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One of the UK’s most historic and iconic airfields, and one of its most popular, is facing an uncertain period as plans for Heathrow’s third runway evolve – and could lead to airliners at 1,700 feel overhead, effectively making continuation of GA at White Waltham untenable.

Visiting the Heathrow consultation website (https://afo.heathrowconsultation.com) and entering the postcode for White Waltham Airfield (SL6 3NJ) leads to a seven-page questionnaire, with an interactive map. Entering the postcode again generates a list of design envelopes and a map of the local area with different coloured bands, with the airfield shown by a pin.

AOPA UK’s Nick Wilcock suggests the category of most concern to White Waltham is “A7”, an arrival envelope for the expanded (third runway) which indicates that aircraft arriving on the proposed northern runway would be at between 1,700 and 3,000 feet overhead White Waltham.

“LHR traffic at that height would make it impossible for operations to continue at this busy, highly popular and historic aerodrome, the last remaining licensed aerodrome in Berkshire and would likely force the closure of the airfield,” says Wilcock.
Anyone with an interest is safeguarding White Waltham’s future should consider commenting no later than the consultation deadline of 4th March 2019.

You can do this in your answer to Question 6, “What sites or local factors should we be aware of in your area (or other area of interest to you), when designing flight paths for an expanded three-runway Heathrow?”
“My personal view is that arrival restrictions should be imposed on easterly arrivals to the proposed new northern runway,” says Wilcock. He adds that his comment in Q6 was as follows:

“If easterly arrivals to the proposed new runway cannot remain within current LTMA and London CTR airspace, then they shall not be permitted during the published operational hours of White Waltham aerodrome.”
Wilcock suggests this proposal “shouldn’t be particularly restrictive for [Heathrow] during daytime unless there is a strong easterly wind,” if the airport continues its westerly preference policy. It can then switch during hours when White Waltham is closed.

Ian Sheppard

Ian Sheppard is an aviation journalist and pilot based at Redhill Aerodrome, near London Gatwick Airport. Ian graduated in aeronautical engineering from the University of Bath in 1992, and after postgraduate studies in avionics and flight dynamics at Cranfield, worked for the Royal Aeronautical Society in the 90s. He has been a reporter for Flight International and Aviation International News, where he is currently Senior Editor - International, and News Editor for GA Buyer Europe magazine. Before that he edited AOPA UK's magazine, the ERA magazine and African Aerospace. Ian worked for Airclaims, 2000-4, before gaining legal qualifications, but decided to continue in aviation media rather than become a lawyer. He has a CPL and FI having originally learned to fly in 1991.
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