Bandits below 500ft
Help request forwarded to all members by Vic on 9 June 2020
‘I understand that members of BMFC had a bit of a scare with the sudden appearance of an Apache over the strip recently. This combined with an increase in occurrence of low flying Apaches has prompted me once again to open Dialogue with Wattisham: I phoned ATC last week as Army Air 23 flew low level over me/our hangar (I had been monitoring him talking to Lakenheath as I was flying back from Duxford.
Unusually they fobbed me off and gave me the Airfield Manager’s number (He’s a civvy PPL who trained at Rougham) For years I have been trying to find out if Knettishall is on Army Low Flying Charts. He promised to look into it and speak to Watt Air Safety Unit. But he didn’t get back to me.
So I have opened Dialogue with No 1AIDU which are the outfit in charge of charts following advice from a friend, to try and find out once and for all if we’re on the Mil Low Flying charts.
Then out of the blue I got the enclosed image (attached) from an old Mate Jonathan Smith who is head of air Safety (Civ) at Swanwick. This shows that Knettishall is NOT on their low flying charts despite being on direct line from Wattisham to STANTA>
This nobbed me off more than somewhat and I am going to get this fixed: If you look at the image you will see that Brook Farm strip and Priory Farm strips are depicted.
So I need your help please: I propose to raise a MOR (Mandatory Occurrence Report) every time an Apache flies below 500ft (We are on dodgy ground as we are in open FIR, and technically they can do what they want), but they cannot fly within 500 ft of a person, structure or another aircraft without breaking what used to be called the Rules of the air.
So we need to be sure of our facts. So if any of you witness such a low flying episode, please try to get a pic or video on your phone, then send me an accurate report of date, time, direction, number/type of a/c and brief description of what happened.
I’ll keep you updated: Now that BMFC fly some pretty large models so a collision with such a model could cause as much damage to Apaches as a full size a/c
Many thanks for your help. Happy to answer any questions.
Regards Peter’ (Peter Spencer)