RAF Northolt

Badge of RAF Northolt

RAF Northolt is an active military airfield with flying activity taking place on a daily basis. Operational for over 100 years, our location as the only RAF flying station within the M25 means we are strategically important to both the military and government.


Safety is at the heart of everything we do and there are four key areas where everyone can support us in maintaining flight safety: drones, lasers, cranes and fireworks.


Drones, when flown irresponsibly, present a danger to aircraft. When you fly a drone in the UK it is your responsibility to be aware of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe:

  • Make sure you can see your drone at all times and don’t fly higher than 400 feet.
  • Always keep your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields.
  • Use your common sense and fly safely; you could be prosecuted if you don’t.

If you think a drone is being flown dangerously then call the local police on 101.


We have received many reports of laser illumination from crews operating from RAF Northolt. As with drones it is a criminal offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight which means persons shining laser-pens at aircraft can be open to criminal prosecution. Once again, if you see someone targetting aircraft with lasers, please call the local police on 101.


Cranes in the vicinity of any airfield must be carefully managed so that they do not present a risk to aircraft operations. Fortunately, major construction is well planned and through the local authority planning system, we are alert to major upcoming projects that will require construction equipment. Occasionally, smaller projects such as installation of garden sheds or air conditioning units into premises require cranes. Occasionally, cranes have been erected in the vicinity of the airfield with no notice. This has the potential to endanger the safety of approaching aircraft. Companies and contractors who require to operate cranes and lifting equipment within 6 kilometres of an aerodrome boundary and at heights of more than 10 metres must receive prior permission from the aerodrome operator. Contact this email address to obtain a crane permit:

Sky Lanterns & Fireworks

The use of lasers, searchlights, fireworks, helium-filled toy balloons and sky lanterns is now widespread, and their use has the potential to impact upon aviation activity. Unexpected fireworks could distract and confuse pilots and cause damage to aircraft in flight. Helium-filled toy balloons and sky lanterns have the potential of causing damage to engines through ingestion. Additionally, debris from sky lanterns dropping to the ground could damage aircraft should any of it land on the manoeuvring areas of the airfield.

If you are planning an event in the vicinity of RAF Northolt that involves these items, please talk to us in advance to avoid problems. Here is our email address: