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Kenley airfield landing ban frustrates attempts to mark D-day

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THE landing of aircraft during a flypast to commemorate the Battle of Britain has been banned by the company running Kenley Airfield.

Mike Street, of Hayes Lane, has been organising a flypast over the airfield ever since the RAF memorial was put up in 2000.

On anniversaries like 2005 and 2010, Mr Street made the events extra special by having the aircraft land in Kenley so that spectators could meet the pilots, pose for photos and watch them as they landed and took off for the display.

However, when he rang Defence Estates, which runs the airfield for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), earlier this year, the community organiser was told that "powered aircraft" had been banned from landing. At the Kenley and District Residents' Association (KENDRA) meeting last week, Mr Street broke the news to the 70 attendees.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: "It's a great shame as it's a very special feature.

"It means people who come to watch can speak to the pilots and enjoy the privilege of watching the planes land and take off on a former Battle of Britain airfield."

Between 500 and 800 locals came to watch the flypast last August, with an even larger crowd on anniversary dates.

"Of course, it is the 70th anniversary of the Normandy D-Day landings this year and we were planning a special landing for that," Mr Street added.

"These things take a lot of organising, so I rang Defence Estates and the beginning of this year. It has said that from now on there will be no landing aircraft on at all.

"The pilots loved landing the planes too because it means they get a RAF Kenley stamp in their logbook, something money can't buy."

Last year, a different event proposed by Kenley Airshow Ltd was cancelled. Alistair White, its organiser, said the MoD and Defence Estates had told him they were banning landing aircraft because of the condition of the runways.

"It's a shame, the show would be much better with the planes landing," Mr White said.

A Defence Estates spokesman said: "Kenley Airshow Ltd proposed a Kenley Airfield Heritage Day – a 1930s revival weekend and charity airshow, in September 2013, which included powered aircraft landing and taking off.

"An assessment was carried out by defence infrastructure organisation airfield specialists, who advised that the runway was not appropriate for powered landings and takeoffs."

Mr Street's flypast will take place on August 17, while Mr White's air show has been delayed until August 2015.

Kenley airfield landing ban frustrates attempts to mark D-day


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