I live under a flight path, and whilst, being something of an aviation nut, I don’t mind the sound of planes flying low overhead, I was reminded of how noisy aviation used to be when I looked at the noise profiles of older jets, such as the Boeing 707, when compared with aircraft of today. They were significantly louder than we are used to nowadays, and it looks like aircraft noise is becoming still far less intrusive.
Lufthansa has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320 with vortex generators. The brand-new Airbus aircraft will be based at Frankfurt Airport and will serve short and medium-haul destinations in Germany and Europe.
Lufthansa is the first airline in the world to use an aircraft with this modification. The purpose of the vortex generators is to reduce the noise produced by aircraft during their final approach by up to two decibels. All new aircraft of this type will be equipped with vortex generators standard. The aircraft of the A320 fleet that are already in operations will also be equipped with this noise-reducing technology. A total of 157 aircraft in the existing fleet will receive the new component, so that more than 200 aircraft in total, including the new deliveries, will be quieter.
A Lufthansa spokesperson said that they were delighted to be taking delivery of their first Airbus with vortex generators.
The modification is part of the airline’s investment in active noise protection which will make its short and medium-haul fleet even quieter in the future.
The new vortex generators are another example of how the aviation industry is advancing its technology in order to make flying both safer and environmentally friendlier. Aircraft fitted with the vortex generators will be less noticeable to residents near airports during their landings.
Flyover measurements taken by Lufthansa in cooperation with the German Aerospace Centre have shown that vortex generators eliminate unpleasant tones and significantly reduce the total noise produced by aircraft. These tones are created on the underside of the wing by circular pressure equalisation vents for the fuel tanks. Airflows passing over them in flight have an effect like blowing across the mouth of a bottle. The new components will create a vortex in front of these vents and so prevent the noise. They can be fitted both to the existing fleet as well as to the new Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft, which are still to be delivered.