Duxford ends GA fly-ins to displays

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19 years 10 months

Posts: 16,831

Bad news if you're planning to fly in to the air shows at Duxford later this month and in October. The airfield has stopped all GA visitors to the shows due to the cost of dealing with GA visitors being too much. We spoke to Mick Martin, the Head of Airfield at Duxford, and he said, "It is indeed the case that we are not permitting visiting GA aircraft for our May and October Air Shows in 2010. The reason for this is entirely business based. Our experience averaged over the past five years has shown that because of unpredictable weather we have achieved less than 20% of pre-booked arrivals. In order to support the GA visitors there are a number of associated costs - hire of minibuses, additional FISO and support staff etc. These are real costs to the museum which over the past five years have amounted to an extra cost of £120 for each GA visitor. "We are continuing to welcome GA visitors in July and September where the numbers justify our expenditure. Whilst I regret the decision which has had to be taken, in the current financial climate I must ensure the business viability of the Air Shows to ensure that they continue." Mick went on to suggest that pilots could instead fly in to nearby Fowlmere and get a taxi to the shows. Alternatively, if a sufficient number of pilots were prepared to pay for their air show tickets in advance, the potential exists for the ban on pilots to be lifted in the future. He also added that he is happy for GA flyers to contact him on [email]mmartin@iwm.org.uk[/email] to discuss the matter. However, he pointed out that due to the workload involved with the shows, he might not be able to reply straightaway or personally to each message
Moggy
Original post

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13 years 8 months

Posts: 1,148

"We are continuing to welcome GA visitors in July and September where the numbers justify our expenditure.
So: "Flying Legends" and the September show are not "off limits", at least not yet...

Member for

14 years

Posts: 49

I believe the costs savings here are likely to be negligible in comparison to the rest of the show, as the majority of the Airside workers are, from memory, volunteers. What next, how about, " I know it's an airshow but these old planes are expensive so we are not planning to fly any of them today but we have some film available". Thought they would have picked a better year to do this and not the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain when people are more likely to want to fly into a genuine wartime airfield. Think this decision may come back to haunt them.

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11 years 7 months

Posts: 38

Mick Martin is the Head of Airfield at Duxford. He asked me to post the following (in italics): Duxford Air Show Issues. I am gratified to see that so many people clearly wish to be able to fly in to our air shows. I have previously provided a short factual explanation of the rationale for that decision but it is clear that further information would be helpful. For clarification, it is only May and October we are not offering a fly in facility, you will still be able to fly in to Flying Legends and the September show. Firstly Duxford is a licensed airfield and regulated by the CAA. We are also a PPR airfield because the local traffic patterns and avoidance areas need to be specifically briefed to all visiting pilots. As those of you who have flown in on an air show day will know, we not only have slot times we have specific arrival and departure routes published through NATS in the form of an AIC. These procedures are not optional, they are designed to ensure your safety and the safety of other aircraft in the vicinity. You will also be aware that on air show days all GA visitors are parked on the south side of the runway. As licensee I have a specific responsibility to keep people safe on the airfield, this means that transit from south to north must be controlled by the tower who deconflict aircraft and vehicles via radio. Walking along the M11 bank is neither a controlled nor a safe alternative and would result in air shows being stopped and possibly the revocation of the airfield licence. There is insufficient room on the North side to park GA visitors for 2 reasons: they would hinder access for the emergency services, and restrict the public view of the display. Suggestions of cheap minibuses and no MOT required seems attractive at first sight, however, as an organisation we remain liable for the safety of those we transport and our insurers have made it very clear that they will only cover this risk on roadworthy vehicles. We considered covering our financial risk by insisting on purchase of advanced tickets for the show as a prerequisite of booking a fly in slot time. We discarded this idea because we felt we would be viewed as money grabbing and the reputational damage would be worse than withdrawing the fly in option for May and October. Furthermore, such a solution would disadvantage those from further afield who would not have a reasonable driving alternative. If this option is seen as acceptable then there is every chance that we can return to normal operations albeit not in time for next weekend. Whilst I have your attention let me briefly address the issue of the “Fields of Duxford”. CAP 403 makes it very clear that air show organisers and flying display directors have a specific responsibility to ensure that spectators are managed to ensure that they are not under displaying aircraft. To date the CAA have accepted that this responsibility can only be exercised within our own property. However, the issue of offsite spectators is highlighted whenever there is an accident. To watch a show from the fields is an individual decision and the risks are yours to take. That said there are 2 areas at Duxford where I have serious concerns and those are the extended centre lines of the runways. In the event of an engine failure after take off or a loss of power on finals the pilot has only one safe option and that is to land straight ahead. If faced with a field full of people and children the pilot’s only option has been removed and the outcome could well be fatal. I am not trying to stop people enjoying the spectacle free from a safe vantage point but I will continue to try and exclude people from places that endanger the display participants. The weather forecast for next weekend is good and we have an exciting line up for the display, so please come along and enjoy it with us. (Ends) Alan.

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16 years 3 months

Posts: 8,505

Think this decision may come back to haunt them.
As may Abingdon's decision not to sell tickets at the gate. A large percentage of the punters who attend airshows only make the go/no go decision after looking at the weather unlike us aviation anoraks who turn out regardless of the weather.
Profile picture for user Wyvernfan

Member for

12 years 1 month

Posts: 5,816

Mick Martin is the Head of Airfield at Duxford. He asked me to post the following (in italics): [I]Duxford Air Show Issues. Whilst I have your attention let me briefly address the issue of the “Fields of Duxford”. CAP 403 makes it very clear that air show organisers and flying display directors have a specific responsibility to ensure that spectators are managed to ensure that they are not under displaying aircraft. To date the CAA have accepted that this responsibility can only be exercised within our own property. However, the issue of offsite spectators is highlighted whenever there is an accident. To watch a show from the fields is an individual decision and the risks are yours to take. That said there are 2 areas at Duxford where I have serious concerns and those are the extended centre lines of the runways. In the event of an engine failure after take off or a loss of power on finals the pilot has only one safe option and that is to land straight ahead. If faced with a field full of people and children the pilot’s only option has been removed and the outcome could well be fatal. I am not trying to stop people enjoying the spectacle free from a safe vantage point but I will continue to try and exclude people from places that endanger the display participants.
Well said.