Fight­ing flights from noisy RAF neigh­bour

Res­i­dents be­lieve Northolt air­craft are de­vi­at­ing from agreed flight­path

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

RES­I­DENTS in South Ruis­lip are rais­ing a pe­ti­tion to stop air­craft from RAF Northolt fly­ing over their homes.

Dou­glas Lew­ing­ton, a re­tired elec­tri­cian liv­ing in Mahlon Av­enue, has col­lected more than 500 sig­na­tures in a bid to en­sure planes and he­li­copters stick to the des­ig­nated flight path.

The 78-year-old, pic­tured right, who has been cam­paign­ing on the is­sue for five years, is also call­ing on Hilling­don Coun­cil and MP Boris John­son to tackle the is­sue. Mr Lew­ing­ton said: “I am pre­pared to go to court to swear that planes and he­li­copters are fly­ing over our houses in South Ruis­lip. 523 peo­ple have agreed that RAF Northolt are not stick­ing to its flight path. If they were stick­ing to the flight path they would not fly over Mahlon Av­enue but they are fly­ing over our houses.”

The pen­sioner has been backed by cam­paign group HACAN (Heathrow As­so­ci­a­tion for the Con­trol of Air­craft Noise). It’s chair­man, John Stewart, said: “RAF Northolt has be­come a noisy, use­less neigh­bour. This has only hap­pened be­cause flight paths seem to have changed with­out any thought of the im­pact of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“The re­sult of this could be in­creased noise pol­lu­tion, par­tic­u­larly with lo­cal schools means more noise for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.” RAF Northolt, which cel­e­brated its cen­te­nary at the week­end with 11,000 visi­tors and a spec­tac­u­lar aerial dis­plays, was re­tained as a mil­i­tary air­field in 2013 but in­structed by the Min­istry of De­fence to in­crease its rev­enue from com­mer­cial air­craft. The num­ber of flights was to rise from 7,000, tak­ing off or land­ing, to 12,000 a year. How­ever the RAF, which de­nies planes are de­vi­at­ing off the flight­path, con­firmed: “Mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment move­ments are un­capped but ex­pect to re­main con­stant with the to­tal num­ber of move­ments in 2016 not ex­pect­ing to ex­ceed 17,500.”

Mr Lew­ing­ton had the sup­port of pre­vi­ous Uxbridge & South Ruis­lip MP, John Ran­dall, and hopes his suc­ces­sor Boris John­son will also fight his cor­ner. He said: “I met Boris John­son at his surgery and spoke to him about the amount of flights there are here and I think he’s def­i­nitely go­ing to get in­volved. Turn to page 18 for cov­er­age of RAF Northolt’s cen­te­nary.

RAF Northolt cel­e­brated 100 years of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions at the week­end with its Cen­te­nary Open Day. On Satur­day, the sta­tion opened its gates to the fam­i­lies of its per­son­nel, ser­vice vet­er­ans and the public, with 11,000 visi­tors pour­ing in to en­joy a ‘fan­tas­tic day’ in spite of grey skies.

Crowds were treated to a thrilling aerial dis­play from ‘Sally B’, the only re­main­ing air­wor­thy B-17, and a Spit­fire ML407. A Bücker Jung­meis­ter and the RV8­tors pro­vided the heart-stop­ping aer­o­bat­ics.

One VIP guest was Sec­ond World War vet­eran Colonel Fran­tiszek Kor­nicki, who pi­loted one of the smaller air­craft into RAF Northolt, hav­ing last vis­ited in 1940 as a pi­lot on 303 Squadron.

On the ground, visi­tors got up close to a va­ri­ety of air­craft and the Queen’s Colour Squadron and the Cen­tral Band of the Royal Air Force per­formed.

There were more than 100 mil­i­tary and civil­ian stands.

Sta­tion Com­man­der Group Cap­tain Andy Ba­con said: “It was a great way to celebrate RAF Northolt’s Cen­te­nary.

“I’m ex­cep­tion­ally proud of Northolt per­son­nel, but I’m ex­tra proud to­day.

“The team here have put in a huge amount of work for this open day over many months and this was very much re­flected in the su­perb show that they put on.

“I’m also de­lighted to be able to give some­thing back to those who sup­port us – fam­i­lies, lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, the lo­cal coun­cils and busi­ness and for us to be able to open up our gates and welcome so many peo­ple to Northolt.”

The event or­gan­iser, Wing Com­man­der Mark Far­rell, was also de­lighted at how the day had gone.

He said: “Or­gan­i­sa­tion for the open day started nine months ago and I couldn’t have asked for more from the team.

“The weather meant we had to work that lit­tle bit harder on some of the fly­ing el­e­ments on the day, but ev­ery­thing came to­gether su­perbly in the end.”

Con­trib­uted

n PLANE BRIL­LIANT: (Clock­wise from above) The B-17 Fly­ing Fortress ‘Sally B’ on the ground be­fore its dis­play; younger visi­tors also get a chance to take to the skies; a Spit­fire ML407 in ac­tion; an aerial view of the event; there was a va­ri­ety of his­toric and mil­i­tary stands; ‘Sally B’ wows the crowds

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