The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has released a statement reminding drone users to be aware of emergency service helicopters, highlighting air ambulances frequently operate below the 120m maximum height limit permitted for drone flying.
“With more than 400,000 registered drone owners across the UK, and more expected to be added during the festive period as people receive new drones for Christmas, we're asking all drone users to fly safely and to especially be on the lookout for low flying helicopters,” said Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications, CAA.
The CAA also recommends following the key elements of the UK’s drone rules, including:
- Always keeping your drone in sight
- Never flying near airfields or airports
- Registering with the CAA as a drone operator and take the Flyer ID test
- Following the Drone and Model Aircraft Code
Nicholson added: “In many cases when flying below 120m drones and helicopters have equal access to airspace but, in reality, a drone user is much more likely to see and hear an approaching helicopter. So, we ask drone users in those situations to keep their drones well away and land if possible. They can then help to make sure that life-saving helicopters can operate safely.”
The CAA estimates that air ambulance charities flew around 1,000 lifesaving air ambulance missions in December, with around 180 crew members operational each day. According to the CAA, ‘air ambulance charities form part of the UK's frontline emergency response services, making lifesaving missions to around 80 people a day in urgent need of pre-hospital lifesaving care.’