According to figures released by the Ministry of Defence, the total amount of compensation paid for all low flying claims since June 2021 is £423,084.52.

According to Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence:

“The total amount of compensation paid for all low flying claims since June 2021 is £423,084.52. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is unable to verify whether claimants are landowners or hold other occupations.

The MOD takes the issue of safe low flying extremely seriously and understands that military low flying can be noisy and unpopular but it is an essential part of operational training. The MOD is constantly striving to ensure that such disturbance is kept to an absolute minimum and that the burden of noise pollution is as evenly distributed as possible throughout the UK Low Flying System as a whole. In order to ensure that military low flying is as accountable to the public as possible the MOD provides the Low Flying Complaints Enquiry Unit, located at RAF Wittering, which allows the public to report low flying incidents which have raised concern.”

Why do aircraft conduct low flying?

Although military low flying in the UK has reduced since 1988, it remains an essential skill for military aircrew. It allows them to undertake various roles like:

  • reconnaissance
  • search and rescue
  • transporting troops or humanitarian aid

It also provides military aircrews with one of the best chances of survival. Whatever missions we ask our armed forces to undertake, the aircrew must be able to fulfil the task as effectively as possible, often without time for ‘work up’ training. They are only able to do this through specialist training gained through the use of the UK low flying system.

According to the Government website, the UK military low flying system covers the open airspace of the whole of the UK and surrounding overseas areas from the surface to 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL) or mean sea level (MSL).

“Major towns and cities are generally avoided by low flying aircraft; unless there are local landing sites situated in your vincinity. In some areas of the country, a combination of airspace restrictions and topographical features make it difficult for aircrew to greatly vary their routes. So some areas will experience a higher number of military aircraft then others. There are no set flight paths. Aircrew plan each sortie individually, taking into account environmental and industrial hazards. Routes will be varied as much as possible to spread the disturbance to those on the ground, although this is not always practical.

Aircrew do not use specific properties as navigation markers, as this would severely restrict their tactical freedom. It is not inconceivable that aircrew might, on occasion; select an isolated/prominent building or static vehicle for this purpose, but it is most unlikely that the same marker would be chosen on a regular basis. It is very unlikely that a low flying military aircraft will set off a burglar or car alarm however, if this does occur this is not an indication of a breach of military flying regulations.”

Flight simulators are also used as part of our training programmes; however there is currently no acceptable substitute for actual low flying. At present, say the RAF, simulators do not provide the scope to safely further reduce the volume of low flying.

Additionally, they add, “Some training is carried out over the sea, but the sea is flat and featureless and does not provide realistic training that is necessary to prepare aircrew for operations.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Marius
Marius
17 days ago

I wonder who pays the claims / compensation for the regular USAF low flying across Wales and the Mach Loop, and anywhere else in the UK?

Last edited 17 days ago by Marius
Aaron L
Aaron L
16 days ago
Reply to  Marius

I’d hope the MoD get’s the cost back for any claims of USAF aircraft that cause compensation pay outs.

Not sure how accurately they’re able to attribute a particular compensation claim to either the RAF or USAF though.

Mark B
Mark B
16 days ago
Reply to  Aaron L

You could argue that the USAF are over here to deter aggression and as such are not charging protection monery 😀 It’s probably worthwhile cross chraging to some extent but we should not get too obsessive about it.

Stu
Stu
17 days ago

Assuming there are minimal/no spurious claims, worth every penny. Training has to happen & if it causes a serious disruption, then people should be compensated.
If I got a free low level fly over a few times a year though, I’d only ask that they let me know in advance so I could be outside to watch. 😊

Steve M
Steve M
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Agreed used to love watching the Herc’s/Hawks and Tonkas flying through area as a kid especially if during summer we we up on the hills and they were below us 😀 It was seeing them and the airshow displays and seeing A-10/F-111/F-15’s over Salisbury plain that made me join up. Now you get few hawks off Anglesey and phoons off East Coast and thats it apart fm A400/C-17 doing touch and goes at odd airports

Something Different
Something Different
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Unless actual damage is caused why would anyone complain, it’s a free air show!

Zouki
Zouki
17 days ago

Because some people don’t like thier Livestock and/or pets panicking and killing themselveslves………..

Jonathan
Jonathan
16 days ago

It’s farming and livestock, if you have your herd of sheep panicking some will injure themselves, there can be issues with lambing as well as the loss of meat/weight as animals running around are not eating and growning.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
17 days ago

There’s an apocryphal story of a Jaguar cutting a telephone cable around here once but we don’t get anything like the amount of military activity as we used to, sorry to say. I’m reminded of the scene in the Dambusters where the farmer rights to the Air Ministry complaining of the joyriders making his hens lay premature eggs.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago

And the Tornado Sqn from RAFG who devised a training sortie to hit a post box in a sleepy UK village from multiple directions in the middle of the night!
Was in a tabloid no Idea if it is genuine😆

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago

Some cases I think they are just miserable selfish bastards who want the military to fly elsewhere but would still expect to be defended. Other cases are genuine, livestock deaths. A story I have posted here before – a miserable git, I think in the Galloway area, wrote in large letters on the roof of his barn “Piss off Biggles” So when word of that went around aircraft training sorties were all getting routed through there to get a look at it closely! Me? Love to see low flying and appreciate why it is necessary. Does anyone know if the… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
17 days ago

I think the data would come from the planes now. Far more efficient and far more accurate than a 1980’s radar would ever be.

