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Low Flying Aircraft, London

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 9 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Civil Aviation what circumstances have led to the recent marked increase in the number of large aircraft flying over the centre of London at low altitude, even at times when the wind was not along the east-west runway at Heath Row; and what is the identity and purpose of the De Havilland Rapide aircraft that frequently circles Westminster at about 1,000 feet.

I am unable to confirm the statements on which the Question is based. Generally speaking, there are fewer aircraft flying over the centre of London when the wind is in the east. If my hon. Friend cares to give me further information I shall be glad to investigate the matter.

Is my hon. Friend aware that this morning at 9.45 a Viking crossed over this House at about 2,000 feet going south-easterly, another one at 9.55, another one at 10.15, a D.C.6 at 10.25, a Viking at 10.40 going south-west and another Viking going south-east at 11 o'clock? If these were over Westminster, is not this the longest possible transit of London, for it entails about 40 miles of flying over built-up areas, and is not every one of these transits adding to the risk of another accident like the ones New York has had?

My hon. Friend's very interesting observations will certainly be noted with care and will be examined.