Essendon Airport

Investigations & Community Consultation

Investigations

Airservices proactively works with the airport and the community to investigate, trial and implement changes to improve aircraft noise outcomes.

For more information about how air traffic control works, including explanations of controlled and uncontrolled airspace, see our easy-to-understand booklet, Guide to our operations.

Left turns on departure from Runway 35

When departing from Runway 35, on reaching 1000 feet aircraft are generally given a right turn by air traffic control to track towards their destinations. However at times aircraft will be given a left turn, and this can result in queries from residents not used to seeing this occur. After an example of this in August 2017, the Noise Complaints and Information Service investigated and found that at the time there were a number of factors that made the left turn necessary.

Firstly, Runway 27 was in use at Melbourne Airport, that is, aircraft were arriving from the east and landing on the east-west runway. This arrival path tracks to the north of Essendon Airport and when it is in use any aircraft turning right has to be slotted in between this arrival sequence.

Secondly, there was an aircraft operating over the city and thirdly, high-level parachuting operations were taking place over St Kilda.

The combination of these factors made it impossible to provide the departing aircraft with a right turn as it would potentially have placed the aircraft in conflict with these other aircraft.

Safety of aircraft operations is the top priority for air traffic control and any flight path may be varied to ensure that safe separation between air traffic is maintained. Therefore, given similar circumstances, it is likely that this type of traffic management will be observed again.

Helicopter activities

Filming at the MCG
Airservices followed-up complaints about helicopters hovering over the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) during sporting events. Helicopter operators advised the low winter sun often prevents filming from the south of the ground during the AFL season. Therefore on-ground advertising during the AFL season is orientated  so that it is best viewed from the north, which is why helicopters tend to hover to the north of the ground (over residential areas).

The operators agreed to hover to the south whenever possible, and when filming from the north they will try as far as possible to hover over the park north of the MCG and not over residential areas. In addition, operators already try to use their quietest helicopters for operations over the MCG.

Traffic helicopters
Airservices contacted the traffic helicopter operator about these activities. The operator flies as high as possible to minimise noise to residents and has zoom lenses to enable filming from 1500 feet. The minimum altitude over residential areas is 1000 feet, although the operator has a dispensation from CASA to fly lower if required. This is rare. The helicopter has been fitted with mufflers to minimise noise to residents. Sometimes air traffic control require the helicopter to fly below 1500 feet or to hover to remain out of the way of regular aircraft traffic to and from Melbourne Airport. Otherwise, hovering is avoided whenever possible. In the morning, traffic reporting activities are usually finished by 9.00 am and in the evening by 6.00 pm.

Yarra River helipads
Following complaints from residents affected by helicopters operating to and from the Yarra River helipads, Airservices worked with helicopter operators to encourage them to minimise noise. Operators agreed, wherever possible, to use their quieter helicopters, to restrict the times they use the helipads and to try to avoid overflight of noise-sensitive areas.

The Yarra River helipads are outside controlled airspace. The are which the helipads occupy is under the control of Parks Victoria.

More information about helicopter operations

Community consultation

Community Aviation Consultation Group (CACG) meetings are independent forums where community members and organisations can raise opinions and issues. These meetings address planning and development issues as well as operational matters such as aircraft noise and provide an opportunity for communication and consultation, although they may not be public forums.

Airservices attends the Essendon Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group(CACG) meetings to provide information to the community and assist in discussions on aviation matters.