The UK Civil Aviation Authority announced today that has withdrawn the ‘overflight restriction’ from the Permit Operating Limitations of factory-built, type-approved autogyros (or gyroplanes, as the authority will insist on calling them).
The move comes after ‘careful consideration of the risks’, which the CAA said had left it confident that the appropriate levels of safety could be achieved.
Unlike many Permit aircraft, autogyros have not previously been allowed to overfly congested areas at any height. From 31 October that restriction will no longer apply. Pilots must however, be able to demonstrate they can manoeuvre their aircraft clear of a built-up area should it suffer a failure preventing continued safe flight, such as an engine failure. A general exemption has now been issued and the CAA will write to individual aircraft owners confirming the new policy.
Putting the decision in context, the CAA’s Richard Craske, Head of the Gyroplane Panel of Examiners, said: “This is a positive recognition of the safety standards now being achieved by the gyroplane community. The introduction of new airworthiness standards, adopted by manufacturers, helped generate a growth in gyroplane activity that necessitated a review of the CAA’s oversight, with respect to training standards.
Endorsing the new policy, Phil Harwood, the Training Liaison Officer for the British Rotorcraft Association, and an autogyro instructor and examiner said: “The gyroplane industry has been growing extremely rapidly over the past few years since the introduction of factory-built approved gyroplanes. The gyroplane community is extremely enthusiastic and it has been a pleasure for all parties to work together and evolve in terms of standardisation of training. It is great that the CAA recognises this and is working to help us grow and offer the same privileges as traditional general aviation.”
More details can be found at www.caa.co.uk/ors4no1054