Following the completion of a multi-year approval process, the Light Aircraft Association has been awarded A8-26 engineering and oversight accreditation by the CAA.

The approval means that the LAA now meets the standards that are required by the CAA for approving initial airworthiness and managing the oversight of the continued airworthiness of its 4,000+ strong fleet of microlights, light aircraft, gyroplanes, build and restoration projects.

This is a huge step for the LAA towards developing greater autonomy for the ‘light touch’ management of airworthiness for aircraft flown for recreation, in keeping with the LAA’s 70 year-old core philosophy of promoting ‘affordable flying’. It is also a mark of the confidence shown in the organisation by the UK’s airworthiness administrator and offers exciting prospects for the future.

The approval documents were handed over to LAA Chief Engineer Francis Donaldson and CEO Steve Slater by Tony Rapson, Head of the CAA General Aviation Unit, on Thursday 5th May.

“We are proud to have satisfied the CAA that we meet the standards required to gain such an approval for perhaps the largest and most diverse fleet of aircraft in general aviation” said LAA Chairman Brian Davies.

“The standards for the A8-26 approval were developed as a joint project between the CAA, LAA and the BMAA, to meet the needs of sporting organisations without imposing restrictions and working practices designed for commercial air transport, instead they provide regulation that is proportionate to our activity and risk.”

An LAA engineering and airworthiness team led by Deputy Chief Engineer Jon Viner, along with Chief Engineer Francis Donaldson, Design Engineer Andy Draper and past and present CEOs Phil Hall and Steve Slater worked together to draft a new company exposition and technical procedures to demonstrate compliance with the new standards.

The new process has also led to the appointment of part-time Quality Manager Peter Johnson, who will work with Chief Inspector Ken Craigie and Airworthiness Engineer Malcolm McBride to manage and audit the LAA’s continued airworthiness and inspection processes.

In addition to approving existing LAA engineering and airworthiness activities, the scope of the A8-26 approval will also allow the LAA to help manufacturers and individual builders reduce the cost of regulatory oversight and strengthen the viability of British sport aircraft design and production. It also opens the door to new areas, including alternative power units such as hybrid, electric and small gas turbine units.

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