Sunday, June 23, 2013

All Stop

It's early morning and I called off my flights at Edgbaston's final of the cricket at 06:00, given the prevailing for forecast for this afternoon, which looks uncannily similar to Manston yesterday.

I was delighted that the airshow proved to be such a phenomenal success - very well done Angie Sutton and Chris Yates the organisers - but somewhat less excited by the traffic chaos that ensued yesterday morning.

When I left Thanet at 10:00 to collect my aircraft, the line of cars on the Thanet Way were already stopped beyond the St Nicholas roundabout and by the time I was airborne at 12:20 and inbound to Manston, the traffic jam stretched all the way to Whitstable on the A299 and back to Sturry on the A28. In fact, once I had finished my turn and landed away, there was absolutely no chance of driving back to the airshow and I arrived home in time to hear the Vulcan taking off, close to 4pm.

The weather yesterday morning, for what I had to do, was worse than awful and at best, I gave myself a 50:50 chance if the wind dropped even slightly. As it was and with a job to do for the Thanet Skills Studio with a banner, I took off at 12:20 and with the aid of pilot's luck, rather than judgement, managed to collect the banner in the gusty wind on the first attempt. It just happened that at the vital moment, the aircraft was just stable enough for the hook to catch the banner line, much like an aircraft carrier landing (the video shows what it should look like to collect a banner without a howling gale).

After departure, I positioned over the lakes towards Sturry and waited for Manston ATC to call me in. The visibility was so poor in drizzle and the cloud, so low at 500 feet that I need my instruments to point me at the Manston runway.

At the airport, I could see it was busy, with the Vulcan, Mitchell and Hunter parked-up but noticed very little else as I battled to hold the aircraft on several passes at 200 feet on the south side of the runway. Another display pilot commented that he thought I was going backwards against the wind and that was almost the case as in the cockpit it felt like a phone box wrestling match with a gorilla, as the crosswind, in excess of 30 knots, tried to pull the aircraft towards the crowd line.

I had hoped to shoot video from the wing-mounted GoPro cameras and take some photos, as I normally do but on this occasion, I was quite unable to take my left hand of the yoke and my right off the throttle as I fought the wind. So no photos, sorry!

As I left the circuit. following the A299 west at low level under the ceiling of cloud and drizzle, the traffic still stretched for miles and the air show had officially started.

If this airshow at Manston happens again next year and I hope it does, given its popular success, then KCC needs a traffic plan in place. I suggest traffic cones on a lane of the A299 from at least the Roman Galley, with cars to Margate only in one  lane and airshow traffic in the other, if we are to prevent a repeat of the chaos seen yesterday.

Now that Thanet, in its political wisdom, has voted for ageing UKIP County Councillors, with a single youthful exception, then perhaps they might make an appearance and remark publicly on this very subject, which is their remit, unless they plan to spend the next four years claiming a very handsome allowance and doing little or nothing but remain invisible on local issues?


Phil said...

Great work yesterday. The wife and I saw the banner when walking in.

We both really enjoyed the show but having to walk 45 mins from Minster when 30wks pregnant almost put paid to that. The traffic all through Minster was stationery and left us no choice.

Upon leaving around half 4 we really felt for all the people still stuck in traffic. We got stopped a couple of times to ask why we leaving so early. Whoever was responsible for traffic should really consider their future. It wasn't just people going to the show but many critical services like District Nurses and Meals on Wheels who were unable to do their jobs yesterday.

William Epps said...

Despite the traffic, it was a great day out which I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed. Having been at Scampton back in the 60's, it was good to see a Vulcan take off again.

Let us hope this can become a regular annual event, but that lessons will be learnt from this year to ease the traffic access problems. Having said that, arriving a little late, I had no problems driving to Manston from Broadstairs and, on leaving, enjoyed a cup of tea in the Merlin until things eased a bit. I have been in worst traffic jams attending a Bromley Common boot fair.

Roger Latchford OBE said...

Simon, your last paragraph does you no credit, there are two issues here, first the people of Thanet have voted for UKIP to represent them with the exception of one youthful Cllr, it should be clear to you that the residents are fed up with both National and local politicians. Your Party should now be looking forward not crying over something that has happened.
The fact that the elected personnel are aged is totally irrelevant, they at least bring experience and commitment and we fully appreciate being given the opportunity to represent the residents.
Second as for the Airshow traffic issues, all organisers are responsible to work with the Police and the local authorities to "design" a traffic plan. This Airshow was a huge success and Angie should be congratulated, she must now look seriously at the Traffic issues if she intends to repeat the event.
Lastly your valiant struggle against the elements was clearly visible. Well done.
Roger Latchford OBE
Leader UKIP Group KCC

Simon Moores said...

Thank you Roger. I'm not crying over anything, beyond the all too visible failings of the democratic process here in Thanet.

Perhaps you might recommend your troops to get out and about and make themselves visible. Here in Westgate, I saw the successful UKIP candidate once at the polling station and to my knowledge, he hasn't been seen since. That's not unusual though as Labour's Jodie Hibbert has set the standard for him to follow.

Anonymous said...

