It's Take-off for new £1.5m Runway!
Lee Flying Association, Press Release 10 March 2015
The official opening of the newly resurfaced main runway at Daedalus Aerodrome and Solent Enterprise Zone, undertaken by Fareham Borough Council at a cost of £1.5m, took place today.
The runway investment has very significantly extended the lifespan of the airfield, enabling for the first time aviation organisations to confidently invest in new long-term premises and operations. It is also an important step towards getting a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Aerodrome licence, expected within weeks, which will help attract more private aviation investment, employment and use.
The project, funded by Fareham Borough Council and completed by contractors Raymond Brown, included resurfacing and relining of the main runway, repairs to taxiways and the installation of ducting to enable the future provision of runway lighting.
Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, who was flown on the first official flight, said: "The upgraded runway is an important step towards gaining the CAA licence that will allow a greater variety of planes to use the airfield and boost the already healthy aviation community on the Solent Enterprise Zone. When we take ownership of the site we will be responsible for investment over the life of the Enterprise Zone totalling some £50,000,000 which will boost the local economy. This is in addition to the investment being made by Hampshire County Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in new roads to improve access to the Zone. "
Esther Croft, HCA area manager, said: "The progress made on the new runway is further evidence that the Solent Enterprise Zone is open for business. It demonstrates the confidence partners and investors have in the project's long-term future and would not have happened without their support over the last two years. It's great news for the area and will act as a catalyst for further growth at the enterprise zone."
Jon Butts, Lee Flying Association "LFA has championed an aviation for Daedalus since 2007, in particular the need to resurface runway 05/23. LFA applauds the work which has gone on the fund and approve the renewal of the main runway, which secures the future of flying operations at Daedalus Aerodrome and Solent Enterprise Zone. This strategic infrastructure investment enables aviation sector investment in new hangars, employment and recreational flying opportunities. It also preserves for the long term the locally highly valued open central aerodrome space as we enter a second century of aviation at Daedalus. Construction of access and serviced plots around the North East Apron for sale or long-lease is expected to start within weeks. At last update, three airside plots remained available to the market."
Andy Walters from Regional & City Airports (RCA) said "RCA are proud to be so integral to the building of the legacy of Daedalus. With efforts focused on opening up the Airfield to more aircraft and business opportunities, CAA licensing will crown a very important investment into jobs, wealth and prosperity opportunities for the local community and providing an attractive and prime General Aviation hub in the South Coast."
The improvements to the runway are part of an £8.3m package of investment by Fareham Borough Council at the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus, with the aim of transforming it into a business destination with 3,500 jobs in aviation, aerospace and marine engineering.
The Official Runway Opening was a Lee Flying Association initiative delivered by a team from FBC, HCA, RCA and Fareham College whose new £12m advanced engineering college is now open at Daedalus with 900 enrolled students. Flat Six Aviation provided the specially-requested Cirrus SR20 for the official flight, flown by instructor Theo Amer. Eagle European AOC flew Fareham's Mayor and Mayoress, media and college engineering students on local flights in a C421 Golden Eagle. Hampshire Aeroplane Club flew the C172 Air-to-Ground camera-ship. Aviation tenants provided numerous aircraftopen hangars for guests and media to view on the South East apron, where Aerotech (Solent), Bournemouth Avionics and LFA hangars were opened for the visitors and college students.
Lee Flying Association was honoured to have Daedalus 1944 veteran's Fred Belchamber (Fleet Air Arm) and Peter Garrod (Air Transport Auxiliary) present on it's behalf photographs marking the occasion to those who enabled the runway investment to be approved and delivered, as well as local student volunteers who contributed to the Daedalus D-Day 70th "Airmen and Airborne" Commemoration in June. LFA Volunteers provided the additional manpower and transport needed to host and deliver the official opening successfully.
Welcome to Lee Flying Association
Lee Flying Association (LFA) is a not-for-profit members organisation for all who support Daedalus Aerodrome and aviation use being safeguarded and regenerated as a central and differentiating capability of the Solent Enterprise Zone. We work to ensure that a viable aviation future for the airfield is one of the key elements included in the redevelopment of the whole Daedalus estate.
LFA is the body of local people whose principal focus is championing the cause of aviation at Daedalus; successfully, initially against threats such as closure (at 28 days notice); promoting the potential for Daedalus as a leading General Aviation aerodrome; providing aviation insight to local leaders regarding opportunities, strategy and issues that need to be addressed through formal processes, as well as submitting pro-aviation sector input into the many public consultations and planning applications since 2007.
As at December 2014 these efforts, combined with those of key formal stakeholders, have culminated in enbaling new aviation businesses to gain a foothold at Daedalus pending investment enablers such as runway resurfacing (Dec 2014) and creation of new serviced plots with airside (taxiway) access. Strategic planning for the Borough of Fareham, the Solent Enterprise Zone, and the Homes and Communities has incorporated most, if not all, of the key input provided by the LFA needed to create a viable and sustainable General Aviation airfield delivering economic and amenity benefit once again in the local and Solent / South Hampshire area.
Planning policies, Local Plans, "Visionary Frameworks" and a granted Outline Planning consent for the whole of Daedalus have thus struck a balance which incorporates the need to boost employment generally, while retaining and using operational aviation infrastructure including aircraft parking aprons and taxiways and retaining a large amount of open airfield space, which local people value hugely.
We are now seeing much of the work to date of the LFA,formal Daedalus stakeholders and local leaders coming to fruition. The main runway has been resurfaced (Oct-Dec 2014) which enables both the airfield to gain a Civil Aviation Authority licence and businesses to have the confidence to make longer term investments such as new hangars and premises. Work will shortly commence creating new serviced plots around the north east aircraft apron where the first tranche of new hangars will be built, replacing those constructed in 1943 which were recently demolished (a sad but necessary part of the regeneration of the aerodrome and EZ).
Key phases of the regeneration remain ahead and there will likely be further challenges to tackle. However both the direction and now the pace of change is extremely encouraging. Further work is underway to enable further aviation investment opportunities at Daedalus, opportunities for amenity use and, over time, access to the airfield for local people as is normal at other civilian aerodromes.
The LFA also provides local, aerodrome and operational aviation knowledge to a range of Daedalus stakeholders and local organisations, including residents associations, clubs and societies.
LFA Members receive regular Members Newsletters which provide information and updates regarding the strategy, issues and progress of the many changes that are needed and are occuring here
Members have access to the LFA Clubhouse at Hangar "Bravo" where they can use the briefing facilities, free WiFi, aand park their car or aircraft while visiting, help out with running the premises and socialise with other members. It is likely that the social and event focus of the LFA will grow as less work is required regarding the future of the airfield itself.
Aviator or not, local or not, all who wish to demonstrate their support for Daedalus Aerodrome continuing and developing as operational airfield are invited and welcome to join. Click here for more details.
LFA champions operational aviation as the pragmatic way forward for Daedalus - creating employment and recreational aviation opportunities while maintaining open space and the strategic gap, all of which are needed and highly valued by our local communities.