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Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations


Rev. 1b — this page first published 12 January 2014


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This document highlights the relevance of a few aspects of the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 1984 that may be of interest to owners of aircraft registered with RA-Aus.

The purpose of the legislation is primarily aircraft noise management in the vicinity of airports, in association with Airservices Australia's 'legislated requirement to provide environmentally sustainable air navigation services'. (Airport noise complaints are all ultimately directed to Airservices Airspace and Environment Regulatory Unit.) The Australian legislation closely follows the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) 'Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation Environmental Protection'.

For ease of access, pdf copies of some relevant documents are provided in the Fly Safe sub-domain – though they may not be up-to-date:


The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – who oversee legislation and policy relating to airports and aviation – have published a document titled 'Aircraft Noise Regulations – Overview' that begins: 'The Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations require all aircraft operating in Australian airspace to comply with noise standards and recommended practices introduced under the Convention on Civil Aviation'. This is in accordance with sub-regulation (2) of Regulation 9.

The Air Navigation Act 1920 contains the standard ICAO definition: "aircraft means any machine or craft that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air". Thus the reference to "all aircraft operating in Australian airspace" then encompasses all the RA-Aus aeroplanes including the powered parachutes (PPC) together with powered hang-gliders (PHG) and powered paragliders (PPG) plus airships, helicopters, gyroplanes, all hang gliders and other non-powered aircraft. Hot-air balloons are specifically excluded in Regulation 2. Of course, the Regulations were drafted at a time when hang-gliders and ultralights were a negligible part of the aviation scene, though sailplane activity did form a significant part.

Perhaps a change in the regulations to 'all powered aircraft' may be appropriate with some exclusion for the PHG and PPG and, of course, power-assisted sailplanes but not motor-gliders. ('Power-assisted' sailplanes being those that have sufficient engine power to maintain height but not enough for launching without external assistance.)

However Regulation 3 defines the class of air navigation – rather than types of aircraft – to which the noise regulations apply while Schedule 1 defines the noise standards and testing procedures for certain classifications of powered aircraft and auxiliary power units.




Which aerodromes are airports?

The Australian aviation regulations use only the term 'aerodrome' that is defined in the Civil Aviation Act 1988 as '... an area of land … (including any buildings, installations and equipment), the use of which as an aerodrome is authorised under the regulations ...'. The AIP Book distinguishes 'authorised landing area' from aerodrome. The 'airport' term does not seem to be distinctly defined in any Australian legislation, the Airports Act 1996 definition states: 'airport means an airport in Australia' – which is hardly definitive. The Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 uses much the same definition as that of an aerodrome, i.e. '... an area of land … (including any buildings, installations and equipment), intended for use either wholly or partly in connection with the arrival, departure or movement of aircraft.'. In Canada only certified aerodromes are classed as airports.

An airport definition in a local government discussion paper of the 1990s is: '... an aerodrome at which the facilities have been sufficiently developed to be of importance to civil aviation'. These days an important facility at most of the small airports would be the availability of GNSS arrival procedures.

At November 2013, 2480 aerodromes (AD) and aircraft landing areas (ALA), plus 744 helicopter landing sites (HLS), were listed in Airservices En Route Supplement Australia (ERSA). In addition there are an unknown – but presumably large – number of private airstrips on rural properties that are an integral part of the operation of the property for agricultural, pastoral or domestic purposes. For the purposes of CAR 92(1)(d) an ALA is any aerodrome for use by light aircraft up to 5700 kg maximum take-off weight, also described as an airfield, landing strip or airstrip.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has classed 192 aerodromes as 'certified' for regular passenger transport operations and 139 aerodromes have the lower classification 'registered'. Only the certified aerodromes are required to undergo an Aerodrome Technical Inspection and to have a safety management system and an aerodrome manual. There are another 80 'unclassified' aerodromes which have limited RPT services. So there are probably around 400 aerodromes (16% of the 2480 ADs and ALAs listed in ERSA) which might be considered to be public airports.

Most of the 192 certified aerodromes are 'security controlled' aerodromes identified as 'capital city, regional and other airports' where Australian Aviation Security Identification Cards must be worn when 'air side'.

