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Debate: Flight Paths Over Residential Areas

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Should we avoid having flight paths over residential areas?

Background and Context of Debate:

Airports need to be somewhere but often planes have to fly over residential areas on their approach or when they take off. Airplanes create a lot of noise and the problem is that residents don't want noise every five minutes. I personally live under a flight path and we have noisy planes going over all the time. What do you think - is the airport in the people's way or are the residents in the way of the airport?

There are many issues about this - Should we build suburbs under existing flight paths? Should we make flight paths over existing suburbs? Should there be a plane curfew at night? Is it really that noisy?

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Is aircraft noise a big problem?

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Pro

  • Planes are noisy and they disturb people. Large 747 can rattle windows, send dogs barking, distract people, and generally create a sense of unease among those underneath a flight path.


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Con

  • Planes are not that noisy. Planes are not that noisy. Yes, they are noticeable. But, plane noise does not cause any physical pain or discomfort among individuals below. It may cause some distraction, but so does a lawn mower or a big truck driving by.


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Should we go as far as not building suburbs under flight paths?

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Pro

  • A lot of cities regret having houses under flight paths. A lot of major cities wish they didn't build suburbs under flight paths. Sydney is one. It is a busy airport and they have large jets flying over houses very frequently. Some of the noise is deafening. Where it can be avoided, no-one should have to live under a flight path.
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Con

  • That would create large uninhabited areas.

Aircraft noise carries several kilometres either side of the plane. If we avoided building anything under flight paths, there would be huge gaps of nothing through the middle of cities. It is not logical.


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Curfews: Should there be aircraft curfews where noise is an issue?

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Pro

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Con

  • It would jeopardize the operation of the airport. Airports often need to have planes coming in during the night for many reasons. Having curfews would mean planes couldn't land or take off at all during the hours between 11pm - 6am the next morning. In some cities, which already have curfews, the have been storms from about 6pm - 11pm, leaving people waiting until the storm is over. But because 11pm has passed by then, thousands of passengers were left stranded, and congestion was huge the next morning, with a flow-on effect for the rest of the day. The airport would also lose money.
  • Some planes need to land during the night. The are several valid reasons why some planes need to land in the night - emergency landings, or avoiding curfews in other cities (sometimes they can only arrive or depart during the day in one city because of time zones etc.)
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Should flight paths be adjusted to avoid being over residential areas?

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Pro

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Con

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