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Mill Hill, Shoreham Incident

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Stevo02/05/2015 21:25:39
2699 forum posts
419 photos

As dropped into my inbox today...

Unfortunate incident at Mill Hill - no doubt there will be further repercussions from this: -

"Dear South East Member Club,

On the 30th April 2015 there was an flying incident between a model aircraft flying from Mill Hill and a full size aircraft landing at Shoreham Airport. (Luckily without any personal injury) This was reported to the Police and the CAA and is currently under investigation.

There is an Advisory Note from the Police not to fly from the Hill and Because of this I recommend that all BMFA members do not fly from Mill Hill with immediate effect as to not inflame any ongoing issue until the issues are resolved.

I will keep people up-to-date via the are a Facebook **LINK**

Percy Verance02/05/2015 21:50:27
8108 forum posts
155 photos

Further repercussions indeed Stevo. Always sad to hear of negative incidents when and where they happen. Thank god no one was injured.

Let's hope it can be resolved reasonably amicably.

Jon - Laser Engines02/05/2015 21:58:52
5222 forum posts
254 photos

My club is within 2 or 3 miles of a very active airfield. I have messaged my fellow committee members suggesting we put out a bulletin regarding the incident and reiterating our limits to members.

If the report is accurate and the collision was a 1000ft then its the model that would appear to be at fault. Clearly the full investigation will reveal all

Pete B - Moderator02/05/2015 22:03:04
7628 forum posts
733 photos

See here as well....


Martin Whybrow03/05/2015 00:43:03
884 forum posts
33 photos

Might be worth amending the title, as there's more than 1 Mill Hill!

Andy Meade13/05/2015 08:48:51
2749 forum posts
709 photos

Note that BMFA seemingly giving green light for flying here again

john stones 113/05/2015 11:42:07
11194 forum posts
1507 photos

Seems the model pilot was acting lawfully, we've had two incidents with a full size heli and you worry because you're flying a toy aeroplane (albeit a toy that could kill) that you'll be judged harshly, not been the case though on both occasions we where treat fairly. smiley


Allan Bennett13/05/2015 20:14:50
1603 forum posts
44 photos

I was initially reluctant to comment, having not had any knowledge of how the incident occurred. But I will put in my two-pennies-worth now wink

Is it not an overriding convention (or rule?) that model aircraft stay well clear of any manned aircraft, irrespective of who is "right" or "wrong"? At the club where I fly we're not any any flightpath, but we do get police helis and other light aircraft overhead from time to time, and we all make sure we're well away from them and flying in a direction that takes us away from their projected path.

KingKade13/05/2015 20:54:26
512 forum posts
22 photos


If a plane or heli was flying towards me at our club id land! Asap, i would not want anything to happen fullstop!

A particular other type of person would im sure continue to fly!

Martin Harris13/05/2015 20:59:51
9171 forum posts
242 photos

From a common sense and legal point of view of course we should avoid conflict although at the same time, the pilot of a full size aircraft is equally responsible in avoiding hazarding your small aircraft, for example by not flying over a known model flying site without good reason.

Many years ago, I crept round the end of Ivinghoe Beacon during a vintage glider week in my Rhonbussard after battling a 35 knot headwind from Dunstable - the day's task was to soar the hill at Dunstable, then the Beacon and return. I don't remember the tasksetter considering the possibility of mid-week model activity but as I joined the hill lift I saw there was a lone red slope soarer operating. A few beats of the hill saw me high enough for my return but at one point during this time, the model formated fairly closely with me (at what I felt was a safe distance but close enough to have given the average power pilot litters of kittens) rolled inverted and continued to slope soar. I think we both enjoyed the moment but was I in the wrong for not considering the model flying or should he have landed immediately I appeared? It certainly didn't bother me at the time.

Any collision must be wrong but it was quite instructive when I gave an airline pilot a passenger flight and he was seriously concerned by the (to me) very reasonable separation between us and other gliders so one man's airprox is another man's mile away. Bottom line is that it's much easier for us to see (and hear) them so we should always take the safe option and get well out of the way.

Edited By Martin Harris on 13/05/2015 21:02:02

Frank Skilbeck13/05/2015 21:00:04
4610 forum posts
101 photos

There's more info here, read the last comment from one of the RC pilots who was there.