Federal legislation defines the 21 airport sites previously operated by the Federal Airports Corporation as 'Commonwealth places'. They are Townsville, Mount Isa, Brisbane, Gold Coast (Coolangatta), Archerfield, Sydney, Bankstown, Camden, Canberra, Melbourne, Essendon, Moorabbin, Hobart, Launceston, Adelaide, Parafield, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Darwin, Perth and Jandakot airports. These airports and major general aviation aerodromes will appear – in a permission to engage in air navigation – as disallowed for take-off and landing. The Cairns Airport site is privately owned and thus not a Commonwealth place.

About 270 of Australia's regional, rural and remote aerodromes were originally established by the Commonwealth during WW2 then gradually transferred, chiefly to local government ownership, under the 1958 Aerodrome Local Ownership Plan. ALOP imposed obligations to maintain the site and continue operation as an aerodrome. The transfer of ownership was concluded around 1992 and later legislation allowed local governments alternative uses for parts of the aerodrome site, without seeking permission from the Secretary of the Department, provided the site continued to operate as an aerodrome. Those aerodromes are no longer Commonwealth places.

The Australian Airports Association has recently published an informative document titled 'Australia's regional airports – facts, myths and challenges' providing an insight into the number of Australian aerodromes regarded by their operators as 'airports'.

Permission to operate without a noise certificate

Aircraft noise is a considerable problem in the vicinity of aerodromes, not just the major city airports but even at privately owned airfields where sport and recreational aviation aeroplanes are well represented – Tyabb, Vic is a well known example. With Australia's current population of 23 million – now increasing at a rate exceeding 350,000 p.a. – there is going to be increasing neighbourhood pressure on the small airfields close to cities and towns.

The following parts of the 'Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 1984' are those of interest to RA-Aus aircraft owners. There are two main sections in the regulations document; the first contains regulations 1 to 15 and the second contains the Schedule 1 [to Regulation 6A] noise standards and testing procedures for 13 types [i.e. classifications] of aircraft. I have added comments in red to some of the regulations below and highlighted some more relevant wording in green.

Regulation 3 defines the types of air navigation to which the noise regulations are applicable; RA-Aus flight school and some club operations may fall into the 'trading' category but otherwise Regulation 3 is not applicable to RA-Aus aircraft, provided they do not utilise any of those 21 airports classed as 'Commonwealth places'. The 14 airfields 'owned' by the Department of Defence, which includes Avalon – and the International Airshow – might fall into the 'Commonwealth place' category but for the purpose of the noise regulations they were not acquired for 'public purposes' even though the use of some of those aerodromes, by aircraft engaged in civil air navigation, is authorised by CASA, with prior landing permission required from the aerodrome operator – e.g. 24 hours prior notice is required from RAAF Point Cook.

None of the standards in Schedule 1* are currently applicable to RA-Aus aircraft, so a noise certificate cannot be issued under Regulation 6A and aircraft owners should apply for a permission for their aircraft to 'engage in air navigation' without a noise certificate but with a written Permission to engage in Air Navigation, currently issued under Regulation 9A(2)(a) below, although 9AB(1) seems more appropriate. It is not an 'exemption' from the intent of the aircraft noise regulations, you must continue to 'fly neighbourly', see Regulation 9AB. The words 'exempt' or 'exemption' do not appear in the regulations.

*Note: there is a significant error in the wording of Item 11 which, when corrected, may affect some RA-Aus aeroplane owners.

Airservices Australia is required to support the ongoing role of an Aircraft Noise Ombudsman, see www.ano.gov.au.

Airservices have provided a very fast (2-hour turnround) and effective no-cost system for aircraft owners to make that application online. The first box in that form is titled "Addition of an aircraft to the Australian Civil Register"; it is referring to the Australian Civil Aircraft Register rather than a national Civil Register for births, marriages and deaths. There is no mention of the RA-Aus aircraft register but RA-Aus registration marks are accepted. Input your registration mark in the nn-nnnn format.

