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Civil Aviation

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 5 March 1952

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Alcock And Brown Memorial


asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if he will place a drawing or model of the proposed memorial to Alcock and Brown in the Library before he finally gives sanction for the erection of the memorial at London Airport.

As hon. Members are probably aware, the Royal Aero Club are sponsoring a public appeal for funds to provide a memorial to Alcock and Brown, which will be sited in the central terminal area at London Airport. Mr. William McMillan, R.A., has been asked to prepare a design and he will work in co-operation with Mr. Frederick Gibberd, the architect of the Airport, to ensure that the memorial is in keeping with its surroundings.

The Royal Aero Club intend to publish a photograph of the completed model when appealing for funds, and if it is the wish of the House I will certainly arrange for a copy of the photograph to be placed in the Library.

Does not my hon. Friend agree that this is quite the wrong location for this memorial, which should be in Whitehall where the Duke of Cambridge's statue is at present? This is a hopelessly wrong place.

A lot of consideration was given to this question. I should not like to add to what I said in my reply.

Manchester—London Service


asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if he is now able to announce details of the proposed Manchester to London air service.

British European Airways will introduce a daily return service on 20th April.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether it is intended to do as much for Liverpool?



asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if economic helicopters are now available; and if he will provide a service between London and the West Riding.

No, Sir. Some years of research and development work are required before an economic helicopter becomes available. A service between London and the West Riding operated with the helicopters now available for passenger carriage would not contribute to that development programme.

Is the Minister aware that in this respect the West Riding has always been a neglected area?

As it is becoming increasingly obvious that, both for military and civil purposes, helicopters tend to be the machines of the future, will the Minister see whether he can arrange with his colleague in the Air Ministry for more research into these matters and for the development to be speeded up?

A lot of work is proceeding on helicopters and we are all most anxious to see them develop as quickly as possible.

If it is necessary to develop twin-engined helicopters before progress can be made, can the Minister say what steps are being taken?

The present rules are that single-engined helicopters cannot fly over built-up areas. That is a necessary safety rule. A British designed twin-engined helicopter has flown, but it will be some time before it goes into active use.

Flying Boats


asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if his attention has been drawn to the tenth Brancker Memorial lecture given on 11th February, 1952, which deplored the declining use of flying boats; and if he will make a statement on the future use of flying boats in this country.

Yes, Sir. The Airways Corporations' future plans are based wholly on landplane operations, but two private companies registered in this country have acquired some of the flying boats formerly operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation.

Is my hon. Friend aware that in many parts of the world, notably in the British Empire—for example, on the west coast of Canada—the coast line is particularly well suited to the operation of flying boats, though it is most unsuited to the preparation of landing grounds? Will my right hon. Friend bear that in mind?

Does the Minister appreciate that Britain leads preeminently in the science of building flying boats and that it would be a great tragedy if this country were to lose the art and prestige of doing so? Will he encourage the Department to see that use is made of flying boats?

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that some decisions were made on this question in the days of the last Government. I am examining those decisions very carefully indeed, because it is open to argument whether they were right.

Airport Trading Accounts


asked the Minister of Civil Aviation when he intends publishing the trading accounts covering the administration of British airports.

With the agreement of the Committee of Public Accounts of this House, the preparation and publication of trading accounts for the Ministry's aerodrome services has been suspended.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the whole question of airfields in this country needs reviewing and that some of the surfaces are not being kept in condition? Will he look at the matter again, because these airfields ought to be run on a proper business basis?

Statements of running costs supplemented by statements of capital expenditure are being prepared in respect of each aerodrome operated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The statements will be available to the Committee of Public Accounts and to the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Would it not be advisable to publish these accounts before imposing a charge on passengers landing and embarking at these airports?

Islands Of Scotland


asked the Minister of Civil Aviation what aircraft are being developed for service between the Islands of Scotland.

No aircraft is being developed specifically for service between the Islands of Scotland.

Why is this not being done? Will the Minister consider developing an aircraft to succeed the Rapide? Also, will he press on with the question of helicopters which are most necessary for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and would not be entirely useless in the Firth of Clyde?

I do not think that it would be possible to develop a plane specifically for the Islands of Scotland. Clearly, planes should be developed which are suitable there and elsewhere. I am aware of the importance of helicopters to Scotland as well as other places.

Will the Minister bear in mind that the Rapides are rapidly wearing out without replacements or spare parts being available, and is he aware that the strong recommendation of the Scottish Advisory Council is that a number of Heron aircraft should be made available as soon as is humanly possible, otherwise there will be a complete failure in the Islands service?

Several types of aircraft are now being developed and one or more may prove to be suitable for these services.

South Wales


asked the Minister of Civil Aviation upon what date services will be allowed to operate from the airport at Rhoose, South Wales; what services are to be operated; and whether he can give any information which will encourage civil aviation services in South Wales.

Aer Lingus propose to start operating a scheduled passenger service between Dublin and Rhoose on 10th June, 1952, and the necessary arrangements are now being made at Rhoose. If this service is successful Rhoose will probably be developed as the future airport for Cardiff and South Wales. Steps have already been taken to assist Cambrian Air Services Limited to establish an economic network of services, from and to South Wales, and any further proposals for development will be carefully considered.