Sir - You published my letter "Keeping out of helicopters' way" (Flight International, 31 July-6 August, P46), about the RAF Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules being flown at low level through intense helicopter activity south-east of Silverstone, near Milton Keynes, UK, on 14 July, British Grand Prix day.

I acquainted the UK Civil Aviation Authority with my concerns, and have received a response from its safety-data department, which tells me that:

yes, it was an RAF Hercules, on a low-level training exercise, returning to base following a flight from Goose Bay, Labrador;

the crew of the Hercules were aware of the helicopter activity, and had been talking to Silverstone air-traffic control;

there were no "airprox" reports filed by any of the helicopter crews.

Thus, there would appear to have been no serious risk, and the matter rests. I confess to wondering whether good luck played its part and that good management would have routed the low-level exercise around, rather than through, the helicopter activity. I suppose that this is a matter of judgement, and maybe I, as a low-time private pilot's licence holder, should not question the actions of far more experienced, professional, aviators.

I would like to thank the CAA's safety-data department for the prompt and courteous way in which it investigated my initial letter and reported back on the facts.


Milton Keynes, UK

Source: Flight International