The term of the permission subsequently received is until ownership changes or until any aircraft modification is made that may adversely affect the noise characteristics of the aeroplane. The permission does not extend to allowing take-off or landing at any of the 21 Commonwealth place airports and those include the GA aerodromes at Jandakot, Parafield, Moorabbin, Bankstown, Camden and Archerfield.

Those members who find the 'locked' concept for the RA-Aus aircraft register desirable will be pleased to know that the Airservices Australia aircraft noise register is also locked.

Comments to the Regulations

Not all the regulations appear below and all the sub-regulations forming the parts of the regulation may not appear. Go to the 'Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 1984' pdf file if you want the complete regulations.

Regulation 2: Interpretation
(1) In these Regulations, unless the contrary intention appears:
  certificate of airworthiness means:
    (a) a certificate of airworthiness that was issued under regulation 24 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988; [No Certificates of Airworthiness were issued to RA-Aus aircraft under CAR 24. CAR 24 was superseded by CASR 21.183 around 1999 … JB ] or
   (b) a certificate of airworthiness issued under regulation 21.176 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998; [CASRs 200.002, 200.013 and 200.014 exempt aircraft operating under CAOs 95.10, 95.32 and 95.55 from all CASRs … JB] or
   (c) a certificate of the airworthiness of an aircraft issued by, or on behalf of, a (an ICAO) Contracting State.

  noise certificate means a certificate, whether or not consisting of a separate document, issued, or deemed to have been issued, under regulation 6, or issued under regulation 6A. [Should an Aircraft Flight Manual contain a noise certification statement a certificate is deemed to have been issued and no other document is required … JB]

  registered means registered under Part 47 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998. [aircraft operating under CAOs 95.10, 95.32 and 95.55 are currently exempt from all CASRs … JB]

  aircraft does not include:
    (a) a state aircraft; [Department of Defence aircraft … JB] or
    (b) a hot air balloon; or
    (c) a propeller-driven aircraft that is specifically designed, and used exclusively, for:
      (i) aerobatic purposes; or
      (ii) fire fighting purposes; or
      (iii) agricultural operations; or
      (iv) environmental operations.
[Annex 16 also adds power-assisted sailplanes to this list … JB]



Regulation 3: Application
(1) These Regulations apply to and in relation to:
  (a) international air navigation; [Not applicable to RA-Aus aircraft unless contemplating a flight to New Zealand … JB]

  (b) air navigation in relation to trade and commerce with other countries and among the States; [i.e. 'among' meaning 'between' not 'within' the States. The term 'State' includes: (a) the Australian Capital Territory; and (b) the Northern Territory (Airports Act 1996 section 5 Definitions) but I don't know where the Jervis Bay Territory (and aerodrome) fits in. Not applicable to RA-Aus aircraft anyhow … JB]
    (ba) air navigation conducted by a foreign corporation or a trading or financial corporation formed within the limits of the Commonwealth; [ the 'trading' term would encompass our flight training facilities and probably any aviation club with aircraft for hire to club members … JB]

  (c) air navigation within the Territories; [i.e. the external Territories — Indian Ocean Territories, Antarctic Territory, Coral Sea Islands, Norfolk and Heard Islands etc. An RA-Aus aircraft resident on Norfolk Island would come into this category … JB]

  (d) air navigation to or from the Territories; [A flight to Norfolk Island would come into this category … JB]

  (e) air navigation, other than air navigation referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), that consists of landing at, or taking off from, any place acquired by the Commonwealth for public purposes; [These are the 21 'Commonwealth place' airports listed above. The airfields 'owned' by the Department of Defence such as Avalon, Point Cook and East Sale in Victoria are not included as they weren't acquired for public purposes, so you may go to the International Airshow Bruce … JB] and

  (f) air navigation in which a Commonwealth aircraft is engaged. [e.g. a Coastwatch aircraft operating under the authority of the Australian Customs Service but not State (Department of Defence) aircraft … JB]



