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London Heathrow questions

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London Heathrow questions

Old 22nd Dec 2019, 19:01
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London Heathrow questions

Many years ago we were flying out of High Wycombe aerodrome with a visual view of Heathrow in the distance. The pilot of our aeroplane turn to me and mentioned a couple of facts about Heathrow and I wonder if someone would be kind enough to either corroborate these as being true or dismiss them as untrue.

The two facts which I would like to have clarified are as follows:
1) Many years ago, on Christmas days, Heathrow would open up its airspace and runways for light aircraft to land free of charge.
2) A light aircraft technically can land on the width of any of Heathrows runways.

Thanks in anticipation of any comments or recollections.
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 23:45
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1) Might be true, but I doubt that. I've never done it on Christmas Day but the last time I landed there it cost around 9,000 all in! I know that some ask to cross directly over the airfield for a close look, which was granted.
2) The runways are posted as only 50 metres wide, so technically, no!
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 08:01
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1. Unlikely, but how many years ago?
2. Which light aircraft? Done (as pax) a cross-runway take-off in a 'Single Pin' and watched similar for Helio Courier but anything else?
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 08:22
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You would almost certainly have got a Twin Pin stopped in that distance.

Or probably a Skyvan in the right hands - I remember landing with Shorts' CTP on the old 28 at Glasgow, and we stopped well short of the 05/23 intersection.

Last edited by DaveReidUK; 23rd Dec 2019 at 08:32.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 08:34
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I think those specialist machines are stretching the definition of "light aircraft" a bit far....
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 08:40
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque
I think those specialist machines are stretching the definition of "light aircraft" a bit far....
Fair point.

Though if we're being picky, "light aircraft" includes helicopters too, though probably not what the OP had in mind.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 11:31
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Originally Posted by Fly.Buy
2) A light aircraft technically can land on the width of any of Heathrows runways.
I did see a Cessna 172 take off on a taxiway at right angles to 27R (or 28R as it might have been then) in about 1963. The taxiway was due north of the central island (probably the current A7 or possibly A8).
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 12:15
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The original runways were 300ft wide and most of the concrete is still there for 27L & 27R, so I think lots of types could take off and land in that distance with a little bit of wind on the nose.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 14:51
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“This runway is very short.”

“Yes but at least it’s very wide.”
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 15:00
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hahaha...from the FAA rules:

CHAPTER 2. RUNWAY LENGTHS FOR SMALL AIRPLANES WITH MAXIMUM CERTIFICATED TAKEOFF WEIGHT OF 12,500 POUNDS (5,670 KG) OR LESS

201. SMALL AIRPLANES WITH APPROACH SPEEDS OF LESS THAN 30 KNOTS. Airplanes with approach speeds of less than 30 knots are considered to be short takeoff and landing or ultra light airplanes. Their recommended runway length is 300 feet (92 meters) at mean sea level. Runways located above mean sea level should be increased at the rate of 0.03 x airport elevation above mean sea level to obtain the recommended runway length at that elevation.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 18:47
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
Fair point.

Though if we're being picky, "light aircraft" includes helicopters too, though probably not what the OP had in mind.
If you can afford nine grand, yes - but in a helicopter you still don't get to use the runway, even though you have to buy a runway slot.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 19:42
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1) Many years ago, on Christmas days, Heathrow would open up its airspace and runways for light aircraft to land free of charge.
Many years ago, Wycombe-based club aircraft (from what was the BA Flying Club, and maybe others) certainly did use to fly approaches at Heathrow on Christmas Day.

Don't think they landed, but it was before my time flying with one of clubs there, so may have that wrong.
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 07:17
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Don't know about Heathrow, but I remember reading an article about some GA types doing approaches to Gatwick on Xmas day for charity - they may not have landed, just go arounds or touch and gos.

I did my QCC to Manston and it certainly felt like my 152 could have landed widthways!
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 08:32
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Not too many years ago the usual suspects would launch from Andrewsfield on Christmas morning and fly around the tower at Stansted just to wish the tower guys a merry Christmas. These days, even though most of the based aircraft are on the ground for Christmas day, there are lots of movements from Turkey and mainland Europe.....
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 15:59
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There was of course the Chipmunk that was discovered parked next to the fence many years ago. Apparently snuck in during the night.
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 18:45
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Yes, some did land on Christmas day. It happened in the late 80's when I worked there and was on shift. They were parked on the now defunct "Delta" stands. Don't know though which airfields they came from.
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 19:44
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Originally Posted by Flap40
There was of course the Chipmunk that was discovered parked next to the fence many years ago. Apparently snuck in during the night.
Yes, but that wasn't at (or near) christmas, so doesn't really count.
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Old 25th Dec 2019, 15:26
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Originally Posted by Oilhead
“This runway is very short.”

“Yes but at least it’s very wide.”



The taxiways are wide too, so much so that Dr Sheila Scott, departing on her round the world flight in Comanche G-ATOY in May and June 1966, (pre dating that planned by Carol somebody or other) took off from a taxiway by mistake!!

Last edited by chevvron; 25th Dec 2019 at 16:03.
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Old 11th Jan 2020, 14:30
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I recall that back in the early 1990's there was a BA maintenance engineer/ PPL who rebuilt an old Piper Cub (?) in the corner of the TBA north pen. When it was eventually finished he got permission to fly it out of LHR, had to have a BA pilot go with him though.
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Old 11th Jan 2020, 15:33
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I recall that Stephen Grey's first P-51D was resprayed as "Moose" by BA at Heathrow around 1981.
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