Monday, April 09, 2007

Low flying planes

Would you believe that the Civil Aviation Authority has a policy on tall buildings. On the surface of it, it seems sensible. Planes fly in the sky... tall buildings reach up into the sky... MY GOD!!! WE MUST HAVE A POLICY ON THIS. The national height limit is 242m, but a special one for the City is 1,000ft (those crazy CAA people just won't standardise their measurements!). 'Any proposal approved for buildings above that height will be refered to the Secretary of State at the DETR as dangerous.'

City of London Airport is a safeguarded airport, which means that:

'it must be consulted on proposals that may lead to an increased chance of aircraft flying into a flock of birds (bird hazard) or involve tall structures that could affect aircraft movements.'
The CAA have been consulted on the construction of a few London buildings (can't remember which - Bishopsgate Tower I think is the one I read about, but I think we can assume they've been consulted on others of a similar height too). Now, I'm no expert on the height aircraft fly at as they approach an airport (and Google and Yahoo haven't helped either, although Wikipedia does have an entire article on landing, which touches on aircraft and swans), but I've seen airplanes fly over the city, and they fly significantly higher than the existing buildings. As I see it nothing but a complete catastrophe i.e. plane plummeting unexpectedly to earth would cause it to crash into one of the towers, even if they were a fair bit taller. I really don't know how buildings in the City could 'affect aircraft movements' without being at least double or treble their current height.

I'm trying to think of things which could cause an 'increased chance of aircraft flying into a flock of birds.'
  • Building an airport in Trafalgar Square
  • Hanging bird feeders from the wings
  • Building a skyscraper in the shape of a huge bird feeder, and giving all employees an unlimited supply of peanut snacks
  • Carrying the subject of the Carpenters' 'Close to you' on board

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