Wycombe Air Park
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|Wycombe Air Park/Booker Airfield|
|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|
Wycombe Air Park, also known as Booker Airfield (IATA: HYC, 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 celebrate its 50th year of opening on 25 April 2015. The airfield opened in 1941 as RAF Booker and was primarily involved in training during World War II, remaining a military establishment until 1965.
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).
Use of the aerodrome
The lease on the aerodrome is held by Airways Aero Associations, who run Booker Aviation from the airfield. 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.
Fixed Based Operators
Wycombe Air Park is home to a number of FBOs, providing flight training, aircraft maintenance and servicing, and pilot medical examination.
Engineering and avionics: Airways Aero Associations Engineering, Air Training Services, Personal Plane Services, and Heli Air.
Future of the aerodrome
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
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. This follows an application made to the Secretary of State for Transport in 2009. 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.
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.
- Wycombe Air Park/Booker - EGTB
- Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome Ordinary Licences Archived 28 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Booker Aviation". Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Flying Training Organisations". Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "AirportWatch - Theresa Villiers finds in favour of Wycombe Air Park Action Group to "specify" the airfield".
- "Campaigners ask government to take control of air traffic at Wycombe Air Park".
- "Updated: air park residents "not at fault" council says".