Plagued by Planes

A couple of weeks ago, while I was still blissfully sleeping in my tent here on Anglesey, UK (it has since become too damp and cold out for my liking), when I was noisily awoken by the sound of the world coming to an end … a UFO finally paying me a visit what I have come to decide was a military aircraft coming in to land at the RAF base some miles from where I live (I vlogged about this later in that morning since it was such an event).

You can listen to this present tale here (or continue reading below):

I had considered the noise to be that of a civil aircraft, although there was nothing civil about the noise at 3:30am, since I had seen the flashing lights off in the distance, and when I later looked back on flightradar24.com there were indeed two such aircraft passing by around that time (it doesn’t show military aircraft), but I later concluded it was neither of these (both of which were following the same flight pattern as they were going in to land over in Dublin.

Now back in my bed proper, I occasionally get woken up by the cat, who, rather than requiring me to unzip slightly a few zips of the tent, all of which would be within arms reach while I’m in said tent, I have to once more get out of bed and wander downstairs and open a door (if it happens to be raining then there is a further rigmarole which I shan’t get into here). This morning though, at 3am, was one such morning, minus the rainy rigmarole but included a brief top-up at the water bowl (while I questioned why that couldn’t have been undertaken prior to me being dragged out of bed (to which the Human received no answer).

I then went back to bed, except I didn’t.

First, noticing a star/planet right next to the moon (in the night sky of all places) I elected to spend some minutes photographing said spectacle from the vantage-point of my bedroom window, waiting patiently (as I’m well practised in such things by now) for clouds to position themselves just right. (There are indeed many advantages to being single and not sharing a bed, such as being questioned at 3am “what the f*ck are you doing? Come back to bed for God sake…”)

I then got back into bed (of my own accord), but I was somewhat too awake by now. I lay there telling myself it was really too early to be getting up, and that I really needed some more sleep (partly because I’d had another hike up Snowdon the day before). But it wasn’t to be. I lay there for a while, practising further the art of patience, and for tiredness to overcome me once more, but this effort was thwarted by what I realised was a persistent droning sound.

Since returning to sleeping indoors my ears have been more sensitive to the sounds of the house*; I’m quite prone to hearing electrical buzzings should I ever leave anything plugged in, such as a gadget-charger, even my LED light-bulbs make a noise that I can hear (not that I’d have those on at night), but more on this (perhaps) in a future post. I was once visiting a client who mentioned (I don’t know exactly why) they were struggling to sleep with their broadband router next to their bed. I could immediately hear why… I stepped into the room to investigate and I could hear the router while they couldn’t (mainly because they’re older and hearing tends to become less sensitive with age). Perhaps it’s not solely the sound we can hear from such devices that is bothersome.

I’m very mindful of such electronic equipment, both in positioning, and being left on unnecessarily. Broadband providers will tend to suggest keeping a broadband router on all the time and while switching them on and off multiple times a day can potentially cause connection speed issues due to the exchange assuming there is a fault for it to counteract, I don’t usually leave my router on all night (unless I’m having to leave a computer on to download a large update, or in the days of me participating in SETI@home… participating in SETI@home). I sometimes go as far as switching off the main breaker switch at my house’s fuse box; the only consideration here is my refrigerator, but my house (certainly now summer has passed) isn’t that warm and there is rarely anything in the fridge that will spoil overnight, beyond a carton of milk that might not last as many days as it could.

I still hear hummings though, even with no power circulating within my home, and I’ve yet to pinpoint the cause; perhaps a nearby powerline that crosses part of my house, neighbour’s WiFi (although they’re all on their lowest bar if I use a WiFi device to look) or a street-light.

*This morning’s droning noise was something else though (as was me droning on about all that electrical stuff, sorry about that) and not emanating from within the structure.

It sounded like an aircraft was slowly making its way across the sky somewhere above the area where I live (not in an Armageddon/noisy-UFO-like fashion) but at a typical high altitude. I thought it would be gone soon enough, but no, it continued. I thought clouds were having an effect, since I have noticed the sound can seemingly bounce off them and cause more of a din (this is particularly noticeable with helicopters flying in fog). Either way this went on for far too long and I got up and out of bed and got onto flightradar24.com once more to see which aircraft was the culprit for all this buggery.

I was wrong. It wasn’t an aircraft (no not a UFO), not AN aircraft… it was multiple aircraft.

It turns out that my home was/is lying (or lies) under the flightpath of flights to and from America, specifically Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Within the space of half-an-hour there were a handful of these planes (well technically far more than a handful, unless you’re God, with big hands) crossing more-or-less over my house, at high altitude, yes, but still audible, and since it was persistent, the droning never ceased.

Had I not been awake and trying to get to sleep I wouldn’t have really noticed, or taken issue with it, surely being back out in my tent would have subjected myself to more of a noise.**

I looked online to see if there were any other such criticisms of these aircraft, but Google just presented me with Boeing’s own sales page (as if I was looking to buy such an aircraft) which was telling me about how their ‘special sound-muffling technology’ (I don’t think they used those exact words) made these planes particularly quiet*. They may well be quieter but if you’re going to fly so many of them in close succession over the same patch of sky, the noise is either going to be bloody annoying, or become normality and not bother anyone ever again… I guess I’ll just have to wait for the second option to take hold.

*Actually(1), I think they said their sound-muffling technology was a directional thing whereby the noise from the engines is directed more downwards instead of allowed to go sideways, since this is a bane of those who dwell near airports, but this is of little consolation for those who happen to be trying to dream beneath such Dreamliners.

**Actually(2), having my house between me and my tent, as would(1) have been the case, would(2) have put more building in the line of fire than being in my bed with only a roof in the way, since my bedroom is in the loft and a single side of roof is less material than two sides of roof and walls.

4 comments

  1. We, you don’t know yer born! I grew up under the flight path to Heathrow and when the planes were taking off you couldn’t hear yourself think! The teachers at school had to stop talking every time a plane came over and all the houses had double glazing due to the noise

    • I’m sure the planes are quieter these days… but there’s more of them. On a plus side, homes likely have better insulation. All that being said… it’s surely not a place to live, or go to school at. I remember visiting a relative when I was a child who lived near an airport, and I thought it would be an amazing place to live, seeing all of the planes coming and going…

  2. I’m so sorry! They must have changed something about the flight path. Maybe you can organize a “protest” if they did change the flight path.

    We live about 10 miles as the crow flies from a military base. We always know when something big is happening – middle of the night flights over our house! They don’t usually fly at that time or in our direction unless something else is going on.

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