WILTSHIRE Air Ambulance is urging drone users to fly their drones safely and legally.

The charity’s safety manager and helicopter pilot Nicky Smith says drone ownership has increased rapidly in the UK and offered safety advice.

She said: “We want drone users to have fun but to do so safely and legally. If a drone strikes a helicopter, it is likely to cause significant damage due to the solid metal parts it has and a solid battery.

“The last thing we want is for drones to damage our helicopter so we can’t do our important lifesaving work.

“A drone is much smaller than a helicopter and it can blend into the background. It’s really important that people who operate drones can see them when they are flying.

"If they can’t see their drone when it’s flying then they won’t be able to see other aircraft, such as helicopters, flying either.

“Due to the nature of our work, we often land and take off in residential areas. We spend more time below 400 feet than most other aircraft so this is another important factor for drone users to be aware of.

“If you are flying your drone and see our helicopter or any other aircraft, please land it and wait for us to land or fly away."

Drone users in the UK are required by law to register their drones and pass a theory test. Failure to do so could result in a £1,000 fine.

The Civil Aviation Authority published The Drone Code to assist drone users to fly safely.

The code includes not flying drones above 400 feet, always keeping your drone in direct sight and not flying drones near airfields or airbases. Failure to do so could result in criminal prosecution.

Visit dronesafe.uk