Fighting flights from noisy RAF neighbour
Residents believe Northolt aircraft are deviating from agreed flightpath
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.”
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