Edinburgh Airport diversions and noise

Back in March we received a note through our door saying that there was going to be maintenance on the main runway at Edinburgh Airport. It would take place overnight, and would mean that the night time flights would have to be diverted to a backup runway. This meant they would have to fly over the south west corner of the city, and therefore our house.

I thought at the time it all seemed sensible and the period of time wasn’t too bad, and to be honest we’ve grown to live the with sound of large, low flying jets over our house throughout the night. However now and again the noise is incredible, like last night.


Both myself and my wife awoke startled and almost in panic as a plane flew overhead and powered it’s engines on suddenly. It’s the kind of sound you hear on Black Box Investigates, or whatever the show is that recreates plane crashes, just as the pilots realise that they are going down they ram the engines on full, they scream loudly, and the plane tries to recover – that’s what it sounded like last night.

Over the months of getting used to the night flights – something I really don’t want to admit to because I fear that the Airport might use the lack of complaints as an excuse to keep them going – there is the odd flight where you hear the engines powered on more than normal, or the flight is flying lower than the rest.

I say odd, but if I’m being serious it’s probably two or three a week, and they are loud, you would not believe how loud considering that our flat is a new build (five years old) very well insulated and sound proofed, and double glazed.

Yet the sound still comes through, and you could imagine that you were standing at the runway during a flyover, they are that loud, and when they’re a little lower, or the power gets pushed on a little just over the house, you really do feel it, and some nights they’ll keep you awake for a few flights.

However last night was different. It genuinely sounded like the plane was in serious trouble. My wife had been asleep while I was trying to get there myself, and we both sat up in bed convinced that the plane flying over our heads was too low, powering the engines on full, and heading for a crash landing.

We just sat there and looked at each other for a good fifteen seconds, waiting to hear if it recovered or not. As the sound disappeared into the distance we both expressed our concern, however it sounded like it didn’t crash.

The next plane that came over, some three or four minutes after that one, was quieter but still increased the engines a little, something that we hear quite a few times. It was tremendously windy last night, although not as bad as Wednesday evening, and that could have accounted for the sudden power increase.

It was a shock though, and for fifteen seconds I thought a plane might be crash landing in Edinburgh.

The work began on the 30th March and is set to extend until the end of November. There’s more information on the BAA site.

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