24 AUGUST 2015
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The FLYER forum reports the case of a flying instructor who made an emergency precautionary landing at closed Plymouth Airport because of bad weather. The airport leaseholders, property developers Sutton Harbour Holdings (SHH), are refusing to let him fly his aircraft out and a high-tension stand-off is the result with the pilot’s French Jodel aircraft as hostage.
The instructor had been visiting Bodmin Airfield in Cornwall. When he checked the weather for his flight home to Farthing Corner, Kent, it wasn't brilliant, but OK. Passing Plymouth the weather suddenly deteriorated and the only safe option was the precautionary landing – and a fine hard runway on the outskirts of Plymouth beckoned.
Security guards at the defunct site, closed by SHH four years ago, were initially OK for the pilot to return two days later when the weather forecast was good to fly it out. However then SHH bosses got involved and said the Jodel would have to be taken out by road, and also demanded recompense for the security guards costs and legal fees. Concrete blocks were placed around the aircraft to stop it being moved. There now appears to be a standoff with the local council, the freeholder, not for the first time, at odds with SHH. www.flyplymouth.com
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Keith Jillings, Rural Suffolk
SHH seem not to understand the basics of aviation, such as precautionary landings. They have dug themselves into a hole over this, and continue to dig. Clearly, when they took on the lease of Plymouth Airport, they did not have running an airport as their aim. Perhaps a new tenant needs to be found?