Flying club denies training breaches
A FLYING instructor has denied allegations that illegal training was taking place at a controversial airstrip in a Suffolk village.The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched an investigation into claims that Horizon Flying Club has broken regulations by training pilots at the grass strip at Monewden, near Framlingham.
By Richard Smith
A FLYING instructor has denied allegations that illegal training was taking place at a controversial airstrip in a Suffolk village.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched an investigation into claims that Horizon Flying Club has broken regulations by training pilots at the grass strip at Monewden, near Framlingham.
A spokeswoman for the authority said the claims were being considered because training had to be carried out at a licensed airfield. “That particular strip is not a licensed airfield,” she added.
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But Bill Stitt, chief flying officer with Horizon, said he was confident that the CAA would clear the club of any wrongdoing.
Mr Stitt, a flying instructor for nearly 30 years, said he took great exception to the allegations and he wanted to stress he would not break any regulations.
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“Basically, there are certain types of training which require a licensed aerodrome and none of those types of training are being done by Horizon.
“There is abinitio training, which is basic training, for someone who does not have a licence and there is night flying.
“Any abinitio training takes place at Beccles. We do not have any night lights and so no night flying is done at Monewden,” said Mr Stitt.
He said that pilots with a licence, current or expired, could use Monewden and he confirmed that the CAA had been in contact with his club.
The CAA had conducted a thorough investigation and now Horizon was waiting for the outcome of the inquiry.
Mr Stitt said: “Because these allegations, totally unfounded, have been made then the CAA are obliged to investigate and that is under way. People are trying to create as much difficulty and problems for us as they can.
“But I have been training people for more than 25 years and I know the laws and regulations. We are a law-abiding club and we do things by the book.”
Horizon has been at the centre of allegations about the use of Monewden for flying since it arrived at the isolated grass strip two years ago.
Mr Stitt said a campaign by people to oust the flying club had only served to stiffen the resolve of pilots - and they were determined not to give in. More people had heard about the club and wanted to join.
Suffolk Coastal District Council has imposed a maximum number of 400 movements from Monewden a year after officers discovered flights had increased to 2,500 annually. A landing or take-off is considered as one movement.