Traveling! Exploring! Or just moving from one place to other for work is a part of everyone’s life. Airspace and aeronautics contribute a lot for this purpose in the form of airports and airplanes. There are many positive advantages of the same but one disadvantage of it is that it’s a major source of noise pollution.
Airframe noise occurs when air passes over the plane’s body and its wings. This causes friction which makes noise. Even gliders make noise during flight even when they have no engine at all. The amount of noise this creates can vary according to the way the plane is flown. Planes land with their flaps down which creates more friction and produces more noise than a plane with its flaps up.
Aircraft noise and health :-
Sound is one thing but unwanted, disturbing sound is what we term as ‘noise’. Noise through aircrafts affect health of the individual who are being exposed to it continuously for a long term. It causes hearing impairment , hypertension, ischemic heart diseases, annoyance and irritation, disturbance in sleep which causes cardiovascular diseases, decrease in school performance of children, their reading and memory skills get poor. This is the major reason why noise from aircrafts needs to regulated and be limited at least only within the airport premises, so that it does not affect the people living around it.
What could be done?
To reduce noise from aircrafts-
1.Modern high bypass turbofan engines which are quieter than turbojets and low bypass turbofans of 1960s should be used mostly. They are also fuel efficient.
2.Aircraft designers, manufactures and operators should work for developing quieter aircraft and better operating procedures.
3.Homes or residential or official buildings near airports should be insulated properly.
4.Night flight bans should be imposed by governing bodies to limit the exposure to aircraft noise pollution during night hours.
5.If engines remain below aircraft’s wings, they can reduce noise.
6.For new airports to be build, non residential and non official areas should be selected.
Noise standards for airports in India:-
Union Environment ministry issued notification regarding settling some noise standards for all airports across country this excludes military aircrafts.
1. For a busy airport, a civil airport with more than 50,000 aircraft movements per year (take off or landing )should not exceed noise level beyond 75dbA during daytime. For night it should not increase 65dbA from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM
2.For airport with more than 15,000 but less than 50,000 aircraft movement For day, noise level should not exceed 65dbA and for night 60dbA.
3.There should be a master plan for each airport which shall be defined as a noise contour for day and night by respective airport operator on the basis of existing rules.
4. For new airports noise modelling need to be conducted by airport operators and results need to be sent to MoEFCC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) while seeking environment clearance. Operators also need to develop airport noise zones.
The companies running India’s busiest airport in Delhi and Mumbai responded positively to set noise standards for airports in the country. According to them, prior to this there was no airport specific standards for aircraft and airport noise zones. This initiative will ensure effective monitoring of aircraft noise.
Modern noise levels from aircrafts are lower than those of 30, 40 years ago. The eventual and continuous change can be seen in airframe noise. A lot has been done, a lot is happening and lot has yet to be done for the same.