Non-precision GPS approaches get the nod and exemptions for ‘non-approved’ ELTs, lifejackets and liferafts

It’s been a week for good news from the CAA — it has announced that non-precision GPS approaches will be allowed for GA aircraft; there will be temporary General Exemptions from the ANO for non-public transport light aircraft flights covering the requirement to carry an approved emergency locator transmitter (ELT) and also the requirement for approved lifejackets, life rafts and oxygen equipment, and a temporary general exemption will be issued permitting a personal locator beacon to be carried in lieu of an emergency locator transmitter.


The non-precision GPS approaches news follows the successful trials late last year at several UK airfields (Pilot took part in the test and flew one at Gloucester, finding them straightforward and accurate). Ron Elder, Head of the CAA Safety Regulation Group’s Licensing Standards Division said: “The data from the trial has been encouraging and the proposal for the GPS non-precision approaches has now been approved by the CAA board.” He also said feedback from the trial had been positive.


What happens now is that a Letter of Intent will be published, rather than a more usual eight-week consulation period, to allow the approaches to be introduced from July at licensed UK airfields with a full ATC service and an instrument runway. However, they will only be able to be used by pilots with Instrument or IMC Ratings.


The General Exemptions from the ANO requirement for light aircraft engaged on non-public transport flights to carry an approved ELT, approved lifejackets, liferafts and supplementary oxygen equipment (together with a general exemption permitting a personal locator beacon, PLB, to be carried in lieu of an emergency locator transmitter) stems, according to the CAA, from EASA approval confusion and much equipment currently used by GA pilots does not have EASA approvals.


The exemptions have been put in place to allow GA pilots to continue flying over ‘long’ stretches of water while a further review of the situation is undertaken.