An easyJet pilot bends the rules
An easyJet pilot flying an empty aircraft to Toulouse was in so much of a hurry after taking off towards Lausanne that he turned left over Versoix much too soon.
Now that easyJet Switzerland has agreed with ARAG that a spare aircraft based in Geneva is required, it is quite often necessary to bail out easyJet UK when one of their aircraft is unavailable. Yesterday, August 9, it was necessary to lend the Airbus A319, registration HB-JZJ, to easyJet UK so that they could operate a flight from Toulouse to Geneva and back to Toulouse. HB-JZJ thus flew empty to Toulouse at about 10 am. After operating the Toulouse-Geneva-Toulouse flights it came back (empty again) to Geneva.
After taking off in an empty aircraft, the pilot was able to climb very rapidly at a gradient of around 18% (about 1900 feet rise every nautical mile). Wanting to do a left hand U-turn in order to head towards Toulouse, he waited until the aircraft altitude reached (nearly) 5000 feet, at which time he was between Genthod and Versoix, then made a tight 180° left turn even before reaching Versoix town hall. In doing so, he ignored the official Swiss flight regulation which states that he should not turn left until at least 2 Nautical Miles after the Passeiry radio beacon (2.3 Nautical Miles, or 4.25 kilometres after the end of the runway): I calculate that he was about a kilometre short of this.
To me, this suggests several problems. The rules for such departures in the direction of Lausanne have long specified a Procedure Design Gradient of 3.8%, which would mean not reaching 5000 feet until well over the lake. However, aircraft performance is now such that a much higher climb rate is possible, even with loaded aircraft. Thus, whereas most such left-hand U-turns used to be made only when well over the lake, thus minimising noise in the region of Coppet, now they are happening much sooner. As a result, there is more noise for the densely inhabited regions of Versoix, Mies, Tannay and Coppet. This would be lessened if the required distance before the turn would be increased (say to 4 Nautical Miles).
I cannot help also thinking that a more gentle climb rate until over the lake would surely result in a reduction of the noise over Bellevue, Genthod and Versoix. The regulations for the Standard Instrument Departure take-offs specifically state that they are "minimum noise routes". However, I can find no information on the exact interpretation of this particular regulation.
There are clearly conflicting requirements, including minimising flight time, fuel comsumption and the ground noise imprint. It is possible that in these times of financial instability, recession and climate problems, the importance of minimising ground noise is seen as relatively less important.