Plane fire at North Weald Airfield

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about

Firefighters were called to a fire at a parked aircraft at North Weald Airfield on Monday 2 January. Fire crews used foam and powder to extinguish the fire by 8:06 pm. According to Essex County Fire and Rescue one 48 year old man was seriously injured and suffered burns. He was placed in the care of the Ambulance Service.

The plane, based at the airfield, was parked at the time of the incident. Runways and aircraft movements into and out of the airfield are unaffected. The Air Accident Investigation Branch of the Civil Aviation Authority has been notified but has indicated that it will not be investigating the incident as there was no intention to fly. The matter is currently in the hands of Essex Police.

London 2012 and Epping Forest district

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Olympics, Our attractions, Out and about

Almost exactly one year to go to the opening ceremony for London 2012, the Leader of Epping Forest District Council and fellow councillors have been talking about the impact the Games will have on local people and businesses.

Hadleigh Farm

In addition to Essex being a host county, providing the Mountain Bike venue at Hadleigh Farm in Castle Point, the district’s local boundary in Waltham Abbey is literally a few yards from the Olympic Canoe Slalom at Lee Valley White Water Centre. Travelling by Central Line, residents and visitors to Epping Forest district are also no more than a few minutes from the main Olympic venue in Stratford.

The White Water Centre is the only brand new Olympic venue completed and opened to the public before the Games. Councillor Lesley Wagland described this as a “fantastic site” which has already taken bookings from almost 90,000 people since opening in the spring. While Canoeing will form the Olympic focus, white water rafting in the legacy period after the games is expected to be the main public activity.

The White Water Centre is due to close its doors temporarily for three weeks while it goes through a rigorous test event designed to make sure the Olympic show goes faultlessly. In the short time it has been open, it has attracted rafters and canoeists from across the region and abroad.

Go white web

With a local venue and the Olympic Park in Stratford so close, Councillor Wagland believes local business is well placed to benefit. Among the business opportunities listed by LOCOG as still currently available are printing, events management, security, training volunteers, crowd control, graphics for buses, parking, fire alarms, signage and flagpoles.

Councillor Wagland said: “We are all excited by the opportunity that this event will provide. It’s a great opportunity for local businesses. ‘CompeteFor’ is a website set up for businesses to register an interest in supplying goods and services the games. Currently 93 local companies have taken up the challenge. We would like to encourage more local companies to register. Some local companies have already won contracts.”

Councillor Liz Webster is a former Chairman of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (owners of the Lee Valley White Water Centre) and the ‘Olympics Champion’ promoting the Games on behalf of Epping Forest District Council.

“We are so lucky to have the White Water Centre on our doorstep,” said Councillor Webster.

Councillor Webster and Derek Macnab, Epping Forest District Council’s Acting Chief Executive, also sit on a Legacy Board, attended by the Lee Valley Park Authority and the other key partners, charged with maximising the benefit at the White Water Centre for local people.

“In the long run the White Water Centre is much more than just the best Canoe Slalom facility in the world. We want to make the White Water Centre appealing for families. We want to encourage tourists into the area. We have many historic visitor attractions such as Waltham Abbey. We are already benefiting from the fact it has been opened ahead of the games,” said Councillor Webster.

She added: “The legacy looks even brighter since an announcement earlier this year that the White Water Centre is also to host the World Canoe Championship in 2015. The Olympics and World Championships can showcase our district, encouraging people to return again and again.”

Councillor Ricki Gadsby, Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council, sees 2012 as an opportunity to invest in Waltham Abbey. Events such as the W Festival are already drawing greater attention to the town which must benefit from the spotlight.

Many events are planned leading up to the Olympics. The W Festival is part of the Cultural Olympiad. Other major events next year include the Queen’s Jubilee. While the route of the Olympic Flame is a closely-guarded secret, councillors hope this will also come to the district as part of the 2012 celebrations.

These Olympics are planned to be the most environmentally-friendly ever. Travel forms an important part of that strategy and Epping Forest District Council is making a direct contribution. North Weald Airfield (owned by the Council) will become a Park and Ride facility for spectators visiting the White Water Centre during the Games.

