Aircraft landing over our Borough line up with the runway as far away as Greenwich using the Instrument Landing System (ILS). This is soon to be changed to the Microwave Landing System (MLS). By the time they reach Wandsworth, they are roughly at 3000 feet and then glide down on a 3 degree glide path to the runway (a descent of approximately 300ft per nautical mile). If this is done carefully using a low power / low drag approach (LP/LDA) and in a continuous descent approach (CDA) it reduces the noise.
Heathrow are trying to encourage more and more airlines to adopt this procedure. In 2001 they reported that approximately 90% of all airlines were now using it on their approach to Heathrow. It has only slight benefit to Richmond residents as most aircraft are already on the glide slope when they are over the borough.
The Cranford Agreement
In the decision of 15 January 2009, the Government announced that the Cranford Agreement was to end. This means that there will be some changes to five easterly take off routes over the borough, as aircraft will soon be allowed to fully use the northern runways. Although the take off routes already exist, they have almost never been used. No date has been fixed for using the northern runway full time on easterlies, as there are still some taxi way improvements to make before it happens.