Effective from 29 May, single-seat fixed wing microlight aeroplanes ‘no longer need to be regulated for airworthiness purposes,’ says the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The move, which follows an extensive consultation exercise, will mean qualifying aircraft no longer need a Permit to Fly to operate in the UK.
Although the rule change requires an amendment to the Air Navigation Order (ANO), the CAA on 29 May published an exemption to the ANO, allowing pilots of single-seat microlights to take advantage of the new policy immediately.
The move will extend the present single-seat de-regulated (SSDR) category, introduced in 2007, to include all single-seat fixed-wing microlight aeroplanes as defined within Annex II Article 4(4)(e). All such aeroplanes can therefore be designed and constructed either privately or commercially without the airworthiness oversight of either a member association or the CAA.
As the exemption only applies when the owner has notified the CAA of their intention to use it, the CAA Aircraft Registrations department will write to all potential beneficiaries in the next couple of weeks asking them if they want to take advantage of the exemption; a single-seat microlight can, if the owner chooses, remain on its existing Permit to Fly for the duration of the exemption period. The CAA will notify registered owners when the amendment to the ANO takes effect, expected to be in October 2015.
As with the previous 115Kg SSDR category, accountability for initial and continuing airworthiness of SSDRs will remain with the aircraft designer, builder and owner; the pilot will still need to hold a UK NPPL or EASA PPL/LAPL with an appropriate microlight rating and operate in accordance with the Rules of the Air.
Responses received during the public consultation were overwhelmingly supportive of de-regulation, the CAA revealed, which echoed the views already expressed by industry. An internal CAA appraisal of safety performance of the UK-only 115Kg ‘SSDR’ class did not reveal any issues preventing expansion of the SSDR category.