The CAA, which no longer briefs pilots for conducting airworthiness check flights, has issued new guidance on the subject

‘The responsibility for deciding when a check flight should be performed as part of the continued airworthiness management of all aircraft belongs with the aircraft owner, maintainer or continuing airworthiness management organisation,’ it says.

‘Best practice dictates that when it has been determined that a check flight is necessary, a suitably qualified and experienced pilot should be used.

‘Consequently, arrangements should be in place to ensure that the check flight is carried out safely and in accordance with industry best practice… There are a number of pilots who have previously been briefed by the CAA.

‘Pilots who qualified under the briefed pilot scheme may continue to perform check flights. The person/organisation who determined that a check flight is necessary should confirm that the pilot performing the flight is suitably trained and experienced.

‘Pilots who do not meet the criteria set out in the CAA Check Flight Handbook (CAP 1038, which will be amended in the near future to reflect changes. Ed.) should consider obtaining a briefing.

‘For check flights on aircraft with MTOWs below 5,700kg, there are a number of flight-test accredited organisations which can provide briefings (currently only for fixed-wing and gyroplanes) designed to cover the subjects previously covered by the CAA briefing process. The Light Aircraft Association and British Microlight Aircraft Association run their own schemes for qualifying pilots to carry out check flights for aircraft that fall within the scope of their approvals. It is recommended that candidate check flight pilots follow one of these schemes.

‘Alternatively, briefings could be obtained from a suitably qualified test pilot (i.e. one who is a graduate of a test pilot course) with check flight experience on the relevant aircraft category, or a pilot previously briefed by the CAA and who is current (i.e. has conducted a Check Flight within the last four years) and has a Type or Class Rating on the relevant aircraft. Wherever practical, these briefings should contain a flight training element.’


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