Regulation 5: Applications by owner or operator of an aircraft
(1) The owner or operator of an aircraft may apply in writing to the Secretary for: [the Secretary has delegated authority to the manager of Airservices Australia's Aircraft Noise Information Team and to the Chief Acoustics Engineer … JB]
  (a) a noise certificate for the aircraft; or
  (b) permission under regulation 9A for the aircraft to engage in air navigation without a noise certificate. [i.e. with a written Permission to engage in Air Navigation issued under Regulation 9A(2)(a) below, it is not an 'exemption' from the aircraft noise regulations. Application forms may be completed online … JB]

(2) An applicant under subregulation (1) shall furnish to the Secretary such information relating to the aircraft as is reasonably required by the Secretary for a proper consideration of the application.



Regulation 6A: Issue of noise certificate for aircraft described in Schedule 1
[None of the standards in Schedule 1 are currently applicable to RA-Aus aircraft (see the Comments to Schedule 1) so a noise certificate may not be issued and the aircraft owner should apply for a Permission to engage in Air Navigation … JB]
(1) If an aircraft in respect of which an application is made under regulation 5:
  (a) is of a type specified in column 2 of an item in Schedule 1; and
  (b) complies with the standards in respect of aircraft noise specified in the provisions of the Annex specified in column 3 of that item; the Secretary must issue to the applicant a noise certificate for the aircraft.

(2) For the purposes of subregulation (1), the noise level that is emitted by an aircraft of a type specified in column 2 of an item in Schedule 1 must be determined by reference to the test procedures set out in the provisions of the Annex specified in column 4 of that item.

(3) If an aircraft is of a type that is described in column 2 of more than 1 item in Schedule 1:
  (a) subregulation (1) applies if the aircraft complies with the standards in respect of noise specified in the provisions of the Annex specified in column 3 of any 1 of those items; and
  (b) the aircraft does not breach these Regulations by reason only of the fact that it does not comply with the standards in respect of noise specified in the provisions of the Annex specified in column 3 of the other item or items.

(4) If the Secretary refuses to issue a noise certificate, he or she must give notice in writing of the decision to the applicant.



Regulation 7A Noise certificate to be carried on board aircraft
  The operator of an aircraft for which a noise certificate is in force must ensure that the noise certificate (whether consisting of a separate document or not [i.e. included in the flight manual]) is carried on board the aircraft at all times. [Presumably a 'permission to engage in air navigation' need not be carried … JB]



Regulation 8 Noise certificate deemed to be issued in certain circumstances
(1) Where the manufacturer of an aircraft that engages in air navigation has included in the flight manual for the aircraft a statement to the effect that the aircraft:
  (a) complies with the relevant standards in respect of noise contained in the Annex; or
  (b) complies with the requirements of a relevant law; there shall be deemed to have been issued under regulation 6 a noise certificate for the aircraft. [thus there is no requirement to apply for a 'permission' issued by Airservices but the Flight Manual must be carried … JB]



Regulation 9 Circumstances in which an aircraft may engage in air navigation in Australia
(2) An aircraft that is not a subsonic jet aircraft or a supersonic aircraft may engage in air navigation only if:
  (a) a noise certificate is in force for it; or
  (b) a permission is in force under regulation 9A or 9AB for it to engage in air navigation; or
  (c) it is undergoing testing by an inspector to identify whether it complies with the standards in respect of noise:
    (i) applicable under regulation 6A; or
    (ii) expressed in the Annex to be applicable to aircraft of the class to which it belongs; or
  (d) it is undergoing testing required by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, or an authorised person appointed under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 , to determine whether a certificate of airworthiness should be issued, renewed or validated under those Regulations; or
  (e) it was registered under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 on or before 6 December 1990 and continues to be registered.

