United Kingdom and Great Britain Helicopter Guide
Where to fly
The UK has many stunning areas that are perfect for flying around in a helicopter. Here are some of the best parts of the UK to fly around in a helicopter:
Scottish Highlands: The Scottish Highlands offer some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK, with rugged mountains, stunning lochs, and rugged coastline.
Lake District: The Lake District is a stunning national park in northwest England that is home to mountains, lakes, and picturesque towns.
Jurassic Coast: The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches along the south coast of England.
London: London is one of the world’s most iconic cities, and a helicopter flight through the heli lanes offers a unique perspective of its landmarks and architecture. Highlights include the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, and the Tower Bridge.
For places not far from London, see Top 10 Heli-friendly Hotels and Lunch-Spots Around London
Welsh Coast: The Welsh Coast offers stunning scenery with rugged cliffs, beautiful beaches, and charming coastal towns. A helicopter flight over the coast offers breathtaking views of the landscapes and the region’s famous castles.
The UK aviation charts tend to have many wildlife zones near the coast so it is important to avoid these. We have had an issue in the past with flying over designated nesting areas, particularly in north west Scotland and during the February to August nesting season. These are not in the map and helicopter pilots should fly with extreme sensitivity – don’t give all your heli pals a bad rep! Work out where they are and when they are active.
These are just a few of the best parts of the UK to fly around in a helicopter, and there are many hotels worth exploring in Helipaddy.
Restrictions or special permits for private sites
In general, the UK is pretty helicopter-friendly and it simply a case of landowners permission (in fact, it is the same permission legally as if you were driving to the site). This means that you will not generally get permission to land on beaches or in national parks, for example.
Generally, yes, private sites are free to land. What some of them have realised is that by charging a landing fee, they might be setting up an unintentional service contract to provide “helicopter landing” which possibly introduces liabilities they don’t want.
We don’t object to modest landing fees to cover liability costs etc, especially where the establishment does charge high prices and where it’s not remotely located. Any establishment charging landing fees should certainly do their risk assessment using Helipaddy’s self-service 360 survey.
VFR flights are permitted in VMC within all UK Airspace, even Class ‘A’ Airspace. Even at night: Night Rating London.
VFR flight plans must be filed for the following helicopter flights:
- A flight to or from the United Kingdom which will cross the United Kingdom FIR boundary.
- Curiously a flight within Class D control zones/control areas. However, this requirement may be satisfied by speaking on the radio.
- We have heard that they are required for long stretches of water but, in fact, we believe this is advisory only. If the water temperature is below 16 degrees, we would certainly want to be in two-way radio contact at all times.
The UK is pretty good with Avgas supplies at the smaller airfields. However, we think that Avgas is increasingly likely to be phased out – that is another story.
6. Any tips as regards refuelling eg avoiding handling charges, paying by automat etc.?
There are very few automats – Breighton springs to mind as a handy one in central UK. Without necessarily being a complete pain, we do press back hard against paying for negative value services such as handling but these are only found at larger airfields.
Many airfields waive the charges if you uplift fuel which seems to us like a nice idea.
Frankly, some of these airfields live in thin air and the generosity of hobbyist owners. We rather encourage landing fees if it means the nice places stay alive.
- Helicentre Aviation Academy – Leicester, England
- Sloane Helicopters Flight Academy – Sywell Aerodrome, Northamptonshire, England
- Phoenix Helicopter Academy – Goodwood Aerodrome, West Sussex, England
- Central Helicopters – Nottingham, England
- Hields Aviation – Durham Tees Valley Airport, England
- Elite Helicopters – Goodwood Aerodrome, West Sussex, England
- HQ Aviation – Denham, England
- Helispeed – Wycombe Air Park, Buckinghamshire, England
- Cotswold Helicopter Centre – Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire, England
- Leading Edge Aviation – London Biggin Hill Airport, Kent, England
The Helipaddy founders all learnt to fly at the famous HQ school at Denham
Is your missing from this list? Let us know in comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any worthwhile helicopter expos in your country?
These change all the time but, for GA fliers, the only relevant show is probably Private Flier.