What app can I use to measure local noise levels?
BFPCA recommends ExPlane, which is an app to measure and register aviation noise. It is available for iOS and Android from https://explane.org
The app gives you the possibility to record airplanes and measure their noise in decibels to give a real picture of the noise pollution experienced by Brisbane residents. This gives BFPCA, residents, politicians and the press the data they need to convince politicians of the seriousness of this nuisance. Brisbane data can be accessed at https://reports.explane.org/aus/
Additionally, you can review the official noise data available from Airservices Australia’s “Aircraft in Your Neighbourhood” website. We have put together a guide on this page, scroll down to “A suggested guide to using these flight path tools.”
There are many decibel noise meters available for both iOS and Android smart phones. Our members have recommended OpeNoise (iOS and Android) and Decibel X (iOS and Android).
What other tools are available to monitor local aircraft and associated data?
WebTrak is a web-based map interface that allows you to track the flight activity into and out of Brisbane Airport, along with information about each aircraft. You can also click on an aircraft to report it and submit a complaint directly to Airservices Australia’s Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS) team.
Many group members use Flightradar24, which is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world. Its service is available online and for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android devices.
For an alternative flight tracker, try Plane Finder: https://planefinder.net
For wind speeds, try Windy: https://www.windy.com
Whom do I complain to?
- Brisbane Airport Corporation
It’s a good idea to let BAC know about your concern and send your complaint to BAC. More information here.
- Airservices Australia
BAC will usually refer you to the Airservices Australia’s Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS). You can submit complaints in two ways: (a) by following the instructions here, or; (b) by using WebTrak – a web-based map interface that allows you to track the flight activity into and out of Brisbane Airport, along with information about each aircraft. You can also click on an aircraft to report it and submit a complaint directly to Airservices Australia’s Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS) team.
Airservices Australia’s NCIS team is known for only sending boilerplate responses. This can be frustrating, but there are still two good reasons to continue to submit complaints to Airservices Australia on a regular basis anyway:
(i) Airservices collect statistics about the number of complaints received and registered, and these are reported in the news media, to airports and airlines, and to government regulators. They are vital to convince politicians of the seriousness of this issue and compel them to act.
(ii) Once you are unhappy about the handling of complaints or enquiries you have made to Airservices Australia about aircraft noise, you can take the matter to the next instance, that is, the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO). When you do, please quote your Airservices NCIS complaint number.
- Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO)
As a result of the huge volume of complaints received from Brisbane residents to date, the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO) has decided to launch a multiple complaints review as provided for in clause 47 of the ANO charter.
If your complaint is about the aircraft noise you are currently experiencing, you should first make your complaint directly to Airservices Australia as per the advice above. The ANO can review Airservices’ handling of your complaint only after Airservices has been given the opportunity to respond to you.
If you are concerned about the notice you were given of the potential impact; the extent to which you were consulted about the new flight paths or any other aspect of Airservices’ community engagement before implementation of the flight paths you may complain directly to the ANO providing details of your concerns about these issues. Email your statement to the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman at [email protected]
More information about how to complain to the ANO can be found at https://ano.gov.au/complaints/
- Elected Representatives
Airports are a federal issue and are the responsibility of the Federal Minister for Transport – currently Hon Michael McCormack MP. But your state MP and your local councillors also have a part to play as the Queensland Government and councils were involved in the process of establishing a new runway at Brisbane Airport. We strongly recommend you engage with all levels of government to tell your representatives how this issue is impact you. Share your personal story and how the new flight paths have impacted you.
You can find your Federal electorate here. You can find your Queensland electorate and council ward here.
Why can’t all the planes just fly over the bay?
Air Traffic Control directs planes to take off into the wind. This increases the flow of air over the wings, allowing it to take off in a shorter distance and climbing in a greater angle. As planes follow the wind direction, they usually take off in one direction and arrive from the other direction, so on average there is a 50/50 split between arrivals and departures.
To achieve 100% of planes flying over the bay, Air Traffic Control switch to what is called “SODPROPs” – Simultaneous Opposite Direction Parallel Runway Operations. This means, one runway is used for arrivals over the bay, and the other runway for departures over the bay.
While the suggestion that planes will mostly fly “over the bay” seems to have been used by the project proponents a lot during the community consultation period, there are disclaimers embedded in the small print of the 2006 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and BAC’s Noise Booklets. For example: SODPROPs “to be used if available” or “at Airservices Australia discretion to be used if air traffic are low for an extended period” (2006 EIS Volume D10, p. 401); or:
“mode allocation is both weather and demand dependent and Modes 1 and 2 will be actively allocated within agreed demand rates and down wind criteria” (2014 BAC Flight Path and Noise Information Booklet, p. 11).
This technical language is not accessible to lay people, and the actual impact of what had been proposed (as it was understood at the time) was downplayed, hidden, and thus misleading the community.
You can find the currently applicable conditions for SODPROPs in the Noise Abatement Procedures for Brisbane published by Airservices Australia, 21 May 2020, on p. 1 here.
Why doesn’t Brisbane have a curfew like many other airports?
The Brisbane Airport Curfew Review Steering Committee presented their findings in their December 2013 report, “Future Brisbane Airport Operations: A Review of the Need for a Curfew at Brisbane Airport.” The report states:
“the Steering Committee believes that the establishment of curfew restrictions at Brisbane Airport is not the appropriate policy response for the management of aircraft noise impacts on Brisbane residents.” (p. 4).
The Steering Committee comprised five people representing: the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Queensland Government Department of Tourism, Brisbane City Council, Tourism and Transport Forum, and Airservices Australia.
You can read the full report here.
Who is BFPCA and what does BFPCA stand for?
BFPCA is the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance. BFPCA’s goal is to demand best practice design principles be applied to minimise noise pollution and adverse health impacts from Brisbane Airport’s flight paths on Brisbane residents and businesses, while maintaining the economic benefits of the airport and the aviation industry in Queensland. You can read more in the BFPCA Charter.
Does BFPCA represent concerns related to the increased flight path noise pollution from all planes, or just the jet planes?
BFPCA brings together concerned residents affected by unreasonable noise pollution from Brisbane Airport’s flight paths. This comprises all types of aircraft using those flight paths including jets and turboprops.
Does BFPCA represent all Brisbane residents affected by flight path noise pollution?
Yes, BFPCA represents all Brisbane residents affected by unreasonable noise pollution from Brisbane Airport’s flight paths – both new and legacy. This includes Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs both north and south of the Brisbane river such as Ascot, Balmoral, Bulimba, Hamilton, Hawthorne, Hendra, New Farm, Morningside, Newstead, Norman Park, Seven Hills, Teneriffe. It also includes additional suburbs all the way out to Mount Coot-Tha, Upper Brookfield, Pullenvale, and Samford Valley. We are all in this together.
You can read more in the BFPCA Charter.
What is BACACG?
BACACG is the Brisbane Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group and brings:
“together government, the aviation industry, and the community to discuss a range of topics including aircraft noise, airport developments, airport operations and Terminal access.”
The group is independently chaired and meets four times per year. BFPCA have been advocating the Federal Members for Brisbane and Griffith to nominate new BACACG committee members who represent the concerns of residents negatively affected by Brisbane Airport’s flight paths. You can find the BACACG Terms of Reference, membership and meeting minutes on their website at http://bacacg.com.au, and you can email them at [email protected].