SERA Permissions and Exemptions Updates.

The CAA has undertaken a detailed review of the Permissions and Exemptions made against SERA and published on the CAA website at Official Record Series 4 - Miscellaneous

This has resulted in a number of enhancements to improve understanding of them and in places provide additional mitigations to the impacts of SERA where scope for doing so exists within the SERA Regulation and also aspects of The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015.

ORS4 No 1124 ‘Exceptions to the Minimum Height Requirements’ replaces ORS4 No 1065 and introduces several definitions and refines the permissions previously made against SERA.5005(f)(2) ‘Visual flight rules’, in particular flight below 500’.  It additionally makes clearer the permissions concerning approaches to land and forced landings and applicability of these to training aerodromes.  ORS4 No 1124 also clarifies the applicability of the permissions to manoeuvring helicopters at ‘permitted sites’ by detailing where the ‘permitted sites’ are. This previously appeared in ORS4 No 1021 ‘Manoeuvring Helicopters’, which expired on 1 May 2015.

ORS4 No 1125 ‘Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and Special VFR Flight at Night’ replaces ORS4 No 1066 and introduces an alleviation from the obstacle clearance requirements at SERA.5005(c)(5).  This brings UK night VFR requirements into line with the temporary provisions introduced by ORS4 No 930.

ORS4 No 1126 ‘Compliance with Cruising Level Requirements’ provides clarification regarding the UK’s continuing applicability of the cruising levels at  SERA.5005(g) (Visual flight rules) and SERA.5025(a) (IFR - Rules Applicable to IFR flights outside controlled airspace) as originally published in ORS No 1083.

ORS4 No 1127 ‘Landing and taking off within congested areas and near open-air assemblies’ clarifies the applicability of Rules of the Air Regulations 2015 rule 5(2) with regards to organised open-air assemblies.  Rule 5 will be amended in due course to reflect this omission. Rules of the Air Regulations 2015

ORS4 No 1128 ‘Emergency Services Helicopters – Landing and taking off within congested areas and near open-air assemblies’ clarifies the applicability of Rules of the Air Regulations 2015 rule 5 to Emergency Services Helicopter operations.

These will be published on Thursday 13 August 2015. 

UK exemptions to SERA.5001 (VMC visibility and distance from cloud minima) and SERA.5010 (Special VFR in control zones) were extended on 3 August 2015.

These developments do not require changes to UK legislation, however it will be necessary to amend the Aeronautical Information Publication to reflect them and provide guidance as necessary to industry through various other channels.

SERA is derived from ICAO Annex 2 (Rules of the Air) and parts of Annex 3 (Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation) and Annex 11 (Air Traffic Services). 

‘SERA Part C’ has been the subject of an EASA-led consultation on Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA 2014-05), details of which can be found at  SERA Part C is expected to enter EU law in 2016 – the CAA will advise industry of related developments.

For more information see and Official Record Series 4 - Miscellaneous.

High profile use of the AOPA Strasser Scheme.

Bruce Dickinson, of Iron Maiden fame, made use of the Strasser Scheme to divert and land his replica Fokker Triplane at RAF Halton due to a low fuel emergency.

You can read more about the incident by following the links in this Flyer Forum topic.

This successful use of the scheme contrasts with reported problems when requests to divert to Farnborough, after a recent incident at Blackbushe, were refused.

The majority of UK Airfields have signed up to the Strasser Scheme, following 17 years of work by AOPA  UK Vice President Charles Strasser. The scheme is available to all pilots, whether an AOPA member or not.

There are still 4 UK Airfileds who continue to refuse to sign up to the scheme; Bournemouth, London Luton, Lydd and Manchester.

Cardiff Airport joined the Strasser scheme in February 2015.





AOPA Gets Training Recognition.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has become the first organisation to be endorsed under a new ‘good training provider’ scheme run by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). AOPA’s established Wings Award Scheme has been judged by the CAA as a worthy recipient of its Pilot Recognition for Operational Up-skilling and Development (PROUD) initiative.

The CAA introduced PROUD as a way of improving the general skill level of private pilots, particularly recently qualified PPLs and NPPLs. The scheme endorses training programmes provided by General Aviation associations and bodies if they meet certain criteria. AOPA’s Wings Award Scheme allows and encourages pilots to develop various skills level in a structured and logical way and is therefore a natural and welcome addition to the PROUD initiative.

