Low Flying

Low Flying

Low Flying Remains an Essential Skill for Military Aircrew

UK forces have deployed repeatedly to potential trouble spots around the world usually with little or no warning. They have to undertake a variety of roles including reconnaissance, fast-jet or helicopter operations, search and rescue, transporting troops or the delivery of humanitarian aid to remote locations. Whatever missions we ask our Armed Forces to undertake the aircrew must be able to fulfil the task as effectively as possible, often without time for "work-up" training.

Current Operations around the world see aircrew of both fixed and rotary wing aircraft undertaking operations at low level. They are only able to do this through specialist training gained through the use of the UK Low Flying System.

Low Flying Today

Low flying remains an essential skill for military aircrew. UK forces have deployed repeatedly to potential trouble spots around the world, usually with little or no warning. They have to undertake a variety of roles including reconnaissance, fast-jet or helicopter operations, search and rescue, transporting troops and the delivery of humanitarian aid to remote locations. Whatever missions we ask our Armed Forces to undertake, the aircrew must be able to fulfil the task as effectively as possible, often without time for "work-up" training. Current Operations around the world see aircrew of both fixed and rotary wing aircraft undertaking operations at low level. They are only able to do this through specialist training gained through the use of the UK Low Flying System.

The UK Military Low Flying System covers the open airspace of the whole of the UK and surrounding overseas areas from the surface to 2,000 feet above the ground or mean sea level.

Military fixed wing aircraft are judged to be low flying when they are less than 2000 feet minimum separation distance from the ground. Light propeller driven aircraft and helicopters are judged to be low flying below 500 feet minimum separation distance from the ground.

(Minimum separation distance is defined as the distance that must be maintained between any part of an aircraft in flight and the ground, water or any object. It does not apply to separation between aircraft in the same formation).

Low Flying: The Facts

  • Low flying is an essential skill
  • that provides aircrew with one of the best chances of survival.
  • Low flying is a highly demanding skill which can only be
  • maintained through continuous and realistic training.
  • Low flying is conducted with the safety of people on the
  • ground, our aircrew, and other airspace users as the overriding concern.
  • Low flying is rigorously controlled and continuously
  • monitored.
  • Low flying has reduced since 1988 - the total number of
  • sorties reduced by a third and those by jets reduced by more than half .

For more information about military aircraft low flying in the UK visit the MoD Low Flying Today website.

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