Reminding drone pilots to share the sky safely this Christmas
- Air ambulance charities across the UK are expected to collectively fly around 1,000 lifesaving air ambulance missions during December with a total of about 180 crew members operational each day, delivering vital pre-hospital emergency care to people with a sudden critical injury or illness to give the best possible chance of survival
- Air ambulance charity helicopters frequently fly at the low heights drone users also use
- To help keep the skies safe drone users are being asked to keep an extra lookout for emergency services helicopters
London, 23 December 2021: The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) can reveal that air ambulance charities across the UK are expected to collectively fly around 1,000 lifesaving air ambulance missions during December with a total of about 180 crew members operational each day, delivering vital pre-hospital emergency care to people with a sudden critical injury or illness during December, including over the festive period of Christmas and New Year.
While many people take time off during December to get festive with friends and family, air ambulance charities continue to deliver their vital services, with some of them operating 24/7. This year, that includes around 40 helicopters ready to take to the skies every day over the Christmas period.
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. This Christmas just like every other day of the year, the pilots, paramedics, doctors, and fire crew of air ambulance charities across the country will be taking to the skies to save lives.
These critical care helicopters often operate below the 400ft (120M) maximum height for drone flying. So, to help keep the air ambulance charities flying safely and help treat more people in local communities, the CAA is reminding drone users to keep a good look out for helicopters when flying their drones and make sure they keep their drones well away from helicopters and aircraft.
Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications, CAA, said: “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. In many cases when flying below 400ft (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.”
Simmy Akhtar, Chief Executive Officer of Air Ambulances UK, said: “Air ambulance charities right across the UK have continued to provide their vital lifesaving services to those in desperate need of pre-hospital critical care throughout the pandemic and beyond. Now, during the festive period, drone users can do their bit to support our air ambulance charities too. All of us at home can play a part in keeping our sky safe this Christmas by being mindful of the CAA’s drone regulations.”
- Some key elements of the UK’s drone rules that users need to follow are:
- Never fly above 400ft (120 meters)
- always keep your drone in sight
- never fly near airfields or airports
- register with the CAA as a drone operator and take the Flyer ID test
- follow the Dronecode
For more information on drone safety, to register as a drone operator of flyer, and see the full laws covering drone flying please go to www.caa.co.uk/drones.
*Notes to Editors
For further information and interview enquiries, please contact the CAA at 0333 103 6000 (08:30 – 17:30 Monday to Friday). Out of hours: 07789 745 636. Alternatively, you can email on: email@example.com (monitored during office hours).
About the CAA
The CAA is the UK’s aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.
Air Ambulances UK
Air Ambulances UK is the official national charity that champions, supports and represents the lifesaving work, of air ambulance charities, enabling them to save the lives of even more people who suddenly experience a life-threatening injury or medical emergency every day across the UK.
Our vision: Together we will ensure the best possible chance of survival and patient outcome for everyone in need of lifesaving pre-hospital care.
Our Purpose: Champion, support and represent the vital work of air ambulance charities, enabling them to save even more lives and improve patient outcomes every day across the UK.
Our funding impact: Over the past six years we have raised and distributed over £12M in funding to air ambulance charities across the UK thanks to generous support from individual donors, corporate partners and grant providers. The funding has helped air ambulance charities to support core lifesaving mission costs as well as enable them to develop their services and advance patient care so that they can save even more lives in future.
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