As a ‘host council’ Epping Forest District Council bid for tickets on behalf of local residents. Two tickets each for the opening and closing ceremonies plus 50 tickets for the actual White Water events were obtained and these will be given to lucky local residents. Some are earmarked for local school children. Others may be offered to local charities. Others may be given to local residents nominated by friends, family or neighbours. None will be used by councillors or council staff.

The council has run park and ride before in conjunction with international scouting events. It is confident cars and buses can be managed with minimal disruption to local residents and normal airfield activities, such as flying and the Saturday Market.

However, residents and businesses across the district are being advised to think about the potential disruption to their daily lives next year. The message is think about what you will be doing during the period of the games. Don’t stop doing your normal things but think about how you can adjust your timetable to try and take some of the pressure out the system and transport network.

It is particularly important for businesses that rely of staff, customers, supplies and transport links to start planning now if they have not already done so.

Anyone planning a large-scale event or activity during the Games period is also being urged to talk to local people, neighbours and their town or parish councils. Many activities require official permissions, such as licences or planning applications but there may be other good reasons to stop and check before going ahead.

Information on planning your own event is just part of the resource available on the Epping Forest District Council website.

The London Olympics 2012 offers opportunities for everyone across Epping Forest district. The council is looking at plans with LOCOG to ‘dress’ the district. “The Games will be a festival for the whole community” says Councillor Wagland. She hopes people will embrace and enjoy the events. “We want to spread the celebration around the whole district. Waltham Abbey will enjoy a special place during the Games but there is a role for every parish and community.”

Crowds Flock to American Eagles Fun Day and Fly-in

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about

Over 4,500 people flocked to Epping Forest District Council`s North Weald Airfield on Sunday, 5 June to enjoy a community fun day and fly-in. The day was organised by Weald Aviation in association with Epping Forest District Council and The Squadron.

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The American Eagles Fun Day and Fly-in was held to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the American Eagle Squadron at North Weald Airfield during World War II. Visitors were able to enjoy displays by Samurai Warriors, military re-enactors and their vehicles and equipment, The Essex Chapter Harley Davison motorbikes and dancers, as well as a static display of various aircraft and fly-ins throughout the day.

Younger people were well catered for with fairground rides, a bouncy castle and children`s entertainers. Charities raising vital funds on the day included St Clare Hospice, The Royal Air Force Association, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

[flickr set=”72157626905936906″ title=”the American Eagles Fun Day and Fly-in”]

The highlight of the day for many was the arrival of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire. It flew past several times before landing and delighted the crowd, bringing back many memories.

The day was raising funds for Help for Heroes and the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust. The final total is not yet known.

A Council Spokesperson said: The day was a fantastic success. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and we raised vital funds for several charities on the day.

Earlier that day wreaths were laid at the base of the Gate Guardian in memory of those who had lost their lives in conflict.

It was attended by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens, Colonel Sonny Blinkinsop, American Air Attaché to the UK with 4 American Honour Guards, and representatives from the Royal British Legion.

Former Chairman visits Bodo in Norway

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Democracy, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about, Your council

Former Chairman of Council Councillor Anne Grigg, as one of her last events of her year as Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, was invited to visit Bodo, the home of the Norwegian Air Force. The town has very close links with North Weald Airfield and so it was particularly apt that the Chairman was invited as she is also the local Ward Councillor for North Weald.

Councillor Grigg enjoyed a wonderful four-day visit as guest of the Town and the Royal Norwegian Air Force. She was very grateful to Bodo Mayor Odd-Tore Fygle and Per-Egil Rygg, chief 132 Air Wing, who were her hosts.

Former Chairman and her husband were accompanied by North Weald Airfield historian Arthur Moreton and his wife Marion. He liaised and worked with Norway throughout the organisation of the visit. The Norwegians were very friendly and welcoming with wonderful hospitality.

Councillor Grigg laid wreaths at a memorial to RAF pilots who flew Gloster Gladiator bi-planes in the wartime defence of Bodo and at the town war memorial.

