Military aircraft of all kinds will fly through the skies above Royal Air Force Wittering as the station’s air traffic controllers prepare for the unexpected.
Practice diversions are a routine part of life at military air stations across the globe. During a ‘PD’ aircraft are routed through RAF Wittering’s airspace as though in response to a forced landing or other similar emergency.
Helicopter, transport aircraft and fast jet crews must be ready to adapt to a rapidly changing situation, so must their counterparts on the ground and this is where PDs offer the most training value.
Practice diversions cover a range of hypothetical scenarios, from practised forced landings to mid-sortie diversions to investigate an incursion into UK sovereign airspace, or landing at an air station to drop off or pick up personnel and equipment.
There has to be an element of surprise in order for the PDs to be a realistic simulation of a critical event and there are also security measures, so they won’t be publicised in advance.