British CAA changes regulation of ex-military aircraft

British CAA changes regulation of ex-military aircraft

16-Aug-2010 Source: CAA

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced changes to the regulation of permit to fly ex-military aircraft. Following a number of incidents and accidents involving ex-military aircraft over recent years, the CAA is taking steps to clarify the purposes for which ex-military aircraft can be operated. The CAA is therefore acting to remind the owner/operators of ex-military aircraft that their permits to fly do not permit 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. Also, 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:


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.

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 020 7453 6030.


1. The owner/operators of ex-military aircraft with more than one seat will each receive a letter explaining the described changes. A copy of the letter can also be viewed on the Consultations page of the CAA website at Comments on the proposed change to the ANO can be sent to the CAA by e-mail or letter, as directed on the Consultations page, by 7 September 2010.

2. The change of placard will require an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2009. In order to implement this change in policy before the ANO is amended, it is proposed to issue a General Exemption against ANO Article 23(4) to allow owner/operators to make the change to the occupancy warning placard. A copy of the exemption will be published on the CAA website at In due course, Article 23 of the ANO will be amended to include the revised occupant warning for ex-military aircraft with more than one seat flying in accordance with a national permit to fly.

3. The CAA is the UK’s specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint. editor comment: The UK civil register includes a significant number of ex-military Gazelle helicopters and a smaller number of Scouts and Wasps

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