ABOVE: The BAC Strikemaster features a Rolls-Royce Viper engine and live ejection seats 

Having completed their final CAA audit earlier this week, Aero Legends have confirmed they will be the first UK operator to offer passenger flights in ex-military jet aircraft, with experiences scheduled to start on 25 April.

In January 2023, the CAA approved a new category of SSAC (Safety Standards Acknowledgement and Consent); a risk analysis framework allowing fee-paying passengers the opportunity for paid recreational flights in historic aircraft that would not necessarily meet contemporary commercial safety standards. Following an extensive consultation, a fifth category (covering ex-military fast jets) was added to CAP1395; which, in the words of the CAA, will “enable General Aviation operators of these types… to provide renumerated flight experiences in line with the already established activity that occurs for ex-military single-engine piston aircraft, ex-military helicopters and ex-military multi-engine piston aircraft”.

Aero Legends – who currently operate SSAC Spitfire flights – opened bookings for passenger flights in the BAC Strikemaster in late 2022, allowing members of the public to “experience outstanding and significant ex-military jet aircraft” from their base at North Weald.

Earlier this week, having completed a final audit with CAA Flight Standards Officer Paul Tedder, Aero Legends have now confirmed passenger experiences will commence on Tuesday 25 April. Among the ‘Jet Legends’ pilots are Sean Chiddention (a former Red Arrow) and Charlie Brown, a “familiar face from Aero Legends” with “some 2000 hours in Spitfires”.