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Cranfield - Weekend Closures

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Cranfield - Weekend Closures

Old 26th Sep 2018, 12:52
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Cranfield - Weekend Closures

Since I haven't seen this crop up in any other thread -

Those with an interest in Cranfield may care to know that with effect from October 20th this year, the airfield will once again be closed every weekend. The closure period is said to last until "at least the end of the year".

The closures, so far as they have been communicated, appear to relate to ATC running out of the necessary duty hours as they engage in the additional training necessary to operate the soon-to-be commissioned digital control tower.
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Old 17th Feb 2019, 10:50
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When will it end ??

Currently notamíed (closed weekends) through to 24th feb. Anyone have a view if this will be the end of it ? We have relocated aircraft to Turweston to allow syndicate to fly at weekends (which, of course, is when all the demand is), but itís a fair trek away for those of us living to the east of Cranfield. Itís almost as if they donít want GA there !!
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Old 18th Feb 2019, 14:36
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I was there at the end of last week. Local rumour, for what that's worth is that this is increasingly looking like a longer term if not permanent position. The controllers are said still not to be fully trained over onto the new tower, which was said to be the reason for the closure. It is also rumoured that:

1) The lovely new tower can't provide a view into the overhead, creating operational issues; and

2) To meet safety requirements, it is going to be necessary to retain a controller in the 'old' tower - just in case of comms loss to the new system.

These rumours are entirely unsubstantiated but they are commonly cited. If they are untrue, I'm sure they'll be corrected by the airport's administration.
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Old 18th Feb 2019, 16:24
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Can someone explain why it is necessary to close because there is no one in the tower?

Here, across the pond, when a tower is closed, we just use the CTAF and get on with operations, often more efficiently than when the tower is open!
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Old 18th Feb 2019, 21:13
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Originally Posted by India Four Two View Post
Can someone explain why it is necessary to close because there is no one in the tower?

Here, across the pond, when a tower is closed, we just use the CTAF and get on with operations, often more efficiently than when the tower is open!
The same thing happens at airfields in the UK too...

Cranfield have a tendency to opt for closure where others would allow CTAF-style operations. Cranfield bases its decision in this regard, so it says, on the enormous insurance risk posed by aircraft operating out of hours. Cambridge, on the other hand, on a site covered in high-value military hardware, are apparently able to operate out of hours without undue difficulty.

Draw your own conclusions...
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Old 19th Feb 2019, 14:42
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Sounds like a "wait and see" ... fully expecting the current Notam to be extended though. Have to keep driving to Turweston i guess ... on the bright side, the cafe is great !!

In what crazy world would someone design a tower that can't see into the overhead !!
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Old 19th Feb 2019, 15:16
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Last I heard Cambridge require 24H PPR ...... so not very useful out of hours or not.
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Old 19th Feb 2019, 15:25
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Crossed wire I think. Cambridge doesn’t require 24 hours PPR. Out of hours permits are restricted to based aircraft though, and pilots need to meet certain requirements, as well as insurance minima.

Cranfield does require considerable PPR, even when they are open, and offers no options at all at weekends.
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Old 19th Feb 2019, 15:50
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That's great news if Cambridge no longer requires 24H PPR .... are you sure? my 2019 Pooleys still says 24H needed, makes it moderately useless as an airfield.

Correction: I've just rung them. Apparently officially you do need the 24H but if it's just a VFR arrival it's ok if you ring them before you depart. Better .... but still a bit daft IMHO.
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Old 19th Feb 2019, 16:32
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Originally Posted by Romeo Tango View Post
That's great news if Cambridge no longer requires 24H PPR .... are you sure? my 2019 Pooleys still says 24H needed, makes it moderately useless as an airfield.

Correction: I've just rung them. Apparently officially you do need the 24H but if it's just a VFR arrival it's ok if you ring them before you depart. Better .... but still a bit daft IMHO.

Yes. We may have been at cross-purposes. In relation to OOH operations, notice is required, but not 24 hours. But such ops are reserved for qualifying residents.

For visits, on normal open days PPR is required (notionally 24 hours), but there is a lot of flexibility around that unless you are after something unusual..

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Old 20th Feb 2019, 01:13
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Originally Posted by deanturley View Post
Sounds like a "wait and see" ... fully expecting the current Notam to be extended though. Have to keep driving to Turweston i guess ... on the bright side, the cafe is great !!

In what crazy world would someone design a tower that can't see into the overhead !!
It's what you get when you opt to instal a 'virtual' remote tower.

Originally Posted by 2Donkeys View Post
The same thing happens at airfields in the UK too...

Cranfield have a tendency to opt for closure where others would allow CTAF-style operations. Cranfield bases its decision in this regard, so it says, on the enormous insurance risk posed by aircraft operating out of hours. Cambridge, on the other hand, on a site covered in high-value military hardware, are apparently able to operate out of hours without undue difficulty.

Draw your own conclusions...
Back in the '60s, possibly later, Cranfield were always A/G at weekends; nobody in the tower, just make all calls as standard.
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Old 20th Feb 2019, 07:30
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Back in the '60s, possibly later, Cranfield were always A/G at weekends; nobody in the tower, just make all calls as standard.
Indeed. It was common practice if ATC were unavailable, right up to the mid 2000s for out of hours ops to take place on a Air to Air basis subject to the relatively straightforward terms of an out of hour permit.

The change of approach appears strongly correlated with changes in management.
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Old 20th Feb 2019, 14:44
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Just to be clear the "new tower" is virtual - so reliant on camera feed into a remote "office".

I suspect GA makes up a small proportion of income at the airfield now- tents Avalon, IAE and Cranfield Aerospace ( University owned but a separate company) more.
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