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We Explain Those Weird Aircraft Noises

When you are a nervous flyer, every bump, click, chime, whirl, or thud you hear can speed up your heart rate and increase your anxiety levels. In an effort to help keep you calm while flying, we explain those weird aircraft noises for the nervous flyer to help you understand more about the noises you hear and why they are happening.

Photo credit: David McBee /”

10 Minutes Before Take-off – Loud Thuds and Whirling Sounds

In the minutes leading up to take-off, you will hear a loud pounding sound, which is followed by quick, whirling sounds. This sound comes from the cargo hold – the place beneath the passenger deck that stores all your luggage and cargo crates. It is the sound the doors make when the ground crew close the cargo hold and secure it for flight.

Seconds Before Take-off – Sound of Rushing Wind

Just seconds before the plane takes off and starts to fly, you will hear what sounds like rushing wind. Many nervous flyers think this means that there is a leak in the plane, but it isn’t.

The rushing wind sound is the sound the plane makes as it starts up. All the engines operate using forced air. The wind sound indicates the increased revolutions of the engines that will power your plane.

Take-off – Loud Thudding

After the plane speeds up and starts to lift off the ground, there will be two loud thudding sounds. The sounds appear to come from the bottom of the plane. This is the noise that happens when the landing gear – the wheels of the plane – are retracted and brought into the plane.

Before, During and After the Flight – Loud Chimes and Dings

During your flight, you will hear a lot of chimes and dings coming from the intercom. Each of these chimes and dings have hidden meanings which signal something to either the passengers or the flight crew.

This is what the following sounds mean:

  • One Loud Ding – Incoming call from the cockpit to one of the crew members
  • Two Loud Dings – Incoming call between crew members within the plane
  • Loud Dings a Few Minutes After Take-off – Signals the plane has reached 10,000 feet and passengers can turn on electronic devices
  • Loud Dings a Few Minutes Before Landing – Signals the start of the plane’s landing and electronic devices need to be turned off
  • Chimes During the Flight – Signals the potential start of food and drink being passed out or that a fellow passenger has asked for assistance from the flight crew

Start of the Plane Landing – Whirring Noise or Mechanical Noise

The plane requires specific gear to land properly. When the plane begins to land, you will hear many mechanical noises coming from all over the plane. This is the sound of the landing gear coming out and various flaps/slats appearing to help the plane land.

Understanding what the routine sounds you will hear during your flight means can help calm your nerves and take some of the stress out of flying.

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