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Welcome to Ashcroft-NOLAC Airfield 30 Sep 2014 Click on RED

Pilots who are not involved with the Lancashire Aero Club please click Here
Pilots who are not involved with the Lancashire Aero Club please click  Here 

Forget the LAA Rally .. visit the Lancashire Aero Club 'Pegging out Party' . Click Here
(500-600 residents want to 'peg down' Hercules & Co. Ashcroft has 1413 reasons to offer support)

  • LAC Legal: proceedings investigated by regulatory authority (report to be sent 30.10.2014)
  • LAC Insurance: Hayward's sent request for confirmation, that they are prepared to cover third party indemnity up to £3,750,000 for the LAC using unapproved Military Flight Manual performance data at Ashcroft (over our Public Highway) based on an incomplete'Balloonist report'
  • LAC damage to property: legal proceedings to be initiated 15.10.2014 [£370]
  • LAC Expert complaint report due to be sent to the BAAC by  15.11.2014 

Safety at Ashcroft: We have now 4 Skyranger aircraft based at Ashcroft. None of these aircraft (and any other aircraft at Ashcroft) are 'flown like 'Hooligans' in the proximity of the general public. We aim to maintain traditional high standards of aviation and public safety, that have been the benchmark for safety standards for the last 100 years.

Ashcroft-NOLAC Airfield ....  Newsletter (Spring 2014)
Is it ...“New buds of hope” .. for Ashcroft …or .. “fulfilment of our dreams”.
No .. just going about business as usual to provide a safe & enjoyable environment for pilots

We are fortunate to be blessed with bona-fide resident pilots who have high standards of integrity, adopt a responsible community aware attitude and come on to the Airfield using the traditional methods of ... opening the gates instead of clambering over them 4 at a time.
They are also well aware of the “performance characteristics of their aircraft, and recognise that  the aerodrome dimensions are appropriate and  proportionate to that activity”

At this time of year we normally get several requests for hangarage and we would like to welcome 2 new arrivals who we hope will benefit from a low cost & relaxed environment.
Now to a more difficult topic. As you will have recently seen on the website we have been forced to take the LAC to Court concerning, what can only be described, as a “Military” style ‘assault’ over our main gates on 30 July 2013. Six attempts to communicate our concerns to the LAC Chairman failed to yield any response & resulted in the LAC Committee shuffling in to the Crewe Court, some wearing anoraks and rushing (in Keystone Cop style) to sit down on the front bench, leaving Jane and I slightly bemused by the door. Most of the LAC were then ordered to the back row. Recommendations of disciplinary measures were met with a stunned silence and a prepared statement ‘barked’ out from the LAC Safety Officer (probably heard in adjacent Courts) was met by a ‘wince’ and a order to get legal advice.
It seems that the LAC Committee are vexed by recent events and now the LAC Safety officer has pushed aside the Newsletter editor and constructed a rudderless article, raising more questions than could ever be answered. It is a point of fact that the LAC Committee started a dispute with us on 07 Dec 2010 when attempts to buy Ashcroft were refused.

Since then we have received, on average, one legal document for every single day and just for good measure, the LAC have tried to take Ashcroft Airfield apart ‘piece-by-piece’.
We now understand that the owners of Barton have taken the LAC back but wisely positioned the LAC portacabin adjacent to the Airport Exit (presumably keeping all options open)

With 14,000 incident free flying hours & 35 years flying our own aircraft in the GA environment, I have often noticed that Airfield Owners have looked at things ‘differently’ to the Pilots using their Airfield. After 14 years of operating Ashcroft with a good safety record, we do our best to be ‘GA friendly’ but when a Balloon recovery crew breaks open our gate locks, trashes one of our Runways & drives away without attempting to contact us, it tends to colour our opinionof some people, as we question the motives and agenda of others.
The reality is, a LAC contingent is engaging us in a 31/2 year legal dispute, which we believe relates to ..
“the safety of aircraft and of persons and property carried therein, [and] for preventing aircraft endangering other persons and property”. On the 25 June this issue will be resolved, one way or another.  None of this dispute will affect Ashcroft or its residents.

Steve Billington      11 April 2014

Airfield .. Owner, Safety Officer, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Tractor Mechanic,  roofing repair ‘specialist’,  plumber, toilet cleaner, head cook and bottle washer .. etc


1. Lancashire Aero Club (banned from Ashcroft until 2050 AD)

... Legal proceedings re: LAC gate damage to Ashcroft property now re-established
... Ashcroft working at a 'high level' with other disgruntled parties to ensure fair play

... Ashcroft establishing total digital vocal & video recording of LAC for legal reasons

First warning ............................. 26 July 2014

Second warning sent ................ 15 Aug 2014
Third formal warning sent ......... 31 Aug 2014
Fourth formal warning sent ....... 10 Sep 2014
Fifth and final warning sent ....... 28 Sep 2014
Deadline for payment (£370) ..... 15 Oct 2014

2. Current Issues ... Public Safety
We welcome the CAA's new policy to ... "Develop and adopt an evidence and risk-based approach proportionate to the risk-appetite of participants while ensuring protection for uninformed third parties;" 
Independent assessment of public safety standards iaw a Circuit Judge comments required.

