One of Britian’s busiest Royal Air Force (RAF) bases has been providing riders with free high-vis gear to help keep them safe while out riding.

RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, has handed out branded day-glo tabards, hat bands and exercise sheets.

The move came as the RAF’s Chinook helicopter force was due to arrive at the base for training, which runs until early November.

“Obviously I’m very pleased that RAF Wittering can demonstrate the utility of its airfield by hosting the Chinook force,” said group captain Tony Keeling, RAF Wittering’s station commander.

“For many, Chinooks will be an unfamiliar noise in our skies. We want to make sure that our nearby equestrian communities feel informed and have an opportunity to get the equipment they need before flying commences in order to maximise their safety.”

A spokesman for the base added high-vis clothing means pilots are able to spot riders at a greater distance, giving them more time to take avoiding action.

“RAF Wittering is a busy place, we support deployed air operations and train future pilots here,” added Captain Keeling.

“We use the roads and the skies daily, so I’m keen that we reach out to the equestrian community to inform them of a change in operations and help to maximise safety.”

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The stock was in such high demand that all the equipment was gone within a day of the base’s announcement on 5 October. More is hoped to arrive soon.

The British Horse Society advises riders to wear high-vis at all times while out riding — both on and off the roads — to give them the best chance of being spotted by pilots.

The Ministry of Defence also has a helpline on 0800 515544, where riders can find out more information about planned low-level flying in their area.

This is manned on weekdays between 8am-5pm from November to March; and 8am-8pm from April to October.

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