London air space is now in lockdown mode and the RAF has orders to use “lethal force” should the 2012 London Olympics come under threat from above. The prohibited zone is about 30 miles wide but it does not affect commercial aircraft which fly in established air traffic corridors.
Letters have apparently been sent to every pilot in the UK to inform them that most of the restrictions will be in effect until August 15. However, the sailing venue at Weymouth in Dorset will be under restrictions until September 8 and there will also be (less stringent) restrictions in place for the Paralympics that will be following the Olympics.
During the games, any suspicious aircraft will first be contacted by radio and then ordered to rock its wings to acknowledge the warning, follow Typhoon jets or Sea King helicopters and then turn away from London. Those aircraft that don’t follow these procedures will first be met with flares and lasers and eventually with missiles.
The HMS Ocean is also returning to London with a deployment of Royal Marines to secure the River Thames while ground-based air defence systems have been installed at four sites in and around London for those aircraft that don’t get the message that the RAF means business when it comes to Olympic security.
And while general aviation aircraft can still fly over London if they have gone through a series of security procedures, any London based general aviation pilot would have been wise to have already rented out their flat/house to overseas visitors while waiting out the Olympic games (and the havoc all of the security measures will no doubt cause…) over on the Continent!