Residents near airfield raise safety fears after air tragedy

�The safety of residents living near an airfield has been questioned after an aircraft which flew from the site crashed recently.

The Goodyear Spirit of Safety blimp, which flew over Havering in April, burst into flames killing the pilot in Germany on June 12.

Upminster Clr, Linda Van Den Hende, said: ”Residents are concerned that a plane may get caught in the telegraph wires, there are a number of homes near Daymns Hall Aerodrome so people could be in danger.”


A petition against low flying planes from the Upminster airfield was put to Havering Council in October, but Ms Van Den Hende says they are not trying to put it out of business.

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The owner of the land holds a Certificate of Lawful Use which allows him to use the land as a airfield.

But the council has issued enforcement notices restricting the number of aircraft allowed at the aerodrome.

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Ms Van Den Hende added: “Unfortunately though we can’t limit how often these planes fly. Also, they don’t need permission to fly blimps so there’s nothing we can do about those.”

Coral Jeffrey, of the Rainham Preservation Society, said: “Residents feel vindicated and need assurance that the operators will find alternative routes to stop aircrafts flying over their homes.”

The Spirit of Safety pilot, Michael Nerandzic, 53, died in the accident after persuading his three passengers to leave the aircraft.

The loss of weight sent the blimp soaring into the air in a ball of fire before crashing to the ground.

The blimp, owned and operated by Lightship Europe Limited (LEL), toured the UK in March and April to promote road safety.

Upminster Cllr, Linda Hawthorn, said: “It’s very sad for the pilot, my thoughts are with his family, but this just shows the dangers of flying over houses.

“These aircraft aren’t always as safe as we think they are.”

Goodyear’s company statement records that it and LEL have collectively owned and operated airships for more than 100 years with no serious incident such as this occurring.

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