Existing and suggested NPR’s

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Existing NPR and SID’s

The airspace in and around LBA (locally) is shown below.

Departing and arriving flights climb out of LBA and feed into one of 3 higher (Standard Instrument Departure) SID’s routes. These SID routes are known as DOPEK LAMIX and NELSA.


As we’ve seen elsewhere, the vast majority of flight arrivals and departures are made over Burley In Wharfedale and Menston. That means that our two communities experience the greatest amount of noise and fuel deposits from Leeds Bradford Airport – that cannot be fair or justified. The runway 14 – 32 doesn’t face into any prevailing wind which would assist take-off and landing. Wind direction can be ignored when determining departure and/or approach. As this has been challenged by a resident, let me explain further.

It’s fair to assume that if an aircraft takes-off into the westerly wind, then landing should be made into the same westerley wind. Therefore we should see around 50% of all air traffic movements (departures) over Burley and Menston, with 50% of all air traffic movments (arrivals) over Menston and vice-versa.

At no point during departure from runway 32 does an aircraft fly into the prevailing westerly (258.75° – 281.25°) or west-south-westerly (236.25°- 258.75°) wind. Runway 32 has a heading of 320° towards the north west, and the SID chart to the right, clearly indicates that an aircraft flies this heading for 0.5 nautical miles before its first turn to 312°, after a further 2.1 nautical miles (2.6 nautical miles in total). Only then does it fly towards the westerley wind for 0.9 nautical miles in order to join the NELSA or DOPEK/LAMIX SID’s.

Preferential Selection of Runway

Leeds operates a preferential runway scheme, whereby the Westerly runway (32) will be used for take-off and landing in preference to the Easterly runway (14) when the tailwind component is no greater than 5kts and the surface is dry. The choice of runway remains that of AIR (Air traffic Control at Leeds Tower).

See http://ivao.co.uk/atc/egnm/ for further information.

Wind directions at LBA throughout the year

The predominant wind directions at Leeds Bradford Airport are west and west south west.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Jan – Feb Mar – Jul Aug Sep Oct – Dec
Prevailing winds at LBA
NPR issue, DOPEK-2W-RWY-32

Suggested NPR

Although we’re not entirely sure, we think that Leeds Bradford Airport may have already considered an alternative NPR for Burley & Menston. We would assume that any Airport which conducts airspace change proposals would consider the alternatives, after all this is good practice.

Whilst looking at changes to the NPR, we considered the airspace in and around LBA. However, controlled airspace at Dishforth and other RAF airbases didn’t factor into the equation in LBA’s proposals. Put simply, the alternative to the existing NPR lies within LBA’s controlled airspace, as you can see from the ‘Suggested alternative NPR’ image.

Our proposal would see flights depart LBA directly, heading between Burley In Wharfedale and Otley, proceeding along the opposite side of the River Wharfe then making the left turn between Ilkley and Addingham (approximately 5 nautical miles from runway 32) to meet the NELSA FL70 SID. The route adds only a few nautical miles to the distance travelled by aircraft, and completely avoids the need to fly over Burley in Wharfedale, Menston, Otley and Keighley. This proposal would take the route further north allowing higher climbs in order to integrate with Manchester traffic.

There are other advantages for considering a new SID, for both the airport and airlines:

  • The departure route is more fuel efficient (despite being a few miles longer), aircraft climb in a straight line.
  • Deviation from the SID due to weather conditions would be minimised.
  • Aircraft would reach a minimum 6,000 feet after which they’re free to accelerate to higher levels (subject to  Air Traffic Control (ATC) approval).
  • The route avoids large populated areas, unlike existing route(s).
  • There would be an immediate reduction in local noise pollution.
  • The route still joins the NELSA, DOPEK and LAMIX SID’s.

However, the airport’s position about changes to the NPR is that if their airspace change proposal was rejected (as it was) that they would not consider changing the NPR or the SID.

Suggested alternative NPR

Click to enlarge image.

Aircraft tracking

Hover over image to zoom

NPR issue, DOPEK-2W-RWY-32

Click to enlarge image.

NPR flight departures from Runway 32 and track variations explained

The current 32 departure procedure requires aircraft to Fly straight ahead to 500ft above the airfield OR 0.5 nautical miles from the centre of the runway whichever the is later (UK eAIP AD2 EGNM 6-1) this immediately introduces uncertainty as to where this initial turn commences. The next turn is planned to take place at 2.1 nautical miles from the centre of the runway which has no specific point on the ground due to the variability of the first turn.

This departure route was designed significantly before current aircraft navigation systems, and attempts by airlines to replicate the route has resulted in the variance in flight paths that can be seen in the image above. Let me explain further, this new initial departure had to try and use modern PBN techniques to replicate the current flawed route in an attempt to squeeze it into the current swathe. We do not believe that this is possible, hence the attempt to do it by reintroducing a heading of 312°. This allows for a modicum of pilot discretion as to when turns commence and lead to variations in track keeping not dissimilar to those experienced.

I believe that the CAA should have questioned the logic in this attempt to deliver a PBN route with headings, however, the route should be navigable like the blue route on a sat-nav and it’s not!

Click to enlarge image.

Referencing the procedure for Runway 32 DOPEK / LAMIX SID (Identified as NMS03 1R in LBA Airspace Change Proposal Consultation Document 14 July 2017). Moving to performance based navigation (PBN) departures will increase the accuracy of tracking of aircraft and consequently the better following of designated routes. However, within the proposal there’s a section where a heading of 140 degrees is specified from position NMW01.

The flying of a heading from this point removes any advantages on track keeping due to radius of turn inconsistences as a result of weight, temperature, wind and lack of timely pilot action at exactly the NMW01 position.

Climate emergency

As we are now affected by climate change, it seems sensible for LBA to reduce their and their carriers impact on climate, so revisiting the NPR and the SID appear to be good choices to make.

Other considerations

There are other things which affect our decisions about Leeds Bradford Airport, and it’s important that we state and recognise these facts too.

I’m sure that many jobs in and around our community are either directly or indirectly linked to Leeds Bradford Airport. As the airport grows, it will undoubtedly bring more jobs to our region.

But as with most things in life, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Clearly there’s a balance that needs to be struck between the economy, climate change, pollution and noise pollution. The impact of increasing passenger numbers and increase in flights will adversely affect the Burley and Menston communities, particularly if the majority of flight arrivals and departures continue over Burley and Menston. Therefore, we’re suggesting an alternative to the existing NPR and SID.

To refresh your memory, we have:

Adding another 3.1m passengers is likely to massively increase the number of flights from LBA. In 2018, Menston and Burley had some 80% of all flights departing LBA, which equates to 30,944 flights per year, most of those during the summer months. Even if seats were squeezed more closely together than they currently are, and the average occupancy on flights increased to 110, we’re still likely to experience 80% of 64,545 flights off runway 32, that’s 51,636 annual flights.

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