Based on Clive Aslet's comments in today's Kent on Sunday, I must be one of those Thanet residents who is "Blind, ignorant or mad" and I wonder if we are in the majority?
When writing about plans for the further development of Manston, he writes:
"Every time the weekly 747, a cargo plane from Africa touches down, I say a little prayer of gratitude for the safe delivery of the town and aircrew." He adds: "Planes pass over a town of more than 10,000 souls at little more than chimney height, You can practically count the hairs in the pilot's nostrils as they do so."
Now I wasn't aware that Boeing 747s fall out of the sky over populated areas with any degree of regularity. That's not to say it's never happened but if one takes the UK as a whole, with the busiest airspace on the planet, the safety record of modern aircraft, certified to operate in the UK, is remarkably good and should hardly give cause for deep concern at Ramsgate, Hounslow or even Luton. In fact, last month's 'Miracle in the Hudson', should illustrate this quite well, what can be done with a large passenger aircraft when the engines are suddenly shut down after departure, the most safety critical time of the flight.
Large planes descending over Ramsgate are on a glide path which will ensure that their wheels touch the runway at a properly marked point beyond the threshold. If you aren't descending blind on instruments, then the red and white PAPI lights to the left of the runway will keep you on the glide path for a visual approach. That same glide path ensures that the aircraft is rather higher over the town than Mr Aslet thinks it is.
I don't doubt that aircraft can be noisy, there was a British Airways 'Airbus' doing circuits past my house much of yesterday afternoon but I challenge the implication of some hidden threat to Ramsgate posed by aircraft, doing what they have been doing on Thanet since 1916, taking-off and landing at Manston. I can't recall too many, if any complaints over Concorde using the airport for regular practise and that was noisy in the extreme
This coming Thursday we'll see an important debate on the future of the airport taking place in the council chamber and while the local papers are happy to accept the hyperbole of those opposed to any expansion of Manston, I for one, think its important for councillors of all parties and persuasions to look at the evidence and be influenced by facts and not fears; arriving at a conclusion that one hopes will benefit the people of the island as a whole.
NB. The YouTube video shows the runway for any that may be interested. Video credit to Cllr Bruce when we went to have a look at the Thanet Earth construction site last July!