Hi Viz Campaign

High Visibility Campaign

RAF Shawbury High Visibility Campaign - Be Seen Be Safe

RAF Shawbury launched it’s be Seen, Be Safer 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.

High Visibility Campaign

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 are 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.”

High Visibility Campaign

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 tends 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



1. Zia Robins (right) (Shropshire Carriage Drivers and Bridleways Group) and Christine Wright (left)

2. Photo 2: Zia and Christine out riding wearing high visibility clothing

For more information contact:

Corporate Engagement and Communications Officer

RAF Shawbury



Name: Sqn Ldr K Leach

Email: kim.leach347@mod.uk

Tel: 01939 250351 x7572

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