Simple civilian level GPS will give altitude and relative altitude to ground and log it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago

Yes, true.

Nicholas
Nicholas
17 days ago

Around here, see my seperate post, I don’t think there is any genuine disruption. To be honest the constant noise from chainsaws and tractors is worse. My motorcycle probably pisses people off more.

Farouk
Farouk
17 days ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Every year the MOD publishes the claims paid out, I used to check it out on DII and some of them are really questionable

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
17 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

It’s a lot of cash paid out. I will need to look at what sort of things they pay out for. I would of thought broken windows, damage to property is ok. I hope it’s not for mental stress etc

Klonkie
Klonkie
16 days ago

DM you’re most welcome to send them my way all day long! Cup of tea/coffee and I’m in Nirvana. NZ has not seen a combat jet for 20+ years.

Just no night flying at 2am please!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

😁 hello mate!

Klonkie
Klonkie
15 days ago

👍

Nicholas
Nicholas
17 days ago

I hear a fair bit of activity high up, presumably over the North Sea here in the far north of Scotland. About once a month I’ll actually see a Typhoon, the week before last I saw two flying low in formation over Rogart. I can’t say that any of this has caused me any aggravation, and I’ve never seem any stampeding livestock either. Many many years ago as a 15 year old on a cycling holiday in the Yorkshire Dales I was knocked off my bike by an extremely low flying Harrier that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Quite… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
17 days ago
Reply to  Nicholas

My dad got buzzed by a low flying vulcan at the top of a pass in Scotland. I will need to try and get a copy of photo from him. It was low.
The noise from the 1988-2000 Lake District hill climbing trips was wonderful as a kid. Seeing them underneath going through the valley was a highlight.

John N
John N
17 days ago

Low flying? This will knock your socks off!

This is an ‘oldie, but a goodie’, two RAAF F-111C fly very very low at the RAAF Evans Head weapons range in northern NSW.

Just about every window smashed, bits of the ceiling cracked and falling down.

From the mid 1990s, enjoy!!!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=J_Mh3dsln9M

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  John N

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFYoHv7qUYU

The guy on the runway ( French? ) at 01.50 is my fav.

John N
John N
17 days ago

Yes I’ve seen that clip before, the guy on the runway is a good one.

You might like this, in Brisbane each year they have ‘Riverfire’, night fireworks and RAAF aircraft fly up the Brisbane River, very low.

This one with a C-17A is rather spectacular (Americans get a bit upset by it though).

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cYkL5C-xJ5U

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  John N

That clip was on the vid I linked! Nutty! I wondered where it was.

Don’t you have elf and safety there????

Chris
Chris
15 days ago
Reply to  John N

This is one I’d have loved to see first hand, F111 fuel dump at night over Brisbane:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2Vq3EyRI9w

Coll
Coll
17 days ago

Have you seen the famous footage of the journalist being hit by a low-flying aircraft? (He survived. But I’m sure he had a headache)

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Coll

Yes!

Ron
Ron
17 days ago

As a kid I used to live not far from RAF Leuchers with Lightnings and Phantoms. Wonder what the people of today would say when a lightning would go rocket.

Steve M
Steve M
16 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Like the old Dulles schedule or k3 tanker VC-10 departing Brize, car alarms going off at o dark o’clock 🙂

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
17 days ago

I recall that RAF(G) post-Cold War was to reduce to one airbase in Germany only, but that plan was kyboshed by the German government’s new and harsh a approach to low flying. Hence closure of all RAF bases in Germany.

Davy H
Davy H
16 days ago

How much was awarded for soiled underwear?

Crabfat
Crabfat
16 days ago
Reply to  Davy H

I expect the comensation was crap!

Crabfat
Crabfat
16 days ago
Reply to  Crabfat

compensation…

Andrew Munro
Andrew Munro
16 days ago

Something for nothing culture, l lost a foal put down to low flying tornadoes but did not claim NATURE. AIRMEN training to look sfter UK .

Chris
Chris
16 days ago

I’m not sure if this is true or if there is an element of urban mythology to it, but during my time in the Light Blues I heard of a low flying complaint brought about by the owner of a large ostrich farm somewhere in the UK; the owner complained that low flying jets were causing his birds to try and bury their heads underground, not realising that they were trying to penetrate solid concrete and not softer ground…

Chris
Chris
15 days ago

As a child growing up in rural west Wales I’ll always fondly remember the sight of watching RAF and USAF fast jets doing practice bombing runs on Pembrey Sands from Llanstephan Castle and waving down to Hercules flying through the valley below us while playing golf at Carmarthen golf course and having the pilot wave back at us.

Ian M
Ian M
14 days ago

I’m treated to an almost daily selection of fast air and transports from Typhoon, F35, C130, A400, V22 to the large helicopters, all at V low alt. The Brecon Beacons Airshow now on.