Noise & Track Monitoring
TAG Farnborough has installed a comprehensive system of aircraft monitoring. The monitoring system, known as a Noise and Track Monitoring System (NTMS) comprises of two major components, a noise monitoring element, and an aircraft monitoring element.
The use of a combined NTMS allows satisfaction of a number of the requirements of the Town and Country Planning Act Section 106/299A Agreement between Rushmoor Borough Council and the airport Operators TAG Farnborough Airport Ltd as well as provided detailed information on the noise and airspace environments around Farnborough.
The noise monitoring system installed at the airport consists of two permanent and one portable monitoring terminal. The two permanent (static) monitors have been located at comparable locations on the extended runway centreline at either end of the runway.
The portable NMTS is used to carry out ad-hoc monitoring at sites within the Airport boundary and out in the local community and has most recently been used in conjunction with the work of the Quiet Flying Program. It has been located at local residential properties, local schools and within MoD operated areas as a part of this work.
The Noise Monitoring Terminals record “noise events” 24 hours a day. These are identified by noise levels reaching a specific threshold for longer than a designated duration.
The software interrogates radar data and correlates noise events to actual aircraft identified within a search radius of the noise monitors.
Event identification parameters in use at each monitoring location have been calculated to minimise the intrusion of unrelated noise sources.
The location of the two permanent noise monitoring terminals are given here (PDF).
Leq values are calculated using actual noise data collected by the monitors.
An Leq is a weighted time average value that represents a noise energy level equivalent to that actually experienced by a human ear at ground level.
All Leqs have been calculated based on actual recorded sound levels in dB (A).
dB (A) refers to an A weighted decibel scale. The human ear does not detect all pitches of sound equally efficiently; most sound measurement therefore uses a scale which weights different pitches or frequency of sound according to human sensitivity to them.
This scale is known as the A weighted decibel scale. Leq values recorded by the monitoring apparatus are therefore time averaged “A” weighted values.
An example of background noise data, in the raw form, recorded by one of the monitoring terminals, is given here (PDF).
The second element of the noise monitoring system uses track data derived from the radar system. The system uses this track data to identify aircraft in the vicinity of noise monitors, in order to correlate events as aircraft noise events.
Speed is not recorded. It is Altitude (above mean sea level) that is recorded rather than Height (above ground level).
Along with the aircraft “tracks” aircraft type and registration, operation type, and runway used is recorded and correlated with noise events. Examination of detailed flight paths as generated by the track monitoring system allows for the identification of any flight operations that fail to comply with noise abatement procedures in force at the airport. It also allows for easy identification of other airspace users not associated with Farnborough.
An example of track data can be viewed here (PDF).
Actual radar track records, for Farnborough flights, including height data and aircraft type information are used periodically to produce noise contours using the FAA’s Integrated Noise Model (INM). The INM is increasingly being adopted as the standard tool for assessing noise impacts from significant sources such as major roads and airports under the European Noise Directive 2002/49/EC.
All contours produced so far using Farnborough track data have shown that the operation being carried out is fully compliant with the requirements of the planning permission granted.
These procedures are to be used at all times. However, the requirements may at any time be departed from to the extent necessary for avoiding immediate danger or complying with Air Traffic Control instructions.
Envirosuite – WebTrak Facility
In addition to the Noise and Track Monitoring System (NTMS) discussed above, residents, surrounding communities and stakeholders can track airport movements in real time (with 30 minute delay) online with Envirosuite – WebTrak.
WebTrak is a simple online community engagement tool that allows members of the public to self-investigate operations relating to their airport. In the case of Farnborough Airport, WebTrak allows identification of individual aircraft so an enquiry or complaint relating to it, can be made.
Please see WebTrak Farnborough Airport (link opens in new tab/window). This link can also be found in the Complaints Section, on this website.