You?ll be pleased to hear that there is some logic to it and from the
information in the below links, you may be able to calculate when the
quietest times may occur. First, it depends on the strength and
direction of the wind as to which runways are used for landing and
take-off; second, the air traffic control try to vary the landing
routes to spread the burden of the noise, and thirdly, runways are
switched at certain times of the day.
I?ve checked a map and I think that the Borough of Richmond's helpful
web site is appropriate information for your location although you are
located in that borough.
You can start at this page and then use the links on the right,
particularly the links: Aircraft landings and takeoffs, and Flight
?Aircraft noise affects many thousands of local residents in many
parts of the borough ? broadly speaking, landing noise affects
Richmond, Kew, East Sheen, Barnes and St Margaret?s; whereas take off
noise affects Twickenham, Teddington, Whitton, Hampton and Hampton
The borough suffers because it lies due east of both the Northern and
Southern runways at Heathrow. These runways are used by all
arriving/landing aircraft on days when the wind is westerly or
southwesterly or indeed when there is no wind at all. Since the
prevailing wind in the UK is westerly this accounts for around 75% of
the year. However, it is also overflown by departing/take off
aircraft. So when the wind is blowing from the east, aircraft will
take off over the borough. Heathrow is of course very close to the
The Borough of Hounslow?s web site is not quite so helpful, but you
may wish to refer to it at it has some discussion on the proposed
There are a number of operating practices that help protect the
community from the worst effects of the airport.
Cranford Agreement: this prevents aircraft from departing over
Cranford when flying to the east whilst on the northern runway.
Operation of the aircraft in segregated mode: Apart from the hour
6am-7am, aircraft land on one runway whilst departing on the other.
Runway alternation: when aircraft are departing into the west,
aircraft swap which runway they are using at 3pm. This gives the
communities overflown considerable respite and the ability to plan
events to occur when their houses are not overflown."
You will find reference to the Canford agreement. This is the relevant
page for that topic.
The BAA Heathrow web site has further information. It has a page on
Runway Alteration and provides a telephone number on which you can
request a timetable of runway switching. The link below is to their
aircraft noise page. The link to Runway Alternation is on the left of
the page. I also think the link to Departures is also relevant and the
sub-link, Direction of Operation.
Direction of Operation
"The decision on the direction of operation is for Air Traffic Control
(ATC) but is weather-dependent and is based upon a number of factors,
including: the current prevailing wind speed and direction at
Heathrow, both on the ground and in the air (what is happening at
1000ft and 2000ft above ground is also very important); the forecast
for the next four to six hours; and information from pilots."
Finally, I think you will find that their Flight Evaluation Report
2004/5 (49 pages) is useful source of information on flight paths and
I hope this answers your question. If it does not, or the answer is
unclear, then please ask for clarification of this research before
rating the answer. I shall respond to the clarification request as
soon as I receive it.
heathrow flight paths