FAQ - Aircraft Activity
RAF Brize Norton Aircraft Activity - Is your question listed below?
You may find your question listed below. If so, click on the link to take you to the answer, or the contact details of the person who could help.
If your question is not listed, and you would like to speak to someone about aircraft activity, the person detailed below can be contacted between the hours of 9.00 am and 5.00 pm.
Flight Lieutenant Dave Howell
Flying Complaints Officer
Tel: 01993 895714
Outside of these hours please contact the Duty Operations Controller on 01993 896500.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I have a question about a specific aircraft – who do I contact?
Q. Do the aircraft avoid built up areas?
A. There are local avoids in operation.
Local avoids are not mandatory and are not a legislated requirement. They are established by the Station to provide our neighbours with some relief from the disturbance caused by local flying. Station aircraft when operating in the Visual Circuit are where possible to avoid the routine over flight of Shilton, Minster Lovell and Witney when operating to the North and Bampton, Clanfield, and Aston when operating to the South. Aircraft operating within the radar instrument pattern may be seen overflying these local avoids at altitudes of 2500 ft above mean sea level and above when positioning for instrument recoveries. Wherever possible the over flight of villages and built up areas is avoided, Station aircrew are fully aware of the existence of the Local Avoids and operate in accordance with local procedures. However, on occasion it is not possible to meet this requirement, whether it is in response to an onboard emergency, other traffic or weather which could result in aircraft having to overfly the local population. When this occurs and an incident or complaint is received an investigation and debrief is conducted
Q. Can I request that my house be avoided?
A. It is not possible to arrange ‘avoids’ for individual houses. Indeed, certain hamlets or villages, due to their location in relation to the airfield, cannot be avoided without prejudicing the safe conduct of flight.
Q. Why do Engine Ground Runs have to take place at night?
A. The nature of the Air Transport and Air to Air Refuelling Force’s heavy operational commitments means that flying, maintenance and engine testing often can’t be undertaken in normal working hours. We completely understand that engine ground runs can sometimes be heard over a wide area. However, this maintenance is an operational necessity and we do try to limit the amount of time that the engines are run, to the minimum time required to validate the maintenance procedures undertaken. Although some of the noise is attributable to engineering activity, out of hours noise is also generated by operationally-essential flying.
Q. What is the Station doing to reduce noise?
A. Our aim continues to be providing a sensible and practicable balance between the Station’s essential training and engineering needs whilst taking account of environmental considerations for local residents.
The Station has taken a number of measures to reduce disturbance to the local community. An Environmental Noise Working Group has been established on the Station, chaired by Officer commanding Airfield Operations, the airport manager. This takes forward practical measures to reduce the impact of noise on the local community. As a result of the work of this group, new procedures for essential out-of-hours engine ground running activity have been implemented to minimise disturbance.
Q. Is the Station working with the Local Authorities and the Local Community?
A. The Station has been engaging with West Oxfordshire District Council to discuss environmental noise issues. In order to listen to residents concerns, meetings have been arranged both on and off the base with residents of neighbouring parishes. The Station holds these meetings on a regular basis to ensure that regular feedback is obtained. Further to that, a Consultation Group is also being set up by the Station, which will involve representatives from local parishes.
Q. Have any surveys been carried out to assess how much noise is generated by the aircraft on the airbase?
A. A study is being commissioned to assess the noise profile in the immediate vicinity of the airfield and data is being captured on out-of-hours activity and noise complaints to track and assess whether the mitigation measures being taken are having the desired effect.
Q. Is there no other way to conduct training?
A. Where possible, we use simulators to carry out training. However, there are some training exercises that must be undertaken in the air and some of these must occur out of working hours. In addition, the Hercules is more of a tactical aircraft than the other Air Transport and Refuelling aircraft based at RAF Brize Norton. There is more of an operational requirement for this fleet to undertake circuit training and varied low level departure and arrival routings.
Q. Can the training be conducted elsewhere?
A. We do try to spread training as widely and thinly as possible throughout the area, and to vary the routes used in order to minimise disturbance to any one particular area.
Q. Do we use any other airfields apart from RAF Brize Norton?
A. A range of different airfields are used in the United Kingdom to conduct training. For more tactical training, Keevil airfield is used near the Salisbury Plain ranges.
Q. Do you alternate the direction that the aircraft fly?
A. For noise abatement, Air Traffic Control varies the direction (either to the north or south of the airfield) for aircraft flying circuits.
Q. The airfield appears to use the westerly runway more than the easterly runway; why is this?
A. In the United Kingdom, the prevailing wind direction is from the west/south-west. This means that aircraft will generally approach the airfield to land from the direction of Witney/Ducklington/Brize Norton and take off in the direction of Kencot/Filkins.
Q. Can I find out about when out-of-hours activity is taking place?
A. The Station publishes a list of out of hours aircraft activity on the Station web site. This is often subject to short notice change and should be consulted on a regular basis to ensure that the most up-to-date information is available. Unfortunately we cannot provide detail on all flights that arrive and depart from the airfield for security reasons.