Rotor blades will be in the skies over RAF Wittering as the historic station hosts iconic Chinook helicopters for a series of exercises

Group Captain Tony Keeling is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering. He said: “Obviously I’m very pleased that RAF Wittering can demonstrate the utility of its airfield by hosting the Chinook Force.”

He continued: “For many, Chinooks will be an unfamiliar noise in our skies. We want to make sure that our nearby equestrian communities feel informed and have an opportunity to get the equipment they need before flying commences in order to maximise their safety.”

The Chinook is an able and versatile support helicopter that can be operated from land or ship in diverse environments. Pilots can spot horse riders at a greater distance and have more time to take avoiding action when they’re wearing high-visibility clothing. Royal Air Force Wittering has obtained a limited supply of day-glow tabards and quarter-sheets for nearby riders to wear so that they’re more visible to aeroplanes and helicopters alike.


RAF branded equipment will be given free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis and riders can call 01780 417470 if they would like some high-vis equestrian gear including quarter sheets, tabards and hatbands.

Unfortunately, the supply of high-vis gear isn’t endless, so priority will be given to registered riding schools and riding for the disabled establishments.

The visiting helicopters are expected to leave RAF Wittering in early November, but the offer of high-vis equipment will remain open as long as stocks last.

Group Captain Keeling concluded: “RAF Wittering is a busy place, we support deployed air operations and train future pilots here. We use the roads and the skies daily, so I’m keen that we reach out to the equestrian community to inform them of a change in operations and help to maximise safety.”