(3) The operator of an aircraft that engages in air navigation in contravention of this regulation is guilty of an offence.
[This then requires a hang glider or non-powered sailplane owner to apply for a permission under 9A or 9AB? … JB]



Regulation 9A Permission for a subsonic aircraft to which standards apply to engage in air navigation
[None of the standards in Schedule 1 are applicable to RA-Aus aircraft (see the Comments to Schedule 1) so a noise certificate may not be issued and the aircraft owner should apply for a Permission to engage in Air Navigation … JB]
  (1) If an aircraft, except a supersonic aircraft, does not comply with:
      (a) in the case of an aircraft of a type specified in column 2 of an item in Schedule 1 - the standards in respect of aircraft noise specified in the provisions of the Annex specified in column 3 of that item; or
      (b) in the case of an aircraft included in a class of aircraft to which standards in respect of noise are expressed
in the Annex to be applicable — the relevant standards;
 the owner or operator of the aircraft may apply to the Secretary for permission for the aircraft to engage in air navigation without a noise certificate.

  (2) If an application is made under subregulation (1), the Secretary may give permission in writing for the aircraft to engage in air navigation if:
  (a) the aircraft is not a subsonic jet aircraft and the extent to which the aircraft exceeds the standards is not significant [This seems to be the sub-regulation that Airservices uses to issue a 'Permission to operate without a Noise Certificate' document when an RA-Aus aircraft owner applies for it. But see the following Regulation 9AB which is appropriate for aircraft to which the standards classifications are not applicable … JB ] or
  (b) the historical significance of the aircraft justifies giving the permission; or
  (c) the aircraft is to be used solely for a purpose that is in the public interest; or
  (d) the aircraft is to be used for either or both of the following purposes and for no other purpose:
    (i) an air display approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority;
    (ii) an adventure flight. [The meaning of adventure flight is not the type of flight which is 'adventure flying' in RA-Aus terms – e.g. a 'Come and get it' trophy retrieval … JB]



Regulation 9AB Permission for other aircraft to engage in air navigation
  (1) The owner or operator of an aircraft (other than an aircraft to which subregulation 9A (1) or regulation 9AA [supersonic aircraft] applies) may apply to the Secretary for permission for the aircraft to engage in air navigation. [This 'other aircraft' regulation seems to be the sub-regulation [rather than 9A(2)(a)] that Airservices should use to issue a 'Permission to operate without a Noise Certificate' document when an RA-Aus aircraft owner applies for it … JB]

  (2) The Secretary may, by notice in writing, grant permission to an applicant.

  (3) If the Secretary grants permission, the Secretary must:
  (a) specify in the permission the period during which the aircraft may engage in air navigation; and
  (b) set out in the permission any conditions with which the applicant must comply.


  (4) A person commits an offence if:
  (a) a notice issued under subregulation 9AB (2) sets out conditions; and
  (b) the person engages in conduct; and
  (c) the person's conduct results in a breach of any of the conditions.


  (5) The Secretary may revoke a permission that is granted to the operator of an aircraft if:
  (a) the aircraft is operated in contravention of a condition set out in the permission; or
  (b) the engagement of the aircraft in air navigation has had, and is likely to continue to have, a significant noise impact on the public.

  (6) If the Secretary refuses to grant permission, or revokes permission, he or she must give notice in writing of the decision to the applicant.



Comments to Schedule 1 'Noise standards and testing procedures for certain aircraft'

There are 13 items in Schedule 1 — see pages 26-28 of the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 1984. Ten of these items do not apply to RA-Aus aircraft because the type of aircraft described in each does not accord with RA-Aus aircraft types and which have a maximum allowable take-off weight (MTOW) of 650 kg.

Item 1 supersonic jet
Item 2 MTOW greater than 5700 kg
Item 3 MTOW greater than 8618 kg
Item 4 subsonic jet
Item 5 MTOW greater than 8618 kg
Item 6 MTOW greater than 5700 kg
Item 9 helicopter
Item 10 auxiliary power units
Item 12 helicopter
Item 13 tilt rotor
Item 8 'Propeller-driven STOL (short take-off and landing) aeroplanes. Guidelines set out in Attachment B of the Annex may be used for noise certification of propeller-driven STOL aeroplanes for which a certificate of airworthiness for the individual aeroplane was first issued on or after 1 January 1976'. Attachment B of the Annex states: 'The following guidelines should be applied to all propeller-driven aeroplanes of over 5 700 kg maximum certificated take-off mass intended for operation in the short take-off and landing (STOL) mode, requiring a runway length, compatible with the relevant take-off and landing distance requirements, of less than 610 m at maximum certificated mass for airworthiness, and for which a certificate of airworthiness for the individual aeroplane was first issued on or after 1 January 1976.'

