Helitech 2013 organisers confirm no day visitors by air

Helitech 2013 organisers confirm no day visitors by air

23-Oct-2012 Source: HeliHub.com

In an interview with HeliHub.com, the exhibition Director of Helitech International 2013 confirmed to us that there is no space at the ExCeL conference centre in London for daily visitors to the event in September 2013.  John Hyde confirmed that three or four sites are under consideration, and they would soon decide on one and set up a shuttle bus service between that location and the Helitech event.

The furthest of these venues is Biggin Hill Airport which is 15 miles away, and the airport website states that a road journey to central London would take 50 minutes each way.  We cannot imagine any helicopter owner going for that option!

While Mr Hyde would not tell us the other venues under consideration, he did confirm that the nearest is “five to six miles” away from ExCeL.  No licenced airfield meets this criteria and the only known helicopter landing facility which accepts visitors is Vanguard Helipad which has space for just two aircraft.  A scan of the map suggests a possible site on waste land by the River Thames next to Barking Power Station as one of very few sites to meet the criteria.

In past events at Duxford (and Redhill prior to that), Helitech typically attracted 40-50 helicopters and 10-15 fixed wing aircraft per day.  Some industry enquiries we made consider that these people would not come to Helitech at all if they were not able to fly in.

Just out of interest, we investigated whether Stapleford Aerodrome could work, and while its physical distance from ExCeL is close to that of Biggin Hill, the road network including the M11 motorway and A406 North Circular Road – which passes just east of ExCeL – would put it in contention.  Colin Dobney, Chief Pilot of Stapleford Flight Centre (who manage the airfield), told us they “haven’t been approached & whilst we could accommodate some of the attendees we would struggle to park 40 helicopters without closing our cross runway which at that time of year I would be reluctant to do.”  We had offered to put the two parties in touch, but it would appear that would not be fruitful.

A decision and official confirmation of the site is expected within 3 weeks from Helitech management.

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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