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Thursday, 23 Apr 2020

GA aircraft maintenance flights will be allowed despite coronavirus restrictions

These are permitted, where required by the engine manufacturer’s instructions or equivalent LAA/BMAA procedures for Permit-to-Fly aircraft in accordance with those requirements, once in every four weeks for a maximum duration of 30 minutes.

Aircraft should aim to remain within the circuit. Unless safety of flight requirements dictate, the aircraft should not travel beyond a 5nm radius of its current aerodrome and no dynamic manoeuvring activity is to be included in the sortie profile.

Where the engine manufacturer’s instructions indicate that the engine only needs to be run at idle or at low power whilst on the ground and no other essential maintenance is required, then no flight may be performed.

Criteria for the conduct of these flights are that while the UK Government’s social distancing policy is in place the owner or organisation operating the aircraft must maintain a log of all the aircraft movements.

As a minimum, this must include the purpose of the flight, the pilot and their licence number, the flight’s date, time and duration. This log is to be kept and if required provided immediately in electronic form to the CAA.

Only solo flights by fully qualified pilots are permitted. No other flights, including instructional sorties are allowed, and aircraft must have a valid airworthiness certificate (CofA or Permit) before a maintenance, ferry or engine health flight can take place. These provisions apply equally to UK-registered and non-UK registered GA aircraft operating in UK airspace.

Post-maintenance check flights in accordance with CAP1038 are permitted but must be kept to an absolute minimum in terms of both the number and duration of flights. They must be conducted in strict accordance with the approved maintenance or flight test profile.

Ferry flights. Flights to or from maintenance facilities for essential maintenance are permitted if such a facility is not available at the aircraft’s current location. Flights are to be by the most direct practical route with transits flown at no lower than 1,000 feet Above Ground Level (AGL).

Any requests for exceptions to these provisions are to be submitted to ga.ga@caa.gov.uk a minimum of ten days in advance of the requested date of the flight.

At all times, the measures outlined by the UK Government to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing, personal hygiene and minimising travel remain applicable, and pilots and operators undertaking flights on the basis permitted here must observe these.

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24 Apr 20
Duncan Tincello Please give us a link to the official source of this news. I ask because I have seen similar claims elsewhere that differ in the detail. We all need to be able to check on official sources so we can detect when the advice changes.
24 Apr 20
Keith LEWIS I would also add that ,if conducting such flights, to advise local authorities or airfields nearby that such a flight is taking place. We may know about this dispensation but Mr Joe public does not and may report the 'illegal' flight or 'crash'...
24 Apr 20
Chris Belton Link is: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation
24 Apr 20
Chris Belton Sorry, you now need the link below. On that page click on "Airworthiness" then "GA Maintenance check flights" : https://www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/Newsroom/COVID-19-guidance-for-commercial-and-recreational-aviation/
24 Apr 20
andrew beech LAA website has lots of good info. Fantastic effort to all the bodies getting this approved. Just hope the idea doesn't get abused......
24 Apr 20
Kevin Jones Am I missing something , as I can't see in the link above that maintenance flight are allowed.
24 Apr 20
Brian Newbold Amongst others, we have Martin from AOPA to thank for this. Regarding p*ssing off Joe Public, everybody staying in the circuit for 30 minutes should do it. Why the distance restriction?
24 Apr 20
Brian Newbold This article omits to say that the first para of the CAA doc recommends "Winterisation" as the preferred measure and as such some airfields still prohibit flying. Also CAA doc says 10nm radius from base.
24 Apr 20
Keith LEWIS Only Lycoming make any mention of engine health flights. So a worthless dispensation for most GA motors....
24 Apr 20
stephen austen I am a bit confused. In the LAA magazine, it was stated that GA is not grounded in the UK but my understanding of this article is that is not the case and that GA is in fact grounded and these newly authorised maintenance flights are an exception.
25 Apr 20
Mike R I note a comment above speculating on “abuse” of this aleviation. Sadly I note that this is already the case. SR22 doing IFR training at Luton (GA), DR42 Blackpool to south coast & back (GA), A Maule, London to private Scottish strip (GA) - and more!
28 Apr 20
Brian Newbold Watch this. It refers to Lycoming and Continental engines recommending one hour flights. CAA says 30 minutes or "as recommended by engine manufacturer" (Which is not mentioned above) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4kMNvEAMjM&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwA
30 Apr 20
Doug Blair Remember the various Covid 19 Statutory Instruments allow " Reasonable Excuses" to leave home. If you really need to make an engine health flight it would make sense to have ALL your paperwork with you to justify leaving home. Please read the LAA advice.
30 Apr 20
Doug Blair The Covid 19 rules are Public Heath Legislation which has unlimited fines in the Magistrates Court. In Snowdonia the Police have given up with the idiots travelling from London to climb Snowdon and are sending them all to Court. Be carefull.
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