Commenting on the PROUD endorsement, Martin Robinson, Chief Executive of AOPA UK, said: "This new innovative scheme from the CAA is an excellent way for industry to work in partnership with the Authority. Any organisation that focuses on improving pilot skills through education and training can now get an endorsement from the Authority. AOPA is ' PROUD' to be associated with this initiative."

The CAA said it was keen for other GA organisations to join the PROUD scheme
More information can be found at


New guidance for private pilots offering charity flight. 

More UK private pilots will be able to offer flights for charity following a simplification of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) requirements. This guidance replaces the Aeronautical Information Circular on Charity Flights. 

A blanket permission is available for pilots if they meet certain basic requirements. This removes any need for pilots to have to apply to the CAA to carry out individual flights. The changes place more emphasis on pilots providing a thorough explanation to passengers of the level of safety and risks prior to the flight taking place. 

As well as simplifying the requirements other changes include:

  • Extending the types of aircraft that can be used to include permit aircraft such as hang gliders, paragliders, microlights and powered parachutes
  • Allowing flights to take place from unlicensed airfields

To use the permission  pilots must ensure that they receive no payment for the flight. All money must be paid by the passenger directly to the registered charity and the charity cannot be the operator of the aircraft.

Pilots should also check that their insurance cover is adequate and ask the passenger to check that their own life and any private health insurance covers the intended flight.

The permission is available at (from August 6th 2015).

AOPA fully support this as it makes it very clear how charity flights can be conducted by a PPL.

The CAA also provide this guidance:

Legal basis

This guidance is for private pilots who would like to offer a flight as a charity prize where the only valuable consideration (payment) is given or promised to a registered charity .  The CAA has issued a General Permission  which allows such flights to be conducted as a private flight.   This means there is no need for pilots to make individual applications to the CAA if they are conducting flights under the General Permission.

Similar flights conducted by Air Operator Certificate holders would need to be completed in accordance with the Air Operator Certificate. 

Charity flight guidance for private flights:
If a member of the public wins a charity flight in a private aircraft it is important that they understand that the level of safety is the same as if they were arranging a flight with a friend or colleague who is a private pilot.
Where the law and privileges of an individual pilot’s licence allow the carrying of passengers then that pilot can offer flights to any individual they enter into a private arrangement with; how those people are known or introduced to the pilot does not matter. Therefore the winner of a charity raffle, auction or similar can participate in flights under these arrangements. 

 To avoid any misunderstanding we recommend that any pilot intending to fly passengers who have won the flight as a prize should confirm that the charity understands this is a private recreational flight and should be considered as a prize in the same way other recreational prizes are considered. That is to say, they should realise that the flight is not without risk and the levels of safety and oversight are very different from a commercial flight and potentially from  those of a flying lesson provided by a training school.  If this is not acceptable to the charity, and it requires higher levels of safety, then it should be suggested that they consider offering a prize of a commercial aviation activity such as a flight with an Air Operator Certificate operator or flying school.
In addition to their normal pilot in command responsibilities for passengers, for a private flight as a charity flight, pilots should also make sure the passenger understands that it is a recreational private flight and like any recreational activity carries an element of risk.  Whilst that risk may be similar to other recreational activities it does not achieve the same safety standard as buying an airline ticket on a commercial flight. Pilots may use whatever means they think appropriate to set the context of the flight as a recreational activity.  Every opportunity should be given for the passenger to decline the flight if they so choose.

Note: This applies to a charity which is registered under section 30 of the Charities Act 2011.  If a pilot wishes to conduct a flight for the benefit of a non-registered charity the CAA should be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Before conducting a charity flight, it is recommended that pilots check that the level of insurance cover is adequate for the intended purpose of the flight, and ask the recipient of the flight to check that their own life and/private health insurance covers the intended flight.

Diversions to Farnborough Refused.

AOPA is receiving complaints that Farborough Airport refused to accept aircraft that needed to divert from Blackbushe during the recent fatal Phenom 300 incident.

Several aircraft that were in the circuit and a couple of inbounds to Blackbushe were told that if they diverted to Farnborough they would be charged the normal Farnborough rates.  They were advised to use either Fairoaks or White Waltham. 

Farnborough are signatories to the ‘Strasser Scheme’, so we shall look into that arise from the Blackbushe event.

