The new Covid-19 lockdown starting on Thursday 5 November will affect light aviation but the full extent of restrictions is not yet known.
All that’s been said so far is, “Flying training and tests are not allowed during the lockdown, the same as driving lessons and tests. Airfields are allowed to stay open.”
However, many businesses at airfields will have to alter their way of working, with some operating from home if that’s possible. [Photo top, credit: Turweston Flight Centre]
FLYER has been in contact with the Department for Transport which said it is working on updating its coronavirus guidance for GA.
I have just heard from the Secretary of State for Transport that flying training and tests are not allowed during the lockdown the same as driving lessons tests. Airfields are allowed to stay open so flying for one of the reasons where your allowed to leave home is permitted.
— Matthew Bolshaw (@MatthewBolshaw) November 2, 2020
The Light Aircraft Association (LAA), for instance, has said that, in line with government advice, “The LAA HQ [at Turweston – Ed] will be closed with all staff working from home. Permit renewal and other documentation work will continue, but all documentation should be sent by regular post. Please do not ‘drop off’ documentation to the office by hand.”
Steve Slater, CEO of the LAA, said, “The LAA position, which we are advocating to DfT and the CAA, is that there is no safety reason why an LAA member should not fly, either to maintain pilot currency or to maintain aircraft serviceability.
“If a flight is solo, or with a passenger from their social ‘bubble’ and from ‘A-to-A’ then there is minimal additional COVID risk provided ‘hands, face and space’ precautions are taken on the ground.
“The risks posed by losing flying currency are arguably greater. In July, at the end of the first lockdown, the CAA identified the primary risk to pilots as ‘Skill Fade’, from private pilots to instructors and commercial.
“However, we recognise that public perception is a major challenge and we therefore recommend discretion in carrying out flights at this time.”
Disbled flying charity Aerobility said, “All instructed flying will cease from 00:01 Thursday 5th November. Solo flights can continue, at the discretion of Chief Flying Instructor Mike Owen and Deputy Chief Flying Instructor Craig Knott, and as long as Blackbushe Airport and Tatenhill remain open.
“Whilst our Head Office and Community Hubs at Blackbushe Airport and Tatenhill must close until lockdown is eased, we will continue to keep in touch and offer support to our Community through Aerobility TV, our website and our social media channels.”
FLYER will update this article as and when more facts are known.