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32 Halton Lane

Concern for Halton Airspace Safety and Environment

CHASE was established by local residents to oppose the move by the MOD of the RAF Gliding Centre from Bicester to Halton in 2004.

The main concerns were:

Noisy tug aircraft towing gliders over populated areas at frequent intervals on weekdays running Joint Services Gliding course and at weekends operating for the RAF Gliding and Soaring Association. These were in addition to weekend cadet courses flying noisy Grob power assisted gliders, microlights and light aircraft of the Aeroclub. The fact that each runway (yes grass airfields do have runways) is directly aligned with the settlements of Wendover, Aston Clinton and Buckland ensured maximum noise impact.

The Safety implications of the tugs trailing flailing tow cables low over houses on their return to the airfield and the increased risk of accidents associated with the increased flying activity and the mixture of types of activity using the same airfield at the same time.

CHASE was unsuccessful in preventing the move, but it was successful in persuading the MOD to limit the number of tug and total annual flights per year, changing take off routes to avoid Wendover and Weston Turville, the undertaking to fit cable retraction winches to all tug aircraft, to restrict the gliding courses to three weeks out of four and to limit the number of RAFGSA tug launches at weekends to a maximum of four per day.

CHASE then undertook a role of monitoring flying activities to ensure adherence to the limitations raising any infringements or new problems with RAF Halton.

The accompanying Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which should be read in conjunction with RAF Halton’s Flying Order Book (FOB), contains areas of agreement between CHASE and RAF Halton and those areas where issues still remain.

Copies of both are held in the reference section of Wendover Library and the MOU is being lodged with local parish councils and further copies can be obtained from

Jim Wilding, 32 Halton Lane Wendover.  

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