Postbag: Winging changes
THE future use of Alconbury airfield has re-entered local debate. Some letters repeat the argument that the airfield is adjacent to thousands of homes in Huntingdon, Brampton and St Ives that would be directly affected by any new airport development. The
THE future use of Alconbury airfield has re-entered local debate.
Some letters repeat the argument that the airfield is adjacent to thousands of homes in Huntingdon, Brampton and St Ives that would be directly affected by any new airport development.
The airfield has not moved location since the main military flying ceased in the early 1990s and any civil flying, be it commercial jet or private general aviation, would be considerably less intrusive than the Phantoms that were familiar sounds there.
Moreover, the almost inter-linked circuit at RAF Wyton also produced constant noise from Nimrods, Comets and Canberras until 1994.
The anti-Alconbury debate also cites the ODPM threats to cover everywhere with tarmac and concrete.
Given that Alconbury already is so covered, including one of the longest available runways and nuclear-hardened buildings, which no doubt would prove extremely difficult and costly to demolish for any non-aeronautical use, why not actually take advantage of these assets ?
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RAF Wyton has recently entered the equation as an alternative site for a displaced Cambridge Airport.
I consider that this was merely putting up an Aunt Sally to be easily demolished in favour of a preferred alternative.
However, given the vast amount of new building that would be required to satisfy Marshalls of Cambridge's secure activities (both military and commercial) on a relatively condensed site, why not capitalise on the large acreage readily available at conceivably less conversion costs at Alconbury?
To the doomsayers that always cite increased night-flying and noise in their arguments, I would merely ask them to consider why the CAA should approve any increase in such activities at Alconbury than currently apply to Cambridge.
The regular movements of Hercules and Citation BizJets currently endured at Cambridge would be far less intrusive than were the former Wyton/Alconbury military jets pre-1993.
Moreover, the handful of UAS piston-powered Tutors at Wyton could easily be accommodated at a refurbished Alconbury, together with an element of private/club flying, relatively self-contained within the vast perimeter.
Wyton (and Cambridge) could then be used to help to satisfy the ODPM's desire for more housing in the south-east on brownfield sites, although I still think that the ODPM's knowledge of UK geography is still questionable.
BERNARD MARTIN, Feoffees Road, Somersham