Rain

Rain

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

Rendlesham: Spitfire pilot rejects claims that Bentwaters could become a civil airport

PUBLISHED: 14:45 22 May 2014

Carolyn Grace talking to pupils from Rendlesham Primary School during a trip to the airfield at Bentwaters to see the Grace Spitfire.

Carolyn Grace talking to pupils from Rendlesham Primary School during a trip to the airfield at Bentwaters to see the Grace Spitfire.

Archant

A female Spitfire pilot has defended flying at a former USAF air base amid concerns that the number of aircraft using the site could grow dramatically.

Carolyn Grace said the peace and tranquillity of the county’s coast and heath’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was important to her family but any aircraft could fly over it – and many pilots would not even know there was an AONB below.

She also rejected suggestions that moves were afoot to turn Bentwaters into a civil airport.

Air Leasing Ltd’s flying of the Spitfire and eight heritage planes from the site near Rendlesham has come under scrutiny because the site’s owners have submitted a new blueprint to Suffolk Coastal for its future use, and some residents fear it could mean more flying from the site.

Mrs Grace learned to fly the Spitfire ML407 in 1988 after the death of her husband Nick, who had restored the Second World War fighter. Her son Richard is also now rebuilding and maintaining the planes.

She said: “The current misinformation that a civil airport is inevitable if this planning application is approved is so utterly incorrect it is hard to know where to begin to explain.

“For example, a civil airport requires funding in the billions of pounds just to set up let alone operate and heritage aircraft do not fly into civil airports, so this would actually end the purpose of Air Leasing being at Bentwaters at all.”

Every effort had been made to stop aerobatic practising by others over the area and the AONB was of the “utmost importance” to the family and company.

Mrs Grace said: “We take great care to fly with full consideration to the AONB and tranquillity.

“The majority or our flying takes our aircraft away to other parts of the UK and Europe, it is not continually in the local area.

“What has to be understood is that there is quite extensive military activity in the area plus there are many other farm strips and small airfields that will fly nearby – it is important to realise the aircraft the public see or hear may not be ours and therefore may not be as aware as we are about the AONB or tranquillity of the area.

“I am afraid to say that the AONB is not marked as a consideration on air navigation maps so aviators from outside of the local area would be unaware of this particular designation.”

Police have arrested a 66-year-old man in connection with an incident that caused armed officers to swoop on Ipswich town centre tonight.

Highways bosses have announced they will be carrying out a series of improvements to the road network across Suffolk and north Essex this week.

Kebab fans will be excited to hear a new fast food outlet that prides itself on making top quality versions of the takeaway staple is opening in Ipswich soon.

Drivers in Woodbridge have faced long delays this afternoon after a major route through the town became flooded.

Firefighters were sent to tackle a blaze that broke out in a flat in Ipswich this afternoon.

Colchester MP Will Quince has described a knife attack in the town that left a teenager seriously hurt as “deeply alarming”.

The shocking prevalence of rape in Ipswich has been uncovered in an EADT and Star investigation.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24