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Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA)
Situated in central southern England Salisbury Plain is a chalk plateau of which around half has been used by the military for exercises since 1898. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) now own 150 square miles of the Plain of which almost 40 square miles are permanently closed to the public with restricted access in other areas.

The Army Training Estate (ATE) Salisbury Plain encompassing the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) is the largest military training estate in the United Kingdom. The SPTA is divided in to three areas West, Central and East. It supports the field-firing of most land based weapon systems and some air-launched weaponry.
Aerial activity is also intensive, the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Army Air Corps (AAC) frequently conduct joint exercises utilising a range of aircraft from large transport aircraft and fast jets to helicopters. Principal users of the SPTA are the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC). The JHC are responsible for all Army Aviation units, an RAF Support Helicopter force, the Commando Helicopter Force and the 16 Air Assault Brigade (AAB). QinetiQ from nearby Boscombe Down manage various elements including the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) and the Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS) which are also frequent users of the SPTA. Fixed wing aircraft from Islanders to C-130 Hercules often land on the SPTA’s grass airstrips.

The SPTA forms part of the United Kingdom Low-Flying System (UKLFS) and as low-flying Area (LFA) 1A it comes under the control of HQ Land Forces at Andover. However the Dedicated User Areas (DUA) allocated for intense helicopter activity has different rules applied compared those for other LFAs. While in the other LFAs a booking is only required for helicopters operating below 500 feet, whereas within a DUA a booking is required for all aircraft activity below 2,000 feet.

AAC and RAF training is conducted across the SPTA but not confined to specific areas. The many camps, barracks, ranges, training villages and barns, confined areas, airstrips and airfields all attract aircraft to varying degrees, whether it be for communication, support or attack.

Copehill Down (FIBUA) Military Training Village (Fighting in built-up areas), this is a specially built urban complex, it is in regular use for military training and is run by the run by Land Warfare Centre at Warminster. It was proposed in 1986 and initially built to resemble a Bosnian village in the early 1990’s. Recent modifications include an Iraqi style village comprising mostly of large metal shipping containers.
Imber Training Range when in use closes Imber village to public access. Imber was first evacuated in 1943 to allow training for Operation Overlord and has remained closed ever since, except for around 50 days per year. It has since had some buildings constructed for military training.

British Army camps and barracks situated within the SPTA are notably; Bulford Camp and small arms range, Larkhill Camp and the Royal School of Artillery’s range, Perham Down Camp and range, Tidworth Camp, Westdown Camp and artillery range and Warminster Camp and range. Well over 2,000 troops can be accommodated at any one time. During the year 300,000 troops utilise the permanent facilities with a further 350,000 troops catering for themselves in the field. Live firing is conducted on the various ranges for 340 days of each year. Knook Camp is a short flight away from Copehill Down and has been used by Swiss and Royal Norwegian Air Forces Special Forces to operate their helicopters from during exercises.


Grass airstrips or non-designated landing fields within the SPTA include; Everleigh, Deptford Down and Carter adjacent to Bulford Camp. Other locations known as ‘Confined Areas’ (e.g. Lindens and Pennings) are used to train helicopter pilots to manoeuvre just above ground level in tight clearing in wooded areas. The Cross-Country Driving Area (CCDA) in the summer months becomes very dusty and is regularly used by helicopter pilots to practice for 'brown-out' conditions.
Airfields situated in and around the SPTA include; Netheravon (Army Airfield Camp and the home of the Army Parachute Association), Upavon (now Trenchard Lines Airfield Camp), it is an AAC and RAF gliding centre, Keevil (MoD), AAC Middle Wallop, RAF Benson, RAF Odiham and Boscombe Down (QinetiQ). Everleigh (DZ), Imber (DZ) and Fox Covert (DZ).

Field based Forward Refuelling Points (FRP) can be set up anywhere within the SPTA. A 'farp' as it is commonly called, which in a live situation becomes a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point (FARP), is a temporary location for hot refuelling multiple helicopters simultaneously using Oshkosh Combat Support Tankers (CST) in a matter of minutes.
 
