the key sources of uncertainty associated with the long-term measurement of noise from aircraft operations at the London airports and estimates their individual and combined magnitudes.

    The results of a controlled measurement study that was carried out to provide further information on the precision of aircraft noise measurements are also presented.

    The results indicate that measurement uncertainty is reduced when measuring aircraft noise levels in SEL rather than Lmax and provide additional confidence in the accuracy of the UK aircraft noise contour model ANCON, which has been validated extensively using measured SEL data.

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    ERCD published report on techniques for measurement and analysis of noise and radar data


    ERCD has published ERCD Report 0406 'Techniques used by ERCD for the Measurement and Analysis of Aircraft Noise and Radar Data'.

    This report supersedes CAA report CAP 544 'Noise Measurement Equipment and Techniques used by the Directorate of Operational Research and Analysis'.

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    Report on noise mapping at Heathrow airport published


    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published ERCD Report 0306 'Noise Mapping - Aircraft Traffic Noise', a research study on aircraft noise mapping at Heathrow Airport to inform mapping processes with regard to the implementation of the National Ambient Noise Strategy and EU Directive 2002/49/EC (25 June 2002).

    The report can be downloaded from the Defra website.

    ERCD publishes report on aircraft noise insulation boundaries at Stansted Airport


    ERCD has published ERCD Report 0304 'Stansted Airport: A Study of Aircraft Noise Insulation Boundaries' .

    The first Stansted noise insulation programme came into effect on 1 June 1991. The boundary, which had been drawn up by a working group including representatives from Stansted Airport Limited (STAL), the Department for Transport (DfT) and other organisations, was based on a forecast noise climate and traffic forecasts of the number and types of aircraft likely to be operating when the airport reached 78,000 passenger air transport movements (PATMs); equivalent to 8 million passengers per annum (mppa).

    STAL undertook a commitment to review the programme when the actual noise climate associated with Stansted operating at 8 mppa was known, and to introduce a further programme related to any increase in the PATM approved by Parliament.

    Passenger throughput at Stansted reached 8 mppa in the summer of 1999 and in July 1999 Parliament approved a new PATM limit of 185,000 per annum (equivalent to 15 mppa).

    This report describes specific tasks that required inputs from ERCD. These were to establish the actual noise climate for Stansted operating at 8 mppa and to compare this with the original scheme, to consider the criteria on which a new scheme should be based and to generate noise exposure maps, based on forecasts of aircraft movements and operations, when traffic reaches 185,000 PATMs or 15 mppa.

    See ERCD Report 0304 Details

    ERCD publishes report on Quota Count (QC) validation study


    ERCD has published ERCD Report 0205 'Quota Count Validation Study: Noise Measurements and Analysis'.

    This report describes a study that was undertaken on behalf of the Department for Transport's Aircraft Noise Monitoring Advisory Committee (ANMAC) to monitor the noise performance of aircraft in relation to their quota count (QC) classifications (or bands).

    Operational noise levels, measured in EPNdB at airport locations equivalent to the noise certification measurement positions, were acquired and analysed for a large range of aircraft types that operate at night at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports.

    For the majority of aircraft types monitored, the operational noise levels correlated well with the QC bands. However, large differences between the operational noise levels and the QC bands were observed for a few aircraft types.

    See ERCD Report 0205 Details

    ERCD publishes report on practical method for estimating operational lateral noise levels


    ERCD has published ERCD Report 0206 'A Practical Method for Estimating Operational Lateral Noise Levels'.

    This report presents a study that was undertaken at Gatwick airport to establish an alternative method for estimating operational aircraft noise levels at the lateral (sideline) certification measurement location.

    In operational circumstances, the lateral noise level is very difficult to measure on the standard 450 m sideline because the maximum level must be captured. An alternative method is described that relies on measuring take-off power noise beneath the aircraft rather than to the side. These estimates, which are referred to as pseudo-lateral noise levels, are not true lateral levels, but they are highly correlated with them.

    See ERCD Report 0206 Details

    ERCD publishes report on departure noise limits and monitoring arrangements at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports


    ERCD has published ERCD Report 0207 'Departure Noise Limits and Monitoring Arrangements at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports'.

    This report describes a study that was undertaken on behalf of the Department for Transport as part of the review of departure noise limits.

    The study considered both the monitoring arrangements (numbers and positions of monitors) and the limits themselves. Some improvements to the monitor arrays are proposed where there are currently large lateral separations between monitors.

    The study found that the daytime limit could be reduced by 1 dBA, but larger reductions would lead to a high rate of infringements for some of the older Chapter 3 aircraft types currently operating at the London airports. Similarly, the night limit could only be reduced, by 3 dBA, if a ban on QC/4 departures were to be imposed.

    Differential limits, affecting quieter aircraft types, were also considered, and the report recommends a trial to assess their feasibility.

    See ERCD Report 0207 Details

    ERCD publishes report on accuracy of NTK flight path data


    ERCD has published ERCD Report 0209 'An Assessment of the Accuracy of Flight Path Data used in the Noise and Track-Keeping System at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports'.

    This report describes a study that was undertaken to assess the accuracy of the flight path information contained in the London airports' Noise and Track Keeping (NTK) system.

    FDR data and data recorded on board an ILS calibration aircraft were used to check the NTK height and position (track) data.

    The results indicate that the NTK height data are on average accurate to within ±20 ft. Positional accuracy was found to be within 40 m. For the flights analysed, the study has shown no clear evidence of a consistent bias in the NTK height or position data at any of the airports.

    See ERCD Report 0209 Details