Frequently Asked Questions

Some information for local residents.

If, after reading these FAQs, you still feel you would like to make a complaint, please click here.


Q. Why do the aircraft keep going round and round the circuit?

A. A significant part of the training for a license is related to take-off and landing. In order to practise this enough to become fully proficient, the circuit is flown repeatedly so that the student may gain sufficient experience.


Q. Sometimes the aircraft go the other way round the circuit and it seems quieter - why can’t they do that all the time?

A. The direction of take-off or landing is governed by the wind direction as aircraft take-off and land in the opposite direction to the wind. When winds are very light, we try to vary the circuit direction from time to time.


Q. It’s a lovely warm day with no wind - why do the aircraft seem to be lower than normal?

A. Aeroplanes do not climb as well in warm weather; a lack of wind means that a greater distance will be travelled before circuit height is reached.


Q. Sometimes aircraft sound as though they’ve stopped their engine - why?

A. Pilots have to be trained how to handle an aircraft if the engine should fail, and have to keep in practice. This is achieved by throttling back the engine, which may sound as though the engine has stopped to an observer on the ground. Engines are not intentionally switched off in the circuit. Once the practice is complete, the throttle is usually returned to full power which may come as a bit of a surprise to those on the ground. Power also has to be reduced when coming in to land.


Q. What happens if the only aircraft engine fails?

A. The aircraft won’t fall out of the sky but will become a glider. The pilot will turn towards an open area and make a forced landing. Remember, the pilot doesn’t want to crash into a solid building!


Q. Why can’t the aircraft fly higher?

A. Above 750’ the airspace is controlled by RAF Northolt and Heathrow and is not available to Denham traffic.


Q. Why can’t the aircraft fly a different route?

A. The routes at Denham are the result of many years of consultation with local councils through the DACC and are designed to keep disturbance to the minimum necessary.


Q. Why do large airliners seem quieter than the small aeroplanes?

A. The large airliners are allocated much of the airspace in the south east of England and private flying generally has to remain below that airspace. The large airliners are therefore typically much further away and appear quieter to those on the ground.


Q. Could I learn to fly?

A. Almost certainly, as long as you’re reasonably healthy. Start by contacting a flying school and booking a trial lesson. Or you can purchase a trial lesson voucher to give as a gift to someone else.


Q. The aerodrome has lots of signs telling everyone to keep out. This doesn’t seem very friendly - is there anywhere for visitors?

A. The signs are there because it would be dangerous to have visitors roaming freely round the aerodrome. However, there is seating inside and outside at the Crew Room beside the wartime blister hangar where visitors may sit and watch the aircraft while having a coffee or a light meal. Also, Biggles restaurant on the south side of the aerodrome has some seating outside for customers.