HC Deb 15 March 1939 vol 345 cc388-9
26. Mr. Lee

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the increase in the number of deaths caused by aeroplanes falling upon dwelling-houses, he will consider the urgent necessity of enforcing a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet for flight over built-up areas; placing an absolute veto upon all flying whatsoever during foggy weather; and requiring a much longer period of training, and a much higher standard of competence from young Royal Air Force pilots, before they are allowed to fly in discriminately over crowded areas to the public danger?

Sir K. Wood

I regret no less than the hon. Member the loss of life and damage to property caused by the accidents to which he refers and all possible steps are taken to prevent their occurrence. A minimum height of 2,000 feet is already in force except when circumstances make it impossible to fly at this altitude; and all pilots flying over towns are required to fly at such a height as will enable the aircraft to glide to open country in the event of engine failure. The regulations are rigidly enforced by disciplinary action in the Royal Air Force, and in the case of civil pilots action can be and is taken by the police. It would not be practicable or in the interests of the Royal Air Force to prohibit flying in poor visibility.

Mr. Lee

Is the Minister aware of the growing alarm of the public on this question, not only in the interests of the public but of the pilots themselves?

Sir K. Wood

I should hardly say that. The hon. Gentleman will see from my answer that we are taking all the steps we can.

Captain Heilgers

Is the Minister aware that a young pupil of civil aircraft made a mistake on his first solo flight last Saturday and crashed upon a house, and would my right hon. Friend further consider prohibiting all completely inexperienced pilots from flying in the vicinity of built-up areas?

Sir K. Wood

I will look into that case.

Forward to