Be aware of Wiltshire Air Ambulance when flying drones

By Tyler Ody - 15 January 2020

Community

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is urging drone users to fly their drones safely and legally.

The charity’s safety manager and helicopter pilot Nicky Smith says drone ownership has increased rapidly
in the UK and has been offering advice to people who received drones as Christmas presents.

Nicky said: “We want drone users to have fun but to do so safely and legally. If a drone strikes a helicopter
it is likely to cause significant damage due to the solid metal parts it has and a solid battery.

“The last thing we want is for drones to damage our helicopter so we can’t do our important lifesaving
work.

“Another air ambulance in the UK had a near miss with a drone which was flying above the legal height
limit in September last year. It was only through the vigilance of the front seat paramedic and the pilot
that a collision was avoided.”

Drone users in the UK are now required by law to register their drones and pass a theory test. Failure to
do so could result in a £1,000 fine.

The Civil Aviation Authority has also published The Drone Code to assist drone users to fly safely.

The code includes not flying drones above 400 feet, always keeping your drone in direct sight and not
flying drones near airfields or airbases. Failure to do so could result in criminal prosecution.

Nicky said: “A drone is much smaller than a helicopter and it can blend into the background. It’s really
important that people who operate drones can see them when they are flying. If they can’t see their
drone when it’s flying then they won’t be able to see other aircraft, such as helicopters, flying either.

“Due to the nature of our work we often land and take off in residential areas. We spend more time
below 400 feet than most other aircraft so this is another important factor for drone users to be aware
of.

“If you are flying your drone and see our helicopter or any other aircraft, please land your drone and wait
for us to land or fly away from your area.

“We are not trying to stop people flying their drones but we want them to do so responsibly and safely.”

For more information about drones visit https://dronesafe.uk/ where you can register your drone and
download The Drone Code.

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