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Letter: Hang-gliders Drone Over Guildford

Published on: 20 May, 2020
Updated on: 20 May, 2020

From J Harrison

A powered hang-glider or microlight

The first discernible change since Boris Johnson announced a gradual unravelling of the lockdown seems to be a plague of powered hang-gliders over Guildford.

As I write, there are half-a-dozen cruising around, imposing their noise and disturbance on thousands of residents who might prefer to enjoy a quiet early summer evening.

Can the Noise Abatement Society, the Civil Aviation Authority or somebody else put an end to this intrusion? Unlike the occasional plane, the noise does not pass but drones on incessantly. This is quite unnecessary and selfish, the disturbance of so many for the indulgence of so few.

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test 6 Responses to Letter: Hang-gliders Drone Over Guildford

  1. Harry Eve Reply

    May 20, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I entirely agree with J Harrison. One of these paramotors came over our area during the main lockdown, making a terrible and persistent racket, and the pilot was looking down at us in our gardens. How intrusive is that?

    I understand that they are fairly safe but what if one did have to make an emergency landing while over gardens and houses?

  2. John Ferns Reply

    May 20, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Government guidance was published today, which allows ‘recreational activity’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation
    but with the proviso: “Aerodrome operators and others involved in GA are encouraged to enter into a dialogue with local communities,” and finishes with this sentence, “The onus is also on pilots to act responsibly, for example by avoiding noise-sensitive and built-up areas”.

    Enforcement against ‘anti-social’ activity may prove as difficult as stopping drivers/passengers jettisoning their litter from their cars on urban dual carriageways; witness the regularity of clean up operations on the ‘Blackwater Valley Relief’ road (A331).

  3. John Lomas Reply

    May 20, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    • Harry Eve Reply

      May 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks to John Lomas. His comment is helpful but I note that it is from 2007. I have not read through it yet. Were paramotors in use in 2007 – or covered by legislation?

      It seems to me that anything motorised and large enough to carry people taking to the air should have some form of registration clearly visible so that evidence of breaches of legislation can be readily obtained.

  4. E Portess Reply

    May 20, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    We, too, suffer these drone hang-gliders’ unpleasant motorised noise, and their nosiness as to what is beneath them. If they are not licensed, perhaps they should be, and instructed not to venture over residential areas or nature reserves, where the wildlife is very disturbed by the incessant low-flying drone noise.

    The noise from frequent low-flying helicopters is also a nuisance.

  5. Norman Bristow Reply

    May 21, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    As a former hang-glider pilot I must correct the above. Hang-gliders are virtually silent in flight. What you saw and heard were paramotors who are obliged to fly above 1,500 feet above built-up areas. If the engine stops, they are capable of gliding considerable distances so are unlikely to land in your garden.

    Editors note: J Harrison does describe them as “powered hang-gliders”. Paramotors have no rigid wing.

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