Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Monday June 23 2014
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LOSGA, ELNAK, ANKOT, VIBAG and EMRAG are abstract navigational waypoints, coordinates used by pilots for landing. Image supplied By Marianne Kelly aDRAFT report on a trial to as- sess SMART flight approaches to Auckland International Air- port has been released for public feedback. SMART approach routes use accu- racy of satellite-based navigation to create shorter, curved approaches to the runway, joining the final approach closer to the airport. During the trial about five aircraft used the northern SMART flight paths daily. They flew 25,000 fewer nautical miles, resulting in a 739,000 reduction in carbon dioxide emis- sions and a 234,000 kilogram reduc- tion in fuel use. The trial tested three new flight approaches, two from the north and one from the south. Consequently, some flights, instead of heading for Bucklands Beach Peninsula and Howick, took a turn over the East Tamaki/Highbrook industrial area. During the trial, which ended last October, noise monitors operated in Balmoral, Epsom, One Tree Hill, Oranga (Onehunga) and Reinheimer Place, Flat Bush. Reinheimer Place sits between Te Irirangi and Accent Drives, and it was in this vicinity that the Times fielded a number of calls from resi- dents complaining about increased noise as aircraft descended to align with the runway. According to the report, independ- ent acoustics consultants measured the impact of SMART approaches on noise levels. They determined while individual SMART flights had marginally higher noise levels, about three decibels on average, the difference was not regarded as significant and would be expected to be only just perceptible to the human ear. However, Reinheimer Place was the exception, where the difference was a perceptible seven decibels. An Auckland Airport spokesman says the seven decibel difference is a maximum noise level and does not take into account either the duration of the sound event, or the number of events taking place. “Taking these factors into account, our independent acoustics consult- ants say aircraft noise at Reinheimer Place was not significant during the trial.” Two key modifications are recom- mended in the draft. When SMART approaches are restarted early next year, aircraft will cross the naviga- tional waypoint above Mt Albert and Dominion Roads 800 feet higher than the trial altitude (from 4000ft to at least 4800ft), reducing engine power and noise and enabling a more continuous descent. The other modification is to increase maximum permitted aircraft speed, reducing the use of brakes, a significant contributor to aeroplane noise. However, the airport spokesman says: “We do not anticipate there will be a significant reduction in aircraft noise at Reinheimer Place as a result of the modifications recommended in the report. “At this location an aircraft using the SMART approach is slowing down and started to deploy its land- ing flaps.” Analysis of public feedback on the trial found that only 24 per cent of flights identified by the complaints were operating SMART approaches. Most complaints related to aircraft on existing flight paths and a lot of comment was about instrument- based visual flight approaches, allow- ing aircraft to fly lower than SMART approaches over residential areas. It may explain the complaints received by the Times and others recorded in the draft from Half Moon Bay, Farm Cove, Pakuranga, Howick, North Park and East Tamaki Heights, which were not on the trial route. In order to address this and contribute to the overall goal of noise reduction, the report recom- mends the practice of visual flight approaches cease for wide-body jet aircraft approaching from the north from this September, and for all jets from September next year. Other recommendations include setting a maximum of 10 flights a day using the northern SMART flight path, which should be reviewed yearly. The southern SMART flight path, the report says, should be adopted for operational use. It’s also suggested Airways NZ designs and proposes a second SMART flight path from the north to Runway 23 at the eastern end, allow- ing aircraft to share the flight paths rather than being concentrated on a single one. The predominant wind direction at Auckland Airport is westerly and, because aircraft generally take off and land into the wind, Runway 23 taking arrivals from the north-east and departures to the south-west dominates. Runway 05 allows departures to the north-east and arrivals from the south-west. When a tailwind of less than five knots is blowing and air traffic is minimal, the runway can be oper- ated in a reciprocal mode allowing aircraft to both land and take off over the Manukau Harbour. These conditions sometimes occur at night, the report says, and this reciprocal mode is one of the noise abatement procedures included in the Civil Aviation Rules (CAR). However, the report says there’s considerable variation in where aircraft fly day-to-day because of weather, airspace congestion, and activity at other aerodromes, such as at Ardmore and Whenuapai. Con- sequently, most areas of Auckland experience ‘over-flight’ by arriving and/or departing aircraft. Public submissions on the report ■■ can be made until 5pm on June 27 on- line, or by submission form at www. aucklandflightpathtrial.co.nz. Auckland Airport, Airways NZ and the Board of Airline Representatives NZ (BARNZ) are holding consulta- tion forums to receive submissions. The southern forum is from 10am- 6pm on July 9 at Manukau Institute of Technology, DINE@Gate 14, NT Block, Alexander Crescent, Otara. Book online by going to the site www.aucklandflightpathtrial.co.nz.
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