Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 15°C

ESTD 1874 Search

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

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.

shares

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.”

shares

6 comments

  • keep flying Carolyn the vast majority love to see and hear this symbol of our freedom,people stop what they are doing to watch this beautiful aircraft being put through its aerobatics and thank you

    Report this comment

    saxon

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • What lady thinks aeroplanes don't make a noise what world is she in.

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Tamara, If you can hear the roar of airlines going into Stansted that plane is not going to Stansted - it's crashing. Planes into or coming from Stansted are far to high over Bentwaters to be the cause of an "incessant roar"

    Report this comment

    ianabarker

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Once again ignorance has caused the region to miss a gilt edged opportunity, an airport would bring so much to the region. Even with a runway in place they fail to see. They will accept far noisier fighter jets to take off and bomb other humans, but not allow visitors to land and bring revenue.

    Report this comment

    Lee Davies

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • I love hearing and seeing her spitfire flying, for me it's part of summer. The noise is insignificant compared to the incessant roar of airliners heading in to Stanstead anyway.

    Report this comment

    Tamara Knight

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • An ideal opportunity was missed when the Americans left Bentwaters. It should have been turned into an international airport then to rival Norwich.

    Report this comment

    G Rumpy

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A beautiful day in Christchurch Park, Ipswich

If the weather goes according to forecast this weekend, the advice will be to make the most of tomorrow’s sunshine because thunder and rain could be on the way for Sunday.

Cambridgeshire singer Sam Smith performed at Thetford Forest

There were fears the second night of this summer’s Forest Live concerts would have to be cancelled when Sam Smith announced he was undergoing throat surgery.

Charles Mayes, pictured with friend Pat, who died in the crash.

A tipper truck driver “panicked” and drove off after a crash which saw another motorist die, a court has heard.

The cannabis factory found at Barry Copeland's house

A Suffolk man who allowed his house near Stowmarket town centre to be used as a cannabis factory has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Staff at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Country Park created a real life Hobbit hole fit for Bilbo Baggins - but now a holiday site want to create one you can sleep in

West Suffolk is set to be the home of the UK’s first replica, habitable “Hobbit Hole” from the popular JRR Tolkien fantasy books and films.

A turning HGV blocked a Suffolk road

The driver of an articulated lorry received some “strong words of advice” from police after his attempts to turn the vehicle blocked a Suffolk road.

Man taken to Colchester General Hospital for futher care.

A 28-year-old man was treated for smoke inhalation following a first floor flat blaze in Colchester.

The launch of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust bike ride, which takes place on September 12. 
Peter Cook, Patrick Grieve and Terry Hunt.

An annual bike ride raising thousands of pounds to ensure the future of church buildings in Suffolk was officially launched today.

New figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre found that alcohol-related hospital admissions rose from 13,160 in 2012/13 to 13,250 in 2013/14 in the county.

The message comes despite a small rise in drink-related hospital admissions in the county last year.

Easton Farm Park is getting ready for the Maverick Festival this weekend.

The stage is set for a three-day celebration of transatlantic Americana, roots and folk music down on a Suffolk farm.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages