Years of letter writing and lobbying of MPs may have kept the deceitful, climate-wrecking actions of the air industry in the public eye, but the cosy relationship between BAA and the DoT means they get to do what they want anyway. That's ever more short haul flights, no tax on fuel, and new runways, terminals and access roads.
Led by activist instructors Seeds for Change, local residents - mainly in their sixties and seventies - took their first steps towards halting the Heathrow expansion that is blighting their lives.
For a busy four hours they covered both theory and practise: from timing and strategy through blockades and mutual support to arrest and the law. Activists - retired perhaps, but definitively neither tired nor retiring - joined in with great enthusiasm.
Practically everyone agreed from the outset that they loathed role-playing. But time spent taking turns as policeman and protester turned out to be both popular and empowering.
But "going all limp so they couldn't carry you off" was the best bit, according to one battling granny, prime candidate to become the pin-up on Heathrow's security office wall.
And whilst nobody owned up to an history of arrests, it did emerge that one participant had once taken an axe to a power cable to silence a speech by the Minister of War - in 1948!
This time last year these people thought a march might help ( http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/london/2005/10/326862.html). But like so many lately they've realised a walk from A to B achieves nothing.
Now they're brimming with radical ideas.
And they're just the spearhead. Thousands of local people oppose the Heathrow expansion, and they've attracted support from similar affinity groups. Plane Stupid, architects of last weeks East Midlands occupation ( http://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/09/351521.html) have pledged to help, and Seeds for Change have offered practical and ongoing skills training.
Considering it's one one of the biggest, most polluting and lucrative airports in the world Heathrow's had an easy time of it until now.
It seems that's about to change.