From microlights to Covid, the CAA’s year

The CAA’s General Aviation Unit has issued an update on its work during 2020, covering a wide range of subjects from the new 600kg microlight category to extensions and exemptions to help pilots cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The update includes:

  • Expand and create an enhanced category of microlights up to 600kg maximum take-off mass (MTOM). This will bring aircraft and helicopters up to 600kg under direct regulation in the Microlight category, and should improve the availability to the UK market of more modern, light, two-seat aircraft under a lighter regulatory regime. (Such as the VL3 pictured above).
  • Paid-for ab initio training in some Permit to Fly ex-Military and ex-Certificate of Airworthiness aeroplanes as well as amateur-built microlights.
  • New PPL online exam system available for all registered training organisations to use from 5 October 2020.
  • Virtual GA Roadshows are planned to engage a wider and more diverse GA audience to both communicate and receive feedback to help shape the GA Unit’s future programme.
  • CAP403 Flying Displays and CAP1724 Flying Display Standards have had their guidance updated and are now being used as best practice across the UK and by other countries.
  • The Display Pilot Evaluator project will conclude in October, resulting in significant improvements to CAA oversight of Display Authorisation Evaluators (DAEs) through improved engagement, procedures and processes.
  • The first Airborne Flying Display Director (AFDD) course will launch online in November. This will become a requirement for AFDDs from 2021.
  • CAP660 Parachuting – published updated guidance on parachuting.
  • Transition of many GA maintenance organisations to Part-CAO (Combined Airworthiness Organisation), a more proportionate approach to the regulation of production and maintenance activities for GA aircraft.
  • Roadshows (latterly, virtual) to explain recent changes in rules for maintenance (Part M-L) and Part-CAO.
  • Loss of Control (LOC) Safety Campaign: in July, the GA Unit launched its Stay in Control safety campaign to raise awareness of LOC issues and provided advice on ways to avoid an incident.
  • The GA Airworthiness team provided support and guidance to help a UK Restoration Company, Hawker Restorations, modify an original Hawker Hurricane Mk2 to create the only two-seat Hurricane in the world which is airworthy and back in the air.
  • Covid-19: Extensions for EASA and UK licences validity, including class, type and instrument ratings, and instructor, examiner and medical certificates. A summary of these exemptions, including the end dates can be found here.

Rachel Gardner-Poole, Head of the CAA’s GA Unit said, “2020 has been an unprecedented year for the GA community.

“In addition to all the work completed as part of our GA programme, we hope to have played a part in helping it to navigate the various challenges it has faced through the guidance and regulations we have produced, and by our work to provide reassurance and pragmatic exemptions that have allowed the sports and recreational pilots to quickly and safely get back into the air this summer.”


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