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Low Flying Aircraft

Volume 411: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1945

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25.

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will have inquiries made about machines flying low over in habited areas; and whether there is a stated height to which machines shall not come below unless under special circum stances.

Careful inquiries are always made in order to identify aircraft which disobey the orders in force against unauthorised low flying. Members of the public often give valuable assistance by reporting the identification marks of low flying aircraft to the authorities. All aircraft are required to maintain a height of not less than 2,000 ft., except, of course, when taking off or landing, or when weather conditions would make this unsafe, or when flying in certain areas which have been selected for low flying training. When over towns and thickly inhabited areas, aircraft are required to fly at a height which would enable them to glide clear in case of engine trouble. The hon. Member will, however, appreciate that conditions in this island often make it necessary to fly below the normal stated heights.

I thank the right hon. Member for his reply, and would like to ask him whether he is aware that when I was recently in Blackpool aeroplanes were flying low over the town—much too low to give a feeling of safety—and I thought a warning ought to go forth?

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will make representations to the American Air Force because I think some of these machines are American aircraft? Could he not make friendly representations?

The American authorities have been most co-operative and have taken very stern disciplinary measures parallel to our own.

Will the right hon. Gentleman issue further instructions on this matter, as this is a common practice all over the country and is really abominable?

Yes, Sir, the attention of all Air Force Commands was recently drawn to the order in force against unauthorised low flying and that has been specially emphasised lately, but I would re-emphasise the fact, which I am sure those who have had flying experience will know, that there are many days in the climate of this island when you must fly lower than 2,000 feet.

Will the Minister state shortly what the deterrent is? What happens to pilots who disobey the rule?

Very strong disciplinary measures have been taken, and I regret to say that even in my short period of office, it has been my duty to approve of sentences of dismissal from the Service for this offence.

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware of the disturbance to rest caused by aeroplanes which fly constantly over Bristol at low altitudes throughout the day and night; and whether he will take steps to abate this nuisance.

This matter has been brought to my notice. The following steps have been taken: pilots who regularly fly near Bristol are specially warned to avoid the town; appropriate arrangements have been made for the observation and reporting of offenders; and in addition, the attention of all Royal Air Force Commands has recently been specially drawn to the orders in force against unauthorised low flying.