Low Flying Area (LFA) 9, covers all of Shropshire and the borders of adjacent counties, is a dedicated helicopter training area for military helicopters.
If you wish to find out more about low flying in the area, visit https://www.gov.uk/low-flying-in-your-area/find-out-about-low-flying-in-your-area
Intensive low-level helicopter activity, often down to ground level, takes place within the area between Monday to Friday, 8:30am and 5pm.
Training does not normally take place at weekends or during Bank Holidays.
More concentrated training activity occurs at RAF Shawbury and the Relief Landing Grounds of Tern Hill and Chetwynd. Nesscliffe Training Area is also used for training and exercises.
Helicopters from RAF Shawbury may also operate outside LFA 9, in any part of the UK Military Low Flying System.
Contact the Duty Operations Controller:
Phone: 01939 250351 x7227
Of contact the Corporate Engagement Relations Office:
Phone: 01939 251510
This Page is updated on a regular basis (at least weekly) and you will need to refresh your browser for the most up to date information.
Night Flying Times
Within the available hours of darkness at this time of year night flying will begin, typically, dusk and should be finished by 0200 hours local (or earlier if the program is complete). We realise that night flying, will, regrettably, cause some noise disturbance and therefore the amount of night training is kept to the minimum required to train our aircrew effectively. Information concerning low flying policy can be found by visiting https://www.gov.uk/low-flying-in-your-area
NB. Although every effort will be made to promulgate accurate information the forecast night flying programme and times may be subject to short-notice changes owing to weather conditions, aircraft serviceability and other unforeseen factors. Please note also that where NVG training is specified 60(R) Sqn Griffins will use the Nesscliffe Training Area, Chetwynd or Tern Hill to conduct under-slung load training. These areas may be used for other exercises on an ad-hoc basis.
During Night Flying Periods the Duty Ops Controller can be contacted on 01939 250351 Ext 7227.
During Normal Working Hours please contact the Corporate Engagement Relations Office by telephone 01939 251510 or email SHY-CERO@mod.uk and SHY-DepCERO@mod.uk
There is no official viewing area for the safe viewing of aircraft at RAF Shawbury.
The Nesscliffe Training Area (NTA), which is owned by the Army, is used extensively throughout the year by helicopters from RAF Shawbury for training student pilots and crewmen (rear crew). Much of the training activity will be undertaken by Griffin helicopters of No Sixty (Reserve) Squadron of the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) between 0900 and 1700 (Monday - Friday) with night flying occurring at periodic intervals. Squirrel helicopters from the Central Flying School (Helicopter) Squadron and No 705 Squadron of the DHFS will also use the NTA for certain exercises.
Owing to the flexible nature of the squadron training programmes it is not possible to post detailed information on day-to-day activity as factors such as weather conditions, crew availability or aircraft serviceability, are subject to change at short notice and therefore we could not guarantee its accuracy. Furthermore, the prevailing wind on the day will have a significant effect on the precise location selected for a particular exercise and the levels of noise generated particularly by Griffin activity.
Area A - Confined Areas
Area B - Confined areas, sloping ground, general handling
Area C - Confined areas, sloping ground, general handling underslung loads
Because of the narrow shape of the NTA helicopters will generally not be able to remain within its confines when conducting exercises involving flying a circuit pattern especially in a prevailing westerly wind. However, aircrew will endeavour to avoid overflying houses in the surrounding area and villages wherever possible.
Please note that military helicopters from other Service bases may also operate by day or night from the NTA for unspecified periods throughout the year
Detailed information on helicopter night training be viewed on the Station night flying section
RAF Shawbury High Visibility Campaign - Be Seen Be Safe
RAF Shawbury launched it’s 'Be Seen, Be Safe' horse rider awareness campaign in April 2015. So far, the base has distributed over 5,500 items of high visibility clothing throughout Shropshire and the borders of adjacent counties, all of which lie within Low Flying Area 9, which is a Dedicated Helicopter Training Area.
The aim of the campaign is to promote the wearing of high visibility clothing by riders in order that they are more visible and can be seen earlier by the helicopter aircrew. Whilst high-visibility clothing may not prevent all over-flights as there may be other safety considerations, it does provide a considerable, cost-effective improvement to rider safety.
