Good weather and Army training exercise boosts military aircraft in Norfolk
17:50 19 February 2014
Norfolk’s great escape from the recent storms has resulted in a boom of military aircraft in the county ahead of Afghanistan missions, according to an RAF chief.
Group Capt Harvey Smyth, station commander at RAF Marham, understood why people had “gripes” about engine noise and low-flying but added servicemen had to be properly trained.
He said Norfolk was selected for Army pre-deployment training - which is supported by the RAF and USAF - because of better weather conditions, compared to other parts of Britain.
The station commander understood the exercises above Sculthorpe, Muckleburgh near Sheringham, and Stanta military training area near Thetford, could last for two more weeks.
Group Capt Smyth said: “From an RAF perspective, our flying statistics for the last few months are below historic norms. For the last few weeks and for the next couple of weeks there is an Army exercise throughout Norfolk.
“I understand the jet noise issue and I have absolute empathy with the community that constant jet noise can be a grind but I have a commitment to train people who put themselves forward for the greater good of the country.”
MoD soldiers have been supported by Tornado, Hawk, and F-15 aircraft.
Tornado jets from RAF Marham also take part in flying exercises all year, mainly out of Norfolk.
Group Capt Smyth said low-flying was highly regulated and did not happen between 10pm and first light.
“It is good airmanship not to fly over populated areas,” he added.
Over the past six months there have been 20 complaints to RAF Marham from people across Norfolk about jet noise or low-flying - two of which came from north Norfolk.
Anyone with concerns should call RAF Marham on 01760 337261 and ask for operations wing.
■A Taverham railway worker has claimed activity from F-15 aircraft from RAF Lakenheath above Norwich is “unacceptable”.
Douglas Flory, 55, of Hazel Close, who has a private pilot’s licence, said the jets were “dog fighting” on a daily basis which made roaring noises.
A spokesman from the 48th Fighter Wing, based at RAF Lakenheath, said: “We do not perform any of our scenario-based training over populated areas, but occasionally weather causes our aircraft to deviate from their intended flight path as a matter of safety. When this happens, our F-15s typically do not fly below 10,000 feet.”
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