Under the approach path
While there are defined flight paths for take-offs, there are none for landings until aircraft are established on the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), also known as the final approach.
This is because there is less operational flexibility in landing a plane than there is in taking off – because the plane has to line up with the runway from several miles away. This is very different to take-off, where planes can climb steeply and quickly and turn while they climb.
When the Government first set its noise restrictions, it concentrated on take-off noise. This is not only because planes were noisier then, but also because the first jets climbed very slowly and so their take-offs were much noisier than their landings.
How does it all work?
When a plane arrives in the local airspace, or leaves a holding stack, ATC directs each plane on an individual course onto the final approach and brings it into land.
So if you live or work near or under the final approach to the airport – whether planes come from the west or from the east – then you will hear the noise of planes arriving.