easyJet agrees to bring forward modification of its A320s using Gatwick, to get rid of the “whine”

People living in parts of Kent and Sussex,  near or under Gatwick approach flight paths, are hoping easyJet will finally do something about the awful whining noise their A320 series planes make.  EasyJet has finally agreed to fix its fleet of Airbus A320 planes – which only takes a simple and inexpensive modification.  The whine from older Airbus A320 planes is caused by the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities which can be easily fixed by retrofitting the planes with a simple piece of kit called a flow deflector. The plane noise problem has been particularly intrusive this year since a narrow flight path corridor for Gatwick arrivals, so noise is not dispersed by sharing the noise burden.  EasyJet had said they would get their planes modified by 2018, but realising the fury and upset their company has caused, now say they will bring forward the timetable for the work by two years.  EasyJet says by June 2016 around 100 planes will have been adapted and work is due to begin this November. The whole fleet of 197 aircraft will be fully retrofitted by March 2018.  BA says it will modify its 130 older Airbus A320 planes from October 2015.  People in Kent and Sussex are hopeful there will be an improvement, and before too long.
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easyJet agrees to modify planes flying over west Kent

16 July 2015
by Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas (Kent Messenger)
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easyJet has agreed to take action to reduce a ‘high-pitched, whining’ noise which plagues residents of west Kent.  The company will modify their older Airbus A320 planes which produce the disturbing sound.
It is a huge success for Tunbridge Wells MP, Greg Clark, in his campaign and fight against aircraft noise.

The whining noise on A320 planes is caused by the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities which can be easily fixed by retrofitting the planes with a simple piece of kit called a flow detector.

It follows a decision by British Airways earlier this year to do the same thing.

Mr Clark said: “It is great news that easyJet has finally agreed to modify their A320 planes to ensure that all 58 of their aircraft based out of Gatwick have the problem solved. People living under the Gatwick flightpath have been suffering from noise disturbance from these aircraft for far too long.

“When I meet the Chief Executive of easyJet, Carolyn McCall, next month I will certainly commend her for taking this action but also press her on completing the retrofit earlier than the given end date which is currently Spring 2018.”

British Airways has agreed to modify its 130 older Airbus A320 planes from October 2015.

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/tunbridge-wells/news/easyjet-pledges-to-reduce-plane-40252/

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Joy as easyJet commits to ending plane noise in November
By Kent and Sussex Courier 

July 16, 2015

Ear-piercing noise which has ruined many Tunbridge Wells homeowners’ summer could be set to end.

Flight firm easyJet has agreed to fix its fleet of Airbus A320 planes which give out the whining sound.

It has been particularly intrusive this year since a narrow flight path corridor for planes heading to Gatwick was introduced as aircrafts have been routed directly above parts of west Kent and East Sussex by NATS.

Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark has been lobbying easyJet for a resolution, planned for 2018.

But this week the air firm agreed to bring forward its timetable by two years.

The whining noise on older Airbus A320 planes is caused by the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities which can be easily fixed by retrofitting the planes with a simple piece of kit called a flow deflector.

By June 2016 around 100 planes will have been adapted and work is due to begin this November.

The 197-strong fleet will be fully retrofitted by March 2018.

Mr Clark said: “When I met the chief executive of EasyJet, Carolyn McCall, I told her about the concerns of my constituents living under the Gatwick flight path and I am pleased to say she committed to doing everything that she can to help ease this situation, including bringing forward the modification of their older A320 planes based at Gatwick.

“When easyJet first announced they were going to modify their fleet after some months of pressing them on this issue, the completion date given was March 2018 – her agreement to bring this work forward by two years is a very significant step and I told her that this action would be warmly welcomed by local people.”

British Airways has agreed to modify its 130 older Airbus A320 planes from October 2015.

Martin Barraud, chairman of Gatwick Obviously Not, said: “It is an absolute salute to the thousands of people who have campaigned on this issue. If easyJet can get behind us on the flight path issue as well, that would be extremely helpful because that is what is really getting people’s goat at the moment.”

http://www.courier.co.uk/Joy-easyJet-commits-ending-plane-noise-November/story-26913659-detail/story.html
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Noise Reducing Airflow Deflector for A320 Family

The Airbus website says:

“A320 Family aircraft may emit a tonal noise from the wing Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities when making an approach to land. This has occasionally lead to complaints from residents under the approach path at distances of between 50 and 12 Km from the landing point.

Air Flow Deflectors fitted just forward of the FOPP relief holes will soon be available as standard fit on new deliveries and as a retrofit for in-service aircraft. These deflectors can reduce the subject tonal noise by up to 11 dBA, (depending to the approach trajectory), but it should be noted that they do not affect the aircraft’s ICAO noise level certification. The deflectors’ have negligible impact on aerodynamic efficiency and weight (147g per aircraft) which means that the aircraft’s performance is unaffected.

For retrofit, typically about 10 man-hours are required for installation while elapsed time is around 7 hours.

Further technical details can be obtained from John GRANT (john.grant@airbus.com) of Customer Services Marketing. To obtain a commercial offer, airlines should contact their Airbus Upgrade Services’ commercial focal point.”

http://www.airbus.com/link_newsletter/link_spe14_FE02/link_special_fuel_efficiency_february_2014.html

 


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More on the A320 whine issue:

Lufthansa retrofitting A320 planes with simple, inexpensive, noise-reducing device to stop the “Airbus whine”

The Airbus 320 series of aircraft, many of which are used by the low cost carriers – easyJet in particular – have been known for many years (by the CAA since 2005) to have a particularly irritating high pitched whine. This is caused by air rushing across the under-surface of the wing, where there are Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities. This generates noise, in the same way as blowing air over the mouth of a bottle.Every A320 series aircraft emits a signature howling noise while approaching to land. It is heard most when the plane is travelling at around 160 knots, and the frequency is around 500-600Hz, which is close to peak sensitivity of the  human ear. There is a relatively simple and inexpensive retrofit, to attach a small aluminium “vortex generator” in front of the cavity. Then can be done at routine aircraft maintenance, though the fuel tanks need to be emptied. Lufthansa is in the process of retrofitting all its A320 series planes. Air France will also do so. EasyJet has been reluctant to do much, as it sees no commercial advantage in doing so.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/11/lufthansa-retrofitting-a320-family-with-simple-inexpensive-noise-reducing-device-to-stop-the-airbus-whine/

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Correspondence with Carolyn McCall (easyJet) illustrates the desperation caused by Gatwick’s new flight paths

One component of the problem of aircraft noise now being inflicted on people of West Kent and Sussex by newly concentrated Gatwick flight paths, is the “Airbus whine”. This is an unpleasant additional noise, at a particularly annoying frequency, due to air passing over the Fuel Over Pressure Protector (FOPP) cavities. This is relatively cheap and easy to put right. However, easyJet has not taken steps to make the changes, as it would slightly cut profits. Now infuriated residents have asked Ms Carolyn McCall, the CEO of easyJet, to take action on this. She has replied to say: “easyJet will do whatever it can as we take noise and environmental issues very seriously. I am looking into already how we can accelerate our programme to address this issue.”  She has actually been aware of the problem for a long time ….  Below are some emails to her, giving a flavour of the desperation, anger and exasperation of people whose lives have been changed, seriously for the worse, because of altered and concentrated Gatwick flight paths – about which they were not consulted or informed.  Their determination to reverse the deterioration in their quality of life, from the noise intrusion, is palpable.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/06/correspondence-with-carolyn-mccall-easyjet-illustrates-the-desperation-caused-by-gatwicks-new-flight-paths/

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