Planes are not toys

SIR – I feel bound to respond to the ludicrous comments made by Colin Baker (Letters, May 13) about Panshanger Airfield. I too live adjacent to the airfield, albeit at the opposite end to the hangers and have enjoyed watching the light aircraft, helicopte

SIR - I feel bound to respond to the ludicrous comments made by Colin Baker (Letters, May 13) about Panshanger Airfield.

I too live adjacent to the airfield, albeit at the opposite end to the hangers and have enjoyed watching the light aircraft, helicopters and stunt planes over a number of years.

Notwithstanding the site's historical significance, I hope to continue to do so for many years to come.

Mr Baker is correct in his statements that the operators of the site have erected fences, dug trenches and put up warning signs.


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However, what he fails to mention are the reasons these are necessary.

The airfield is a fully operational one - the aircraft are not toys, but highly expensive and potentially dangerous pieces of machinery.

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Despite repeated requests and warnings by the manager and staff of the airfield local people continued to:

* Walk their dogs down the centre or across the runway. I witnessed this myself as a helicopter was approaching to land.

* Have picnics at the end of the runway.

* Play football on the runway and run-off areas.

Far from showing contempt for local people, the operators are merely protecting both themselves and residents.

In the event of an accident, failure to have observed such safety measures and procedures could result in the operators being sued at best and at worst risking prison for criminal negligence.

I suggest if Mr Baker is so keen to walk his dogs round an airfield he tries Stansted and Heathrow. I'm sure they would be most welcoming.

Chris Andrews, Westcott, WGC.

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