The former Chairman enjoyed a day`s boat trip around the islands off the coast of Bodo, with lunch in a Village Hall on one of the Heligvaer islands. She was particularly pleased to spot several White-tailed Sea Eagles, for which the Bodo area is famed, from the boat in the afternoon.

Councillor Grigg was honoured to be invited to `inspect the guard` of the Nyholms Scandses Compagnie at the head of the National Day celebration parade on 17 May. Whilst we in the UK know very little of this the Norwegian National Day is celebrated in every town and village, with the entire country more or less coming to a halt every 17 May.

Councillor Grigg said: I really enjoyed seeing all the national costumes being worn by people of all ages.

She went on to say: I had a lovely time and was very grateful to the people of Bodo for their warm, friendly welcome. I was made to feel very much at home and part of the village during my stay. I felt very honoured that this was my last official engagement as Chairman of Epping Forest District Council.

American Eagles Fun Day and Fly-in

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about

A BBMF Spitfire, Mustangs, military vehicles, classic American cars, re-enactors and entertainers are among the many attractions at the American Eagles Fun Day and Fly-in on Sunday 5 June 2011. In aid of the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust and Help for Heroes the event Celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the American Eagle Squadrons at RAF North Weald 2011. The event runs from 11am to 4:30pm at the legendary North Weald Airfield.

There will be something for everyone, for plane enthusiasts there’s a flypast from a RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Mustangs, plus a large selection of aircraft parked to view close up. Classic American cars, motorbikes and military vehicles will be on show along with American, British and German re-enactors with weapons and equipment, including Dad`s Army Home Guards. Trophies will be awarded to the best attending American car, bike and re-enactment group.

The US Air Force are supporting the fun day by providing an explosive ordanance disposal display, military working dogs display and an Honour Guard.

Continuing the American theme, entertainment will be provided by the Essex Blades American Football Team along with their cheerleaders, the Essex Flames. There will also be entertainment from Samurai warriors, a Dance Troupe from Sky 1`s Just Dance and dog agility shows. Youngsters are well catered for with fairground rides, a bouncy castle, children`s horse riding and children`s entertainers.

There will also be local community stalls, including Guide Dogs for the Blind and Owls R Us, refreshments and a licensed bar.

Gates open at 11am and the arena displays start from 12 noon. Entry is £5 per person, Concessions £3 and under 5s are free. For more information phone Weald Aviation on 01992 522594, Airfield Operations on 01992 564200 or The Squadron on 01992 524510.

We have arranged a free shuttle bus service for pedestrians from North Weald Airfield Museum in Hurricane Way, which will also be open for the fun day. This fun day has been organised by Weald Aviation in association with Epping Forest District Council and The Squadron.

Visiting aircraft PPR essential on 01992 524510 for a slot time and briefing. Landing fee of £5 per person goes to charity. No movements during the flypasts. Airfield open from 08:30 to 19:00 (local). 100LL and Jet A1 available adjacent to parking. North Weald Radio 123.525. TMZ Conspicuity Squawk 7010 Mode C or S when talking to North Weald Radio inbound and outbound.

Drive In Movies at North Weald Airfield

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about

Published on 19 May 2011

A fantastic mix of classic, blockbuster and family favourites are being screened as part of the new outdoor Drive In Movie Experience at North Weald Airfield.

Grease, Dirty Dancing and UP are a just a few of the movies being shown in 2011 by The Drive In Movie Experience Company. To commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Battle of Britain on 17 September (in which the airfield was a key fighter base), the 1969 film of the same name is being screened.

North Weald Airfield is the perfect location as it has easy access from Junction 7 on the M11 and only one junction up from junction 27 on the M25.

