Monday, January 28, 2008

Plane Training Pain

Not a week goes by these days without some DFL millionaire emailing me with virtual steam coming out of his or her ears because of the Manston training flights.

Clearly Ramsgate is attracting my kind of people, but the mad policy of allowing knackered old jets to circle a few feet above our Grade II listed roofs for hours on end is sending them straight back to London again. One city slicker who like the rest of us Ramsgatonians put up with five hours of oozalum flights on Saturday morning (amounting to 28 circuits - he counted them), emailed me to say he was 'severely f*cked off with the old duffers at the council'. He continues:

Morons - it will turn this place into f*cking Hounslow or Crawley. Ramsgate's only hope is for a developer to buy the airport and turn it into the new Kings Hill... No-one is going to come here for a peaceful day at the beach, having a coffee by the harbour while this is going on at the weekends... The future is the train. Thanet, particularly Ramsgate will be commuter central at the end 2009. Large salaries, high expendable income as they are buying down here with little or no mortgage left, will drive up the retail/leisure business. Sh*tty old properties will get developed at a high rate keeping the building trade in cash jobs for decades. Council will reap these benefits... What the f*ck does the area get for landing a few Chinese goods and 50 test landings at the weekend apart from alienating the people it should be welcoming with open arms?

I couldn't agree more. Although to be fair I wouldn't expect Ken Wills' 3m sq ft Manston Chinatown to be flying in too much tut, it would make the finished 'Made in England' products too expensive. No, my bet is the bulk of the, er, quality components will come in large containers via Harwich or Tilbury. I suppose they might use our port here in Ramsgate, but I hear the Chinese are quite a go-ahead bunch, not stick-in-the-muds.

Anyway, to save a bit of time I've popped a DIY training flights complaints kit in the old sidebar on the right. Just the ticket for those who want to kick up a stink!


Anonymous said...

Just seen t5his on a pilot forum re Manston:

"with MK keeping status quo and Cargo Lux increasing. Theres more than that ready for 2008 if all goes to plan! Ah, the night freight flights - should make the natives restless?"

Sweet dreams ECR!

Anonymous said...

And if you were hoping Manston might fold and everything would go to the new airport at Lydd think again because the Lydd action group is hyping Manston as the reason for there being no need to expand Lydd ha ha!

Tony said...

It's Tuesday and the big silver and red bird has arrived. 3 cheers HIP HIP...... New subjects to discuss please.

Anonymous said...

Knackered Old Jumbo spotting as we speak!

Anonymous said...

Is it a coincidence that the boss of Infratil and the boss of Oasis are both called Clarke?

steve said...

Tony, its an important subject for both Lydd and Ramsgate, and I'm sure will come up continuously. If you are bored with it, you don't have to comment

Tony said...

Steve, I didn't say I'm bored with it, it's just that the same accusations are being repeated over and over again without further proof. It's just a shame that ECR's entertaining and informative blog gets stuck into this repetitive groove. BTW if it does come between Lydd and Manston, then my vote would go Manston's way.

Eastcliff Richard said...

I agree it is getting a bit dull Tony. About as dull as having those planes fly over every 9 minutes.

I make no apology for returning to the topic, though, as it won't go away. I honestly do get people complaining via email, and it does seem to be a real concern for the many who have recently decided to make Ramsgate their seaside home.

I'm not sure what you mean about proof. Are you saying you would like me to provide some evidence that these training flights are actually happening? I would have thought that was a matter of plane, er, plain fact!

steve said...

whats your poison then, Tone? what pressing issues would you like to talk about?

ECR's very accomodating. I'm sure if there is a problem you'd like discussed he'd be happy to oblige.

Anonymous said...

A pub cannot survive without drinkers therefore an airport cannot survive without planes,let the people who are trying to earn a crust for Thanet do just that.
there has been an airport at manston for nearly 80 years,so if you do not like it move or shut the fuck up.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Right, well if that's the level of the pro-airport debate, it won't be long before they put up the shutters, will it?

