I'm intrigued by a suggestion that the former flagship of the Royal Navy, the small aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, may be saved from the scrapyard after all. The Daily Mail reports:
Ark Royal could be saved from the scrapheap under plans to turn it into a heliport.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier, axed in last October’s defence cuts and due to be decommissioned next month, could be based on the Thames by May 2012.HMS Ark Royal in Grand Harbor, Malta (image courtesy of MaritimeQuest)
The 693ft vessel would be manned by around 150 former servicemen, for whom it would be both a home and a job, and would cater for City workers, police helicopters and London’s air ambulance.
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, the head of the Navy, said the move could safeguard the future of the carrier, and the Ministry of Defence confirmed it was considering the plan.HMS Ark Royal at sea (image courtesy of MaritimeQuest)
Currently in Portsmouth, the ship would be moored in the Royal Docks near City Airport to comply with noise-pollution rules.
It would give the capital a second much-needed heliport. The other is in Battersea.
There's more at the link.
I like this idea a whole lot, for a number of reasons. It'll save an iconic ship; it'll provide jobs for veterans; and it'll provide a useful facility in a location where there's no land to spare to build a heliport ashore. Looks like a series of wins all round - and I can't see a downside.
I note that a similar idea was floated (you should pardon the expression) in New York back in 1995. That doesn't seem to have come to fruition, but perhaps this one will.