The 'over 5 700 kg' MTOW in Item 8 attachment B excludes RA-Aus aircraft … JB

The two remaining items (7 and 11) could apply to a very few aircraft on the current RA-Aus register and I have added comments regarding the applicability of those 2 items to RA-Aus aircraft, as follows:

Item 7. 'Propeller-driven aeroplanes of a maximum take-off weight not exceeding 8618 kg for which an application for a type certificate was submitted before 17 November 1988.'

The AUF/RA-Aus was incorporated in 1984. In 1985 the Department of Aviation promulgated ANO 95.25 as an interim means of approval for single-place and two-place factory-built ultralights built to a defined airworthiness and design standard but without 'type certification' as airworthiness certificates would not be issued. At January 1987 only two types had been accepted for registration - the Gemini Thruster and the Hughes LightWing, both fitted with low power two-stroke engines, and the Sapphire came later. A replacement design and certification standard - ANO 101.55 - was promulgated in January 1988 and ANO 95.25 was sunsetted. No Australian manufacturer of those first factory-built training aircraft or any other type submitted an application for Type Certification before 17 November 1988, so Item 7 is not applicable to RA-Aus aircraft.

Incidently ANO/CAO 101.55 – under which the 55-xxxx aircraft such as the Jabiru LSA, Austflight ULA Drifter and Skyfox CA 21/22 were manufactured – also stated the requirement for noise certification and that it is the applicant's responsibility to apply to Airservices Australia for the issue of a noise certificate … JB


Item 11. 'Propeller driven aircraft of a maximum take-off weight not exceeding 8618 kg for which an application for a type certificate for the type of aircraft or a derived version was submitted before 17 November 1988.'

The comments following item 7 also apply to Item 11 and any derived version, if such aircraft exist in the RA-Aus register.

*Note: there is a significant error in the wording of Item 11 in that it should read after 17 November 1988 not before 17 November 1988. Chapter 10 of Annex 16 refers to TC submission after 17 November 1988. The effect is that the Australian aircraft noise regulations don't have a noise standard for those propeller-driven aeroplanes weighing less than 8618 kg where the Type Certificate/CoA process was commenced after November 1988. This would apply to Australian-designed propeller-driven aircraft – under 8618 kg MTOW – type certificated after 17 November 1988; though presumably such Australian-designed aircraft would have a noise certification done during type certification using ICAO Annex 16 documents and procedures and the consequent noise certification included in the Aircraft Flight Manual, and thus deemed to have been issued. I have advised the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development of the typographic error and a quick investigation discloses the possibility that the error was in the original regulations … JB

The conclusion to all the foregoing is that currently (as Schedule 1 is written) no item in Schedule 1 is applicable to RA-Aus aircraft, so Regulation 6A is not applicable. Also note that manufacturers of Light Sport Aircraft do not make application for a type certificate, instead the manufacturer supplies a 'statement of compliance' with each aircraft delivered, which forms the basis for CASA – or a delegated authority – to issue a Special Certificate of Airworthiness. See CASRs 200.002, 200.013 and 200.014.

Thus RA-Aus aircraft owners should apply for a permission to engage in air navigation under Regulation 9AB (1) but note landing and take-off at Jandakot, Parafield, Moorabbin, Bankstown, Camden and Archerfield will be prohibited under the terms of the permission. If an RA-Aus aircraft owner (with a CASA licence) wishes to utilise those aerodromes then the owner should apply for a noise certificate (and let Airservices Australia sort it out) rather than an exemption unless the aircraft flight manual contains a noise certification statement, in which case a noise certificate is deemed to be issued under Regulation 8 and no permission is required.


… JB



Please note this document should be regarded as incomplete/non-validated pending a response – from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – to a few queries sent via email 25 February 2014.







Copyright © 2014 John Brandon     [contact information]