I don't know if you're a new reader, anon. 6:14, or just one of the usual suspects out to make trouble, but we don't use the fecking F word here, or tell people to 'f*ck off'.

Any more comments like that and they'll end up in the trash.

Now, where were we?

Anonymous said...

Iexpect 6-14 popped over from 'Pond Life'. Thats their usual type of reply to any criticism relating to aviation.

Anonymous said...

I share the sentiments of 6:14,but not the language,I remember the
red and white livery of Invicta Airways and how proud we all were to have the symbol of Kent flying around the world,sadly those days are gone and all we seem to do is moan about everything and everybody that tries to enhance our beleaguered isle,Our council is led by a man whose only qualifications seem to be"do you want underlay with that"and a man who promised to quit and then changed his mind when he thought we had all forgotten.

Tony said...

ECR, disagree with your statement "it does seem to be a real concern for the many who have recently decided to make Ramsgate their seaside home." Surely they should have realised there is an airport here (it's famous enough)or is it acase of "let's move, then protest"
As for Anon 6:14, I agree 100 per cent with your reply
Steve I think ECR is much better with subjects such as the ongoing Pleasurama saga, he and Michael are both making us aware of events, or non-events, whichever it may be.

steve said...

thanks Tony. What about you though? What gets you excited apart from people not liking the airport?

Anon 6:14. I'm not sure of numbers employed at Manston, but I'm sure its more crumb than crust.

steve said...

thats a crumb for thanet in the grand scheme of things, as opposed to a decent crust for themselves

Eastcliff Richard said...

So, Tony, you are presumably not the same Tony who a while back said you were 'neither for nor against the airport'. Or were you being disingenuous back then and now you've decided to nail your true colours to the mast?

As for Manston being 'famous enough' for people to know it was there before they moved here, I'm afraid you're living in cloud cuckoo land, the past, or most likely both. I should imagine, if you stopped 20 Londoners under the age of 35 in the street and asked them 'what's Manston?', that you'd struggle to find a single person who could answer the question. People come down here to view houses two or three times, usually when the estate agent's worked out there's bugger all flying over, they move in, then wham! They've got 400 tonnes of jet propelled aluminium flying a few feet above their heads every nine minutes. No wonder they get pissed off.

What's more, these training flights are a relatively recent thing, so even the few people who have heard of Manston might relocate here thinking it would just be one or two flights a day.

Still, the more people read this blog, the more they'll learn the truth, and the more they'll stay away... and the more property prices round here will plummet, and the more shops will shut on the high street. All for the sake of, what, two ATCOs 'earning a crust for Thanet'?

Still, that's the Thanetian way isn't? Probably never wanted these well-heeled, cash rich DFLs here in the first place!

Anonymous said...

I have watched this debate with interest. As I am now elderly I suppose it doesn't matter about my opinion.
In 1972 we moved within Thanet to an area that was under the flight path at Manston. My father was approached one day and asked to sign a petition complaining about Manston. He refused. The lady who had approached him asked him why and said "did he like the aircraft?"
He replied that no that he did't but the Airport was there before he moved and he had no right to complain. My father was a man of great integrity and annoying as the planes were he accepted the fact that they had prior right.
If we are ever to lift Thanet away from the apathy that has dogged it for so long we need all the help we can get and that includes Manston as a thriving airport.
Just as we need the ferry at Ramsgate and more going to regenerate the main towns.
I have lived in Thanet for 62 years and have seen many changes not all for the better either.
We need young blood to make this area thrive.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Or what about this for an idea:

Instead of the hundreds of people who have moved to Ramsgate, who have invested in property and businesses here, who cherish the beautiful architecture and beaches, who spend money in the shops and cafes, and who think the council is run by Dad's Army duffers and brown-nosers 'moving or shutting the f*ck up', instead of that, why don't the two air traffic controllers, who are 'earning a crust' and only hanging onto to their licences courtesy of the training flights, p*ss off to Crawley and get themselves proper jobs at Gatwick?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Sorry 10:28pm, that bitter and twisted remark wasn't meant for you. Your comment surfed under mine so to speak.

