Flaps Podcast – May 2014

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In this edition of the award-winning Flaps Podcast we’re addressing a really important issue: airfields at risk.

Unsurprisingly there’s been plenty of interest and a lot of concern recently about airfield closures. Nobody is opening new aerodromes so we need to save the ones we have.

Long Marston, Panshanger and Wellesbourne are at risk. Manston Airport in Kent has closed down in the past couple of weeks. So we’ve got an in-depth report into what’s going on and why.

We bring you the thoughts of aviation planning consultant and pilot Peter Kember. He gives us the inside line on what planners and government think. From Wellesbourne, we speak to Duncan Mackillop, chairman of Wellesbourne Matters. He tells us the latest on the situation involving this popular central England airfield.

Manston has been an airfield for nearly 100 years. It’s survived enemy bombings and airshow accidents – and if Wikipedia is to be believed, was used in a Bond film – but it was closed on May 15 with the direct loss of 144 jobs and many more indirectly. So it was more down to business than Blofeld, but that doesn’t help those whose livelihoods depend on its viability.

We hear from Keith Churcher, the chairman of Save Manston Airport. He tells us about the closure, its effect on local aviation, and on the support they’re getting from the community. He’s just about audible over the supporting toots of car horns! When we first rang him, he was standing on “Keith’s Corner” and we couldn’t actually hear him at all – we had to get him to move.

And what happens if the airfield at which you’re based does actually close down? We get Marshall Cligman, Head of Training at Flynqy Pilot Training on the phone. Until 2011 they were based at Plymouth Airport, before it was shut. It makes life no easier, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

In other news, and to keep our spirits up, Elliott speaks Matt Jones, Joint Founder and Owner of Boultbee Flight Academy at Goodwood. What’s it like to fly a Spitfire? In an amazing and revealing interview we find out. It’s an aircraft that makes grown men cry, and makes us very jealous of those who’ve flown one.

In an enlightening Minute, Pablo Mason talks about the day he got his pilots’ wings – the proudest moment of his life to that point. And he also talks about what (and who) has made him proud since.

And as another summer of sport approaches, including the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, we hear from the CAA about the temporary airspace restrictions around these events.


Mark and Elliott


Running order

0.00 Introduction
1.09 Airfields at risk – Peter Kember, aviation planning consultant
6.35 Airfields at risk – Duncan Mackillop, Chairman of Wellesbourne Matters
11.50 Forthcoming airspace restricions: Jonathan Nicholson from the CAA
15.52 Learn to fly a Spitfire: Matt Jones of Boultbee Flight Academy
27.08 Airfields at risk – Keith Churcher, Chairman of Save Manston Airport
31.19 Mason’s Minute – Pablo on his proudest days
34.36 Airfields at risk – Marshall Cligman, head of training for Fly Newquay Pilot Training
37.23 Wrap up

Total 37.52