Wycombe Air Park

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Wycombe Air Park/Booker Airfield
IATA: noneICAO: EGTB
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner Wycombe District Council
Operator Airways Aero Association Ltd
Serves High Wycombe and Marlow
Location High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
Elevation AMSL 520 ft / 158 m
Coordinates 51°36′42″N 000°48′30″W / 51.61167°N 0.80833°W / 51.61167; -0.80833Coordinates: 51°36′42″N 000°48′30″W / 51.61167°N 0.80833°W / 51.61167; -0.80833
Website www.wycombeairpark.co.uk
Map
EGTB is located in Buckinghamshire
EGTB
EGTB
Location in Buckinghamshire
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 735 2,411 Asphalt
06G/24G 610 2,001 Grass
35 695 2,280 Grass
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]

Wycombe Air Park, also known as Booker Airfield (ICAO: EGTB), is an operational general aviation aerodrome located in Booker, Buckinghamshire, 2.4 nautical miles (4.4 km; 2.8 mi) south-west of High Wycombe, England.

Wycombe Air Park (Booker Airport) has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P523) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Airways Aero Associations Limited).[2]

It has over 90,000 movements per annum, many of which are training circuits over the local area. The films 'Those Magnificent men in their flying machines', along 'Aces High' were filmed here.

Use of the aerodrome[edit]

The lease on the aerodrome is held by Airways Aero Associations, who run the Airways Flying Club from the airfield.[3] They provide Air Traffic Control, Firefighting and other services to all the park users. The shareholding of AAA Ltd was sold in early 2014 to Heli Air, gazumping a consortium of businesses on the Air Park (of which Heli Air was actually a member). Heli Air has made a Court application for an extension to the expired lease (a maximum of 15 years) after failing to win Wycombe District Council's agreement to a new lease.

Fixed Based Operators[edit]

Wycombe Air Park is home to a number of FBOs, providing flight training, aircraft maintenance and servicing, and pilot medical examination.

Flight training organisations: Booker Gliding Club, Airways Flying Club, Light Sport Flying Club and School, Helicopter Services and Heli Air.[4]

Engineering and avionics: Airways Aero Associations Engineering, Air Training Services, Wycombe Air Centre Engineering, Personal Plane Services, and Heli Air.

Future of the aerodrome[edit]

The Air Park site is owned by Wycombe District Council, who had leased it to AAA for aviation use until September 2014. With the expiry of the lease and the failure of Heli Air to secure a new agreement with Wycombe District Council, speculation has increased concerning the future of the site. The Council are thought to be seeking an increase in the basic rent payable (currently £175k pa). With the Air Park losing money persistently, due to its losses on training activities, Heli Air has been seeking a rent reduction (to well under £100k pa). However that would result in an unacceptable return for the Council on one of its major property assets. However, the then Wycombe Rural District Council, acquired the land from the Air Ministry at a heavily discounted price and by private treaty, with view the site being continued as an airfield. The main intention agreed by both parties, was for the ""continued use of the airfield for flying would make a substantial contribution to the solution of a public problem i.e. that of providing adequate facilities for private and business flyers to the west of London", this sale would lock-out speculators and property developers from the sale. Further housing has been discounted from the site.

The Council is thought to be in favour of expanding the use of the site as a business facility rather than as a flying location. Recreational and leisure flying (such as gliding) would potentially remain, along with use of the airstrip by the engineering and maintenance businesses at the site, but flight training activities could be substantially reduced or halted. Potentially this could address the long-running environmental issues with the airfield and its flying over the Chilterns AONB, though most of those now living near to the airfield would have moved there knowing full well an active airfield was nearby. At a recent JCC meeting, it was observed that the Air Park management had implemented nearly all noise reduction measures that were recommended during previous meeting.

Regulation and environment[edit]

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has suggested that it is minded to specify the Air Park under Section 5 of the Civil Aviation Act, unless a local solution can be achieved through the renegotiation of the lease.[5] This follows an application made to the Secretary of State for Transport in 2009.[6] If the Air Park is specified, the British Civil Aviation Authority will play a more direct role in regulating the environmental impact of air traffic at Wycombe Air Park. The DfT's consideration of a Section 5 order is in response to continuing complaints about noise from training aircraft based at the airfield. Wycombe District Council supported the request for the Section 5 order.[7]

An earlier request for a section 5 order was made by Wycombe District Council in 1988, but was turned down in favour of an expert Inquiry to identify ways in which the Air Park could improve. The whole process including the decision not to specify and the subsequent inquiry ran from 1988–1990, and resulted in the O'Connor report in 1991.

References[edit]

External links[edit]