I respect your father's opinion, but that was 36 years ago, and I'm afraid that we don't actually have a thriving airport. We have one plane going round every 9 minutes, all for the sake of a couple of people keeping their CAA licences current.

If that's the future then god help us all.

steve said...

anon, 10:28. Your opinion is most welcome. I agree with your need for an injection for young blood, but it won't turn up or stick around with no jobs or an airport polluting the skies (noise Tony, I know you can't smell them).

The best chance Ramsgate has is the train. Central London gets an hour closer, people can live here and commute. Large salaries stay in ramsgate. More money gets spent. house prices up,shops re-open, nicer restaurants come to town etc etc. All because of some 19th century technology going a bit faster. But could all be ruined by some 20th century technology.

Anonymous said...

ECR yes I am the same Tony that you quoted, and my opinion has not changed. I was just stating my position if a decision had to be made between Lydd and Manston. Where would you stand if it ever did come to that situation, would you vote for more jobs for Thanet or let the employment go to Lydd?
Steve, this is what I meant before about this subject repeating itself, you have just mentioned noise pollution, where is the proof. To me it's no noisier than standing by Margate road during the rush hour.

Tony said...

Sorry I meant to have signed as Tony for 11:17. Hate hiding behind anon.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Oh great. I'll take my latte and drink it standing by Margate Road in the rush hour in future, shall I?

I agree, there's probably only a market for one small regional airport in Kent. Lydd's not that far away. People could easily commute from Thanet to work there, and it's much better located for links to London. Fewer people living under the flight path too.

Besides, London Ashford Airport sounds a lot catchier than RAF Kent London Manston Ramsgate Airport, don't you think?

Tony said...

I thought it was Kent International, and Margate Road was given as an example that there are other places just as noisy as a plane going overhead.

steve said...

tony - I don't have a decibel measuring tool, but my 1200w sony bravia surround sound gets drowned out by the planes overhead (28 times on saturday).

What more proof does a man want?

If you are saying you cannot hear the, I point you to the story of the 11 year old boy in the press yesterday and an errant cotton bud that had been stucj in his ear for 9 years.

Get your lugs checked out mate.

In all seriousness, I'd be happy to record a littel snippet of a plane over my house and share it with you.

steve said...

pardon the spelling mistakes, busy at work

Tony said...

Steve, hearings fine thank you. As I've stated before I'm directly under the flightpath, the last set of houses before landing, so no examples needed. Just that when I moved in it was with knowledge of the airfields position, so it is something I have become used to and do not find a distraction.

Anonymous said...

Well if employment and economic advantage is all we're concerned with, we will wellcome the possibility of a Chinese Steel manufacturing plant at Manston, a Coal fired power station at Richborough and a new nuclear power station somewhere closeby then.

Eastcliff Richard said...

I see the airport has finally been made to put it's polluting drains in order. See Cllr Green's blog here.

The cry of 'jobs' has always been an excuse to ruin the environment here in Thanet. 40 years ago they allowed the hoverport in Pegwell Bay to use mining slag in the construction of its apron. Now it's disused and unmaintained, and the slag is leeching into the bay, which is an SSSI. Still, where would we be without the hoverport jobs, eh?

Oh, and while we're at it we'll let Richborough Power Station spew filthy orimulsion into Pegwell Bay as well, shall we? Never mind, think of all those jobs! (It closed 12 years ago).

steve said...

Tony, the common theme I've seen from you and others here and on other sites is - the airport has always been here. 100% correct. I bought knowing full well the airports usage (minimal but growing commercial, leisure, freight), but didn't quite grasp the training flights and the nuisance they would cause me.

However, do you agree that a house/beach/harbour/school/vegetable field not on a flight path is more palatable/saleable/desirable than one that is?

Ramsgate is going to directly benefit from one of the largest civil engineering projects ever built from December next year - high speed one, the channel tunnel rail link, cutting the best part of an hour from the Victorian train service that runs to this part of Kent. This will have two effects; it will open up London as a more viable workplace by cutting commuting times for those who already live in Ramsgate; and it will open up Ramsgate to those that already work in London and may look to move further out, on the coast, nice harbour etc.

given the choice, if you are earning London money and wanting to live on the coast, would you rather chose a town with a runway in its back garden, or one without? Broadstairs or Ramsgate? Which town is going to get the benefit of your hard earned? Broadstairs wins every time.

