Part of a Dashboard Report...
This part of the monthly 'Dashboard' Report shows that activity in the
decreased by 15% overall, but the night activity has increased by 26% since the same
month last year. Has someone started carrying out night training that is upsetting the
neighbours? Does there need to be a curfew, or a night surcharge on landing fees to encourage night
flights to be limited to what is absolutely necessary? With this level of reporting the Airport
manager can 'drill down' to make effective decisions from a position of knowledge.
Initially, listen to what the complainant says and get specific details of what is annoying them, and assure them that you do realise it is causing a problem and WILL investigate, and will get back to them soon with some answers. They will initially assume that they are going to be 'brushed off' and once they realise that this is not the case, it takes the emotion out of the situation. A general statement like, "An aircraft flew right over my roof last weekend just missing the trees" or "The noise drives me mad" don't give much to go on, so ask the complainant to take note and write it down next time the situation occurs, and give you the exact details so that you can investigate.
It helps to have a Complaints Form available for them to note details: "A Black Helicopter flew over my roof at 10:56 on Saturday 23rd heading north" lets you listen to the radio calls for a few minutes either side of 10:56 to see who it was and what they were doing... usually it then becomes obvious why they were low. Tell the complainant that you will investigate carefully, and ask them to keep a written log of events for you so you can follow it up to find out exactly what was happening, why, and what can be done about it.
--- Usually the log shows the complainant that the problem is not nearly as bad as they think... the 'noise all weekend' may just be 30 seconds of noise on three occasions. Once the complainant is asked to be specific and keep a log, and they realise that they are being listened to and will be taken seriously, many complaints solve themselves and you don't hear back. If they do get back to you with the log you should investigate, and get back to the complainant quickly.
--- In many cases the event will be a Rescue Helicopter attending an accident, or other emergency event. Rescue aircraft fly at unusual times and altitudes and generate many complaints from those who don't know what is happening. Complainants will drop their complaint immediately in these cases, and often apologise for troubling you. Both you and the complainant will be happy with this result, and they won't be nearly as quick to complain again.
--- If the problem is flight training, skydiving, gliding tugs, aerobatics etc, you can ask the pilots involved to vary the flight path as much as possible so the noise footprint is spread. Propellor planes with high performance engines sometimes take off with the prop tips moving faster than the speed of sound, which creates a very loud and annoying whine... they can be asked to throttle back slightly once in the air to get the prop tips below the critical speed, which greatly reduces the whine for a minimal affect on aircraft performance. These types of operational problems should be referred to the Airport Safety Committee for advice from experienced aviators, who will also know how to advise pilots of their recommendations.
--- If it happens that nothing can be done about the noise, just the knowledge that you've taken it seriously and considered all the options will make a difference... the major problem is often that the complainant feels they are being ignored, as much as the noise itself.
Another part of the 'Dashboard', showing that this the first three months
of this year will have generated less noise than the same period last year.
Having this kind of detailed data available will assure compliance officers (though
not necessarily the complainant) that the noise has not increased.
At one Aimm Client airport, an annoyed local resident phoned to complain
"One of your planes is flying up and down the river at very low level and is frightening my horses, I want this stopped immediately and you'll be paying any vet bills..."
which immediately became
"I'm sorry to have troubled you"
when the Airport manager was able to listen to the radio calls from a few minutes ago on his home computer, and get back immediately to the complainant with,
"Unfortunately that is a Coastguard Plane searching for a child who has fallen into the river."
Aimm provides a cost-effective system that enables complaints to be investigated, and resolved quickly before they escalate. Plus Landing Fee Billing, Management Reporting, Regulatory Compliance Reporting, Risk Management and Funding Data.
Have a chat with the Aimm Senior Management, who are Airport Managers themselves. Each Airport has its own specific challenges and opportunities, and if Aimm can provide better assistance than your current movement monitoring method, try it and see... Aimm does not require a committment or set length contract, and any Client can discontinue the system anytime without penalty. We get very few who do not continue and the Aimm system is able to stand on its own performance.
To discuss further, and get a quote for you Airport, Contact us