Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1693458
I wouldn't waste any energy on trying to retain Cambridge as an active airfield, the housing and development vultures have circled for years. I think the goal for that region should be to retain Mildenhall as runway capability - would also fit neatly with the APPG stance on military airfield infra being retained for use.
#1693464
Another airport at risk and another which should surely figure in any APPG for GA list of Strategic Airports for GA.

If airports like Cambridge and Norwich are lost – be they closed or access to them made impossible – then what will GA look like? The choice will be either a puddle-jumper based on a grass strip or a biz-jet flying out of Farnborough or Biggin Hill. What will happen to the Malibus, Senecas, Barons, Bonanzas and all the other aircraft with instrument-rated owners who want to use and be based at an airport with facilities and instrument approaches? What will happen to the flying schools training our commercial pilots of the future and also our private pilots of the next generation?

There are huge problems for GA, not just loss of airfields but the loss of maintenance businesses. I was speaking to a friend the other day and was told of another maintenance place that has closed because the owner retired and had no-one to pass the business to because there are no up and coming licensed light aircraft engineers. That business is lost forever.
The crazy thing is that we are making advances in areas such as the CBIR and IFR for Permit aircraft but where are pilots going to be trained for the CBIR if all the regional airports are closed to GA? Where are all the certified aircraft going to be maintained if we don’t have light aircraft engineers or anywhere for them to work?

I watch all sorts of flying videos on You Tube and turn green with envy when I see pilots landing at immaculate tarmac strips with dozens of light aircraft hangars, pilot controlled lighting, cheap fuel, willing and helpful FBOs, free cars, free coffee...... Yes, it really is like that.

Is the future of UK GA in the next 10 years just as the CAA want? Permit-to-fly aircraft operating out of grass strips on farms being built and maintained by a dwindling bunch of enthusiast and the total number of private pilots rapidly diminishing towards zero while the smallest light twins left operating are some elderly Beech 90s. Some might see that as heaven but it will mean most pilot training will have to be located abroad and that will be another industry lost from UK PLC.

In the meantime, Rigby will have re-developed Norwich into a housing / industrial estate along with the other airports they own or operate for a very tidy profit.
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#1693476
PeteSpencer wrote:May go some way to explaining the lack of training/recruitment/ employment of ATC over the last few years.

Peter


To be fair I believe there has been all three in the last few years, but the state of the market means that just as many are leaving.

Same for lots of ATSUs.
#1693478
flybymike wrote:
The ongoing loss of airfields is becoming critical.


Thinking from the UK's perspective, critical to whom?


Exactly.

GA is entirely dispensable and we are lucky it’s lasted this long.


Indeed, I suppose the same argument could be applied to any self interest recreational group who occupy large tracts of land which could be gainfully used for housing.

We could start with golf courses, holiday resorts, sports stadiums and theme parks, etc
#1693498
flybymike wrote:
flybymike wrote:
The ongoing loss of airfields is becoming critical.


Thinking from the UK's perspective, critical to whom?


Exactly.

GA is entirely dispensable and we are lucky it’s lasted this long.


Indeed, I suppose the same argument could be applied to any self interest recreational group who occupy large tracts of land which could be gainfully used for housing.

We could start with golf courses, holiday resorts, sports stadiums and theme parks, etc


I think the square yard per participant is rather greater for GA than the most exclusive golf club.

Cambridge is a close second to London for ludicrous house prices. The profit from housing near Cambridge is huge. Buyers will assume they will drive everywhere, the lack of shops, schools etc will not bother them. No one wants to live in a new Kirkby, Skelmersdale, Livingstone Runcorn or Bar Hill, where planners had been at work.
#1693513
A few years back Wyton was put forward as a possibility and Marshall Aerospace (as they were then) said they would only consider it if their costs were paid for them. Maybe an offer is forthcoming now, or is it that the value of residential land has risen to a point where 12,500 dwellings in a prime location will make Marshalls enough to not have to be concerned about moving costs?

Wyton's already got nice big hangars and the runway can't be that bad - probably still under care & maintenance.
#1693518
I think the square yard per participant is rather greater for GA than the most exclusive golf club.


