Low level flying in the Highlands of Scotland.

What you will learn

How to fly low level safley


Low level flying is dangerous at is increases the risk of impacting with the ground considerably. In the Law there are low flying limitations restricting low flying in certain places for various reasons. We will be looking at low level flying and  the dangers in detail.

General aviation aircraft are unsuitable for this kind of flying as they lack the power to escape a dangerous situation.

The Military operate fast jets at low level for different reasons, mainly radar detection avoidance and avoiding ground fire from SAM missiles.

Low flying military training involves military aircraft flying at low altitude to prepare their aircrew, and other military personnel (e.g. air defence troops), for nap-of-the-earth flying in wartime. The aircraft types can include advanced trainers, ground-attack aircraft, transports and helicopters.

Some countries have sufficiently large military reservations for such training to take place without affecting the civilian population. In smaller countries, such as in Europe, there can be tension between the military and the local population—mainly because of aircraft noise.

Low-level flying involves air safety hazards such as:

  • Collision with the ground, electricity wires etc. as a result of pilot error (e.g. Cavalese, 1998) or failure of aircraft systems – at low level and high speed there is little time to react to any problem.
  • Mid-air collision with light aircraft (e.g. Norfolk, 1974) or other military aircraft.
  • Bird strike.

The noise can also disturb animals and hence cause a hazard to horse-riders etc.

United Kingdom

Low flying Tornado near Grasmere, UK

In the UK, low flying means fixed-wing aircraft at less than 2000 feet from the ground or light propeller driven aircraft and helicopters below 500 feet from the ground.

Low flying is permitted across the majority of the UK except for large urban areas, civil airports and some industrial and medical sites. Fixed-wing aircraft can fly down to 250 ft above ground level at a speed of up to 450 kt. Lower height limits apply for helicopters and in certain parts of mid Wales, Northern England and Northern Scotland, designated Tactical Training Areas. See, for example, the Mach Loop in Wales.

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For safety and to minimise disturbance to the public, military aircrew training at low level is constrained by rules. A specialist military police unit conducts covert monitoring using Skyguard FC radar and investigates alleged infringements.

On the flight sim in VR there are no such infringements to low flying regulations so go enjoy yourself and play whatever music you like.







Abort a flight if anything is wrong.

Stornoway to Inverness.

Unedited flight shot in 1 take.

Inverness to Aberdeen in the rain.

Aberdeen to Leuchars near St Andrews.