Clearly, the Blackbushe aircraft were not themselves subject to an emergency, although the runway was closed.  Farnborough can be seen from the Blackbushe circuit, and therefore the first option for a diversion.  Whilst Farnborough are within their rights to accept aircraft for a fee, they do little to ingratiate themselves with the GA community when they put money before safety, which appears to be the case.

I fully appreciate Farnborough’s arguments re the restricted number of movements that they have and therefore need to maximise their income, BUT these diversions were for a genuine reason.

Farnborough still want additional controlled airspace to protect their business jet operations to improve safety!  So it seems there is a price to pay for safety which should always come before profit.


Martin Robinson


Extensions to existing SERA related Special VFR and Class D/E VMC exemptions take effect.

The CAA continues to work closely with DfT, EASA and the Commission on SERA matters. This includes resolution of SERA implementation issues, and support to EASA and the Commission in the development of SERA Part C.

The UK continues to engage closely with EASA whilst developing a proposal to derogate from the VMC at SERA.5001 (VMC visibility and distance from cloud minima).  This will focus on the continued application of the extant clear of cloud and in sight of the surface provisions below 3000 ft but only within Class D airspace.

The need for rigorous engagement with DfT, EASA and the Commission was necessary prior to extending the current exemptions concerning Special  VFR in Control Zones and VMC in Class C/D/E airspace below 3000 feet.

Continuation of the Special VFR exemption has been agreed until 2 June 2016.

The engagement with DfT, EASA and the Commission has enabled the CAA to bring a better focus to the proposed derogation from SERA.5001 and the supporting exemption.

Class C has been removed from the scope of the exemption and the derogation proposal as there is no Class C airspace at or below 3000 ft in the UK FIRs.

SERA’s Class E VMC – taken from ICAO Annex 2 – requires 1000 ft vertical distance from cloud and in an environment where VFR aircraft may operate autonomously this increases the efficacy of ‘see and avoid’ between VFR aircraft and against controlled IFR aircraft operating in the same airspace, particularly when the latter are likely to operate in both IMC and VMC, passing in and out of cloud.  The CAA considers this to be a safety enhancement and Class E will be removed from the scope of the derogation proposal. 

The need for an orderly transition to the SERA Class E criteria is recognised, however.  Therefore the Class E element of the current Class C/D/E exemption is extended to 4 February 2016 to allow for this.

At this point the UK will become aligned with this aspect of SERA and further compliant with ICAO provisions through the removal of a Difference from Annex 2.

Only one airspace (part of the Belfast TMA below 3000 ft) is affected and the CAA is in dialogue with Belfast ATC regarding the best way to address this move.

The Class D element of the current Class C/D/E airspace exemption is extended to 2 April 2016 in order to cover off the derogation proposal process.

These developments do not require changes to UK legislation, however it will be necessary to amend the Aeronautical Information Publication to reflect the Class E changes and provide guidance to industry through various other channels.

In a separate development, the CAA has undertaken a detailed review of the other Permissions and Exemptions made against SERA.  This has resulted in a number of enhancements to these to improve understanding of them and in places provide additional mitigations to the impacts of SERA where scope for doing so exists within the Regulation. 

Details of these will follow shortly.

SERA is derived from ICAO Annex 2 (Rules of the Air) and parts of Annex 3 (Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation) and Annex 11 (Air Traffic Services). 

‘SERA Part C’ has been the subject of an EASA-led consultation on Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA 2014-05), details of which can be found at  SERA Part C is expected to enter EU law in 2016 – the CAA will advise industry of related developments.

For more information see and (at Official Record Series 4 - Miscellaneous) ORS4 No.1119, No.1120 and No.1121.


Welcome to the August 2015 Enews of IAOPA Europe, which goes out to 23,000 aircraft owners and pilots in 27 countries across the continent.

Newsletter now available on the IAOPA EU website

EASA new Regulation 2015/1088 Minimum Inspection Programme (MIP)

To standardise maintenance programmes for EASA regulated aircraft a new Minimum Inspection Programme (MIP) has been introduced by EASA. This is an amendment to the
Part M regulation and will apply to ELA1 aircraft (Maximum Take-off Mass (MTOM) of 1,200 kg or less and not involved in commercial operations).

Owners can now choose from a number of different aircraft maintenance programmes (AMP).1088 introduces two new options to the existing Part M requirements, one of which is
the MIP, the other is based on manufacturer’s recommendations. (All AMCs which must at least meet the standards of the MIP).

Who this affects:

Initially owners of ELA1 aircraft, Part 145 organisations, Part M Subpart G CAMOs and Part M Subpart F maintenance organisations and Licensed engineers.

