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Old 16th Mar 2019, 18:40
  #4748 (permalink)  
Oopscheck
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 1
Wethersfield:

In 2014 2FTS produced a somewhat incomplete draft glider aerodrome requirements document which has yet to be accepted by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA).

Subsequent to this draft an inspection report in 2015 by 2FTS of Wethersfield saw no reasons why gliding could not continue at there with some minor issues addressed.

Then in 2016 a yet unpublished inspection report indicated that 1.4m was required for the runway (singular) to meet MAA standards, and this was the primary reason for the 614 VGS relocation. This was strange, the (MAA) Manual of Aerodrome Design and Safeguarding is based on the runway lengths. So, using that criteria at Wethersfield with it’s very useful long runways, the regulation was based on large international aerodromes which would explain the 1.4m. The use of such criteria is not really suitable for a conventional glider site for many reasons that principally include safety and cost.

The MOD appeared to have justified this significant cost decision based on this flawed assessment for some reason ignoring numerous other options the site has to offer in terms of safety and facilities.

This was perplexing for staff at 614 VGS who know the site in detail, particularly considering the historic difficulties in retaining conventional gliding sites for Air Cadet gliding over the decades. Following the usual interactions with 2FTS some staff at 614 VGS decided to conducted some further research. This examined the application at Wethersfield of MAA/ ICAO based aerodrome safety requirements in a conventional gliding context, that included hangar facilities and other facilities the site offered. Relevant people from the aviation industry who were suitably qualified and experienced were engaged to assist with this in their subject areas. This report, as an example of the options available, described 3 options ranging from a basic 18K with some operational restrictions to a 550K longer term investment option.

It was sent to the MOD in February 2018. The MOD did not respond.

As of today, 614 VGS are at Swanton Morley which is less accessible to a larger majority of cadets than their previous home. With no hangar, no cadet accommodation, poor staff accommodation, no garage facilities for vehicles or equipment, a shared office/ PTT facility with 611 AGS along with their PTT, a future office in the old listed Tower (therefore expensive to renovate) which requires work and a fence around airfield with no gate wide enough to allow a rigged Viking on or off it. With all this, it comes at a much higher cost than Wethersfield, what were they thinking?

Last edited by Oopscheck; 17th Mar 2019 at 19:47. Reason: Minor text edit
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