[Forum] Disturbance by helicopters circling throughout the night

Helicopter of the the Western Counties Air Operations Unit.

I’m wondering if anyone has addressed/explained the issue of police(?) helicopters circling overhead in the early hours in Bradley Stoke? Does anyone else find it annoying/deafening?

I find it extremely disturbing, terrifying even, to be woken up by the thunderous noise of it circling, then going away and coming back. It seems to be so close.

It’s really nerve-racking, making me worry that someone might be using my garden as a hiding place, and then being unable to get back to sleep afterwards. And followed of course by the inevitable exhaustion at work the next day due to disturbed sleep. Surely it must disturb children as well? That can’t be good.

I’m writing now [00.13 on Tuesday 20th May] as a helicopter has just flown over, so it’s kind of fresh in my mind – doesn’t really augur well for a decent night’s sleep tonight does it? I’m sure it will be back. 🙁


Photo: Archive image of the helicopter of the Western Counties Air Operations Unit.

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  1. You can ask them direct on Twitter at @NPAS_Filton they usually reply within 24hours with an answer as to what they were doing and if it wasn’t them who it was. (With police helicopters now part of NPAS any helicopter can be dispatched to another area).

  2. Whilst i agree to an extent its annoying if you are a light sleeper – it doesnt bother me at all,having lived in close proximty to Filton Airfield most of my life. I understand what you are saying that you worry someone could be hiding in your Garden – surely its more of a comfort knowing the Police are acting on a Crime and would locate an assailant much quicker than Ground Units would. I just see it as a necessary facility to protect us.

  3. The airfield was here long before Bradley Stoke, you knew there was an airfield there when you moved in, the cost of running the helicopter is huge so I’m sure there not just having a trip for the fun of it.
    I am happy they are doing what they should be doing looking for criminals, the poor old plod dammed if they do dammed if they don’t.

  4. My gosh I am so with you on this! So so fed up of being woken up most nights now. They are so loud and it is pretty scary, I’m always wondering what is going on. I understand they have a job to do however, there must be some way they can change their route so they are not constantly circling one of the most populated areas of bristol!

  5. This may not be the police. With the new hospital opening this may be air ambulance’s from neighbouring trusts taking patients to either BRI of southmead and the flight approach may have changed from what it used to be at frenchay. If it is the police then it’s necessary, it cost a fortune to run a helicopter.

  6. I seem to be missing it. I’ve heard it but not through the night. Its not woken me up and I’m a light sleeper. Been near Filton airfield all my life and just accept and don’t notice it. Twitter is the best place to see what they are up to.

  7. Shame on you for complaining. You chose to live in an area close to an airfield. Emergency services utilise helicopters at great cost. They are limited to flying hours of both the helicopters themselves and the pilots. They are not used solely to annoy residents. They are a valuable commodity and are used wisely when required to help members of the public just like you in emergency situations.
    When you need the assistance of a helicopter, be it police or ambulance, in the middle of the night, maybe you’ll understand the importance of a 24 hour service. Get some earplugs.

  8. OMG I know what you mean … I start work at 6 am so I am
    Up at 4:30 so when I get woken up I can’t sleep therefore me being slow in work i have had it for the past 3 nights !

  9. Helicopters landing at Filton are restricted to certain flight paths – This is due to the direction of the wind etc. If it bothers you so much then it would probably be best if you chose to live somewhere else.

  10. Our home was burgled at 4am on the 20th of may, whilst myself and my 2 daughters were in bed…..having spent 4 hours this evening after a horrendous day, putting my daughter to bed several times with numerous nightmares, I for one am very grateful to have them there.

  11. “Oh just go back to sleep!” Good to know emergency services are about. I have needed an ambulance for a medical emergency twice in the last 8 months and frankly i couldn’t care if i was awoken every night knowing full well if i needed the police or medical help they could be on hand very quick. These people are out there doing a wonderful job so rather than moan about their helicopters why not buy some earplugs.

  12. Madness they are doing us all a service would u perfer them to let the criminal do what ever they like to your home or mine or your cars shops ect or have the police doinging their job criminals don’t have a 9/5 job they do it all hours of the day night I say get some ear plugs

  13. I’m stunned people are complaining the police are out there catching criminals. Would you moaners prefer the sweet sound of your back door getting kicked down? Maybe the sound of your car getting broken into? What about the sound of getting your mobile phone removed from your blood soaked corpse?

    The only people who don’t like the sound of the police helicopter are criminals!

  14. I occasionally hear the helicopter at night, but as many others have stated here, I welcome the fact that we have this service here.
    When my son was a baby (17 years ago) there was a lot of helicopter activity in BS south at night due to a large amount of joy riding in cars. The helicopter often woke him and his cries woke us, but I would not complain about it as it was doing a good job!!

  15. Personally, I like them. Adds a bit of excitement to the ‘burbs!

    And, after having somebody try to steal our car from the drive (by trying to break in the back door), I was happy to have them, as they tracked them down using the helicopter.

  16. I like the amount of helo traffic in Bradley Stoke. It’s exciting especially now the RAF has a flight path through us I get to see RAF helis. Inclueding 2 chinooks a month ago and 2 Merlins yesterday.

  17. From what I understand they’re training a lot of the time which makes sense as if they were constantly looking for criminals in bradley/little stoke it would be quite worrying!

  18. Oh come on…I’m with the majority here why complain? I’m sure if the people complaining were victims of crime they wouldn’t be!! NPAS Filton do a great job in keeping us safe and protected, I admit it can be unsettling when they are right above your house in the middle of the night but no way would I dream of complaining, I did always wonder what they were up to but since following them on Twitter @NPAS_Filton you can keep up to date as they regularly post details of their shouts. So please stop complaining and support this very valuable service!

  19. Just wanted to add maybe the complainers would like to read the top story on the Bradley Stoke Journal this evening…not sure if the police helicopter was deployed on this crime but this is the kind of thing they are dealing with when they are “annoying” you…how would you feel if this was your mother or grandmother?! My sincere condolences to the lady involved and her family.

  20. It is annoying but I would rather be woken up by them. Than a burglar. Get your priorities right…. just saying.