Every person in Ramsgate is on the cusp of an opportunity to change the place for the better forever. To do that though, it has to look at what will bring people in.

Quality housing. Check
housing with potential to improve. Check
nice beach - check
countryside - check
royal harbour - only one in the country check
nice neighbouring towns - check
golf courses - check
good transport links. Train 2010 check, roads, check, port check, airport check (I'm thinking lydd)
good schools - check
shops - tesco, sainsbury, lidl- check check, no comment

747's landing every 10 mins don't mix with this picture of utopia. Unless you are a planespotter.

Where Ramsgate could end up if the airport is supported for the next 30 years? - Hounslow.

Tony -really like your opinion on what you think the airport does and can bring. - apart from planes and a smattering of jobs.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Might be a bit optimistic on cutting an hour off the old train journey there, Steve.

Don't forget the bullet trains will still be running over old track as far as Ashford. Best estimate for reducing the journey time is about 35 mins.

Otherwise could not agree with your sentiments more.

steve said...

ever an optimist

Tony said...

Steve, as I've said before to ECR on this blog, I am neither for or against the airport. What I am against is what you are saying about people wanting to come and live her knowing full well there is an airport in operation, and once they have moved in they start demanding it's closure. Nobody knows as yet if the locals are for or against the airport and never will until a proper referendum is carried out by the residents, and that is why I always respond to people who write "the majority" are against the the training flights.
If you look at Michael Childs blog and see the old photo's of Ramsgate in it's prime I don't think you can blame Manston or the aircraft for it's present sorry state, try looking at the people that congregate in a certain building at Cecil Square.

Eastcliff Richard said...

The emails I get are mostly from people who moved here knowing full well there is an airport, but not knowing, until they moved in, the extent of the training flights. 28 low level circuits in one weekend morning does not constitute a small regional airport, as most had quite reasonably assumed Manston was.

But don't worry Tony. I'm getting more emails these days from people who have read this blog in the nick of time, and cancelled their move to Thanet. That's progress the Thanet Way, eh!

Tony said...

So what is the difference if the airport was to attract regular airlines, coming in everyday, to the training flights. They would still have to come in low to land. As for people not residing here because of the airport, fair enough, they have looked at the area and decided against. At least they are not being hypocrits. I daresay others will because it does not bother them.

Eastcliff Richard said...

For a start if it was a small regional airport, as advertised, there would not be 28 flights in one Saturday morning. I doubt whether even Gatwick achieves that.

And if you're prepared to say goodbye to decent honest people with money who would love to live in Ramsgate and boost the local economy in preference to, what, ten jurassic jobs (at most) at the airport, lord help you!

Ramsgate has a great living environment to offer. Why ruin it in pursuit of jobs in an industry that even insiders admit peaked in the last century?

steve said...

tony, you should be careful with your use of hypocrite. It could be misconstrued as an insult.

Could you answer the questions on whether the town, in your opinion, fares better with or without planes.

I take your point on the airport being used properly with real flights. The point about the training flights is you would not get 28 landings in a day unless ryanair, for example, flew to a minimum of 8 european destinations from manston. That ain't going to happen overnight. And if it did, good luck to the airport and the surrounding area. but those landing would happen over a day, not within 2 x 2 hour slots. and the landings could come from either the sea or the land, dependant on wind. Circuit and bump, sea everytime.

and remember tony - i am one person, conversing with you. I am talking on behalf of "a majority" of one. Same as you.

tony said...

