A year in the life of the CAA’s GA unit

The CAA’s General Aviation Unit has issued an update of its work over the past year as it seeks to live up to its promise to help create a vibrant and dynamic GA sector in the UK.

The authority says its guiding principles are to only regulate directly when necessary and do so proportionately, deregulate where it can and delegate where appropriate, not to ‘gold-plate’ [regulations], and quickly and efficiently remove gold-plating that already exists.

Changes over the past year include:

  • Allowing the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) to issue initial pilot licences
  • Consulting on moving some new aircraft types to national rather than European regulation
  • Light Aircraft Association (LAA) to undertake airworthiness oversight of YAK aircraft (photo above)
  • Easing restrictions on some permit aircraft, allowing them to overfly congested areas in the same way as other aircraft
  • Removing the need for two-seat microlight aircraft to have a noise certificate
  • Transferring Registered Training Facilities to Declared Training Organisations, resulting in a much simpler oversight regime
  • Giving the BMAA the first UK permission to directly issue Permits to Fly
  • Extending the UK’s exemption from complying with SERA in Class D airspace
  • Updating and launching a new version of the Skyway Code
  • Maintaining the Instrument Metrological Conditions (IMC) rating on European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) pilot licences until April 2021
  • Publishing simplified rules for EASA sailplanes.
BMAA to issue new NPPLs
The CAA’s Rachel Gardner-Poole with Geoff Weighell of the BMAA

The CAA has also renewed the exemptions and authorisations for glider towing with Permit Type approved microlights, use of type-approved microlights for flight training and self-fly hire, and aerotowing of hang gliders by type-approved microlights.

Rachel Gardner-Poole, who took over as head of the CAA’s GA Unit in June, said, “Over the past few months we’ve been working closely with the Department for Transport to deliver change for the GA sector, maximising delegation and deregulating where we can; moving from an oversight approach based largely on regulatory compliance towards one based around risk and safety performance.

“We still have a lot to achieve through our new change programme, but I think the past few months have delivered some real positives for GA.”


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