Over-flying

PRIVATE aircraft over-flying Nailsea: Having returned from a recent absence I see that there have been some comments and questions regarding the recent article. Possibly one of the readers who is unaware of the Local Action Team is new to Nailsea – LAT wi

PRIVATE aircraft over-flying Nailsea: Having returned from a recent absence I see that there have been some comments and questions regarding the recent article.

Possibly one of the readers who is unaware of the Local Action Team is new to Nailsea - LAT will have its fifth AGM on November 25 at 8pm at Church House, Green Room. Come and talk with us about local community safety matters. Hear how we work with the police and local authorities in so many ways to combat crime and antisocial behaviour, how we try to protect the vulnerable in our community from those who abuse the law and how we campaign for change.

There seems to be some confusion about our aim regarding over-flying. The role of Nailsea LAT and the 30 or so LATs in North Somerset is to identify risk, great or small, and deal with it. Regarding aircraft over-flying, most private over-flying risk is relatively small but so easy to solve that it's a 'no-brainer'.

All Bristol Airport Operations Control has to do is to tell private owners not to over-fly Nailsea - problem solved, risk totally mitigated, end of story, job done.


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Two concerns we really do have though is that the increase in numbers of helicopter over-flights does present an increased risk. Helicopters can't glide out of trouble in the event of power unit failure - they just drop! Also, pilot illness, heart attack for example, could present a rare but fatal hazard. Incidentally, we can't approach over-flying from an environmental impact aspect - there are no relevant CAA regulations.

There are no CAA regulations regarding the state of health of the 'commander' of the aircraft or the amount of drugs in his or her system. Hark back to July this year when Robert Gunter at the controls of a Cessna 150 and on ecstasy, killed himself and a teenage passenger at Clutton Hill Farm airstrip. That local incident, occurring a few minutes later, could so easily have caused other fatalities over any local settlement.

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I have just heard of the tragic private aircraft crash in Eire involving the deaths of at least three Gloucestershire people. Thank goodness it wasn't over a populated area!

JOHN HUNTER - Chair Nailsea Local Action Team

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