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Aircraft noise in Calwell area

By TenPro 9 March 2010 19

The Canberra Airport flight paths are published at If this publication is accurate then why is it that I often hear the loud roar of aircraft at my house in Calwell? Has anyone else noticed this? The reality of flight paths in the Calwell area is far from the fantasy as published on the above web page.

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19 Responses to
Aircraft noise in Calwell area
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DeadlySchnauzer 3:17 pm 12 Mar 10

harvyk1 absolutely right that cloudy days increase noise due to sound reflection from the clouds. All sorts of things like humidty, temperature inversions etc can dramatically increase the loudness of aircraft noise. Studies show they can add up 20dB, which is perceived as the noise being 4x louder. Google “Meteorological effects on sound propagation” for all sorts of fun :]

Of course try explaining any of this to ASA or the airport, and you will be quickly dismissed. One day I am going to take some time to visit a few suburbs with a hand held dB meter, and prove that the airports supposed “max aircraft noise” maps are laughably inaccurate.

harvyk1 3:37 pm 11 Mar 10

Deano, you heard aircraft at cruise alt? Me thinks it’s something else.

Given that cruise altitute is between 10 to 12 km high, aircraft noise doesn’t normally travel that far, and certainly not at levels which would cause annoyance.

The one exception is if a plane is flying at supersonic speeds (sonic booms travel a very long way), but your unlikely to find too many supersonic aircraft flying between Mel \ Syd.

Sepi, it’s unlikely that planes would fly lower due to cloud. For the most part the way a plane takes off is governed by the aircrafts weight (this also governs the speed, other traffic in the area and a/c type. My very uneducated guess is that the sound is bouncing off the cloud which would mean a larger proportion of the noise is travelling back to the ground (probably defused out which would mean the noise would travel further), as apose to up into the sky.

As for when aircraft are landing, there is very well defined angles and altitudes which aircraft will use to approach an airport from. I highly doubt that the angles would change due to cloud as it’s designed to bring the aircraft in at an angle which avoids buildings and other obstacles, and yet provides for a smooth touchdown.

madamcholet 7:51 pm 10 Mar 10

I live in Calwell and notice occasional bouts of loud aircraft noise and quite a few helicopters of late. I have lived in the inner west of Sydney and aircraft noise here is not a patch on there – if it’s going that way, then life will be very unpleasant.

Talking of noise though – what I would most like to resolve is the apparent right that the Tuggeranong Homestead on Johnson Drive has to host music festivals and other events at will and at a level of noise that is rather annoying when you live close by.

Deano 4:12 pm 10 Mar 10

Growling Ferret said :

I would suggest moving to a farm in the middle of nowhere. It might be quiet enough for you (but stay away from those noisy planes at Wagga and Temora)

I used to have a property out near Windellama, out back of Tarago – as good as the middle of nowhere. I had more aircraft noise out there than I’ve ever experienced in Canberra. It was under the Melbourne/Sydney flight path and even though they were at 40,000ft, the aircraft noise was very noticeable as there was no background noise to mask it. And because they were so high, they took forever to pass overhead so the duration of the noise was very long.

Gungahlin Al 2:45 pm 10 Mar 10

I think it was summed up best by Stephen Byron himself in an ABC Radio interview when he said that people can be really upset by aircraft noise – that it “makes their lives a misery.”

miz 2:44 pm 10 Mar 10

Al, most helpful information, thank you.

DeadlySchnauzer 12:56 pm 10 Mar 10

Different people have different perceptions of noise as well. Aircraft noise really gets on my nerves where I am, but my wife barely notices it.

la mente torbida 12:08 pm 10 Mar 10

Get over it….I am constantly bombarded with the noise of many cockatoos and correllas…aircraft noise is far more subtle

Growling Ferret 11:01 am 10 Mar 10


Day to day noise from normal city traffic – both car and plane – obvously affects you.

I would suggest moving to a farm in the middle of nowhere. It might be quiet enough for you (but stay away from those noisy planes at Wagga and Temora)

Gungahlin Al 10:46 am 10 Mar 10

Every couple of months I sit through a forum at the airport where ASA staff recount how few aircraft noise complaints they receive, and poo-pooh the complaints received from one or two regular individuals.

The only way there will ever be respect for people making complaints about aircraft noise is if more people are making them, and the complaints stack up. And always tick the box requesting a response.

Complaints are quick to lodge on this ASA webpage:

To add validity to your complaint, first check around you and on the weather radar website to see whether there are any storm cells that could be causing temporary variation to the flight paths. That is something ASA will often come back with, and it helps if you can state up front in your complaint that you checked these variables before lodging your complaint.

The actual flight tracks on Webtrak (link above) are also worth checking to see if there’s was some conflict with other flights that might have caused it. Note that they don’t appear until about 20 minutes after the flight, and VIP/military flights don’t show at all.

miz 9:11 am 10 Mar 10

Probably to do with how sound travels around the hills. I hear aircraft noise in Chisholm, especially in evenings and on weekends (when I am home, obviously, and the windows are open). I think also when there are storms in Melbourne they change the flight path into Canberra.

I agree that it can be quite disconcerting.

bubzie 11:08 pm 09 Mar 10

I live in calwell, and i barely hear anything.

….probly because i’ve lived here my whole life and have got accustomed to it?

Swaggie 10:50 pm 09 Mar 10

“loud roar of aircraft” my arse. I’m in the next suburb mate and the only thng that bothers me are low flying Choppers and small Cessnas etc – Virgin Blue and Qantas are no problem. Now if you can rid the streets of scum drug dealers, the so called thuggies, and tw*ts who think its cool to try to drive down Ellerston at speed, lose control because they can’t drive a car for shite and slam in to peoples houses then you’ll be doings something worth while.

Deano 9:23 pm 09 Mar 10

Depending on the weather, particularly the heavy cloud we’ve had recently, aircraft noise from the airport is reflected over the hill into Tuggeranong during takeoffs and landings. Not much anyone can do about it.

sepi 9:17 pm 09 Mar 10

I’m at the other end of town.

But I do know that on cloudy days they seem to fly much lower, and sometimes right overhead.

Also small planes and helicopters etc seem to be allowed to do what they like, and can be very loud for a long time, as they are so slow to pass over.

Unfortunately the airport has already won the right to fly whenever they wish through the night, and to increase their flights enormously,and thus widen their flight paths.

The time to make a fuss was last year when they were applying to the federal minister to get this permission. It is pretty much a done deal now.

DeadlySchnauzer 8:57 pm 09 Mar 10

Well for a start don’t trust anything on aircraft noise published by the airport itself :] The air services australia NFPMS reports are a bit more accurate, the latest release can be found here: It shows that yes, jet departures get reasonably close to Calwell (Figure 6), although certainly no closer than they get to northern suburbs (and less frequently).

On another note air services australia is conducting a review of canberra airport noise this year to validate the airports claims that no residents would be affected by night time freighter jets. You might want to write to the review with your experiences (although afaik its not open for public submissions yet)… whatever noise you currently hear, the airport has plans for you to be exposed to it 24 hours a day.

bd84 8:45 pm 09 Mar 10

Umm because the map is of the flight paths not of the aircraft noise.. the link below would be a better link to use.

Given that Calwell is not very far from the flight path, it isn’t surprising that you occasionally get aircraft noise, all it would take is low background noise, the wind from the east or the rare plane off course to avoid whatever is up in the sky.

If people in Calwell can whinge, imagine what will happen if Tralee gets built…

MrPC 8:40 pm 09 Mar 10

Noise travels in directions other than straight down.

troll-sniffer 8:36 pm 09 Mar 10

I doubt the paths are markedly different from those published, unless the flights you are hearing are military. If you want to check on the path of a plane you have heard, you can go to and check the position direction and height of any civilian aircraft. You can either monitor the ‘live’ feed which runs 30-40 minutes behind, or click off the Show Current Flights option and select a date and time to replay, up to two weeks in the past.

Lots of factors can affect aircraft noise, the biggest determinant being wind. If you get cool easterlies the sound could well be amplified into Calwell by quite a lot.

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