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Create your own airfield

Building on "Permissions to use local authority land as runways?" post;

What are peoples' experiences of setting up 28-day-rule airfields on land they own or rent? a) In the UK b) In France

EuropaBoy
EGBW

UK - Plan well ahead, start with these three, ensuring each is nailed down before moving on:

  1. Support every village organisation, time works better than money.

  2. Join Parish Council.

  3. Speak to all neighbours and their neighbours. They will be assuming it’s going to replace Heathrow.

Norman
United Kingdom

Anyone achieved this in France?

EuropaBoy
EGBW

What sort of facility are you trying to set up?

A discrete grass strip for an ultralight with a 50m takeoff run, a 1500m x 25m tarmac runway with an ILS, or something in between?

France does not have the UK's "28 day" concession.

For the UK:

You don't need a permission to operate within the 28-day scheme. That "facility" is implicit.

The issue (for most operators) is that being able to fly on just 28 days per year is next to useless, so the name of the game is to exceed this, preferably by a substantial factor, while keeping the neighbours happy, and while keeping a log of the actual movements.

Then, after 10 years have elapsed, you can go to the Council and apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use (I hope I got the terminology right, and the 10 years might vary too) for the actual movements, and if you get it, that is similar to a full planning permission.

So, you have to somehow get through the 10 years, while keeping complaints down to a level at which no enforcement action is taken against you, and that is I think what Normal is referring to.

The objective is to keep "neighbour-detected" movements (there is usually some busybody who sits behind their net curtain and keeps a log) down to a level which appears to be within the 28-day concession. And you have to keep this up for 10 years...

The alternative approach is to go for a full planning application at the outset. In the UK, almost nobody has done this, but it doesn't mean it is a bad approach. IMHO, it is rare mainly because few people want to pay what it costs. Most people don't mind spending £300k (or whatever) on a plane but they won't spend a fraction of that on somewhere to keep it.

Some years ago, I consulted with a very competent (and I mean very competent - he later did a fantastic job for us on a house extension, expertly guiding it through the charade of local politics) planning consultant, and his view was that it is possible but it would cost about £100k to have a proper go at it. A lot of this would be expertly conducted noise measurements (with actual aircraft doing test landings and takeoffs), and some £20k spent on a barrister to present the (always assumed inevitable) appeal hearing.

Then, having got the planning, you are looking at a few hundred k to build a hard runway which is just strong enough for a light piston twin. Or some £100k for the "covert" green plastic reinforcement mats which are quite popular for this job

France? No idea, but you need to expand on your requirements and then somebody might know something....

My guess is that France would be easier than the UK, because there is a number of air parks there, whereas AFAIK every attempt to get planning permission for an air park in the UK has failed.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter,

Great answer, thanks.

500m grass is adequate for my Europa even at MTOW (book says 200m).

Given the considerable NIMBY factor, my strategy was to consider renting a farmers field and with their consent and within the 28-day rules, use it as an airfield - location away from built up areas probably very important.

As a second issue, I have a school playing field on the boundary of my current house - which with a fair wind and some careful PR, might enable me to fly it home in the winter and out again after maintenance in the spring on the 28-day rule (its an LAA kitplane of course). but getting local authorities to consent to its occasional use as an airfield maybe a pipedream

I appreciate both ideas are at best naively hopeful, but the Q was to tease out anyone else's experiences . . .

Europaboy

EuropaBoy
EGBW

If you can find a farmer who lets you do it, and lets you keep the plane in a barn (where he also has to park some farm machinery, so that parking the plane there does not constitute a "change of use" ) and you can keep the movements down to an apparently low level, then it should work fine.

The UK is relatively full of 400-500m patches of grass. Much above that, say 800m, is much rarer.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

In Surrey & West Sussex since 1975 I've started up at three different farm fields & operated a Jodel sized light a/c happily. At none did I ask anyone other than the land owner, and keeping the plane in a home built 'shed' was not problem either. (Though technically, as mentioned above it, represents per se, over 365 days a change of use.)

At the most recent strip with care I've now 25 years logged use all without treading on neighbours' toes. I certainly have no intention of seeking Planning Permission. By Common Law I already have established legal use and have no wish to find some arbitrary restriction on use, movement numbers, times of day or 'not on week-ends' is imposed by the local Council.

mike hallam.

Mike,

Very interested to hear it can be done!

Could you elaborate a bit on the kind of location factors you have found worked and the approximate costs of land 'hire'?

Europaboy

EuropaBoy
EGBW

The main thing each time was to find any field with length and no wires, none involved flying right over any residences. Then to find and chat up the owner, all three were farmers and it engaged their interest to help me conduct a fairly non invasive activity. All three were free, or for the cost of a feww Christmas cheer bottles & dropping by to give them something else to talk about outside farming, sometimes doing small odd jobs with the farm equipment.

Building a shelter was also easy as all fields seem to have a quiet corner or edge under the trees that can be spared. In that time I've built myself 7 tee or rectangular 'sheds' from timber/steel and cladding - with lockable doors - all for very modest sums.

The last farmer eventually sold me the field so it continues to be 'free' if you ignore the lost opportunity for the capital. You'll need to buy a grass cutter and motive power, a heavy roller, chain harrow and find someone to cut and take the hay from the rest of the field. That works very well and personally those tractor jobs etc. are all part of the pleasure of working outside in the fresh air.

mike hallam

Norman 05-Nov-12 14:19 #02 UK - Plan well ahead, start with these three, ensuring each is nailed down before moving on:

Support every village organisation, time works better than money.

Join Parish Council.

Speak to all neighbours and their neighbours. They will be assuming it’s going to replace Heathrow.>>

500m by 60m grass

  1. I have been on the village committee for years
  2. Me and the parish minister are drinking buddies (wine of course, not lager like the slack jawed yocals)
  3. Have known all the neighbours since I was a kid and the terms of our friendship are such that i can tell them to piss off and get their own hobby when they hassle me for a ride in the plane.

I kid you not

Farm strip in Angus Scotland
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