The information within this item is accurate on 24 December 2021.

Devon Air ambulance crews will be on call throughout the Christmas period.

In December alone, the crew has so far been tasked to 80 missions, delivering vital pre-hospital and time-critical emergency care to 43 patients who experienced a sudden critical injury or illness within our local communities.

The charity's two emergency helicopters often operate below the 400ft (120M) maximum height for drone flying.

To help keep them flying safely and help reach more people in need of their critical care, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is reminding drone users to keep a good look out for helicopters when flying their drones and to make sure they keep their drones well away from helicopters and aircraft.

This year, Air Ambulance charities throughout the UK will be operating approximately 40 helicopters ready to take to the skies every day over the Christmas period. So far during 2021 (year to date), Devon Air Ambulance has received an average of between 5 and 6 calls each day or 156 calls per month.

Air ambulance charities form part of the UK’s frontline emergency response services, making lifesaving missions to people in urgent need of pre-hospital lifesaving care. This Christmas, just like every other day of the year, the pilots, paramedics and doctors of air ambulance charities across the country will be taking to the skies to save lives.

Simmy Akhtar, Chief Executive Officer of Air Ambulances UK, said:

Air ambulance charities right across the UK have continued to provide their vital lifesaving services to those in desperate need of pre-hospital critical care throughout the pandemic and beyond. Now, during the festive period, drone users can do their bit to support our air ambulance charities too. All of us at home can play a part in keeping our sky safe this Christmas by being mindful of the CAA’s drone regulations.

Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications, CAA, said:

“With more than 400,000 registered drone owners across the UK, and more expected to be added during the festive period as people receive new drones for Christmas, we’re asking all drone users to fly safely and to especially be on the lookout for low flying helicopters. In many cases when flying below 400ft (120M) drones and helicopters have equal access to airspace but, in reality, a drone user on the ground is much more likely to see and hear an approaching helicopter. So, we ask drone users in those situations to keep their drones well away and land if possible. They can then help to make sure that life-saving helicopters can operate safely.”

Many people will receive a new Drone for Christmas this year and it’s vitally important that they are aware of some of the key elements of the UK’s drone rules that users need to follow:

  • Never fly above 400ft (120 metres)
  • Always keep your drone in sight
  • Never fly near airfields or airports
  • Register with the CAA as a drone operator and take the Flyer ID test
  • Follow the Dronecode

Read more information about drone safety, to register as a drone operator of flyer and see the full laws covering drone flying.

If you would like to show your support for our service, you can donate to our Christmas appeal today and help keep our service responding.