Police 'strongly urge' paragliders to 'reconsider' flying near Silverstone during the MotoGP

"Please do not put yourself or others at risk."

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 4:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th August 2021, 4:08 pm
Air space over Silverstone will be tightly monitored during the MotoGP this August bank holiday weekend.

Police are reminding paragliders not to fly in or around the area of Silverstone this weekend as the MotoGP comes to the UK.

In the weeks approaching the Formula 1 weekend at Silverstone in July, paramotor pilots had been spotted flying at a low altitude around the racetrack causing security chiefs to fear they were rehearsing a drop-in protest at the British Grand Prix.

Thankfully, there were no incidents during the F1 race weekend but, with the MotoGP coming to Silverstone this August bank holiday weekend, officers are making a re-appeal to local paragliders.

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Detective Inspector Tim Craven, said: “If there are individuals out there considering flying in the area of Silverstone Circuit this weekend, I would strongly urge them to reconsider.

“Earlier this Summer at the European Football Championships we saw how things can go horribly wrong and people can get hurt. We do not want this to happen here.

“During the Moto GP weekend, Silverstone essentially becomes an extremely busy airport with television helicopters, military air traffic and commercial flights frequently using the airspace.

"This, coupled with high powered motorcycles going around the track at speeds of over 200mph, makes for an exceptionally dangerous environment for this kind of activity. Please do not put yourself or others at risk.”

According to Northamptonshire Police, significant resource on the ground, in the air and technical solutions have been put in place to spot, monitor and detain any violations of air space during this event. Paragliders are also reminded how dangerous it is to fly near a helicopter.

Marc Asquith of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association added: “At this stage, there is no way of knowing whether the flights observed were rehearsals for a protest or simply a small number of innocent pilots misguidedly having fun.

“The BHPA does not welcome the use of paramotors in protest stunts - we have fought long and hard to obtain our freedoms to fly and such protests put these freedoms at risk. Similarly, recreational pilots engaging in low flying might now realise the concerns that they unintentionally raise. These pilots also put at risk our freedoms to fly.”

Detective Inspector Craven continued: “I am grateful of the support from the BHPA and am aware that previous articles released caused some concern among this community. Northamptonshire Police will continue to work closely with the BHPA and Silverstone Circuit.”