HomeAll postsIn hindsight... I'd do it again!

In hindsight… I’d do it again!

by Nalini Haynes

When we first moved into this area it was lovely and quiet, almost too quiet during the working week. Most houses seemed to have both partners working and any children in care or school. There were hardly any birds, even. Over time the birds moved in, especially encouraged by our native garden. Some people seem to be at home during the day now and the kids play in the street during holidays. The biggest thing that has changed over the past four years is the aircraft noise.

After moving in, as I said, it was SO QUIET. We had the occasional aircraft, but that was all.

Our builder took us to VCAT as part of a ‘commercial decision’ not to comply with the building contract and Building Code of Australia (quote from the lawyer‘s affidavit – it’s almost as if he was testifying against his client). A few months before the first full court hearing a helicopter hovered overhead for quite some time. At the time I assumed this was a helicopter employed by the builder whose aspirations to the high life were expressed by putting a helipad in the corporate headquarter’s carpark. When this occurred, in late 2010, being buzzed by low-flying aircraft and having helicopters hovering overhead were unusual. A helicopter of the same colour returned a number of times over the next several months, flying low and pausing, during the period of court orders against the builder and even after the second lot of court orders in July 2011.

The other thing that stood out in 2011 was the gradual increase in aircraft traffic over this suburb. It got to the point where aircraft were circling overhead from about 6am to 11pm on some days, with aircraft swooping and diving as well. From 11pm to 6am there were regular – sometimes two-hourly – flyovers, very low. Sometimes I even proved this using webtrak but that was apparently ‘inadmissible evidence.’

In late 2011 and throughout 2012 I started making regular complaints to Air Services Australia and then to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Aircraft noise ombudsman.

What I have been told:

  1. It’s illegal for most aircraft to do acrobatics and fly in formation over a built up suburb at less than 3000ft
  2. It’s illegal for most aircraft to fly below 1000ft over a built up suburb
  3. My suburb is in a ‘danger zone’ but no-one was told this when purchasing land OR when making enquiries prior to purchase.
  4. Photos and videos make good evidence: don’t let them tell you they won’t accept photos and videos as evidence, that’s bullshit.
  5. Giving the registration from the aircraft to the complaints people is a definite bonus and increases the chances they’ll investigate.
  6. People who get paid to accept complaints and process them can get shitty when you actually make a complaint.
helicopter hovering overhead
helicopter hovering low & loud overhead

Late last year I was told that police were using helicopters hovering low over my house to investigate drugs. 

I rang up the police and spoke to a nice man there. Not only did I confirm that some helicopters were legitimately police helicopters, I also found that the lowest flying one (about 2 or 3 storeys up directly over my side yard) was not a police helicopter as Airservices Australia had claimed. During our very professional discussion, I explained that I’d been told the police were hovering overhead as part of a drugs investigation. I invited him to bring the drug squad through my house, complete with dogs if necessary, but to keep their hovering aircraft away from my house.

He paused.

He neither confirmed nor denied the claim of using helicopters to investigate drug houses but he claimed the particular helicopter of which I spoke was helping in a search for a burglar.

Since shortly after that day there has been significantly less aircraft, with fewer incidences of low-flying aircraft. It still happens and I still get shitty and stressed on a noisy day, but in comparison it’s a noticeable improvement.

I’ve been mulling over the allegations of police investigating my house as a drug house.

A number of times I’ve made jokes on social media and in emails about being ‘a supplier’  OF BOOKS for my reviewers, as well as making cracks about a book being ‘a gateway drug.’


I’d do it again. 

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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