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Friday, 20 Aug 2010

CAA announces changes to regulation of ex-Military aircraft

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has this month announced changes to the regulation of permit to fly ex-military aircraft.

Following several incidents and accidents involving ex-military aircraft over recent years, the CAA is working to clarify the purposes for which ex-military aircraft can be used, and is reminding owners and operators that their permits to fly do not allow the carriage of passengers in return for any type of payment.

The CAA's guidance document CAP 632, "Operation of Permit to Fly Ex-military Aircraft on the UK Register", will be updated to require operators to brief passengers on the nature of ex-military permit to fly aircraft operations before flight.

In addition, it is proposed that the owner / operators of ex-military aircraft with more than one seat will be required to install a new, more easily understood warning placard in their aircraft, worded as follows:

OCCUPANT WARNING
THIS AIRCRAFT HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN TO COMPLY WITH CIVIL SAFETY STANDARDS FOR COMMERCIAL PASSENGER FLIGHTS. IT IS ILLEGAL TO CARRY PASSENGERS IN THIS AIRCRAFT IN EXCHANGE FOR MONEY, GOODS OR SERVICES

The CAA proposes to change the Air Navigation Order 2009 to include this revised placard.

In addition, the CAA has concluded that there is some ambiguity as to the maximum number of occupants permitted to be carried in some ex-military aircraft with more than two seats. The policy has therefore been clarified such that the maximum number of occupants permitted to be carried in the aircraft is now limited to four or the number of seats fitted to the aircraft whilst in military service, whichever is the more restrictive. In particular, for helicopters, previously only crew members essential for the operation of the aircraft could be carried (including two additional ground crew if required for maintenance away from base). This change will end the practice, in certain cases, of declaring passengers as ground crew.

The changes affect all ex-military aircraft with more than one seat operating under a permit to fly. All owner/operators of ex-military aircraft with more than one seat fitted will be issued with a new permit to fly, with limitations and conditions reflecting the change in policy, together with an associated certificate of validity for the aircraft.

Although permit to fly aircraft are not permitted to undertake commercial air transport or aerial work, they may carry passengers where no payment is made. Each permit to fly is issued by the CAA with associated conditions, including the maximum number of occupants authorised to be carried. In order for carriage of fee-paying passengers to be allowed under the ANO, the aircraft would need to have met all the relevant safety standards and hold a Certificate of Airworthiness.

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