Maybe I’ve been to too many airshows (like there could ever be such a thing!) or maybe I’m just attuned to the noises that planes make, but I’ve recently noticed something and tested out my theory yesterday.

Sometimes when I’m working in my home office I will hear a deep rumbling that will last for several minutes. It’s plenty loud enough to get my attention, almost like a large semi idling while parked outside – but we’re on a narrow side street at the top of a freakin’ huge hill, so we get very, very few big trucks up here. They can come up here – the trash trucks are weekly visitors, and every now and then we’ll get a big moving truck or something, but they’re rare. So when I start noticing these sounds several times a week, I got curious.

Yesterday it was cloudy and cool, and that might have helped with the acoustics. But when I heard the sound and it had been going on for a minute or two, long enough to register, I went outside to look. The sound was quite distinct, but fading off to the north. A quick check of my FlightRadar24 app confirmed my suspicion:

We may be on a very narrow, steep hill which discourages trucks, but we’re also directly under the flight path for jumbo jets heading from LAX to Asia. While a great many of the newer big jets have much quieter engines, the older jets are noisy, and many of them have been converted for cargo. That rumbling I had just heard was a KAL cargo 747 headed to Seoul.

Is it repeatable?

Two hours early I heard it again and didn’t wait, immediately went outside. Too cloudy to see anything, but the app showed that it was another cargo 747 headed to Seoul, this time from Atlas Air.

I love the sound of jet engines in the morning! Or, in this case, the late afternoon and evening. Or whenever.


Filed under Flying, Los Angeles

2 responses to “Rumbling

  1. Just as I loved Concorde, I liked the Jumbos, regardless of noise. My brother lives under the Heathrow flightpath – about two miles from the end of the runway, but on my last visit (October?) even I noticed it was quieter, not just with fewer planes but the planes are quieter.
    Freight, of course, is another matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember hearing stories of soldiers in Vietnam hearing the sound of the B-52 engines where there would be dozens of planes in a flight, all up at 40K-50K feet, going off to carpet bomb the jungle targets. The rumble even from that height would shake your bones.


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