Confined Area known as 'The Lindens'
Sea King HC.4 (ZD626 'S') arrives at the 'Lindens' In January 2014.
(DSLR full-frame sensor + Canon EF 24-105mm (40mm) f.4 L IS at 1/80 f.20 ISO 100 with -1 exposure compensation).
Left to right: Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZK067) in Lindens 1 using callsign 'Army Air 760' of 671 Squadron in February 2016.
Left to right: Gazelle AH.1 (XZ345 'M') using callsign 'Army Air 746' of 671 Squadron AAC based at Middle Wallop in Lindens 1 in January 2017.
Left to right: Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZK067) at the 'Triangle' using callsign 'Army Air 760' of 671 Squadron and also conducting winch training over the tumulus deep in to the Lindens in February 2016.
Sea King HC.4 (ZD626 'S') of 845 Naval Air Squadron at three locations within the Lindens (Triangle and Lindens 4, 5, and 6 according to their comms) in January 2014.
Left to right: Gazelle AH.1 (ZB692 'Y') of 671 AAC Squadron he School of Army Aviation at three locations in the Lindens starting at the 'Triangle' in February 2015 and again in yet another enclosed area in the Lindens in April 2015.
Puma HC.2 (XW219) using callsign 'Vortex 003' of 33/230 Squadron crew identify and check out the landing zone in the Confined Area carefully and after several low passes approach and drop in with all crew advising the pilot of the proximity of the trees and the ground in September 2014.
Left to right: Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ249 '49') using callsign 'AA702' of 670 (Training) Squadron at the Lindens in April 2015.
Left to right: Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ246 '46') callsign 'Army Air 703' at the 'Triangle' in the Lindens Confined Area in November 2013.
Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ245 '45') callsign 'Army Air 724' at the 'Triangle' in the Lindens Confined Area in July 2014.
Left to right: Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ253 '53') callsign 'Army Air 712' at the 'Triangle' in the Lindens Confined Area in March 2014. Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ253 '53' callsign 'Army Air 724' and ZJ245 '45' callsign 'Army Air 729') visiting some other places away from the tall trees around the Lindens in July 2014.
 
Left to right: Merlin HC.3 (ZJ990 'AA') it was using callsign 'Vortex 783' in the Lindens Confined Area in January 2013.
Merlin HC.3 (ZJ128 'M') using callsign 'Commando 510' of 846 Naval Air Squadron now based at based at RNAS Yeovilton in June 2015.
 
Left to right: Merlin HC.3 (ZJ126 'K') using callsign 'Commando 546' of 846 Naval Air Squadron in February 2016.
Puma HC.2 (XW231) pooled with 33 and 230 Squadron using callsign 'Vortex 302' in January 2017.
Chinook HC.3 (ZH900) using a 'Vortex' callsign in the Lindens Confined Area in October 2012.
Left to right: Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZK067) of 671 Squadron operating in the 'Lindens' in November 2011. The Bell 212 dropped down in to two clearings the second known as the 'Spectacles'.
Left to right: Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZJ969 'K') using callsign 'Army Air 760' of 671 Squadron at the 'Spectacles' and 'Triangle' in the 'Lindens' in April 2015.
Lynx AH.7 (ZD274 'E' ) at the 'Triangle' within the Lindens Confined Area in December 2011.
Puma HC.2 (ZJ956) pooled with 33 and 230 Squadron using callsign 'Vortex 305' at the 'Triangle' within the Lindens Confined Area in January 2017.
Gazelle AH.1 (XZ345 'M') using callsign 'Army Air 746' of 671 Squadron at the 'Triangle' within the Lindens Confined Area in January 2017.
 
Confined Area known as 'The Pennings Triangle'
Lynx AH.7 (XZ651 'O') of 671 Squadron dropping in to the Pennings 'Garden' in June 2015.
 
Left to right: Chinook HC.4 (ZH777) better known as 'Peggy' it is painted to commemorate 100 years of 28(R) Squadron it is based at RAF Odiham in January 2017.
Left to right: Apache AH.1 (ZJ193) callsign 'Panther 80' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in June 2015.
Chinook HC.6 (ZK558) using callsign 'Vortex 483' with 7 Squadron dropping in to the Pennings 'Garden' in November 2016.
Left to right: Apache AH.1 (ZJ211) callsign 'Panther 83' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in the 'Pennings' Confined Area in November 2013.
Left to right: Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ244 '44') operating at a number of locations around the 'Pennings' Confined Area in January 2013.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ641 'A') operating at three locations within the 'Pennings Triangle' Confined Area in October 2012.
Eurocopter AS350BB Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ249 '49') operating at three locations around the 'Pennings' Confined Area in October 2012.
 
Sidbury Hill
Left to right: Merlin HC3 (ZJ129 'N') using callsign 'Commando 557' of the Royal Navy in January 2017, this was the first ever touch down by a Merlin on Sidbury Hill.
Left to right: Gazelle AH.1 (XZ345 'M') using callsign 'Army Air 746' of 671 Squadron in January 2017, probably the first touch down by a Gazelle on Sidbury hill.
 
