Aircraft noise annoys Quail Rise residents

Quail Rise residents (from left) Ken Griffiths, Ian Ross, David Hay and Jim Buckham are sick of...
Quail Rise residents (from left) Ken Griffiths, Ian Ross, David Hay and Jim Buckham are sick of low-flying, noisy light planes near their houses. Photo: Philip Chandler
Residents in a Queenstown subdivision allege many Milford "flightseeing" planes are disturbing their peace by flying too low over their neighbourhood.

Quail Rise residents are complaining the small planes, which take off from nearby Queenstown Airport, infringe rules against flying less than 1000 feet above built-up areas.

They said they are also not following the designated flight path, east of the Shotover River.

Resident David Hay said he had   documented dozens of flights allegedly infringing the rules since last April.

He said the frequency of low-flying fixed-wing aircraft was "seriously compromising" the environment of Quail Rise and adjoining Manata Green.

"What we require is that the rules are followed at all times," Mr Hay said.

"A satisfactory outcome would be that the Milford flights be required to take a bigger loop upon take-off out over the less densely-built Shotover Delta — obviously allowing for incoming/outgoing jets — gaining the requisite height towards Slope Hill before aiming for Skippers Saddle.

"This would certainly ameliorate the noise levels and should not impair the tourist trade."

Resident Jim Buckham, a retired pilot who logged about 18,000 flying hours, said "[the operators’] excuse is that they’re still taking off — in actual fact, they’re not. They’re in a cruise-climb situation".

"There’s no need to come over here at 700ft."

Told yesterday about residents’ concerns, Skyline Enterprises chairman Mark Quickfall, whose company operates Milford Sound Scenic Flights, said "I’ll certainly follow up with our guys and just say, ‘there has been some communication out of Quail Rise, and let’s go and look at how we can best address it’.

"I’d like to think all the operators here are the same — we do our best to mitigate any negative impacts on people."

Mr Quickfall encouraged residents with noise concerns to deal directly with the operator concerned, or with the Queenstown-Milford User Group, which represents all the operators.

Queenstown Airport Corporation comms manager Jen Andrews also encouraged concerned residents to contact her organisation.

She said noise complaints were logged and followed up with each complainant.

Complaints also went to the airport noise liaison committee, she said.

Airways chief operating officer Pauline Lamb said she was also "really empathetic" towards residents’ concerns.

"We take it incredibly seriously."

She said Airways was investigating Mr Hay’s list of alleged infringements.

As of yesterday morning, those logged in December had not been borne out, she said.


Another solution is that all people who don't like living near airports just move somewhere else. It is an ever recurring issue where people move into housing near hotels, roads, airports and even schools then moan about the noise. Just what do they expect?