Monday, May 26, 2008

Farewell flight of the Dakota

The 15th July looks like it will be the final flight of the Dakota, an aircraft which is acknowledged to be the safest aircraft which has ever been designed.

And yet, it is 'safety' regulations which has ensured that past this date, they will never be allowed to carry passengers.

The EU-OPS legislation has laid down requirements that are impossible or impractical for vintage aircraft and so the airliner that made flying profitable for airliners and safe for passengers is embarking on a farewell tour.

Brussels regulation have demanded that all air passenger planes are fitted with oxygen masks but the Dakota does not fly high enough to use them.

They also insist that all exits are fitted with escape slides, but the doors of the Dakota are only 4 ft from the ground and slides would not be financially practical, even if they did exist.

It's another example of 'one size fits all' EU regulations which are destroying yet another part of our history and taking away enjoyment for thousands of people, for no other reason than meddling bureaucrats.

So another vintage aircraft is banned from taking to the skies, another part of our history sentenced to gather dust and another season of MEPs and EU civil servants congratulating themselves for a job well done: passengers who were never in danger saved from themselves, companies gone out of business and past times swept away. All in a days work for our friends across the channel.

The Dakota can fly when it's full of holes and yet EU paperwork has managed to ground them. They were used extensively by the allies in the Second World War when enemy gunfire couldn't stop them.

As my chum Godfrey Bloom said, "You could whack them with a mallet and they'd still be safe to fly which tells me one thing: that the EU fundamentally misunderstands air safety."

My father went on a farewell flight yesterday; a tour which shouldn't be happening because they shouldn't be banned. If we weren't in the EU, of course, we wouldn't have to.

The mainstream media, alas, are far too busy reporting about blondes with plastic knockers and some footballer I don't care about doing something I'm even less interested in than trying to raise attention of another piece of EU legislation strenghtening the cause of us leaving and being able to govern ourselves. But then, that would highlight a huge hole in the Tory campaign to be the next general manager of the UK leisure centre. And we couldn't have that, could we.


tim said...

It looked lovely flying low over Greenhithe, Kent on Saturday and Sunday.

American Monarchist said...

I just found your blog because of my Google Alert for Godfrey Bloom, and you rock. *subscribes*

Anonymous said...

Safe the dakota may be now but immediately after WW2 they were falling out of the skies with a certain enthusiasm.

Trixy said...


Tim, that was the aircraft my father was on. Which didn't fall out of the sky and crash like the egg he has just dropped all over the kitchen floor.

dizzy said...

Sorry Trixy, but you're not being strictly accurate with what the regulations are doing methinks. The DC3s' are not being grounded and taken out of service at all, as Air Atlantique, the owners of the only two operational DC3s in the UK will freely acknowledge.

What the regulations relate to are safty requirements for "fare paying passengers" not "passengers". I don't disagree that the regs do not make sense in relation to the Dak, but saying their "banned from taking to the skies" simply isn't correct.

Air Atlantique can still take passengers for free on special events throughout the year by marginally increasing the cost of their other flights. Alternatively, they could exploit a loophole in the regs and still have a more viable business model than "free flights".

The planes are allowed a set number of air crew once they become over 19 seats, and so the offer of "Become Air Crew for the Day" with a little training course in advance would allow Air Atlantique to carry on flying the Dak with enthusiasts enjoying an even greater experience. I just spoke to the CAA to ask if such a loophole was valid and they conceded it was so long as the company did not try to claim their were 20 members of air crew on the plane.

As I say though, whilst you're right to bemoan the one size fits all, and the unfortunate snaring of the DC3 into commercial safety regulations it was patently not meant to ensnare, lets not pretend that the DC3 is banned from flight by them because it isn't.

Trixy said...

You have missed the key point of this legislation: the financial costs prohibitive. REACh doesn't ban all chemicals, but the requirements for testing them individually company by company is the big factor in the legislation. Small companies can't afford to compete and the regulations become a barrier to entry into the market.

dizzy said...

With respect I think you've missed the point of my comment. You said they are being "banned from the skies", that simply isn't the case.

Travis Bickle said...


But I expect that whatever the intention our bureaucrats would read these EUSSR guidelines as being an outright ban and act accordingly (as in so much of the crap that we implement to the letter, regardless of consequence, whilst our EU chums laugh, shrug shoulders and ignore)