The UK Government has lifted restrictions on recreational flying but with some conditions.
Flying is now allowed:
- from English airfields
- if social distancing measures are strictly observed
In practice this means that only solo flights, or flights where everyone is from the same household, are permitted. This is because it’s not generally possible to observe social distancing during a GA flight.
Recreational flying in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Recreational general aviation is currently still not allowed in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, where there are different public health and safety requirements. Please follow this page for further updates.
The CAA has issued guidance for pilots returning to flying here
Limits on GA flying in England
Since 13 May some sports, in which it is possible to observe social distancing, are permitted. The government takes the view that recreational general aviation is a permissible recreational sport.
This excludes most training flights, as social distancing measures require people not in the same household to maintain 2 metres of separation. While these flights are a key source of income for many aerodromes, they cannot presently be undertaken in a way that reduces the risk of Covid-19 transmission to an acceptable level.
Whilst noting that online training and socially-distanced training on the ground can take place, the inability to undertake training flights will mean that some pilots will not be able to resume flying until further easing of restrictions is possible. We advise those affected in this way to monitor this page and wider government guidance for further updates.
Reopening of aerodromes in England
Updated government advice encourages people to go to work where it is not possible to work from home. This advice applies to aerodrome operators, with guidance for transport operators having been published on 11 May.
See also guidance on safer workplaces.
The question of whether any individual aerodrome should open (or reopen) is a business decision for aerodrome operators. Aerodrome operators are best placed to decide whether opening is in their best interest, either from a commercial or health and safety standpoint, including their ability to maintain safe socially-distancing consistent with current PHE guidance.
It is also to be expected that some airfields will require time to implement guidance on making their sites Covid-secure, and that there may therefore be delays to reopening.