Films

Friday 27 May – Grease (PG)
Gates 6:30pm, movie starts 8:45pm

Saturday 2 July – Dirty Dancing (12A)
Gates 6:30pm, movie starts 8:45pm

Saturday 30 July – UP (U)
Gates 6:30pm, movie starts 8:45pm

Saturday 17 September – Battle of Britain (PG)
Gates 6:30pm, movie starts 8:45pm

Friday 14 October – Rocky Horror Picture Show (12A)
Gates 6:30pm, movie starts 8:45pm

Tickets

Tickets are £8 per adult and £5 per child (up to 15 years) and can be purchased on the night or in advance from the box office. You can also visit any of the screening sites without a car, tickets are the same price.

Please refer to the Film Classification if you intend bringing a child to the screening.

On arrival your pre purchased tickets will be checked at the box office and stewards will show you where to park your vehicle. To listen to the movie all you need do is tune your car radio into the onsite radio frequency which will be provided to you on arrival.

North Weald has a lawn available and deckchairs are welcome. If you want to have a picnic or prefer to sit outside, radio headphones are available for a small deposit, allowing you to listen to the movie anywhere.

A bar onsite will be selling wines, beers , tea, coffees, muffins, sweets and proper American imported popcorn!

Box Office

Tickets can be purchased in advance from the box office by telephone on 01799 551950 or online at www.driveinmoviesuk.co.uk or for more information email info@dimeevents.com.

Plane Crashes into Essex Lake

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about

An aircraft that took off from North Weald Airfield has crashed in a lake near Maldon. Emergency services were called to the scene at Ulting near Langford, Maldon earlier today.

The aircraft involved is a Yak 52 two-seat aerobatic trainer. The aircraft is believed to be one of three that took off together. The other two aircraft returned safely to North Weald. The crashed aircraft was not based at North Weald.

North Weald Airfield is a popular location with pilots. Owned by Epping Forest District Council, it is a base for several aviation companies with a mix of leisure and commercial flying.

Derek Macnab, Acting Chief Executive for Epping Forest District Council said: “There appears to have been a serious incident involving planes that took off from North Weald earlier today. We are still trying to put the details together but it appears that the aeroplane that crashed was not based at the airfield. Nevertheless, the crew will be well known to many people at North Weald. Everyone will be extremely concerned for the crew. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the possible cause of the accident. A full investigation into what happened in the Maldon area will need to be undertaken by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the meantime, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to everyone involved in what looks to be a terrible tragedy.”

Updated on 29 April 2011

A statement on behalf of the flying community at North Weald said “Whilst it would be completely inappropriate to speculate about the circumstances surrounding the accident, suffice to say we are shocked over the loss of our friends and our condolences go to their families and loved ones at this difficult time.”

North Weald Airfield – Cabinet Committee

Written on . Posted in Business, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Planning, Your environment

There could be `considerable` commercial interest if Epping Forest District Council opted to develop aviation opportunities at North Weald Airfield. Councillors are recommending further investigation of options for `active` aviation growth at the Airfield to the next Cabinet meeting on 18 April. Full public consultation would precede any final decision.

The former Battle of Britain Airfield currently handles around 20,000 aircraft movements each year. Under new proposals that could increase by 18,000 extra movements a year.

Leader Di Collins and Deputy Leader Chris Whitbread would like a full consultation and engagement with local residents and tenants of the airfield

An executive summary of a report on potential aviation expansion at North Weald Airfield can be read here (pdf 262KB). The report outlines various options from doing little or nothing, through `organic growth` to `active development`, significantly developing aviation with a commercial partner.

Aviation development consultant Nick Kaberry presented the Halcrow report to members of the council`s North Weald Airfield Cabinet Committee at the Civic Offices in Epping on Tuesday (22 March).

Aviation operations at North Weald currently run at a loss to the council. This is offset by income from other airfield activities allowing the council to break even but the council wants aviation to pay for itself.

Losses will continue if the council does nothing. According to the Halcrow report, organic growth could reduce the losses but not eliminate them. Active growth is the only way to stop losses and generate a profit if the council wants flying to continue.

Active development would focus on business users including small executive jet and turboprop aircraft. Business passenger services can only operate from airfields licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Minimum investment for active development would include bringing 1,400m of the runway up to a CAA licensable standard. Runway and taxi pavements would need strengthening. Lighting and instrument approach capability would be necessary for take off and landing in poor weather. Combined with other improvements, the council would face substantial capital investment. This might be achieved directly or in partnership with a fixed based operating company.