Airshow would be better as a 2 day event like it used to be up at palm bay as it would spread visitor numbers over the 2 days..more chance of getting red arrows too on at least one day. Could put in a contraflow on a299 some way back ..eastbound carriageway with 2 lanes for airshow, usual wesbournd carriageway with a contraflow for non-airshow traffic - 1 lane either direction and change the signs/remove cones to switch back later. A park and ride or two would help relieve the traffic too. And direct traffic from a28 to one end of manston, a299 traffic to the other.

Anonymous said...

my 2:58pm post needs a bit of refinement on contraflow suggestion but you get the basic idea.

Anonymous said...

Pity the BBC were not very supportive. They only commented on the traffic chaos, rather than a successful day. I'm not sure they even had a camera crew there on the day!

Anonymous said...

Simon, I get the feeling that a little of the 'green eyed monster' is rearing its' head. Are you, perhaps, a little jealous of the success that UKIP has enjoyed while you are stuck with a party that has consistently lied to the voters ? Are you proud of David Cameron's record thus far ? Instead of being critical of the voters choice, perhaps you should consider your position as a Tory. UKIP may not be ready for Parliament yet but can they really be any worse than the present billionaire clowns ?

Simon Moores said...

11:19. I think the polite reply is b*****s!

I'm speaking purely about local issues and the responsibilities of the new County councillors, whose abilities and experience remain as yet unproven and indeed invisible.

As for Europe, if you want a way out to a more relaxed free trade relationship as I do , then there's only one solution and one party to support and I'm afraid it's not UKIP.

Anonymous said...

I believe there are ****** in B******S.

Roger Latchford said...

Simon 11.19 has truly made a point which reinforces my comments 1.14above,concerning the Conservatives Nationally and locally, as for the UKIP "troops" being out on the ground I can assure you that we have been very active since being elected, we are dedicated to stand by our pre-election promises and Simon can I say Thanet is much larger than the Westgate boundaries, but can assure you that now our member is back from his holiday he will be seen and actively working in Westgate.
Simon you could always join us as clearly your aims are very close to UKIP
Roger Latchford OBE

Anonymous said...

Air Show Press Release

All parties recognise the problems that people faced travelling by vehicle to the South East Airshow and apologise to those who experienced long delays and were unable to attend the event.

There will be a full debrief with all parties and once we have collated all the feedback, we will be able to make a more detailed statement.

We would ask for people to email their views and their personal experiences to so we can respond appropriately to each person individually.

Penny Williams - Director

Anonymous said...

@Roger Latchford OBE

Action speaks louder then words...

Even though ex KCC clr Robert Burgess has lost his position, he is still very much involved and working hard for the wards he was representing previously.

KCC clr Jeff Elenor has mighty shoes to fill. So far, Robert Burgess is out performing Jeff Elenor even without his KCC Status.

Anonymous said...

I didn't go to the air show but let me guess. Thousands of people in cars heading down the Thanet Way, initially at 70mph, or illegally faster, on a dual carriageway which 20 years ago was not of the same quality as today. Other roads joining up from Dover, Canterbury etc, all aiming for one or two gates, and a temporary car park on grass. Delays were inevitable especially as many people would have estimated their journey time using sat nav or similar, and planned accordingly. Result, gridlock. This often happens at air shows because they usually take place at military or ex military airfields whose normal entry is by air, and where 30,000+ people don't arrive at the same time. Parking in external fields might help, if farmers are compensated for loss of crops, with shuttle buses operating, and each ticket designating a parking area. Or move Manston, which is effectively on the end of a peninsula. Having said that I am all for the show, I saw my first show at Manston in 1954 aged 12, and several Battle of Britain shows in subsequent years, and apart from the one occasion when I walked from Margate, I too have sat in traffic jams.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:37 PM - Robert Burgess, you cannot self-endorse ! I know it was you that sent that comment in, and yes, indeed, you did a lot for Westgate - when it suited you. I do not think you have 'mighty shoes to fill' at all. If you were that good a councillor, why were you voted out ? Mighty shoes as worn by clowns !!!!

Anonymous said...

2.37 must having a laugh. Ex cllr Burgess was always conspicuous by his absence. When he did attend something he was often rude and obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought for the day.

Alberto Bensusan

Poem Worth Reading

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbours
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us

We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

PLEASE pass On The Patriotism! YOU can make a difference.
If you are proud of our Vets, then send this to them. You'll be glad you

Then send it to ALL your friends.
Thank you and GOD bless you.

Anonymous said...

I posted at 2:37pm, and I am not Robert Burgess.

@Anom 6:08pm, Please provide details of this conspicuous absence. All the minutes to various meetings show almost a 100% attendance record.

Even meetings where it conflicted with other meetings, he still attended Residents Association meetings afterwards.

Look at the minutes of westbrook, westgate and garlinge residents associations on

He is still attending Residents Association meetings even though he isnt a KCC clr anymore. He is still heavily involved with the youth clubs in Garlinge and Westgate every week.

Robert Burgess provides financial support by advertising/sponsoring local community events and publications through his own business out of his own pocket.

What has Jeff Elenor done so far since being elected?
Gone on Holiday, as earlier posted by Roger Latchford OBE.

As I said earlier,
"Action speaks louder then words"

Anonymous said...

John Hamilton revealed!

Anonymous said...

The most disorganised shambles of an airshow I ever attended. I hope that the organisers along with Iris Johnstone are not allowed to run or indeed manage another one!