Common Sense and Best Practice approach to .... public safety
Plan to fly at 50ft above our Public Road to give adequate clearance to vehicles that are hidden from a high hedge when landing on RW27. Planning to fly over the road at 20ft is unacceptable and a breach of ANO Rule 5(3)a "Failure of a Power Unit"

After a High Court Judge recognises Ashcroft's concerns re: LAC low flying over public highways, commenting "cries out" for a proper Expert assessment, Ashcroft responds by constructing a central HD quad-video device to protect our General Public (this is in addition to the 2 cameras that  'caught'  the LAC flying over our road at 19ft 4 in)
These devices are affectionately referred to by Ashcroft (& the environs) as LAC Busters
... If the LAC continue to endanger our Public, we will contact our Member of Parliament

3. Public Safety ... Expert assessment (by a Hot Air Ballonist)
A "Top 50" London Aviation Lawyer criticised the LAC for trying to stop Expert assessment for a 2 ton aircraft that 'landed long' and crashed on a vehicle test track.

On 27.02.14 the LAC unilaterally appointed an Aviation 'Expert' (specialityBalloons! )
On a 38min tour the 'Expert' assessed our boundary road and hedge as a 'non issue'.
Despite providing the 'Expert' with photos of the hedge in the summer (twice the height and much thicker than shown below) hiding vehicles / pedestrians (the general public) from view to pilots landing on RW 27 & 30, he apparently chose to ignore these risks.
The legal issues of 'Failure of a Power unit' [ANO Rule 5 (3)a] were not considered.

Safety concerns were dismissed as 'trivia' (contradicting a High Court Judge's assessment)

Hopefully this 'Expert' is insured against liability claims from the General Public since:
Incorrect Runway distances were used for Flight Manual performance calculations.  

Safety data that he relied upon : ....

  • Was unapproved by the regulatory authority
  • Was unamended and 13 years out of date
  • Featured incorrect graphs with errors in excess of 200%
  • Had critical pages missing (including the amendment page)
  • Originated from a non-existent aviation company.  

The 'Expert' had a 'light touch' when answering questions but a 'firm grip' on his £8k fee.

4.  Large Aeroplanes (>5,700kg) / Private Aircraft 
All pilots wishing to use Ashcroft Airfield should attempt to conform with the principles of "common-sense aircraft performance planning and normal airmanship" (which is 'highly recommended' and 'best practice' ...a benchmark of safe aircraft operations).

(a) Large Aerploanes (> 5,700kg MTOM) are obliged to comply with AFM performance
(b) Aircraft defined in the "Private" category can include a Boeing 737 or larger aircraft.

Any type of aircraft planning to use Ashcroft must be below 5,700kg MTOM and operate in a non-commercial category to comply with ICAO international aviation regulations.
Aircraft (between 1,200kg - 5,700kg MTOM) not using Ashcroft on the normal (telephone / email) PPR basis are assessed as 'high risk' to the general public using our road,  (unless 'common sense aircraft  performance planning' is observed)

In an attempt to adapt to the latest CAA policies regarding GA risk-based regulation, we will continue to assess risks to the uninvolved general public iaw recent CAA guidlines.

This offers a measure of protection to the general public exercising their lawful right to use our public road on our Eastern Airfield boundary and minimises any liabity issues by pilots not complying with UK & International Aviation Laws. 

5. Fly over our road 50ft minimum to comply with Rule 5(3)a

Since our road is used by the general public, appropriate aircraft performance calculations (iaw the most recent performance data) are legally required to clear this road by at least 50ft iaw ANO Rule 5(3.a) ... pertinent to Unlicensed Airfields

SSL 078(c) "You should always ensure that after applying all the relevant factors .... the Landing Distance Required (LDR) from a height of 50 feet does not exceed landing Distance Available"
In our experience, most pilots act in a responsible manner and adhere to the relevant CAA safety policy documents regarding aircraft performance and Rule 5


6. Civil Aviation Authority (UK)
CAA regulatory review of GA"for securing the safety of air navigation and the safety of aircraft and of persons and property carried therein, [and] for preventing aircraft endangering other persons and property". The UK Rules of the Air Regulations are enabled under the ANO"
Ashcroft Airfield: attempting to secure the safety of aircraft & persons carried therein [and] preventing aircraft endangering other persons & property

7. Civil Aviation Authority (UK) 
QUOTE ....Accidents such as failure to get airborne, collision with obstacles after take-off and over-run on landing occur frequently to light aeroplanes. Many have happened at short licensed runways, as well as strips, often when operating out of wind or where there was a slope. Poor surfaces, such as long or wet grass, mud or snow, were often contributory factors. Many, if not all, of these performance accidents could have been avoided if the pilots had been fully aware of the performance limitations of their aeroplanes. The pilot in command has a legal obligation under EU Part-NCO and Article 87 of the Air Navigation Order 2009, which require the pilot to check that the aeroplane will have adequate performance for the proposed flight .. UNQUOTE

8. Civil Aviation Authority (UK) 
QUOTE .... Unlicensed aerodromes and private strips are often used by pilots and private owners. They may be more convenient or cheaper than licensed aerodromes; however, they do require special consideration. Approximately one third of GA Reportable Accidents in the UK occur during take-off or landing at unlicensed aerodromes .. UNQUOTE

9. See and Avoid ... Peripheral and ... Tunnel vision
Caution: Regarding limitations of the "See-and-Avoid" Principle. Peripheral vision is reduced under conditions of high workload.

"A number of researchers have shown that peripheral stimuli are more difficult to detect when attention is focussed on a central task"

Safety Sense Leaflet 13: Collision Avoidance

"Another inherent eye problem is the narrow field of vision. Although our eyes accept light rays from an arc of nearly 200°, they are limited to a relatively narrow area (approximately 10–15°) in which they can actually focus on and classify an object. Although movement on the periphery can be perceived, we cannot identify what is happening there, and we tend not to believe what we see out of the corner of our eyes. This, aided by the brain, often leads to 'tunnel vision'.
"The pilot’s functional visual field contracts under conditions of stress or increased workload.
The resulting ‘tunnel vision’ reduces the chance that an approaching aircraft will be seen in peripheral vision"


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