HC Deb 04 July 1960 vol 626 cc11-4
17. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Minister of Aviation what steps he will take to ensure that pilots of aircraft approaching London Airport do not come below the specified glide path.

Mr. Sandys

Various radio, radar and visual aids are provided at the airport to help pilots to follow the prescribed glide path.

Mr. Stewart

Could the Minister explain how it happens that sometimes an aircraft flies over my constituency at an altitude at which it is inaudible and that soon afterwards an aircraft of the same type flies over at such an altitude that it makes an appalling noise because it is flying too low? Is he aware that it is the experience of people living several miles away from the airport that a high proportion of aircraft desert the glide path some eight or nine miles before getting to the airport?

Mr. Sandys

Yes, because sound is a very misleading measurement of height. Two aeroplanes flew over my house yesterday evening and they seemed to be rather low. I am making inquiries about them.

25. Mr. A. Royle

asked the Minister of Aviation what are the grounds for his decision that there is no possibility of increasing the angle of the glide path at London Airport; and if he will initiate international negotiations to raise the angle of glide-paths above all airfields in the United Kingdom from three degrees to four or five degrees.

Mr. Sandys

I am advised that with the high speed of approach of modern aircraft the angle of the glide path could not be appreciably increased without prejudice to safety.

Mr. Royle

Is my right hon. Friend aware that several leading executives in the aircraft industry consider that this suggestion is technically possible? Is he aware that, if it took place, it would considerably ease the nuisance caused to residents living underneath the glide path to London Airport, and other airports, caused by aircraft approaching the aerodrome?

Mr. Sandys

Of course, by increasing the angle of descent you increase the speed of approach and thereby make landing more difficult. I am surprised to hear what my hon. Friend says, because, in the main, certainly on the operators' side, the pressure is to reduce the angle of approach and not to increase it.