HC Deb 12 May 1954 vol 527 cc1211-2
15. Mr. Dodds

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air on how many occasions Royal Air Force helicopters have been used for transportation purposes to or from built-up areas near the centre of London; and what safety precautions are required to be observed.

Mr. Ward

Since the beginning of 1952, about 60 flights have been made in Central London by Royal Air Force helicopters flown by Army pilots. The safety regulations are essentially the same as for other types of aircraft, but in addition helicopters must as far as possible follow the line of the Thames, and may not take off if visibility is less than 1,000 yards or the cloud base is less than 500 feet.

Mr. Dodds

Does not the hon. Gentleman think that he is running the population of London into terrible risks by flying these single-engined helicopters over London? If he does not think that this means running very big risks, will he have a chat with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation?

Mr. Ward

I think that helicopter operations over London are safe provided that the flying regulations are observed, and our flying regulations are essentially the same as those for civil aviation.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Is my hon. Friend aware that a considerable body of opinion both in London and outside it feels that if the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation is erring it is on the side of timidity rather than adventure?