Airfield imposes new flying rules
By Liz Hearnshaw VILLAGERS living near a busy airfield plagued by a spate of fatal accidents have welcomed measures designed to improve safety at the site.
By Liz Hearnshaw
VILLAGERS living near a busy airfield plagued by a spate of fatal accidents have welcomed measures designed to improve safety at the site.
The review of arrangements at Duxford Airfield began following two crashes which claimed two lives.
New rules imposed by the Imperial War Museum and Airfield will see the axis from which displays are centred moved away from the busy M11 and residential properties.
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Aerobatic manoeuvres, unless specifically authorised, will also be prohibited in the skies to the south-east of the airfield, which includes areas above Duxford village.
The procedures for reporting noise complaints have also been streamlined, while flight operators based at the site have been “formally reminded” of measures designed to prevent the overflying of surrounding villages.
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Airfield director, Ted Inman, said: “As a result of a number of recent incidents at Duxford, people who live nearby have understandably been voicing concerns over safety.
“Although the incidents were unrelated, we have taken the concerns of local residents very seriously and carried out a thorough review of flying at Duxford.
“Although Duxford Airfield meets, and has consistently met, the stringent requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority, we have introduced measures which we believe will further reduce the risks associated with the operation of a licensed airfield.”
Officials announced the review after an accident during the museum's Flying Legends Show, when thousands of horrified spectators witnessed a 50-year-old Fairey Firefly plane crash into a field near the M11. The pilot and his navigator were killed in the incident.
A second accident, at the beginning of August, saw a two-seater Albatross jet plummet to the ground following engine failure shortly after take-off.
The plane's pilot, 59-year-old Peter Jackson, from Kent, escaped injury after carrying out an emergency landing in fields near Ickleton.
Mike Parker, clerk to Duxford Parish Council, said: “One of the things we discussed with the airfield was altering the crowd line so that the village and M11 are more protected.
“We were also keen for the airfield to tighten up on its complaints procedure to ensure those with a grievance get a response.
“We are quite encouraged by what is happening and will await the accident investigation reports to see if there are any other issues which need to be looked at.”
The Air Accident Investigations Branch recommended a review of arrangements at Duxford following an incident in June 2002, which saw a jet crash-land on the M11, killing 45-year-old pilot Gary Clarke.
Officials said the new procedures would come into effect immediately, prior to the weekend's Centenary of Flight Show, which features displays from both vintage and modern aircraft and a performance by the Red Arrows.