The Cross-Country Driving Area (CCDA)
Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZJ969 'K') of 671 Squadron based at Middle Wallop practising 'brown out' conditions in the CCDA in April 2015.
Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZJ969 'K') of 671 Squadron at the first touch down point in the CCDA in April 2015.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ670 'A') using callsign 'Redcat 44' of 671 Squadron briefly landed within the CCDA before leaving the area in a cloud of dust in September 2014.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ670 'A') pin-point landing on the 'Pinnacle' which is to be found within the CCDA in September 2014 and Lynx AH.7 (XZ651 'O') in June 2015.
Left to right: AgustaWestland Merlin HC3i (ZJ118 'B') using callsign 'Commando 525' of the Royal Navy 846 NAS in the CCDA in August 2016.
Left to right: AgustaWestland Merlin HC3i (ZJ118 'B') using callsign 'Commando 510' of the Royal Navy 846 NAS in the CCDA in January 2017.
   
Left to right: Puma HC.2 (ZJ956) pooled with 33 and 230 Squadron using callsign 'Vortex 305' in the CCDA in January 2017.
 
Forward Refuelling Point (FRP)
Apache AH.1 (ZJ187) of 4 Regiment AAC arriving at the Forward Refuelling Point (FRP) with the RAF's Tactical Supply Wing (TSW) running out to refuel the helicopter.
Left to right: Chinook HC.2 (ZA707 'AO') and Chinook HC.3 (ZH902) of 18/27 Squadron of Odiham Wing,
Sea King HC.4 (ZA291 'N') of 848 NAS based at RNAS Yeovilton.
Sea King ASaC.7 (XV697 '181') of 849 Naval Air Squadron all during exercise 'Pashtun Jaguar 11-1' in February 2011.
AAC Apache AH.1 (ZJ188) with Merlin HC.3 (ZJ130 'O') of 28/78 Squadron during exercise 'Pashtun Jaguar 11-2' in August 2011.
Puma HC.1s (XW212) at the FRP on Salisbury Plain Training Area during exercise 'Pashtun Jaguar 2-11' in August 2011.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ176) with 4 Regiment AAC during exercise 'Pashtun Rat' in February 2010.
Westland Lynx AH.9 (ZF540) of 9 Regiment AAC, Dishforth at the FRP beside Oshkosh Combat Support Tanker (CST).
Lynx AH.9s (ZF540, ZG918 and ZG921) of 9 Regiment AAC based at Dishforth at the FRP in February 2010.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ188) in August 2011.
Sea King HC.4 (ZA310 'B') of 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) Royal Navy.
 
Deptford Down
Left to right: Chinook HC.4 (ZA710) using callsign 'Vortex 424' in February 2016. Vortex 4244 was heard entering the Pennings confined landing area before moving to the nearby Sidbury Hill for another confined landing. They then headed off for Imber Village before calling Salisbury Ops' for Depford Down. When they two boxes were placed together on the grass strip before they departed to the west to circle around and approach from the east and land adjacent to these boxes. This they did four times before collecting the boxes and heading off south.
 
Left to right: Lynx HMA.8SRU (XZ729 'DT-425') using callsign 'Skua 311' from 'HMS Dauntless' 815 NAS Yeovilton in February 2016.
Gazelle HT.3 (ZB625) using callsign 'Tester 63' with Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) based at Boscombe Down in February 2016.
Left to right: C-130J Hercules C.5 (ZH882) for the full story click Natural Surface Landings September 2015.
Left to right: Sea King HU.5SAR (ZA137 '820') in 771 Naval Air Squadron markings, it is now operating with QinetiQ at Boscombe Down in September 2015.
Gazelle AH.1 (ZB691 'S') of 671 Squadron (The School of Army Aviation) in September 2015.
Merlin HM.2 (ZH854 '84' 'Gawaine') using callsign 'Gauntlet 34' with MoD/AFD/QinetiQ at Boscombe Down in January 2016.
Gazelle AH.1 (XX449) using callsign 'Gauntlet 39' with QinetiQ - Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron (RWTES) at Boscombe Down in January 2016.
Mil Mi-8MTV-1 'Hip-H' (ZB698) operated by QinetiQ at Boscombe Down to train Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) pilots. On the day there were a number of sorties, including callsigns 'Cordon 128' and 'Cordon 123', to the landing strip for numerous practice approaches and landings. 
Gazelle HT.3 (XZ936 '6') callsign 'Tester 07' in November 2011 and Gazelle HT.2 (XZ939 '9') using callsign 'Gauntlet 82' in November 2014 both of of Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS).
Apache AH.1s (callsign 'Radical') in November 2011.
Twilight rendezvous with an Apache AH.1, Lynx AH.7 and Chinook HC.2 (ZA710 'AR') operating with the 7 Squadron - Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (JSFAW) November 2011.
Agusta-Westland AW-159 Lynx Wildcat AH.1 (ZZ388) using callsign 'Spear 325' in AAC markings in October 2014.
Left to right: Lynx AH.7 (XZ642) Operated by 667 Squadron (HQ Director Army Aviation Development and Trials) at Middle Wallop it is fitted with engine exhaust diffusers in February 2015.
AS.365N3 Dauphin (ZJ783) of 8 Flight 658 Squadron AAC based at Credenhill, Hereford in February 2015.
Merlin HC.3 (ZJ117 'A') with Royal Navy titles and callsign 'Gauntlet 27' operated by QinetiQ in February 2015.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ651 'O') of 671 Squadron, door open visor down in March 2015.
Westland SA-341C Gazelle HT.2 (XZ939 '9') using callsign 'Tester 73' of Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) in October 2014.
Westland Lynx AH.9A (ZG888) using callsign 'Army Air 674' in October 2014.
Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ253 '53') callsign 'Army Air 703' in October 2014.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ214) callsign 'Army Air 077' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in October 2014.
Left to right: Agusta-Westland AW-109E Power Elite (QQ100) of Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) it was using callsign 'Tester 79' in December 2012
Agusta A-109E Power (ZE416) using callsign 'Tester 06' of the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) based at Boscombe Down in October 2014.
Merlin HC.3 (ZJ120 'D') was using callsign 'Vortex 782' and for part of its time here was working with an Army Land Rover on 'Vehicle Interdiction' training in December 2012.
Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ249 '49') using callsign 'Army Air 721' in December 2012.
Boeing Chinook HC.2 (ZA679 'AG') of 18/27 Squadron Odiham Wing loading troops during an exercise in April 2009. This location is often used for landing training on an up-slope.
RAF Chinook HC.2 was transporting troops across Salisbury Plain in April 2009.
Left to right: Chinook HC.2 (ZA679 'AG') of 18/27 Squadron Odiham Wing.
Chinook HC.2 (ZA679 'AG') of 18/27 Squadron Odiham Wing loading troops during an exercise. The Chinook HC.2 can carry 33 fully equipped troops.
 
Everleigh Drop Zone (DZ)
Chinook HC.4s (ZA705 'AN' and ZD981) Pegasus Flight of Odiham Wing in January 2016
 
