Flying a helicopter over London?

Following discussions with the CAA, we were asked to generate a new forecast product designed specifically for helicopters operating over London’s controlled airspace. The driver for this was a safety recommendation in the AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) report issued following the Vauxhall helicopter crash in 2013.

The requirements for these forecasts specified a routine review and forecast against specific cloud and visibility thresholds, delivered in a way that was easy to interpret and was freely available to helicopter pilots operating over London.

It was designed to support a holistic pre-flight briefing function that took full account of the other aeronautical forecast and observation data made available by the Met Office within the scope of its obligations as a designated ANSP (Aeronautical Navigation Service Provider).

We launched the new forecast product in November 2016 and now the London CTA helicopter forecast product is firmly ingrained in the pre-flight briefing process of helicopter operators.

“I would like to extend our thanks to everyone in the Met Office who has developed this excellent product for the helicopter industry to use.  We have all been amazed at how quickly and how effectively this service has been transformed from concept to actual product.  This new service will make a valuable and lasting impact on the safety of helicopter flight in and around London” Dr Simon Mitchell, Director & Accountable Manager, Starspeed Ltd.

London CTA

The product covers the London controlled airspace as published in the UK AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication). This area is split into 4 zones, with advisories issued for each zone.

The forecast draws clear attention to the potential for one of the following meteorological thresholds to be breached:

  • A cloud base of 1000 feet or less;
  • Surface visibility of 3000 metres or less.

A summary of the forecast risk is presented, describing the extent and period of time that either of the above thresholds are expected to be breached.

CTA Thresholds

CTA Threshold notes

The product is available in our General Aviation product, free at point of use

Linda Jennings- Senior Marketing Manager




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