Nocturnal Flights

Every night a single engine plane flies over my house at 4:23 a.m. It’s not a traffic observer as I hear the local news traffic helicopters about an hour later. They always fly very low and VFR so I can never track them on FlightAware. I’m thinking it must be someone commuting to work lol. I don’t mind it at all and just smile when I hear him because I love airplanes but it did make me wonder where my local noise abatement rules are. Are they posted on the airport info pages or somewhere else? I know I could google this as well but you all are so much more fun to ask. The airports around me are SUS, STL, CPS and ALN, among a few other smaller ones.

Best place to look is in the airport facility directory (AFD) for noise abatement issues.

Resource pages in Flight Aware have this information extracted from AFD’s. for example, go to and scroll down to remarks, and SUS has noise abatment for stage two aircraft departing on certain runways.


Thanks! SUS said “NO ENGINE RUNS AFTER 2200 WITHOUT ARPT APPROVAL. and… NOISE ABATEMENT PROCEDURE: FOR DEP STAGE II ACFT USE RY 08L/26R 2200-0700 EXCP PPR …” So maybe this commuter has special permissions. Or works at the airport lol. I’m guessing the others have similar hours but just have no way of knowing where this guy is flying from or to. One morning I’ll have to jump up in the middle of a perfectly good dream and get a visual.

“No engine runs” is referring to maintenance not flight.
The noise abatement procedure is for stage II aircraft only, departures only and the procedure is to use 08L/26R.

A piston or turboprop single is way too quite to come even close to stage II noise limits. Might be running cancelled checks or other freight.

Do you ever look at FA and look six air minutes away from your house? I used to hear a twin fly over every night at ~3:00am. Fortunately there is only one plane that shows up… cargo flight from Seattle to Boise. The funny thing is it always sounded westbound til I figured out he’s going 090 and factored in that I sleep bed south.

I dunno G4, he’s pretty darn loud, shakes the house a little sometimes. Maybe it’s not a single, but sure sounds like it, just really low.

Yes I’ve checked FA 6 mins out and still nothing so he must be VFR. He’s so VFR, he’ll probably see me waive if I can catch a visual one of these days. What I notice the most is how punctual he is, can set a clock by him.

Do you have a scanner? You could plug in the frequencies from those airports and have it scan through all of them so that you will be able to pick up whatever he says…callsign at least. Probably wouldn’t be hard to find, not too many atc conversations going on at 4 something in the morning that low to the ground.

While the suggestion is a possibility, depending upon where TheButterflyLands lives, for VFR traffic, scanner may be useless since they are not required to talk to a soul especially if they are departing out of an uncontrolled airport


True - Not required, but hopefully they would still make traffic advisories if the aircraft is equipped to. I always hate going into an uncontrolled field when some guy jumps onto the runway to take off and you are about 1/2 mile out and they never say a word. Chances are he would at least make an initial call to the airport.

No chance of it being a Caravan going into STL as UPS would it? I think it’s Planemaster Svc’s that operates the flights. They’re 135 and flying on a flight plan so that may DQ these since you say it’s VFR but I’m up in SPI and we have a UIN to DEC flight that flies right over the SPI VOR every night and is typically relatively low.

If it is a single engine aircraft it is a stage nothing.

Stage refers to the noise produced by the aircraft within a specific footprint around and underneath the aircraft.

STAGEI LOUD - Last I heard ilegal to operate in US. Early B707’s w/o hush kits Same same early 727s most likely -100s early DC8s and DC9s

STAGEII Kind of loud. Most other aircraft built from the late seventys to the mid eightys - B727-200s B737s 1s and 2s, MD-80s B747’s DC10’s L101s. Some DC86s and 87s with hush hits.That stuff.

STAGEIII Quite. Just about everything else built from the mid to late eightys on. This would include B727s with hush kits, New B747s, B757s, 767s, 777s.

I know of no propeller driven aircraft that could be catagorized at anything less than a STAGEIII.


Oh and while I have your attention. The Federal Reserve moves checks and bank documents at night using small contractor aircraft. We used to call them “check runners”.

I spent many nights passing time on the radio with these guys. They are a great bunch. They fly in all kinds of weather and rarely divert or overfly because of weather.

The money must go through! :smiley:

I know of no propeller driven aircraft that could be catagorized at anything less than a STAGEIII.

Honorable mention goes to anything w/ Garretts! J31, MU2, Commader. Also the F-27.

Got him! I think. He’s a Beech 35. Was early tonight - 4:15 instead of 4:23 lol. He must be VFR because I can’t track his tail number - says “can’t track just yet” - but doesn’t say blocked. HOWEVER – FA did let me see him on the tracking map. He flew over me on FA’s tracking radar just about 6 minutes after I heard him fly over for real. He flew ESE, then did a loop north then back to ESE again and right past me. I captured time elapsed screen shots but too tired to upload them here now. I’ll email them to Allen lol. His ID only popped up on the map just as he was passing near STL. Then disappeared again. Spooooky things go bump in the night.

Night Owl

He’s from Goshen, IN. Can’t be positive it’s him though without a tracking history. Not trying to zero in on the poor guy but was just curious who was making engines noises every night at the same time when the rest of the world is sleeping. Ok, I’m going to bed now. … bertxt=35F

Looked at the maps, and the airplane showed level 16 for altitude which is 100 feet below KSTL bravo airspace at it’s location. Airspeed was 162 knots.

TheButterflyLands had 4 screenshots, 3 of which had no tail number, just the airplane depicted on the map heading SE bound. Screenshot 4 had a tail number N35F which silverplate posted information on.

Why the tail number showed up on that one screenshot would be a mystery without any tracking info being posted on FA unless the pilot did ask for a clearance through Bravo airspace???

Only the tail number, altitude and speed were depicted, no type was depicted on the graphical image which made me think it was VFR flight following through or near Bravo airspace.

No other planes were even remotely close to this plane so I can’t see how it would have been confused with any other planes.


I live near KMVN and every night we get twins running medical lab tests to and from KSUS and KSTL…

They are always on time as well, usually around 7:30 pm.

Thanks for your help Allen! (Allen’s great, isn’t he?) And thanks to everyone else for your input. I’m thinking Mr. 35F is on some sort of business run like that as well because two states out is a long commute to work. Must be another reason he travels so far in the middle of the night every night. Then again, I keep forgetting, to a pilot, two states is a blink. :confused:

Depends on your state…