Plane crazy!

SUFFOLK: What a beautiful, clear blue sky – and it’s all because of a lack of jet planes.

The volcanic ash may be causing chaos for stranded travellers but there has been an upside to Britain’s airports being closed and hundreds of aircraft grounded for days.

It’s been the perfect the opportunity to enjoy silence in our skies and – thanks in part to some wonderful spring weather – to experience what a blue sky really looks like.

Although the fine particles of ash are way up there somewhere, it’s been amazing to see a sky without contrails.

Not all planes leave contrails, but those that do can turn a blue sky to cloudy in just a matter of hours.

The thin trails behind some jets in certain weather conditions can often vanish in just minutes, but at other times they fan out, up to four miles across into high-level cloud.

When the trails merge it can spectacularly blot out the sun – usually on the nicest days – or leave a milky high mistiness all day.

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Research by Dundee University scientists has produced satellite photos which show how the whole country can go from blue sky to grey in a few hours after the airports’ peak times.

One delighted Ipswich resident, Peter Miller said he had really noticed a difference in the skies over the town.

“I had no idea what effect flights had on the tranquillity of Ipswich until today,” he said.

“My garden seems amazingly quiet and the sky is clearer than I have ever seen it in five years I have lived here.

“I would urge people to experience what it is like now because we don’t get this opportunity very often and then see what it is like when the planes return.

“I know we don’t have the problems which people living near Stansted and Heathrow suffer, but the grounding of the planes has certainly made a real difference here.

“I can’t help noticing that most of the people complaining about being stuck at airports didn’t seem to be flying for any good reason with most trying to just have some fun somewhere else – hopefully in future they might consider trying to have fun nearer to home.”

The plane-free weekend also provided a taste of one of the ideas the Evening Star’s Air Fair campaign has been promoting – “share the load”, where air bosses could use flightpaths away from populated communities on alternate weekends.

? Have you enjoyed the peace and quiet and lovely blue skies of life without planes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email