Fly-in's. Public access

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Ok all, lets start with a question: Now that the fly-in season is starting, should public visitors have access to the aircraft or should they be kept behind barriers and what have been your experiences? Under Restoration
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Profile picture for user EGNM

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hi ewan, i've never actually been to one to be fair! But i can see both sides of the arguemnt - it's a enthusiasts view against a safety/security view really, u'd b bound to have some kid wonder astray from his/her parents!

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The purpose of fly-ins is to bring the GA community together, encourage more people to get involved at all levels, and to let pilots have a good look at one another's aircraft. The public should definitely be encouraged to do the same, or flying will become regarded as even more elitist and inaccessible than it is now. Presently, only small numbers of the non-flying public attend typical fly-ins, and consequently safety issues can be handled appropriately. If fly-ins got to the stage of attracting significantly greater numbers, then clearly safety issues would become paramount, but at the moment more all round participation and co-operation is what's required.

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Barriers? No thanks! I'd hate to see barriers at a fly-in. It would completely defeat the purpose of a social occasion, for both the pilots and the public alike. Without barriers, it's easy to find pilots to talk to. It would also ruin the chance to get decent pictures of aircraft ;) Having said that, at both North Weald and Rougham, there is a flightline in place which the public may not wander across. In both places though, it is perfectly possible to get permission to access the aircraft if you so desire. Both places have good reason for this - North Weald has an active taxiway right there, and Rougham operates as a family event, so a greater level of control, particularly of children, is required. But for the aviation enthusiast, there is no problem.

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Didn't I read in Today's Pilot's letter pages that Turweston had a problem with public access to fly-ins? Did this ever get resolved? Someone told me this weekend that the olf Tatenhill fly-in has had to move because of this reason too! World's gone crazy!
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the world gone crazy... and so have public liability insurance costs!

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Originally posted by aviddriver Didn't I read in Today's Pilot's letter pages that Turweston had a problem with public access to fly-ins? Did this ever get resolved? Someone told me this weekend that the olf Tatenhill fly-in has had to move because of this reason too! World's gone crazy!
Not sure if Turweston have had problems in the past, but I can tell you that their most recent fly-in (last month) had no accessibility problems at all. In fact, it was one of the better ones I've been to so I can heartily recommend the next one which is scheduled for Saturday April 12th. :cool: Steve

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Steve, I can vouch for that as I was also there. (we met with Steve "birdstrike" Bridgewater" Popham is also a good airfield for public access - it being my regular light field for events etc. It has one or more event's most months (starting April 13th) until October and is well worth the trip.

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I guess it depends what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking to promote aviation to a wide audience you need to attract the punters, but not all fly-ins are held for that reason - some are just get togethers for pilots to swap tall tales and eat bacon butties. If you are looking at a gathering of aviators perhaps it is safer to just have visitors by air? Of course some airfield might not have car parking space but would you rather see a fly-in with no public or no fly-in at all? Frankly, I think there are nowhere near enough fly-ins so I don't care wherther the public go along or not. That might sound a bit selfish but I think we need places to go and things to do with our aeroplanes and don't see why public access should effct where we can or cant have a fly-in. Seagull
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As I started this thread I think I should contribute to it. I have helped at and organised many fly-in's over the years and like to see the public - by public I mean both non flying enthusiasts and the local inhabitants - have access to have a closer look at the aircraft. It must be remembered that it is the local populace that put up with the flying all year round but seldom, if ever, get to see aircraft close up. Several years ago I was at the PFA West Midlands Strut fly-in at Tatenhill and was talking to one of the "locals" and his young son who, having realised there was something different going on, had come along to have a look not realising they were welcome to come in and see for themselves at close quarters what our type of flying was all about. One of the things that struck him was the non existance of a them-and-us atmosphere and how friendly everyone (well almost everyone) was. I don't think I have ever heard a "local" complaining at one of these events so let's encourage them. Everything must be done to show there is more to aviation than "rich boys with toys" (any of the rich boys please don't take that out of context). It is all good PR.:) Sadly I see that the PFA West Midlands Strut fly-in this year has been moved to Hixon (I've been told it was something to do with health and safety, or maybe there are not enough volunteers to held run the event safely), with visitors by air only and also that the TP fly-in on the same day at Gamston is also by air only. I am sure there are good reasons for these restrictions but I do not have to agree with them. I'm sure we can make more out of this thread. :) :D

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EwenT The reasoning behind the TP fly-in being only open to airborne visitors is an issue of car parking. Gamston is undergoing a lot of work at the moment, including the construction of a large new hangar. However this has meant that a lot of rubble and associated building materials have been deposited in the car park area -plus some of the resident businesses are currently in portacabins on the car park. It is hoped that this area may be cleared in time for the fly-in and the issue of public access is something that we may be able to resolve nearer the time. My personal opinion is that fly-ins should be open to the public - as you mentioned they are a great PR tool. I hope we can lead by example. Hope this clarifies things? BTW: The fly-in looks like it is becoming a really popular destination - hope to see you there! Best Wishes Steve Steve Bridgewater Assistant Editor - Today's Pilot
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Hi Steve Thanks for the clarification, even I cannot argue about that, or can I.:D Hope to be there but there are two hurdles: Getting past the GP's receptionist and PFA engineering. The latter is the easier.:rolleyes:
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Quick view from an owner I fly a fabric covered aircraft. This leaves me with a big problem. If I go to a Fly-in I really want as many of the public as possible to look at the aircraft, walk around it, ask questions, and see that we flyers are the opposite of the rich playboys the press can sometimes depict us as. Show me a rich GA owner and I'll show you somebody who isn't flying much :( We need Joe Public on our side. If I see somebody with young children I'l always let the kids sit in the drivers seat, maybe giving them their first ever experience of a light aircraft, possibly starting a fascination that will lead them to their PPL or beyond. This is the way to avoid the uncommitted lining up with the NIMBYs who want to close any little grass strip or airfield they happen to be near. But at some point I have to go to the bog, wander off and look at an interesting type, go for a chat with some chums. Then, at the back of my mind there is always the fear that somebody will (unmaliciously) damage my rather fragile pride and joy. It hasn't happened yet. But it is a worry. Enthusiastic marshals are a great comfort. On balance though, I say - let the public have as much access as possible. Moggy
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Moggy, I agree with every word you say. I always impress on marshals, club, PFA Strut and group members at these events that everyone involved must also act as security to insure our pride and joys do remain unscathed.