Most of you are, we are sure, aware of the tragic accident at Shoreham Airshow last year when a Hawker Hunter hit the A27 and surrounding land killing 11 people. As a result of this, there have been some sweeping regulation changes to UK airshows. The Civil Aviation Authority assessed our application (which we made in March) this week and have informed us that our site is no longer acceptable for the Spitfire Display. CAP403 requires that we have a 230 m horizontal separation from viewing areas, both the paying spectators and any points outside considered suitable for viewing.
We argued that Chelsfield has no really suitable external viewing areas due to the tree cover and the narrowness of the lanes; and that we had never had an issue with public congregating to view from areas other than the Cricket Ground, and while it would have changed the display axes, it was possible. However, the CAA cannot accept display aircraft flying over Bucks Cross Road and the proximity of the A224 in the other direction literally precludes the Spitfire's display.
We are however DELIGHTED to announce that all is not lost!
Mark Jefferies Extra 330 display which we all enjoyed so much last year is still possible to stage. Mark has an exemption allowing him to fly the closer 150m distance and this gives him a small area of open land over which to display. We are grateful to Matthew Hill at the CAA and Mark for helping come to a solution which means that on 16th July, there will be flying at Chelsfield (weather permitting).
We know how disappointing this is for all of you, and for us, but we hope you understand that we have absolutely no choice in the matter on the current site. We hope you all still come along and support the Fair!