Swindon is the UK hub for microlight flying; if you find those loud buzzing Lawnmowers flying overhead on a quiet day annoying then this area is NOT the place for you. Microlights in Swindon are a nuisance.
Most homeowners subjected to the noise were living in the area before the airfield opened.
Microlights in Swindon are a problem. They are small but noisy aeroplanes, with an inferior safety profile to other aircraft. They come in three types, 3-axis (or fixed wing), the flexwing type and powered parachutes.
All these types of microlights are incredibly noisy. As they are generally slower in flight than a light aircraft, this means that the noise they produce is spread over a large area for longer. Microlights fly at low altitudes, at slow speeds, with great views of the ground. Microlight flying is a sport, but it causes a nuisance for those unwilling participants subject to it! That’s something that’s not very sporting!
Clearprop! Microlight Training
Microlight training, undertaken by Clearprop at Redlands Airfield in Wanborough in the Borough of Swindon, causes a particular problem for some residents of Wanborough and the nearby Swindon Parish of Covingham. The nature of training a microlight pilot means that many circular flights around the airfield are required. These circuits last for about half an hour per pilot and several microlights can be flying at the same time. This pattern of behaviour can go on for hours , morning and afternoon, and even takes place in the evening. The circuits mean that planes fly around a private house and a Children’s Day Nursery at low height. The microlights also fly close to houses in nearby Covingham on the other side of the A419 trunk road. Not only are these properties subject to the noise of this commercial activity, the loss of privacy from being overflown at low height (under 500 feet) is unacceptable. These properties have also been overflown at low height on take-off and landing as well as during circuit training. The nuisance has continued despite different people being responsible for microlight flying at Redlands Airfield. Both the Microlight Training School and the Redlands Microlight Club flyers have been spotted overflying nearby properties at low height doing circuits and otherwise, despite the large amount of unoccupied farmland in the area. This sort of flying is very disrespectful, inconsiderate and rude. A “first class microlight club” as it is described on the www.redlandsairfield.co.uk website would not cause so much nuisance to local residents. It’s certainly first class for pilots…
Is it really necessary to have a microlight training school in Swindon so close houses when there are so many other microlight training schools in Wiltshire and Berkshire?
Just why are there so many small airfields doing microlight pilot training?
Well, it’s illegal to offer commercial flights such as sightseeing trips in microlights, so the only way to make money from microlight flying is to train other pilots or sell microlight aircraft and flying equipment or provide hangarage for a storage fee. Landing fees are generally low so this does not generate much income for an airfield owner. Have you seen those Groupon or Wowcher ads offering microlight flights? You will notice that they always specify somewhere in the ad that they area taster session for aspiring pilots. One Microlight Flying School offers 20, 30 or 60 minutes experience flights over the scenic Peak District. It’s not immediately obvious that this experience is actually a flying lesson.
Sailing close to the wind…..
Let’s not be confused here, microlight training is a business, it’s a commercial activity to make profit for the owner, it’s not a sport.
Microlight training can, and does, cause considerable nuisance to other people.
The noise can be heard inside houses not just in the garden. The noise can drown out a TV or a phone call or make it impossible to concentrate when working.
The noise causes harm.
Certain types of microlights are loud.
The loudest are the flexwing type.
Why isn’t the noise level regulated properly in the UK?
Is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to blame?
Is the British Microlight Association (BMAA) responsible?
If Local Council’s can’t control Aviation Noise then the CAA shouldn’t be passing the buck. It needs to step in and be pro-active to find a solution. Aviation Law will need to be changed.
It isn’t “if”, but when……