HC Deb 09 November 1932 vol 270 cc331-3
12. Lord APSLEY

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will state the reasons which have actuated the new Order that no inventor may build an aeroplane or even fly it over his own land unless he has obtained special permission to do so from the Ministry; and whether he has received any adverse criticisms from aviators concerned with regard to this new Order?


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air (1) whether, under the recently published Air Navigation Directions, 11, 1932, it is intended that private aircraft experimenters are to be prohibited from testing out their experiments on their own private grounds without previous written permission from the Air Ministry, unless the experimenter is a company on the approved Air Ministry list;

(2) whether, under the Air Navigation Directions, 11, 1932, it is intended that every inventor who wishes to develop a new type of aircraft through private commercial enterprise must submit particulars of his inventions and designs to the Air Ministry for inspection and approval before permission can be obtained for any experimental flights;

(3) whether he would be willing to receive representations from the aircraft industry or individual engineers and experimentalists regarding objections and hindrance to aviation development by private enterprise that may be caused by strict interpretation of the recently issued Air Navigation Directions, 11, 1932?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Sir Philip Sassoon)

There seems to be considerable misapprehension on this subject. I would point out in the first place that these revised rules contain no new departure of principle; but are designed mainly to clarify the regulations in detail and to give fuller effect to what has been approved policy since 1929. They have been drawn up in the interests of the safety of the general public and of the pilots of experimental machines, in view of previous fatal accidents.

The rules provide that in the case of an aircraft of a new type designed by a private experimenter the Secretary of State has to be satisfied, before it is flown, that it involves no special danger to life and property. This procedure does not necessarily require the disclosure of particulars of a secret character, though these would in any case be treated with the strictest confidence. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Captain Balfour) may rest assured that the Department is most anxious to encourage invention as well as to ensure safety, and that the rules will be administered with the fullest possible regard for inventive enterprise. My Noble Friend will certainly be ready to receive representations on the subject from any authoritative quarter, but I may say that the rules in their latest form have received the approval of the Civil Airworthiness Committee, which is representative of a number of outside bodies including the Society of British Aircraft Constructors, insurance interests, and the General Council of Light Aeroplane Clubs.


Do not these regulations introduce an innovation that now an Englishman cannot go up in his own private aeroplane in his own private ground and kill himself without previous written permission of the right hon. Gentleman?


No, Sir. There is no departure in principle from the rules embodied in 1929.


In 1929 could not a pilot go within three miles of his aerodrome without permission?


That was the change that was then made. The three-mile limit was then abolished.