Martin Whybrow15/01/2016 17:06:52
884 forum posts
33 photos

The report has now been published by the AAIB, see here the report starts on page 98. Unfortunately, it seems there are calls from the airport to close the site for model glider flying and it seems they may be supported by the local authorities.

ken anderson.15/01/2016 17:25:00
8557 forum posts
776 photos

thanks martin....... just read it through and there is no easy solution...and it looks like the model glider flying days are numbered for the site.

ken gliding dept.

Dave Hopkin15/01/2016 17:40:40
3672 forum posts
294 photos

Reading the AAIB report increases my belief that model flying sites should all be registered via a NOTAM

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator15/01/2016 19:27:03
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

There is a proposal before CAA that regularly used model flying sites should appear on Aviation maps - I think that will happen before too long.


Robin Colbourne15/01/2016 19:54:09
505 forum posts
6 photos

This is something the BMFA need to act on with all the experience an negotiating abilities they can muster. What we have here is a badly informed power pilot who flew a non-standard, albeit legal, route for the particular airfield, and collided with a legitimately flown model. As has been written elsewhere, by a full-size and model flier, the model could not have been at the height the Robin pilot stated, simply due to the wind strength and direction.

Good slope soaring sites in the South of England are few enough already, that to lose Mill Hill due to a badly informed power pilot would be unforgivable.

I am all for 'lessons being learnt' from this incident, however for one of the groups involved to lose the use of their flying site would be aggressive rather than assertive action, and would just show that the bodies involved were too lazy to try and reach a mutually acceptable solution all round.

It is far better that sites are used by experienced and responsible fliers who will be there and can advise visitors, than for it to be banned, thus giving unfettered access to visitors who turn up unaware of the local hazards and cause a really serious accident.

From what I can see, the outcomes of this should be:

  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) advise incoming aircraft of likely slope soaring in that area
  • Pooleys and any other guides be updated to include a note of the hazard
  • The circuit should be shown to take aircraft as far away from Mill Hill when using this approach.
  • An ATC phone number to be displayed on the sign in the car park, so model flyers can advise when starting and ending operations*

Dave Hopkin is right that all established model flying sites should be marked in future on air maps/charts.

*I appreciate this could result in several calls a day if arriving and departing model flyers don't overlap with each other.

Eagle 89915/01/2016 20:30:25
186 forum posts
19 photos
Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 15/01/2016 19:27:03:

There is a proposal before CAA that regularly used model flying sites should appear on Aviation maps - I think that will happen before too long.


I would be surprised if they appeared on Aeronautical charts, they're chocablock already.

ATC advisory and Pooleys, yes. Shep


Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator15/01/2016 20:39:07
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

Yes, it is none the less a firm proposal under discussion. Also, while not the whole solution, many light aircraft pilots these days are using Skydemon where it is possible to have "layers" that selectively display inofrmation.

While I fully accept that there is a well established track record of gliders operating from this site - I am surprised that flying is taking place on a hill just 1nm from the runway threshold. As someone responsible for authorising commercial UAV Mission Plans I have to say that I would think very carefully about approving a mission 1nm from a runway on a hilltop (thus increasing the altitude for relatively modest height). And without a pre-condition that ATC had to be informed (under 7Kg or not) I certainly would not approve such a plan. Just my experience.


PS To put that comment in context. I recently flew a mission on a hiltop (3D scanning the remains of Halton Castle). The hill top was at 320ft amsl. I reckoned the flight would be entirely below 150ft agl (so 470 amsl). It was 6nm from runway 27 at Liverpool, and the UAV I was using has a MTOM of 2.7Kg. I still informed Liverpool ATC.

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 15/01/2016 20:42:42

Daren Graham - Cambria Funfighters15/01/2016 20:56:34
480 forum posts
83 photos

I'm not being funny but I'm a member of a club the flies models from a busy active airfield and mostly we all get on fine with full sized aicraft. Equally I have flown in notam restricted areas and full size pilots still think it's fine to over fly the site ( posibly to have a look at the model activity ).

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator15/01/2016 21:04:03
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

I think its different on the airfield - they know you are there! In a funny way that's potentially safer than being a mile away and no notice.


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