Be more rigorous on environment Professor Peter Brooker's study, on which you reported and commented (Flight International, 20-26 July), adds to my concern over the feasibility of the International Civil Aviation Organisation's "balanced approach" as a policy for dealing with noise nuisance around European airports. The balanced approach means that member states are supposed to consider opportunities for reducing noise impact through operational procedures and land-use before applying additional measures to control noise at source. The benchmark of noise performance is noise certification data. But certification is an imperfect tool and was never designed to deliver what we need today. Airworthiness sets performance boundaries to provide an appropriate margin of safety in service which, as Brooker reminds us, results from painstaking evolution of the safety case. But certification is not a worst-case scenario. Indeed, the flyover test may record the lowest noise level achieved, but the test procedures used bear little relationship to normal operational conditions. There have been dividends from control of noise at source, but these are being eroded by traffic growth. If certification does not deliver a reliable guide to noise performance, it adds to pressure from local communities for action to reduce further noise impact. If the balanced approach encourages more airports to promote unsatisfactory operational procedures on safety grounds, or through not delivering the required environmental performance, then the result is doubly undesirable. It is time states applied the same rigour to evaluation of environmental impact that has become the hallmark of safety analysis. Martin Wright Sutton, Surrey, UK

Thinking of safety Capt Frischmann (Flight International, 3-9 August) responded to opinions expressed about Airbus primary flight display design. While I defer to his experience, the nature of the problem remains encapsulated in his sentence: "Just pull the stick, follow the normal rate of rotation...and not be confused about the meaning of that iron cross on the horizon." True - but that is exactly what the pilot in the Emirates incident thought he was doing wasn't it? How and why pilots think is the core of the issue: training and instrument design remain critical in the thought process of safety. Unlike computers, not all pilots "think" the same way. This the essential paradox of the electronic cockpit - and its accident history proves the point. Lance Cole Swindon, Wiltshire, UK

Hello? I'm on the plane Amid all the chatter about the possibility of using mobile telephones in the air (Flight International, 3-9 August), has anyone given any thought to the effects of this wonderful technology on the non-telephone-using passenger in the next seat, or for that matter five rows away? Who wants to have to suffer hearing fellow passengers gabbling away at all hours of the day or night? And now we will have the added advantage of being woken up by the things ringing as well. In the short period in the 1990s, when Airfones at every seat were in common use in the USA, domestic air travel, especially on Friday afternoon "businessmen's" flights, was made even more awful by being obliged to listen to numerous men (seldom women) bore the pants off everyone within earshot, while showing how important they were. Unless confined to a soundproof booth, this practice should be banned, not encouraged. Name and address withheld Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, UK

Disabled rights Flight International has accurately reported the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) view on legislative discrimination against air transport. However, Geraint Hayward appears to have concluded that ERA opposes fair rights for disabled passengers (Flight International, 20-26 July). Far from it. ERA supports laws that prevent discrimination against disabled passengers when they are using any type of transport, except on explicit safety grounds or, exceptionally, in the face of provable physical constraints. ERA supports laws that ensure that the cost of assistance for disabled passengers is shared among all passengers rather than charged directly to these passengers. None of ERA's 65 member airlines makes a charge as far as I am aware. Andrew Clarke Director Air Transport Policy, ERA, Woking, Surrey, UK Snecma sales Your report "Supply chain problems hit Snecma deliveries" (Flight International, 27 July-2 August) implies that all the supply chains of the Snecma group have encountered some problems, whereas only some products of Turbomeca are affected, as explained in the article. We are surprised your reporter focused on this problem, whereas all other reporters showed their interest in the progress of Snecma sales, the progress of engine deliveries and the contracts won by Snecma in the first half of 2004. We think this negative approach is unjustified. Jocelyne Terrien Snecma Media Relations Manager, Paris, France


Source: Flight International