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Lack of airfields

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Lack of airfields

Old 31st Oct 2017, 09:32
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Lack of airfields

Have you noticed a large increase in military aircraft (mainly Helos) using small civilian airfields for fuel top up. Obviously due to the fact that we have just a handful of military airfields now in existence. Of course closing airfields saves HMG shed loads of loot, but I bet the cilvil servants did not take into account the commercial cost of using civil airfields. On Friday I was flying from Staverton and had to hold off whilst an Atlas made an approach. I know how much the MOD was charged for that approach; rather a lot! I suppose with all our assets in one basket, heavy AT from Brize will have to seek approaches elsewhere. When I instructed on VC10s we sometimes popped over to Lyneham for circuits. Now, not only is Lyneham closed, but all its Hercs are at Brize. Still, the increased trade for civil airfields is welcome news for their accounts, but it sure screws up the puddle-jump chaps. And just you try to do circuits at EGVN if you are a puddle-jumper!
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Old 31st Oct 2017, 19:06
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Alas even those in existence still often can't be as flexible as required to provide fuel \ services as required, particularly when operating at night or weekends. Almost invariably this is not through mil airfield's want of trying.

Limited resources show their hand frequently whether it be airfield opening hours (ATC capacity), VAS availability etc. One exception to a helpful approach, however, is my personal favourite "we only refuel the reds".

On the plus side, many civvi places are keen to offer up a bacon sandwich to the crew, so it isn't all bad news!
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Old 31st Oct 2017, 19:28
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Ah, the happy days of MEDAs
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Old 31st Oct 2017, 20:03
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I'm sure you are right about the additional cost of using civilian airfields not being accounted for when costing base closures, even if it is cheaper than keeping unnecessary bases open. And of course, there is good reason for training at civilian bases, both for airborne and ground procedures, especially for the truckie fleet, even when mil bases are available.

But it is even more ridiculous than that. How many times did we have to go to a civvy airfield because the military one would not accept - either because they were too 'full', or the groundcrew were not qualified. So you go to a civvy airfield where there are no groundcrew at all.

We used to park visiting army helos on the grass outside the sqn building because VASF would not accept them on the line. And how about them having to land outside the fence when the airfield is closed! Hmm - a farmer's field or a large piece of military land, let's risk assess that.
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Old 31st Oct 2017, 20:14
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I confess to having been involved in staffing the closure of MEDAs, and voting 'Yes' ... simply on the 'emergency' aspect being generally adequately covered by civil airfields.

The cost of operating a MEDA was significant in personnel terms. It required, back then, 5.25 ATCOs per position to provide H24 cover ... and a MEDA would require 2 positions [one Local and one Approach]. That's effectively 10 ATCOs to be paid for, even before you start on Assistants and the Ops and Engineering side. On normal day/evening shifts, you would need about 3 [=6].

And what did those MEDA staff do on their night shifts? Absolutely nothing. The out-of-hours use of MEDAs was microscopic.
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Old 31st Oct 2017, 21:30
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And they can't decide whether or not to close Woodvale.
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Old 31st Oct 2017, 21:38
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Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
I confess to having been involved in staffing the closure of MEDAs, and voting 'Yes' ... simply on the 'emergency' aspect being generally adequately covered by civil airfields.

The cost of operating a MEDA was significant in personnel terms. It required, back then, 5.25 ATCOs per position to provide H24 cover ... and a MEDA would require 2 positions [one Local and one Approach]. That's effectively 10 ATCOs to be paid for, even before you start on Assistants and the Ops and Engineering side. On normal day/evening shifts, you would need about 3 [=6].

And what did those MEDA staff do on their night shifts? Absolutely nothing. The out-of-hours use of MEDAs was microscopic.
.

And of course in those days the MEDAS were all 7/24 single Met Observer cover at 5.6 per position. And this "paid for" by MoD in a roundabout way. At least the observations were 7/24 for network reasons. Lots of mushrooms picked and fried, though.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 10:48
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These days Newquay (the airport formerly known as RAF St. Mawgan) is practically a satellite of Brize Norton, with the amount of circuit bashing that goes on there by the Hercules and Atlas squadrons.