Group Captain R S Norris, Station Commander at RAF Shawbury said:” Our task is to train aircrew to be as professional and effective as possible. Low flying is essential in reducing the risk to helicopters as we have to train to fly in extremely demanding environments, whether these tasks are in support of peace-keeping, war-fighting or humanitarian relief. This training does sometimes bring our aircrew into contact with riders and trials run in 2003, in conjunction with the British Horse Society, showed how effective high-visibility clothing is in reducing the risk to horse riders.”
RAF Shawbury’s campaign is also supported by the British Horse Society, who awarded the Tarquin Trophy to RAF Shawbury for the “organisation which has made a significant contribution to equestrian safety in the last year.” The presentation was made at the British Horse Society’s annual award ceremony held at Saddlers' Hall, London in November 2015. The awards were presented by the President of The British Horse Society, Martin Clunes, Star of the Doc Martin TV series.
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety The BHS said "We are very pleased to have been working with RAF Shawbury for several years so that riders can understand the efforts that RAF pilots make to avoid flying over them. The wearing of high visibility clothing makes such a difference and increases the safety of every horse and rider."
With an average of more than 4 horses per square km, low flying helicopters will, from time to time encounter riders on horses and it is important that both aircrew and riders understand the needs of each other.
Commander Steve Doubleday RN, the Officer Commanding of the Defence Helicopter Flying School RAF Shawbury said: “We take our responsibilities to the public very seriously. Our aircrew is trained to consider horses and riders and if they see them, they will do all they can to avoid them. In some cases, last minute manoeuvering can create more noise than a gentle climb to gain height. If one of our crews sees that a rider has been unseated they may return to the area (at height!) to check if the rider is ok and report the incident via the radio if appropriate.”
Sqn Ldr Gary James, the Station Flight Safety Officer said:” With our helicopters travelling at speeds of up to 120 kts (130+ mph) at low level it can be very difficult to spot horse riders despite the very best lookout. This is because horses and dark coloured clothing tend to blend into the background. Against a wood line, a cropped field or a stone wall, for example, it can be almost impossible to see the rider until the aircraft is less than a few hundred metres away. By wearing an item of Hi-Viz while on horseback, the rider gives the pilot a far greater chance of seeing them”.
RAF Shawbury will be providing Hi-Viz clothing to riders in Shropshire in partnership with the British Horse Society in 2018. For an order form, please visit our website: http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafshawbury/
For more information about low flying and safety for horse riders, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/military-helicopter-low-flying-safety-a-guide-for-riders
For more information contact:
Corporate Engagement and Communications Officer
Tel: 01939 250351 x7572
Be Seen Be Safer Order Form:
Thank you for your orders. We still have a small number of XL Quarter sheets left in stock. New stock will be received in Spring 2018 and if you would like to place an advance order, please Download an order form
Completed forms can be emailed or posted.
Have You Spotted A Drone
According to the Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) who regulate all non-military flying in the UK, a drone should not be flown higher than 400 feet, must be kept in line of sight at all times, not flown within 150 feet (50 metres) of people or property, or within 500 feet (150 metres) of crowds and built up areas. If you spot anyone doing this then you are to report it to the Police on 101.
If you feel that the drone is being flown in such a way that could endanger an aircraft then please call both RAF Shawbury on 01939 250351 Ext 7221, if the sighting is in Shropshire or the surrounding areas, and then the Police on 101. The RAF Shawbury Duty Ops Controller will take the details and pass it immediately to Air Traffic Control and the flying squadrons. Your assistance and vigilance are greatly appreciated.
Drone Safety Advice
Download a leaflet on guidance to best practice when operating a drone within LFA 9.
The CAA is the regulators for drone flying in the UK and are constantly monitoring the situation and tweaking their advice.
The latest advice can be found at the following link http://dronesafe.uk/drone-code/
There is also an app that can be downloaded so you can see where there are areas that you should not fly your drone. It is available at this link: http://dronesafe.uk/safety-apps/