Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

Rendlesham: Spitfire is pulled out of village show in row over flights at Bentwaters

PUBLISHED: 18:14 16 June 2014 | UPDATED: 11:44 20 June 2014

Carolyn Grace, pilot of the Grace Spitfire which flies from Bentwaters air field.

Carolyn Grace, pilot of the Grace Spitfire which flies from Bentwaters air field.

Archant

Organisers of a village show have been left disappointed after its top attraction – a display by an historic wartime plane – pulled out because of opposition to flying at the old Bentwaters air base.

Carolyn Grace talking to pupils from Rendlesham Primary School during a trip to the airfield at Bentwaters to see the Grace Spitfire. Carolyn Grace talking to pupils from Rendlesham Primary School during a trip to the airfield at Bentwaters to see the Grace Spitfire.

Pilot Carolyn Grace, whose company Air Leasing Ltd operates the Grace Spitfire ML407, said her withdrawal from the Rendlesham Show was “a direct result” of the activities of the Bentwaters Campaign Group.

Mrs Grace was due to open the show and perform an aerial display over open ground beside Jubilee Park on Saturday afternoon in the Spitfire, which was the first aircraft to shoot down an enemy plane during D-Day.

However, since Bentwaters Parks applied for approval for a blueprint for the future use of the 380-hectare former USAF base, there has been uproar over a perceived increase in flying from the site with claims that the aim is to create a civil airport.

The site owners are seeking permission for 960 air movements a year – less than two planes landing and taking off each day.

They say the purpose of this is to regularise the flying which currently takes place by a small number of heritage aircraft, including the Grace Spitfire, and occasional business flights. Mrs Grace, who learned to fly the Spitfire ML407 in 1990 after the death of her husband Nick in 1988, and who restored the Second World War fighter, said she was saddened to make the decision not to take part in the show.

It was “as a direct result” of the combined activities against Air Leasing Ltd by the Bentwaters Campaign Group and others.

She said “I despair that so few can have such an adverse effect on so many.”

The Spitfire could not survive without the infrastructure of Air Leasing and the continuation of its aviation workshop at Bentwaters, which pays for the annual maintenance of the Spitfire and enables it to carry on flying.

She said: “Without Air Leasing, it’s like having the ingredients for a cake but with no oven.

“The cost of maintaining the Spitfire is huge – for example £120,000 for an engine overhaul, which has to be done every 500 flying hours.”

Rendlesham parish clerk, Heather Heelis said: “Whilst it is sad that the Spitfire won’t be flying at the Rendlesham Show on June 21, we support and respect Carolyn Grace in her decision and will continue to support the wonderful work that she does keeping our heritage alive and flying.”

Roz Hazelton, the landlady of the Green Man pub in Tunstall, said: “Everybody is saying how ridiculous it is and moods are running very high.

“There are a few people who are being very noisy and saying all of these negative things and yet most people are not bothered.

“Most people who live here love the Spitfire, the moment it flies past, everyone leaves the pub to go outside and look at it – they’re not sticking their fingers in their ears and complaining about the noise.”

No-one from Bentwaters Campaign Group was available for comment, though the group has said it is not opposed to the Spitfire flying from Bentwaters.

It said: “It is appropriate that this iconic aircraft should continue to fly from there.

“But under regulations covering deferred development rights, flying (or other activities) are allowed from Bentwaters 28 days a year.

“Based on the number of times the Spitfire has flown in recent seasons, this would seem entirely adequate for this heritage need.”


For an update on this story, click here

A baby born with a rare disease that causes such severe muscle weakness that even breathing, eating and swallowing become difficult for her has received support from a Suffolk charity.

Families in Ipswich needn’t have ventured far to hit the beach as a sandy retreat began its summer-long stint in Christchurch Park.

Libraries face a challenging future under Brexit – but determined Suffolk communities will put up a fight to help them survive.

This morning’s dark clouds have dispersed and allowed for a glorious day of sunshine for one of the biggest events on the Jimmy’s Farm calendar: Jimmy’s Festival.

A man accused of brandishing a fake gun in Ipswich has been detained to appear at crown court next month.

Regional housebuilder Persimmon Homes celebrates its apprenticeships programme.

A petition has been launched to continue the landfill search for missing Corrie McKeague following the news that it has been called off.

Ipswich Town fans have shown their disgust for a billboard in the town showing off Norwich City’s new home kit - by attempting to tear it down.

A person has been taken to hospital after an incident in Christchurch Park in Ipswich this morning.

A Bramford motorcyclist who has admitted causing the death of his pillion passenger through dangerous driving by having a defective rear tyre has been warned he could be jailed.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24