HC Deb 02 August 1939 vol 350 cc2354-5
21. Mr. Eckersley

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether his attention has been drawn to the incident on Saturday, 29th July, when a British Airways' aeroplane from Stockholm to Heston, with 12 passengers on board, narrowly missed a barrage balloon; and whether he will take steps to ensure that balloons are flown at such a height below the cloud ceiling as to render such episodes less likely in the future?

Captain Balfour

Yes, Sir. The attention of my right hon. Friend has been called to this incident. I would explain however that a Notice to Airmen was issued on the subject of the balloon barrage exercises which are now taking place before their commencement and this should have precluded the possibility of an incident such as that referred to. A further notice was issued on 31st July calling attention to the earlier notice.

Mr. Eckersley

While thanking the hon. and gallant Member for his reply, may I ask whether it is a fact that balloons are allowed to fly in cloud?

Captain Balfour

No, Sir. One of the conditions under which balloons are allowed to fly is that neither the balloon nor the cable shall enter cloud or conditions of bad visibility. I have made inquiries of the Balloon Command, that, as far as I can find, no balloon was flown contrary to the order.

Mr. Montague

Can the Minister say what height the barrage balloons fly in peace time, and if they would be sent up much higher in time of emergency?

Captain Balfour

The second part of the hon. Member's question does not arise, but, as to the first part, I can tell him that they are flown not above 2,000 feet by day and not above 1,500 feet by night.

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