11/04/2010

A nice, but noisy, DC-8 is back again

Only one old 4-engine Douglas DC-8 has been seen in Geneva this year. After nearly three months absence it is back!


The aircraft in question is registered as VP-BHM, a British registration, and belonging to an operator called Brisair. Despite a long search, I have not found out anything about this operator, other than that it appears to be a charter company with just this one aircraft. There is a report that it was taken over by another operator called Sigair a couple of years ago, but that is also a bit of a mystery.

It is a frequent visitor to Geneva, much to the delight of the local aircraft spotters. After a couple of months absence, it returned here on November 1, departing again on November 2. This is the latest of 15 visits here this year. On a previous visit, on July 10, one local spotter/photographer recorded it with the cryptic comment

VP-BHM Just about to taxi, sorry, I can't share the sound!

On an even earlier visit (2007 I think), someone has put onto You-Tube a video of a flight from Geneva to Nice/ Cote d'Azur. This includes the dialogue with Geneva Air Traffic control (very interesting), plus another cryptic comment that it is a nice and noisy private jet.

In the Swiss aircraft noise classification system, this aircraft is in Class I, the noisiest category. The 15 visits represent just over half of the total number of visits so far this year by Class I aircraft. For each of the 15 visits the airport would have charged about 3,000 CHF, of which 1,000 would be the noise surcharge for Class I. Thus, the environment funds, used (amongst other things) to soundproof residences around the airport, would have been augmented by about 15,000 CHF: enough to buy and install quite a few double or triple glazed windows.

I have no real idea for what purposes this aircraft visits us, though one suggestion has been that it does special VIP flights. I can, however, suggest that for someone who can hire such a large aircraft, the noise surcharge is not likely to be a real handicap.

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