84 Sqn ATC Crest

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ops Normal - Though without the background noise.

As I'm sure everyone will have heard, as it has been splashed across the news, Coventry Airport closed yesterday at 10am. I was about to taxy-out at 0955hrs when the message from Air Traffic Control came through: "Be advised that I have just been informed that the aerodrome will be closing at 10 o'clock - I have no further details".

And that was the most notice any of the operators based here had.

Following two aircraft in the queue to depart in front of us, my crewman and I in Reims-Cessna F406 'G-LEAF' were cleared to take-off with seconds to spare. We were the last aircraft to depart 'Coventry Airport' - at least while it was a licensed airfield and under Air Traffic Control.

Fortunately, later in the afternoon the Civil Aviation Authority granted permission for other aircraft stranded on the ground to depart. Those who saw it described the hour-long slot as 'an Exodus'.

So what of our Squadron?

We shall continue as normal! When we say that the 'Airport' is 'Closed', we're just talking about the air-side operations (Air Traffic, Fire, refuellers, handling) and the airport operator's business. The site itself has many other businesses based there that, like us, still need access to their offices - even if their aircraft are scatted across the midlands.

For now, the gates remain open. However, security has been tightened to deter the nosy and the criminal from thinking that they have free-access to the site. For that reason, only authorised people will be allowed on site. For our purposes, a car with a cadet carrying a F3822 and stating that they are going to the Squadron will be sufficient. In order for parents to be able to gain access to pick up their children at the end of the parade, we shall provide an 'authorised access' list of parents' names to the Guard Room. Everyone MUST carry ID (eg driving license). If the person picking up the cadet is not the Next of Kin (as held on our records), then the cadet must inform the office at the beginning of the night of who shall be picking them up.