Councillors want any future development proposals to go ahead only after full consultation and engagement with local residents and tenants of the airfield. Councillor Di Collins said: It is still early days. This is one option. There may be others. Residents over many years have made it clear that they want North Weald to remain an operational airfield. The airfield is steeped in heritage and history, and should make a valuable contribution to the local economy and employment.

“For that to continue we need to consolidate the airfield’s long term future with a business plan and strategy that stops the losses and turns airfield into a financial as well as a social and community asset.

“We are custodians of North Weald. We must be sensitive to the requirements of local people and ensure the airfield continues to support the community for future generations.

Certificate of Appreciation

Written on . Posted in Emergencies, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about

Bruce Meadows

How would you react in an emergency? Bruce Meadows acted with the greatest presence of mind and bravery. Bruce was travelling in a car with his friend John around the perimeter track at North Weald Airfield on 9 May last year. They may have been aware of a light aeroplane making an approach to land but they would not have thought more of it than the many other routine landings taking place without incident every day.

Bruce Meadows accepts his certificate of appreciation from chairman Anne Grigg

Unfortunately for the pilot of the plane, his approach was suddenly to become anything but routine. Just a few feet from the ground the plane veered off course. As it lost height it performed a full 180 degree turn taking it away from the runway. Moments later it crashed into the back of Bruce and John`s car.

Amazingly, Bruce and John were unharmed. The injured pilot was not so lucky, being trapped in the wreckage of his plane as fire took hold. Few people can say what it is like to be hit by an aeroplane but it seems not to have affected the senses of Bruce and John. Within seconds they were out of the car and pulling the pilot to safety. Moments later the plane was engulfed in flames. Neither Bruce nor John have sought any recognition for their heroic efforts. Indeed both were very reluctant to make their identities known or talk to the media about their actions. However, with some persuasion we are delighted to say that Bruce has agreed to attend the awards for the presentation of a special Certificate of Appreciation.

Staff of Cunningham House

For the staff of Cunningham House, an Abbeyfield home in North Weald, nothing is more important than the care of their elderly residents. The quality of their care is so great that Cunningham House was recently voted the best care home in the South East of England. Cunningham House is home to 29 elderly, frail people in one unit and 25 people living with dementia in a second.

Helena Little and Rosemary Moor accept a certificate of appreciation from chairman Anne Grigg

However, it was not just for their excellent care services that the Cunningham House team won their award. Special gardens themed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Brighton promenade offer a completely different dimension. These projects transport the residents of Cunningham House in mind and memory to a time they can relate to, encouraging self-expression, fun and laughter.

Manager Rosemary Moor explains the inspiration behind the promenade: Because so many remember happy days by the sea, we decided to develop a beach style garden area that offers stimulation of the mind and body and evokes memories from the past , thus improving quality of life. It will increase sociability and will encourage physical activity and residents to spend time in the fresh air.

As people enter the most vulnerable stage in their lives, there can be no greater comfort than the reassurance offered in the care demonstrated by the Abbeyfield Society at Cunningham House. Helena Little and Rosemary Moor received a special Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of all the staff at Cunningham House.

Airfield Staff Race for Air Ambulance

Written on . Posted in North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Out and about

A team of 5 Epping Forest District Council employees are hoping to raise over £1,000 for the Essex Air Ambulance by running the Brentwood Half Marathon. The team, all of whom are based at North Weald Airfield, will be competing along with thousands of other runners on Sunday 20 March 2011.

Team North Weald with the Herts and Essex Air Ambulance and its crew

Darren Goodey, North Weald Airfield manager said ” We’re all very excited to be taking part in this race we feel privileged to be running for such a worthy cause. Essex Air Ambulance costs £250,000 a month to run, funded by generous donations from the public. One day, you or a loved one may need their help so please keep this fantastic service running by donating online at www.justgiving.com/NorthWealdAirfieldTeam.

For more information visit the Essex Air Ambulance website.