Engaging with the Horse-riding Community 

RNAS Yeovilton is committed to a practical and pro-active engagement with the local horse-riding community and has been working closely with the British Horse Society (BHS) in the South-West of England to develop a programme that will benefit both the horse-riding community and the aviators operating from the Air Station.  The current engagement plan has 4 key elements:

• Flying operations from RNAS Yeovilton have the potential to affect horse riders throughout much of the UK; however, the majority of RNAS Yeovilton's flying operations take place in the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Devon, and it is within this area that the station concentrates its engagement efforts;

• The focus of our engagement is through the BHS that represent the interests of the 4.3 million people in the United Kingdom who ride or who drive horse-drawn vehicles.  The BHS has over 75,000 core members and a further 34,000 members of affiliated Riding Clubs and members of the Affiliated Bridleways Associations;

• The foundation of our engagement is openness and effective communication. RNAS Yeovilton provides relevant unclassified information to the BHS that can be disseminated through the Society's widely developed communications network;

• While all practical measures are taken to limit the effect of flying from RNAS Yeovilton on the local horse-riding community, the requirement to train for and maintain operational readiness remains paramount.

Throughout the United Kingdom, on average, there are 4 horses per square kilometre of land.  In the more populated parts of the countryside, the density increases.  Interaction between low flying aircraft and horse riders is inevitable. 

All aviators are aware of the effect low flying can have on horses and riders.  Considerable effort is expended in general education and specifically in the preparation for and subsequently the execution of low flying sorties.

The most effective and practical method of identifying riders from the air is the use of high visibility jackets by horse riders.

Helicopter crews are trained to avoid horse riders if at all possible and special drills are used by the aircrew to minimise disturbance if riders can be seen in sufficient time.  Generally this excludes sharp avoidance manoeuvres close to the horse-riders which often cause more noise.  In these instances, the most effective response is usually to initiate a steady climb to increase height and decrease noise.

Contact data for units and individuals associated with military aviation and links to relevant part of the BHS Website are provided on the 'Useful Contact Data' page of this Website.

The British Horse Society/Ministry of Defence pamphlet 'Military Low Flying in the United Kingdom - Safety - A Guide for Horse Riders' can be found at:

The contact number for the MOD Complaints and Enquiries Unit has changed from an 0845 number to: 01780 417 558