Although I'm not a regular player of swish-f***, I quite enjoy it (and live next to a course) but if the average hole is 250yds (is it?), you can get quite a machine into 4500 of them. I believe I brought one back from Miami a few days ago (350 participants on board).... :wink:

As to strip width, no idea but it never seems enough. :roll:
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#1693698
The local paper has this story on the front page (I'm only about three miles from Wyton) and the language from Marshall is interesting; they make a point of saying that the three sites under consideration are Cranfield, Duxford and Wyton, "in alphabetical order"

I reckon they are casting bait to see who comes up with the best deal; the Cambridgeshire-Peterborough mayor has enthused already about the great opportunity that this presents. I'm guessing that Bedfordshire will make a similar pitch, and Duxford has been put in just because it's the closest airfield, and avoids the question of why wasn't it considered when it is on the doorstep.

Of course the move is still ten years off, which gives the GA community time to relocate to wherever - I'm guessing Duxford, Fowlmere, etc will share the light aircraft out between them, and those needing 'big airfield' facilities will move further away.

Cambridge just doesn't seem to have been able to make itself a true regional airport, what with Stansted and Luton nearby, and it has been very quiet of late in terms of business flights and training movements. For example, today's scheduled activity was the Sun-Air Dornier (daily flight half paid for by Astra-Zeneca), two Citations in and out, plus a DA42 from Stapleford. And that's a pretty typical day.
#1693839
Bob Upanddown wrote:..

Is the future of UK GA in the next 10 years just as the CAA want? ...


er, it's not a question of what 'CAA want'. It is what Parliament (1971 Act) and successive Ministers (there's been an awful lot of them, each with mostly brief tenure) have told CAA to do and to prioritise by regulation and oversight; further modulated by JAR then EASA membership (and, of course, Treasury telling CAA and other 'trading Agencies' to cover their costs and make a profit on those regulated, an arrangement rare or unique in the world AFAIK). Ministers' greatest concerns, reflecting those of their Constituents, will presumably be:

a. that aircraft are safe (not crashing into each other nor onto people on the ground)
b. that CAT passengers are safe in the air
c. that CAT passengers are not being ripped offnor left stranded by airlines

A very long way down any list of priorities, if properly (within remit from Parliament or Ministers) considered at all, will be current or future health of GA (industries, infrastructure, future professionals in air or ground roles). Since '80s central strategic planning for any national industries, including even heavier end of aerospace (CAT, military, and associated technologies) has been deliberately foregone, with faith in 'the free market' to deliver, and defining what that market delivers as, by that definition, obviously 'best'.

This philosophy was unrepentantly defended to me by a local Council candidate (then Borough, became County, now retired) who said that Staverton (municipally owned) should be sold to highest bidder, as 'local authorities shouldn't run businesses'. If highest bidder was a housebuilder, this proved that housing was 'best use' for the land. :roll:
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#1693861
Jonzarno wrote:
If highest bidder was a housebuilder, this proved that housing was 'best use' for the land. :roll:


So if Mr Wimpy bids enough for the land on which the local hospital stands, we should let him knock it down and build some more of those lovely blocks of flats in its place? :roll: :clown:


That Councillor might well have said 'yes' :roll:

Medical Forumites may correct or corroborate: ISTR in early '80s a certain Chief Secretary persuaded the PM that the NHS should be 'businesslike' but not be in the real estate business, and should treat their employees of all ages as responsible adults. Among the consequences were

a. that hospitals should go for much higher bed occupancy, which was obviously more 'efficient', and have fewer and larger concentrations of specialised expertise and equipment, thereby enable the selling off of many hospital premises (which happened: some became private hospitals, some luxury hotels or apartments, especially in London)

b. that teaching hospitals should stop 'nannying' their students (nurses, doctors, pharmacists etc), even if their learning commitments required non-day shifts. So student hostels near (often immediately adjacent, safely walkable at all hours) were closed and sold off, leaving the students to find their own rented accommodation and organise their own transport at all hours

c. oh, and topically, not real estate but 'businesslike' philosophy, applied to NBTS:

i. import blood products rather than invest in new facilities to process them (eg for Factor 8) from blood from UK donors

ii. concentrate blood donor sessions in fewer places, each 'efficiently' collecting more blood with fewer staff and vehicles; rather than have staff and vehicles visiting lots of smaller workplaces which merely made it easier for donors to attend by taking less time out of their working day. ISTR it being reported that the cost per donation went down (presented as a triumph) but the numbers of donors and donations also went down.
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