THE ‘SAVE The Coventry Airport’ Fly-In held on Saturday has been hailed a great success after pilots from up and down the country defied atrocious weather to land their planes and show how important the venue was.
Allies of the airport showed their support in a handful of light aircraft.
Among them was aviation journalist Charlotte Bailey who arrived in a Vans RV-7.
She said: “Coventry airfield is a vital asset to both the aviation enthusiast and the wider community, so I believe it’s absolutely essential this national asset is preserved.”
Alongside tours of the ‘static’ aircraft on site (led by the Nimrod and Shackleton preservation groups), the airfield’s resident Vampire jet – the last airworthy ex-RAF example worldwide – successfully took to the skies, much to the delight of the ITV News crew onsite.
Elsewhere, the ‘Flight Simulator Experience’ – with its warplane and airline sims – allowed many more an ‘airborne experience’ the weather precluded.
Back in the warm, Coventry Aero Club – the site’s oldest tenants, established in 1932 – hosted a bustling reception in their club building.
Member David Viewing said: “This is the busiest I’ve seen it in my two years.
“Ironic, then, that the leader of the Rigby Group himself allegedly learned to fly at this very location – an organisation who, as chairperson Claire Leadbetter explained, are currently ‘booming’ with flight training business.”
Organiser Steve Clark (director of Aerotech Maintenance Ltd) believed the event was a great success, and all involved have watched with interest to see the Civil Aviation Authority themselves submit an objection to the planning proposals.
He said: “Closing Coventry Airport does nothing to support the aims and objectives of the NPPF in recognising the importance of our GA network of airfields.
“It would undermine DFT objectives of promoting and boosting the viability of UK General aviation.”
Plans submitted in July have earmarked the airport as the preferred location for the 4.5million sq ft gigafactory which would build electric car batteries – endorsed by the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Those behind the plans, including Coventry City Council, Coventry Airport Ltd and the West Midlands Combined Authority, claim the gigafactory is needed to meet the demand of batteries for EV cars and other uses as the nation switches from regular fuel vehicles to forms of transport considered more environmentally friendly.
And they say it would create 6,000 jobs and be powered using 100 per cent green energy through solar, wind and grid supplied renewable power.