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Low flying information website goes live

22 Jan 2013

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Riders in hi vis with military aircraft flying nearbyThe British Horse Society in the South West have been working closely with Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton during the past few months prior to the launch of their Community Relations website this week.

Many areas of the South West Region are designated 'low flying' areas for the armed forces and the Ministry of Defence continues to work closely with the BHS to educate both pilots and riders of the possible dangers when low flying aircraft pass over horses.

RNAS Yeovilton operates in parts of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Wiltshire and are keen to keep horse riders and the wider community informed of their necessary work and to help to minimise the risk of incident.

Following their involvement with the MOD's 'Operation Bright Eyes' a number of years ago, the BHS determined that pilots have a far greater chance of seeing horse riders and making an avoiding manoeuvre if riders are wearing high visibility clothing. 

Riders in hi-vis next to military aircraft

Sheila Hardy, Senior Executive in the BHS Safety Department said: "It has been proven that pilots in a military helicopter can see riders wearing high-vis clothing up to half a mile sooner than if they are not, and riders have also reported to us that they were aware that a helicopter was coming and knew that they had been seen because the pilot changed direction to avoid flying directly over them.

"However, riders need to be aware that if they are 'sheltered' by trees or buildings, even in open countryside, the helicopter pilot may not be able to see them.

"With the instrument panels that military helicopters are fitted with, the pilots vision is greatly restricted compared with that of most other helicopters. Just because the rider can see the helicopter does not mean that the helicopter can see them in these circumstances."

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