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Where Can a Private Helicopter Land?

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If you’re looking to buy a helicopter or are interested in utilising helicopter charter services, one of the main considerations you might have is where you might be allowed to land. Aside from the obvious things like capacity, engine size and the distance you might be able to travel, this is the one other thing that could restrict your travel options in a chartered helicopter. Generally speaking, the requirements for a landing site are a flat area of ground about the size of 2 tennis courts, with no obstructions.

But what happens when you have different helicopters of different sizes and speeds? The law states it is the responsibility of the pilot to ensure that the layout of the landing site is within the performance capability of his or her helicopter. One of the key things to remember is that, unless a helicopter is taking off or landing in accordance with normal practice, it is not allowed to fly within 500 feet of a person, vehicle or structure. This is something worth considering if you live in an urban area or are planning to fly to built-up places. If you’re hoping to land on an elevated site within a city, such as a rooftop landing pad, you’ll need a twin helicopter.

There’s also a key rule pilots use when navigating over busy, urban areas, often referred to as the “1,000 Foot Rule”. This means that if you’re above an urban area, you must stay at a height of at least 1,000 feet above the highest fixed object within 600 meters of the helicopter. Therefore when approaching a particularly high landmark, such as a cathedral or office tower, your helicopter will need to increase its altitude before it gets within 600 meters.

If you’re considering buying your own helicopter, or having a chartered helicopter service land on private property that you own, there are obvious exceptions to the general rules. Helicopters that are landing in the confines of private property are exempt from planning consent, making personal travel for work or leisure somewhat easier.

As expected, the penalties for deviating from proper landing protocol are quite severe. As recently as 2015, a pilot was fined £1,700 for illegal airspace entry and landing at Heathrow.

The rules outlined above may seem stringent, but they work. In almost 20 years there have only been 33 fatal incidents reported nationwide. Private helicopters are fast, efficient and safe when handled correctly and there are many places to land outside of urban zones. If you’re hoping to make use of this service to fly into urban zones that are built up, helicopter hire companies or charter helicopters will often have special arrangements in place that allow them to touch down as near to your destination as possible. For example, London has its own heliport in Battersea, and there’s even a pub with its own helipad in Oxfordshire. The majority of chartered helicopter services will own designated spots at given airports too, but if you have any particular specifications it’s always worth checking to see if they can get you closer to where you need to be.

How Far Can a Private Helicopter Fly?

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If you like the idea of flying to work every day and avoiding traffic on the ground, then you’ve no doubt aspired to swooping in via your own private helicopter. It’s easier than ever to access helicopter charter services, thanks to an innovation in design that make engines quieter and allows for further travel. But just how far can such a charter helicopter fly? It’s an important consideration, particularly if you’re looking to purchase one yourself.

As you may expect, the smaller the size of the helicopter, the smaller the fuel tank, and naturally the reduced distance it can travel. For those serious about owning a helicopter and integrating this method of travel into their day to day planning, it’s essential to not have to think about fuel stops every hundred or so miles. A typical mid-range design will be able to fly for 2.5 hours at 135 knots, for 300-350 miles without refuelling. To put that into perspective, that kind of speed and fuel efficiency will get you from London to Paris in 90 minutes. A larger model, like the Sikorsky S92 can seat up to 16 people and reach 160 mph for over 600 miles.

Simply put, there a lot of different helicopters out there with different sized fuel tanks and different maximum speeds. The key is finding one that suits your needs and fits in with the lifestyle you have planned.

Book the London MAX helicopter tour to fly for an exclusive 30 minute flight over the River Thames in London!

 

What does the law say?

Just like planes, helicopters have to abide by a similar set of rules laid out by the Civil Aviation Authority. If you plan on flying near busy areas, like Heathrow or other major airports, you’ll have to submit to air traffic control who will set out routes that you’re allowed to take depending on the size of your helicopter, its speed, and its engine. Access to private property can always be restricted, even if you’re the President of the United States, as the Queen illustrated when she banned Barack Obama’s fleet from landing on the Windsor Castle lawn.

Occasionally, bad weather can result in blanket bans on helicopter flights if the conditions are deemed too unsafe. Even the best-outfitted helicopters have their access restricted when conditions are at their worst, known as ‘Sea State Six’.

If you’re planning on moving between borders in your helicopter then you’ll be subjected to the same laws as private jets, though these can vary from country to country. For example, in the UK, all private flights must go through Custom, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) before they’re cleared to enter.

Ask yourself how far you need to travel

In essence, a helicopter can travel as far as your money can. Depending on how much you’re willing to spend and how far you need to travel, there will be a helicopter out there for you. If you want to try out some models to determine their suitability, there are a range of helicopter charter flights that you can take advantage of.

 

A guide to Stonehenge

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Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument whose construction started around 3000 BC. It is located in Wiltshire, about 8 miles north of Salisbury, and it is one of the most iconic features in the British landscape.

The importance of Stonehenge has long been recognised, and it has been protected since 1882 as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. In 1986 the site and its surroundings were included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Stonehenge itself is now managed by English Heritage and the surrounding land by the National Trust. Surprisingly, Stonehenge remained in private hands until 1918 when Cecil Chubb, who had bought the monument at auction three years earlier, gave it to the nation. It is now owned by the Crown.

History of Stonehenge

It seems likely that Stonehenge has always been associated with burial and it has been through several phases of construction during the 5,000 years it has stood on the site. Archaeologists continue to explore its history and new discoveries are still being made.

The monument has also become a focus for folklore and for celebrations in the neo-Druid calendar, most notably on June 21st for the Summer Solstice. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s the Stonehenge Free Festival was held on the site. However, after the Battle of Beanfield in 1985, when Wiltshire police clashed with those who wished the Free Festival to continue, access to the site for events of this nature has been heavily restricted.

Visiting Stonehenge

It is possible to visit Stonehenge, and the site is open between 9am and 8pm. However, entrance is controlled by timed tickets and therefore to guarantee the date and time you require, it’s recommended to book in advance.

Around 1.5 miles from the monument is a newly built visitor centre, opened in 2013. This houses both temporary and permanent exhibitions, including more than 300 archaeological finds from the site itself. Outside the visitor centre are several reproductions of Neolithic houses. Here you can find out more about how the houses were constructed. You can also ask questions of the volunteers, who are always available at Stonehenge, about what it was like to live during this era.

There is a café, gallery and gift shop at the visitor centre, plus a shuttle service runs between the centre and Stonehenge regularly. If you prefer to approach the monument on foot, to enjoy the landscape and majesty of the stones rising before you, the shuttle service also offers a half-way drop off point.

Getting To Stonehenge

There are many ways to get to Stonehenge and they make it as accessible as possible. You can approach by road along the A303, although as this is one of the main routes into the South-West, it can get very busy during summer months. You can also take a national rail train to Salisbury and then from there take The Stonehenge Tour bus to the site. If you are on holiday in the area, there are also several walking and cycling routes which allow you access.

One of the best ways to see Stonehenge is from the air and this can be achieved via helicopter. A helicopter charter can include your journey there and back plus a day’s visit to the site. While it’s not possible to land at the monument itself, all your land transport is taken care of so you can just relax and enjoy your visit.

For those who built Stonehenge over the centuries, it would have been impossible for them to image that one day visitors would come to see the result of their work, let alone that they would travel there by air. We are in a privileged position whereby we can still see the site as it was first created and learn about all those who played a part in its history.

Support London’s Air Ambulance

We are delighted to support London’s Air Ambulance, helping to extend the reach of their lifesaving missions across London. The London Helicopter will match your donation to double its impact.

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