Police air support units face a multitude of challenges in their efforts to protect our communities, with safe flight operations being one of the most crucial considerations. When providing the UK police service with aerial support to assist in pursuit, surveillance and tracking, police aviation teams need to be certain of flight conditions to ensure a safe flight and return to base, and to comply with rigorous health and safety CAA legislation.
About Cheshire Police Air Support Unit
Prior to being absorbed by the National Police Air Support Unit (NPAS), Cheshire PASU delivered air support across the region as part of the North West Air Operations Group, along with Merseyside Police, Greater Manchester Police, Lancashire Constabulary and North Wales Police. Now operating as a national network which also benefits from Skyview’s installation, calibration, maintenance and support services, NPAS provides borderless support for 43 forces across England and Wales.
Flight Safety Conditions
Crews and support staff must comply with a host of legislative requirements, not least that of CAP 746, which specifically states that “accurate, timely and complete aerodrome meteorological observations are necessary to support safe and efficient air navigation”.
Adverse weather conditions pose an obvious and dangerous threat to flight safety. Fog and cloud can form in a very short space of time and with a limited fuel supply, any unplanned rerouting can be problematic.
Cloud height, visibility and fog must therefore be consistently and reliably monitored to ensure safety of all those on board and on the ground.
Skyview’s Complete Package
With 30 years’ experience in the aviation and emergency response sector, Skyview Systems was on hand to consult on exactly what equipment would fit requirements of the Cheshire Police Air Support Unit. Skyview installed a VPF-710 sensor to provide accurate visibility information. We also installed a ceilometer, which uses sophisticated laser technology to measure cloud height. Data from both sensors is fed back to Skyview’s exclusive Skymet-i software, allowing current and historic data to be immediately accessible at any given time.
Cheshire Police Air Support Unit also benefited from our feature-rich weather monitoring web portal, Skylink-pro.com, a service which is still a crucial element in providing pilots in the NPAS group with real time weather data to enable safety and compliance to this day. Skylink-pro.com enables flight crews and ancillary staff to log onto its own bespoke information page and access data from the base via an internet-enabled PC, tablet or smart phone. Among other features, pilots and crew can view nationwide current and forecast weather, TAF and METAR reports and charts and weather data from partner sites to plan a safe return to base.