Low flying

Airspace Change Proposal

The airspace above and around RAF Northolt will be changing. This process is known as an Airspace Change Proposal, and is being carried out to meet the Government's Airspace Modernisation Strategy.

To find out more visit the Civil Aviation Authority Airspace Change Portal, or contact the RAF Northolt Airspace Change Proposal Team – [email protected]

Image shows a model Spitfire outside RAF Northolt building.

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Civilian aircraft fly from RAF Northolt:

  • Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
  • Saturday, 8am to 3pm
  • Sunday and bank holidays, midday to 7pm 

Military aircraft will attempt to adhere to the above times, but may fly as required to meet operational needs.

Find out more about low flying, or how to complain on GOV.UK.

Drone Flying

Operators flying drones near any military airfield must ensure they are aware of the UK policy for their safe operation. The Drone Code forms part of the Civil Aviation Authority's advice and guidance to drone operators which can be found on their website.

Request to operate drones in the vicinity of RAF Northolt

  • 21 working days’ notice required.  Any requests of less may not be processed in time
  • This request is to be submitted for any drone flight within the RAF Northolt Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ)
  • The issuing of a permit will depend on the impact of the drone on flying operations at RAF Northolt.  If an impact is identified which requires further assessment this will be at the cost of the applicant and will delay the issuing of the permit
  • A permit, once issued, will be for a single drone flight on a specific date and times (unless otherwise stated).  This does not allow additional drones on the same site.  Further requests must be submitted for each flight.
  • All operators are to have valid liability insurance for the period of the flight.  A copy may be requested as part of the assessment process
  • Failure to inform RAF Northolt of any drone flight within the RAF Northolt FRZ could be considered a breach of the air navigation order, possibly attracting legal implications
  • It should be noted that Hillingdon Council prohibits the flight of SUAS (drones) within public areas of the borough.
  • By completing this form the applicant acknowledges the instructions above and will operate their drone lawfully in accordance with the CAA's drone code

Request to operate cranes or high reach mechanical equipment

  • This request is to be submitted for any piece of equipment within 6 km of RAF Northolt that extends above the level of the surrounding buildings, or more than 10m above the ground level
  • The issuing of a permit will depend on the impact of the crane/HRME on flying operations at RAF Northolt.  If an impact is identified, further procedural assessment may be required which will be at the cost of the applicant and will delay the issuing of the permit
  • A permit, once issued, will be for a single crane/HME, this does not allow additional cranes / HME on the same site. further requests must be submitted for each piece of equipment
  • All equipment is to have a lit 200 candella steady red light attached to the highest point of the equipment at all times
  • Failure to inform RAF Northolt of any crane or HME within 6 km of RAF Northolt could be considered a breach of the air navigation order, possibly attracting legal implications
  • 21 working days’ notice required.  Any requests of less may not be processed in time
  • By completing this form the applicant acknowledges the instructions above 

Night flying

Where possible night flying is limited, but may occur as required to meet operational needs.

Viewing area

There is no official aircraft viewing area at RAF Northolt. 

Information for civilian operators

Details may be found at the following link: http://www.londonvipairport.com

Get updates about flying

Check the RAF Northolt Twitter feed or RAF Northolt Facebook page to find out when night flying, official flypasts, and displays by RAF display teams are taking place.

Your local residents association can also tell you about these types of flying activity.

Local resident associations can request updates about unusual flying activity by contacting:

 [email protected]

Connect with RAF Northolt