Which is nice to see.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 18:48
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St Mawgan, didn't we used to have an RAF base there some years ago ?.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 20:56
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Originally Posted by zetec2 View Post
St Mawgan, didn't we used to have an RAF base there some years ago ?.
Nah you're thinking of Trebelzue.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 21:30
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RAF St Mawgan still exists as a support unit primarily parenting the Defence Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Extraction Training Organization.

https://www.raf.mod.uk/rafstmawgan/a...retraining.cfm


42 Sqn and 236 OCU [Nimrod MR2] moved to RAF Kinloss in 1992 (just after new Line accommodation had been built !).

The HQ STC (as was) Operational Training Branch's Deployed Operating Base (DOB) Training Facility / NATO TACEVAL DOB was moved to RAF Fairford end-2005 (disbanded in that form subsequently sometime after 2009).

1 Sqn RAF Regt moved to RAF Honington, 2625 RAuxAF Regt Sqn disbanded, and SAR helicopter maintenance ceased in 2006.

SAR Wg HQ and 203(R) Sqn [Sea King] relocated to RAF Valley in 2008.

US Joint Maritime Facility disbanded 2009 [role relocated to USA].

Control of airfield activities transferred to Newquay (International !!) Airport December 2008. Since renamed Cornwall Airport Newquay !

https://www.cornwallairportnewquay.com/
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 21:31
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Sharpend, Agree with you - an almost inevitable situation given that Wattisham is the most northerly military helicopter base in Britain...with that crown set to pass to Benson if current rumours come to pass!

The demise of the SAR Force certainly limited the options for the remaining mil RW units - some of the SAR Flts were very useful outposts of Avtur, delivered rotors-running if needed, in relatively remote areas. Boulmer had a steady stream of passing helicopters of every type, and I suspect Chiv was much the same; even somewhere like Leconfield could be useful because the other nearby mil airfields were mostly FW, and let's face it, both plankies and their ATC are terrified of helicopters!
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 08:40
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These days Newquay (the airport formerly known as RAF St. Mawgan) is practically a satellite of Brize Norton
....and a C17 observed in the circuit at Exeter whilst passing a few weeks ago.

At my local-ist airfield, Blackbushe, there have been some fairly regular recent (refuelling, I think) stops by Irish Air Corps helo's, when Odiham (which you would think more suitable) is a stone's throw away.
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 08:54
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the 'Bushe has a better cafe .................. and you get a chance to mix with potential future employers................
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 08:55
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Remember the old days when RRE Pershore was open all sorts of passing trade used it for approaches and rollers, Gnats, JP's in between Pershore's own fleet of Canberra's, Viscount, Hastings and project aircraft which included a Nimrod and a Gannet. Don't get me started on St Mawgan, ideal place for a Maritime fleet servicing the Atlantic
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 09:00
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Originally Posted by TorqueOfTheDevil View Post
Sharpend, Agree with you - an almost inevitable situation given that Wattisham is the most northerly military helicopter base in Britain...with that crown set to pass to Benson if current rumours come to pass!


Apart from Valley, Shawbury, Lakenheath.....
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 09:08
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Call me old fashioned, but should all this info about current military locations be in the public domain?? Thinking in particular of RAFEng07409 post...
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 09:25
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It’s pretty hard to hide an airfield and the aircraft flying in and out - and all unit closures and moves are widely debated in the local communit6 and press for months before.
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 09:50
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But it already is in the public domain. Not just local press, but spotters' groups, stations' own websites, Wikipedia, aviation press, etc. You can follow a lot of military aircraft on many of the commercial flight tracking sites as well as see which areas of military airfields house which squadrons on Google Earth. There are publications out there that will give you the location and parent unit of every UK military aircraft by serial number, when they moved from one unit to another, when they reissued following servicing, and so on. Much of it is a matter of public record in any case, and groups such as Air-Britain have never been known to feel the rhetorical hand of security on their shoulder. I suspect the info in RafEngO's post took a few minutes of surfing to compile.

And just to correct RafEngO, Newquay was originally branded as Newquay Cornwall Airport before its bizarre name change to Cornwall Airport Newquay. It never used 'International' as part of its name.
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 10:20
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and a lot of the information is blasted out by the PR wallahs in the RAF................
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