DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky DBEA55AED16C0C92252A6554BC1553B2 Clicky
June 20, 2024
Care to share?

We have been waiting for a while to see if there was anyway we could get a comparison of the A320neo with both engines and the 737 MAX compared for engine noise.  The most objective way to do this is use videos from the first flight events.  One has to also avoid OEM videos, some of which have music and other dubbing to prevent the real noise levels to be heard.

Bear in mind as you watch these videos, the weather was different for each first flight.  The distances from the aircraft to camera microphone were different.  Even the cameras were different.  There is a lot of variation that make a comparison difficult.  But absent any equal comparison, what else can you do? 

First: A320neo with P&W GTF.  Second opinion


Second: A320neo with CFM LEAP. Second opinion videos we found were either obviously edited for noise or had voice overs.

Third: 737 MAX.  Second opinion

Based on our viewing, and given the limits of an “apples for apples” comparison:  We think the GTF is quieter but its very close.  Certainly the A320neo is quieter than the 737MAX.

This comparison is bound to elicit strong opinions.  What do you think?

9 thoughts on “Comparing engine noise

  1. Since the engine core in the P&W is spinning slower, wouldn’t that make it quieter? I would think that sound levels from the fans themselves would be about the same.

  2. i hear 737-800 and A320 (IAE) take-off, taxi and land every day at work. The 738 is by far noisier in all aspects. The 320 is especially quite when taxiing… and even a full-load take-off is rather mild in noise…

  3. Airbus seems to try to keep both CFM and PW happy. They don’t want to pit the engines against each other and so, maybe it’s up to the engine manufacturers to do that jog (it is). Bombardier is a better way to hear the GTF: it doesn’t need to worry about ruffling any feathers given that the GTF is the sole engine option (like the 737 with its LEAP engines, only one option). Bombardier has a couple of videos where they turn off all music so that we can hear it. One of their videos in specifically on Noise testing. And it’s pretty obvious that the CSeries and its engines are UBER silent. As for the 737, we heard it take off with those 3 loud super old chase planes. Of course it sounds silent beside those old screamers. But, to be fair, on the CSeries first flight, the chase plane was also loud (a Global). But the Global is usually rated to be rather silent. So, a rather silent plane sounding like a rocket and totally drowning the sound of the CSeries, that said a lot (even if we couldn’t hear it). Did anyone head the 737 LAND at Boeing field? Or were the screamers still doing their noise overhead? To me, intuitively, there is NO WAY the leap can be more silent than the GTF for the same reason as Jeff Rider said in the other comment.

  4. Well, here’s what I know. I happen to live relatively close to YMX, where BBD builds the CSeries. I’m also under an approach path to YUL used by planes coming from western Canada (either AC 319/320/321 or WJ 737). Last week, I was taking a walk and a CSeries, twice, made a low-level pass over me (apparently it’s for the training of the SWISS pilots, the company where this airplane will enter service soon). I can tell you that the noise level of the CSeries, flying much lower than the planes flying in from western Canada, is very low. You here it, but barely. Also, I once stopped by YMX last winter, just to take a peak. Luke has it that a CSeries took off then, nearly straight above me. On take-off, it’s really hard to say if the engines are that much quieter. What I noticed though, is that the noise lasts less longer compared to another plane of recent generation. In other words, it seems that the noise “envelope” is as intense on take-off, but not as wide.

  5. It will be interesting to see how the airlines respond to both of these engines and if they live up to their promised fuel savings.

  6. Apples with oranges here, 320 was farther away on a clear day. The 737 was twice as close and on a rainy humid day. Which one would naturally produce more sound? Pure physics at play. I say take em both to the “Drag strip” and let em duke it out. 787 with same engine design is real quiet, but the GTF on the C-Series is also uber quiet. j/s.

  7. I live right in the middle between the north and south runways of YUL. I couldn’t care less what the numbers are, a jet is a jet. It’s noisy and multiplied by number of flights it’s nerve rattling. Now that flights are landing at all hours past midnight, again I couldn’t care less how “whisper quiet” some claim they are. At 3am even a Cessna is loud.
    Again, a jet is a jet is a jet. Loud. Strangely, the quietest plane I’ve encountered was the A380, taking off or landing.
    Second is the 787. Both are poetry in flight….except of course in the middle of the night.

  8. I’m under the approach (most flights between 1500-2500′ AGL) for an airport with a fair amount of freight and charter/business traffic. Quietest of the heavier planes are B763, followed closely by B752. A306 are noticeably louder. 734s are very loud – on a par with the military stuff. Occasional 744 are also pretty loud, but they and the 734 are old. Luckily, most of the wee hours flights are 763/752 or stay away from the housing at low altitude (alternative approach for some arrivals). If the Neo’s sound level becomes available for freighters, I’d love it! Although there does seem to be more of a high-pitched whine in the videos than in the 738, especially with the LEAP. Absolute quietest planes in my area, though, are E145s – nearly silent on approach.

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