Left to right: Puma HC.2 (XW232) with RAF Benson Wing (33/230 Squadron) in the early morning mist in February 2016.
Left to right: Gazelle HT.3 (ZB625) with Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) it was using callsign 'Tester 73' in January 2013 and also in August 2013.
Chinook HC.3 (ZH900) of 18/27 Squadron Odiham Wing it was using a 'Vortex' callsign in October 2012, Chinook HC.2A (ZH894) and Chinook HC.4 (ZH776) in January 2014.
Chinook HC.4 (ZD984) using callsign 'Vortex 225' with 28(AC) Squadron, Benson Wing throwing it ('advanced flying' according to comms') around on the DZ in February 2016.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ211) of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in September 2010.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ231) using callsign 'Panther 82' with 673 (AH Training) Squadron in January 2017.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ197) of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in December 2011.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ193) callsign 'Panther 83' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron at the eastern end of the DZ in February 2016.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ196 'T') of 671 Squadron based at Middle Wallop making a practice landing on an sloping surface.
Lynx AH.9A (ZG921) using callsign 'Army Air 003' with 657 Squadron of Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing based at RAF Odiham in January 2017.
Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ246 '46') of 670 Squadron in December 2011.
Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ254 '54') of 670 Squadron in September 2010.
Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ252 '52') of 670 Squadron in February 2015.
Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ251 '51') of 670 Squadron in November 2011.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ283 'D') of 671 AAC Squadron the School of Army Aviation in November 2011.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ191 'A') of 671 Squadron using callsign 'Redcat 47' in December 2011.
Lynx AH.7 (ZD284 'K') of 671 Squadron in October 2012.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ182 'Z') of 671 Squadron in January 2013.
Left to right: Gazelle AH.1 (ZB691 'S') of 671 AAC Squadron (School of Army Aviation) in February 2015.
Gazelle AH.1 (ZB692) with 667 Squadron (HQ Director Army Aviation Development and Trials) at AAC Middle Wallop in February 2017.
Gazelle AH.1 (XZ345 'M') of 671 Squadron using callsign 'Army Air 076', on the starboard side the code is displayed upside down as a 'W' in July 2014.
Left to right: Gazelle AH.1 (XX453) using callsign 'Tester 05' with QinetiQ in a small valley beside the EvDZ in February 2017.
Gazelle HT.3 (ZB625) with QinetiQ in February 2017.
Agusta Westland 109SP GrandNew (GZ100) using callsign 'Northolt ??' of 32(The Royal) Squadron in the VIP transport role being flight tested on Salisbury Plain in February 2017.
Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZJ969 'K') using callsign 'Army Air 735' of AAC 671 Squadron in February 2017.
Left to right: Sea King HU.5SAR (ZA137 '20') in 771 Naval Air Squadron markings, using callsign 'Gauntlet 34' it is now operating with QinetiQ at Boscombe Down in March 2015.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ232) callsign 'Panther 84' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in June 2015.
Gazelle AH.1s (XX453 and XX449) of QinetiQ - Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron (RWTES) in November 2011 and March 2014.
Bell 212HP AH.1 (ZK067) of 671 Squadron in November 2011.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ185) callsign 'Panther 89' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in April 2015.
Lynx AH.7 (XZ176) of 671 Squadron landing on a Stone Age barrow beside the DZ in January 2013.
Left to right: Lynx AH.9A ZG918) using callsign 'Army Air 623' with 657 Squadron of Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing based landing on a Stone Age barrow beside the DZ in January 2017.
Left to right: Chinook HC.4 (ZA712 'W') using callsign 'Vortex 440' of 18(B) Squadron in 100 years Anniversary scheme at the foot of Sidbury Hill in August 2016.
 
West Everleigh Down - Area 20
Apache AH.1 (ZJ193) callsign 'Panther 82' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron in February 2016.

Apache AH.1 (ZJ193) callsign 'Panther 82' of 673 (AH Training) Squadron based at AAC Middle Wallop. In Feburary 2016 it was conducting general handling in this area for 50 minutes, including landing on a slope in all four directions.

Left to right: Squirrel HT.1 (ZJ245 '45') using callsign 'AA729' of 670 (Training) Squadron at West Everleigh/Area 20 working with underslung loads in August 2016.
 
AAC Netheravon
Apache AH.1s (ZJ172, ZJ193 and ZJ202) of 663 Squadron AAC based at Wattisham deployed at Netheravon as part of exercise Pashtun Jaguar in January 2011.
Chinook HC.2 (ZA714 'AV') of 18/27 Squadron of Odiham Wing, Joint Helicopter Command, it has a 'Chinook 30 years' special tail in August 2011.
Chinook HC.3 (ZH902) operated by 18/27 Squadron of Odiham Wing on the Joint Helicopter Command on the ground at Netheravon in January 2011.
Sea King HC.4 (ZF120 'Z') of 845/846 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton in January 2011.
Apache AH.1 (ZJ197) in August 2011.
 
Knook Camp
Eurocopter AS.532UL Cougar (T-342) of Swiss Air Force.
Swiss Air Force AS.532UL Cougars and Royal Norwegian Air Force Bell 412SPs operated from Knook Camp to fly to Copehill Down during Exercise Virgo in January 2016.

Some basic guidelines for photography within the SPTA
Public access is allowed on 75% of the SPTA and is governed by local bye-laws. Take notice of the MoD signs and Red Flags which indicate areas that are unsafe to enter. You must not drive more than 12 feet from the road on to grass areas and you must not block military vehicle crossing areas which are clearly marked. Landmarc Wardens and MoD Police frequently patrol the SPTA.
Away from public roads photography of sensitive military hardware can be prohibited, the SPTA Wardens and MoD Police will respond to reports of such activity. On occasions helicopter pilots will fly for the camera, especially after their training has ended. If they move way from you, do not follow them around the area, be patient and unobtrusive.
Some key points:
1. Observe the bye-laws, signs and red flags.
2. Do not walk or stand on an airstrip (cut grass area) or landing area, stay on public byways.
3. Do not park on byways or block military vehicle crossings.
4. Do not drive on non-ability or closed roads, tracks or bridle ways.