Danger Warning to Flyers

26 June 2007

Aviators around the UK are being urged to make themselves aware of the dangers posed by overhead power lines.

Overhead power lines are essential to the UK’s power grid and supply electricity to all towns, cities, villages and hamlets. They are easily confused with telephone lines and can carry voltages from 230 up to 400,000. Even touching a 230 volt line can be fatal and even the lowest voltage lines can produce 10,000 times the amount of current needed to kill a person.

This risk is heightened enormously by the size of the equipment that flyers use – from microlights and hot air balloons to helicopters and light aircraft – the electricity could fry either.

Flying at night poses a greater threat and the Energy Networks Association who are spearheading the awareness campaign advise that flyers, however experienced, make sure they have a map of the power line routes. (CAA 1:250,000)

Energy Networks Association head of safety, health and environment Peter Coyle said: ‘This advice may seem like common sense but it’s so easy to misjudge heights and distances, especially if in bad light."

Also due to the changing nature of power supply requirements, routes can and do change so flyers need to be aware of the latest routes.

"Detailed advice is available at the Energy Networks Association website, at www.energynetworks.org and, for landowners and outdoor pursuits organisers, from local electricity companies.’