LETTER: Flight noise is not acceptable

Much though I love things aeronautical, I think the time is rapidly approaching when Goodwood Aerodrome (Ltd) will have to cease its operations; on both flight safety and noise abatement grounds.

I maintain this will have to be considered very soon as the additional housing developments planned for Chichester area, Tangmere, Boxgrove and Lavant, in the not too distant future, will all be under the Goodwood circuits, approaches and climbout ‘lanes’, for virtually all runways in use (apart from the north-east one).

At present there are hundreds of households having to endure the seemingly never-ending noise of aircraft either overflying their properties or passing fairly close to their homes, schools and places of worship, whichever runways are in use.

When the planned residential houses, thousands of them, are built there will be additional thousands of people expected to live and tolerate such a high degree of seemingly unavoidable noise. This is not acceptable; both CDC and WSCC should be in communication with Goodwood and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA); petitioning the CAA to consider withdrawing the current licence that enables Goodwood to operate commercially. This petition should be considering both the noise generated, and its effect on ordinary people, together with the question of flight safety.

Whereas Goodwood management currently try to mitigate this noise pollution by requesting pilots to stick to certain routes into and out of the aerodrome, and clearly indicate that pilots are meant to fly their circuits so as to avoid built-up areas (our homes), a significant minority of pilots choose to ignore these perfectly justifiable ‘requests’ and overfly the houses without any consideration for the residents and school children below. Goodwood appears to be unable, or unwilling, to enforce compliance.

Such behaviour does Goodwood no favour, as people’s tolerance is sorely tested by such inconsiderate and potentially dangerous behaviour. Pilots are meant, under Civil Aircraft Authority rules, to avoid built-up areas, even when landing and taking off, wherever possible. The reasoning is quite clear; if a aircraft loses power or a control line breaks (as happened in the past in this country) where is the pilot going to crash-land the aircraft; could it be achieved without endangering people on the ground? Probably not!

We ordinary, non-flying, peace-loving people should not have to endure this ongoing noise intrusion into our lives; we should be able to enjoy our gardens in the summer and not have to retreat indoors, and even close the windows, just to enable us to hold conversations uninterrupted by excessively noisy aircraft flying overhead or nearby. The Harvard and Stearman could be fitted with silencers; the CAA allow this – why are they not fitted? If fitted, there is a very small reduction in power, but these aircraft have more than adequate power available.

The decibel levels reached by these aircraft, among others I could mention, reach such high levels that they constitute a danger to those who have to endure the noise unprotected. This is simply not right and authorities need to act.

Such never-ending noise, from aircraft flying low and close, can traumatise people as well as risk their health physically.

I say enough is enough; stop traumatising ordinary people - S.T.O.P.

D F Owgan

Lavant