Earlier this week the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) issued a press release confirming that the trapped aircraft would be allowed to take off on Friday 28 August, which it did successfully, waved off by a crowd of well-wishers and after local press interviews.

The statement from the LAA said: “The Light Aircraft Association is delighted to confirm that the Jodel 120 aircraft which was held by the owners of the now-closed Plymouth Airport following a precautionary landing to avoid bad weather, has now been given permission to leave. It is hoped that, weather permitting, it will leave on Friday morning, 28th August.

The aircraft, flown by LAA member Martin Ferid, made the landing in fast deteriorating weather conditions on Sunday 9th August and it has been agreed across the aviation community that his actions were the correct course of action. Once it became clear that there was an impasse

between the pilot and the owners of site, many fellow pilots began a high-profile campaign to publicise the issue.

At the same time Charles Strasser, Vice-President of AOPA and Brian Davies, Chairman of the LAA began direct discussions with Sutton Harbour Holdings chairman Graham Miller. It was Mr Miller’s personal intervention which led to the decision being taken to allow the aircraft to depart.

“There were two key conditions,” said Brian Davies. “The first was an assurance regarding the airworthiness of the aircraft. We confirmed that an LAA inspector can provide this by inspecting the aircraft and making an appropriate entry in the aircraft log book. The second was satisfying SHH’s concerns on their being sufficient liability insurance. We are grateful to Haywards and their underwriter Russell Mason of Antares, for working with us to provide those assurances.”

“Sutton Harbour Holdings now understands the importance of allowing pilots to land at Plymouth in an emergency and will be issuing instructions to their staff accordingly,” said Brian Davies. “That said, it should be emphasised that this site is no longer a functioning airport.”

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