We have had three serious incidents recently with cars on the runway at Davidstow. Davidstow is a lovely place, for all to enjoy and be happy if we follow some basic rules. Cars must stay off the active runways. I must point out that a car on an active runway is not insured. Also the CAA will take a dim view of a car on a runway if there was an accident or serious incident. The runways at Davidstow are leased at great cost and the activity is increasing. The Military from Culdrose use it for training, Cobham Helicopters from Newquay and the Davidstow Flying Club. We also have visiting pilots.
What is confusing and what we can clarify is which parts of Davidstow are active runways.The runways only exist near the core of the airfield site. There are lots of places to roam in a vehicle, albeit with very poor surfaces with pot holes. The South side of the site has a bisecting road running through, near the woods. This is good land to drive on. Also the far West side of the site, away from the buildings is ok to drive on. I would say there are pot-holes to watch out for so be careful in the wet weather as one can’t judge depth of the pot-holes.
On the map attached the black parts are the runways and the yellow the taxiway. These need to be avoided with a vehicle at all times.
If one was to follow a bird near the runways it might be a good idea to keep an eye out for air traffic and follow carefully by foot staying away from runways.
From a pilots point of view:
We have had cars park up next to a runway on the grass. Pilots cannot tell if anyone is in the car, or if it will move at any point. This was a factor in an incident at Davidstow. The car in question was parked up on the grass next to the active runway. The car started to move when the flight path progressed nearer on the approach path. The pilot thought the driver had seen him and it was ok to continue. The car then drove onto the runway unaware of the aeroplane at the last minute. For safety sake it’s not good to park near the runway on the grass as the pilot can’t be sure what will happen next, even if the car driver knows. The pilot is at a critical part of the flight phase and does not need the extra stress of wondering if the parked car will move or not.
There has been three incidents not filed, but discussed by pilots this year. One of these was when a pilot from Ireland, who was low on fuel and could not land into wind. There was a car on the runway 30 that was into wind. He had to land as his fuel was low. The runway that was clear of roaming cars 06 was not right for his cross-wind limit. An accident was only avoided through extreme pilot skill saving the day, by landing beyond his max-crosswind limit.
Hope this helps folk understand, keeps us all safe and on the right side of any legal complications…
Lloyd Edwards, Cornish Pilot