It’s worth complaining to Manston for two reasons: they have to record and report it; and they tell you exactly which plane you were complaining about. With enough information about which planes and carriers misbehave, and when, we may be able to spot if there is method to their badness. Cynical curmudgeon that I am, I can’t help wondering if there’s an unwritten schedule operating.
Complaining to Manston about aircraft noise usually turns out to be an unsatisfactory experience. With repetition, it becomes frustrating and then dispiriting – “stuff it, what’s the point?”. This infectious inertia is, of course, all just part of their Evil Plan – draining the life from you by taking ages to do the bare minimum. The standard reply doesn’t answer any direct question you may have asked. You are told that everything is fine, that your complaint has been logged and the details of the flight(s) in question – date, time, aircraft, operator, and possibly some comments.
The logging and the details are what matters. Infratil (the airport operators) are obliged to report on the complaints they receive – they present the figures as number of complaints, and complainants, by area. It’s not nice to see them gloating over low complaint figures that simply don’t reflect the effect that night flights are having. Every time you get one of those frustrating replies from Manston, you’ve actually scored a direct hit – keep it as a trophy. Build a collection if you like.
And now we come to those precious details, and my Evil Plan…
Step 1: whenever you hear a night flight, let me know by email or by adding a comment to this article – I need the date, time, and roughly where you were (town, not street). This will give us a rolling record of activity, which we can compare with the BAP report estimate of 2 night flights a week. Ho, ho.
Step 2: use Manston’s online complaints form, which will (should?) send you a confirmation of receipt with a rather oddly re-presented version of your complaint. Hang on to this: if you haven’t had a reply within a fortnight (which is not unknown) you’ll need to chase them.
Step 3: when the reply arrives from Manston, you can dance a jig of glee, knowing that you have scored a double hit – your complaint has been logged, and you have some flight details. Send me the flight details (by email or using the comments at the bottom of this article), and I’ll match them up to the reports that came in at Step 1.
Hey presto! We will steadily build a picture of who’s doing what, and when. If there’s anything that resembles a timetable, Infratil will need to explain it.
Here’s an added bonus: any replies to earlier complaints have suddenly become valuable. Like me, you may be kicking yourself for having binned them, cursing their uselessness, but if you do have any, please send me the flight details – the more the better. Incidentally, if anyone knows a quicker, easier way to get this information, do let me know, and save everyone some time.