ECR has the airline industry peaked? If so why the demand for more runways, and the worry of congestion in the air lanes?
Steve, no insults intended, but I think people trying to ban things which were there previous to their arrival, and which they were aware of is a pretty good definition of hypocritical. As for the town faring with or without planes, it didn't do bad as a holiday resort when USAF were based here, and their aircraft were LOUD. The remarks about speaking for the "majority" I refer are ones like ECR has made at 5:35PM on this comment section "and it does seem to be a real concern for the many who have recently decided to make Ramsgate their seaside home." This is apparently by e-mail why not the blog, then we would all know people are "anti"

Eastcliff Richard said...

Tony, I could put an email up on the blog every day from non-Thanetian prospective house buyers who have been put off by the training flights. But then you would accuse me of, er, going round in circles.

And I think by 'hypocrite' you mean 'somebody who cares about the future of Ramsgate'. Besides, when I moved here there were no training flights. They are a new initiative, if that's the right word.

The RAF left ten years ago, ancient history, move on! Look to the future!

As for insiders thinking the airline industry has peaked, I'm only repeating what I read on the pilots' forum re Manston:

I said back in April that with such a small capacity on offer, I expected all the Kent Escapes flights to be full. This hasn't happened, and they are still working hard to sell seats, along with a number of cancellations.

However, the weather seems to have come to the aviation sector's aid this year. I also suspect many people will be having a "final fling" with air travel before environmental initiatives start making the whole thing a bit more tricky.

2003 was the peak year year for freight at Manston.

I wonder if we will look back at 2007 as being the peak for passenger charters?

steve said...

tony, agree that the council are to blame for the predicament of ramsgate. who voted them in though? from what I can gather, no-one from ramsgate!

what would be your priority for the area?

steve said...

also tony, in regards to the usaf being here and ramsgate not doing too bad. when was this, and could you give come more colour please. thanjs very much

Tony said...

Steve, the USAF were at Manston 1950-58 I believe, because of the Cold War. F-84's & F86's used the airfield, also Im sure I recall the Vulcan bombers. One of the reasons the Americans pulled out (this should please ECR) was because of the noise. Through this time Ramsgate was always doing well with holidaymakers. I know it was before the cheap-package era, but unfortunately I feel the airport has never been used to it's full potetial. My priority? the harbour and ferry port, but you can see what's happening and it's such a waste. BTW ECR, I've just been told that you are not from around this area originally, so I can now understand Steve's remark about I might be insulting using the word "hypocrite". I,m sure you'll believe me when I say it was not directed at you personally, does not change my overall view, but it's not personal.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Tony - I never take anything that anyone says about me personally. How could I? I'm a fictional character! Similarly I hope nobody gets too offended by a fictional character getting hot under the collar now and then.

I do feel strongly about the training flights, but only because I like Ramsgate so much and the flights bother me. I know they bother other people too, but of course there'll be people for whom it's neither here nor there like your good self.

I do get annoyed when I see towns like Whitstabubble, Hernia Bay and Big Deal doing so well. Ramsgate is miles nicer, and deserves to be doing as well as if not better than these places. Anything that I perceive to be holding the place back, like the training flights, gets my goat and I tend to go off on one.

As for not being from these parts originally, I've made no secret about being a DFL - just check the archives! Although having been here more than two years, and with work drying up, I'm beginning to feel like one of the natives!

steve said...

tony, much appreciated for the info. I must admit, i am a bit of an anorak when it comes to military airware. I most probably would have been devasted had the raf/usaf left for reasons of noise when in my adolesance. However, now with an expanding waist, receding hairline and liking for sleep, off to lakenheath with the lot of you would have undoubtedly been my response.

i am a recent joiner to planet thanet - only since december last year. I am 100% un-hypocritical, but could be accused of nimbyism. Expansion for Lydd, anyone?

steve said...

I have always liked this long forgotten part of Kent. Been planning this move for a long time, and do not want to see it spoiled for the benefit of the few, detriment of the many.

Been to a fantastic restaurant today (well oiled, hence the decent flow of babble), the blazing donkey, ham, sandwich (try getting the number from 118 118 without them putting the phone down). Chatting in general to the manager, unsolicited he responds about the up and coming area, and ramsgate in particular. encouraging, but frightening that I know the custom he wants would not touch a house under a busy flightpath with a barge pole.

I'm off biggles baiting