The main changes:

  • Owners can self-declare their aircraft maintenance programme
  • Annual inspection and issue of the Airworthiness Review Certificate (ARC) can be done at the same time by the same licensed engineer. 
  • Part 145 and Subpart F organisations have additional new privileges


For ELA1 aircraft, the changes came into effect on the 27 July 2015. A template for the new AMP options described above will be available at from Wednesday 28 July 2015.

This may be revised by EASA in September when it is also due to publish acceptable means of compliance and guidance material (AMC and GM). In the absence of current published AMC/GM, the information in the EASA comment response document can be found at CRD 2012-17 (pages 202 to 277).

The introduction of the MIP precedes the new Part M Light regulations that are expected to be adopted in summer 2016. Aircraft owners will then be able to choose either Part M or Part M
light and the MIP will then extend to aircraft between ELA1 (1,200kg) and ELA2 (2000kg).

The CAA will issue further updates in September 2015 on the changes relating to MIP. We will also be providing information on the future of LAMP now that these changes have been published.

Drones users must observe rules of the sky, or face prosecution.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in conjunction with NATS and pilots’ union, BALPA, have launched a new drone awareness initiative targeting the increasing number of recreational drone users in the UK, to ensure they operate their devices as safely as possible at all times.

Tim Johnson, CAA Director of Policy said, “We want to embrace and enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology, but we must ensure that this is done safely, with all airspace users in mind. It is imperative that people observe the rules when operating a drone. Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world - a complex system that brings together all manner of aircraft including passenger aeroplanes, military jets, helicopters, gliders, light aircraft and now drones. When doing so, they must be aware of the rules and regulations for flying drones that are designed to keep all air users safe.”

The ‘Drone Safety Awareness Day’ will see the launch of a dedicated online resource where existing and potential users can access advice on safe drone operation, along with the ‘Dronecode’, a list of tips that will ensure recreational users can enjoy their drone without posing any risk to aircraft and other airspace users.

Johnson continued, “Interest in drones has developed rapidly in the last couple of years and our main concern is to ensure owners of drones can enjoy this rapidly growing technology safely and have regard for all other airspace users when doing so. Our cross industry initiative launched today, sets out the simple rules that all drone users should follow to ensure they comply with the law and support the safety of all airspace. If they do this they can avoid prosecution and a possible jail term or fine.”

The initiative follows a number of recent incidents involving drones and various aircraft. On each occasion, the drone users appeared to be flying the devices well above drone height limits, with some reported as high as 2,000ft from ground level and in areas where large aircraft are present. This has prompted the CAA to join together with other leading aviation bodies to remind users of the importance of following the clear safety rules that are in place – with a particular focus on making sure users always keep devices well within their ‘visual line of sight’ (a maximum height of around 400ft).

By following the top tips for drone safety and sticking closely to the existing rules, users can make sure they enjoy all the benefits of flying a drone without causing any problems.

Stephen Landells is a flight safety specialist at BALPA. He says: “Drones are here to stay and will have important benefits for the UK in the future. Drone operators need to put safety at the forefront of their minds when flying, though, and ensure there is no conflict with commercial manned traffic. Pilots want to ensure the operators are adequately trained and the correct precautions are put in place to avoid collisions in the air.”

Phil Binks, a drone expert at air traffic control company, NATS, said: “Drones can be fantastic tools and we’re sure to see more and more flying in UK skies in the coming years. But with that growth comes the need to remind people of their obligations as airspace users and that safety always has to be the top priority.”

The CAA has also welcomed moves by drone manufacturers to build in ‘geo-fencing’ capabilities into their products. Geo-fencing prohibits drones from being flown into pre-programmed geographical areas, such as airport control zones. It can also set a limit on how high a device can fly.

As part of the drone safety awareness initiative, the CAA has set up a dedicated online resource including the top tips for drone safety, a quick-start guide to the rules for recreational drone users and other advice. A short animated guide is also hosted on the site. More information is available from

Users can keep up-to-date with the drone awareness initiative by following the CAA on Twitter and using the #droneaware hashtag.


• Keep your drone within your line of sight and at a maximum height of 400ft high
• Always fly your drone away from aircraft, helicopters, airports and airfields
• Use your common sense and fly safely. Remember you could be prosecuted if you don’t

EDF withdraws appeal on proposed Wind Farm near Popham.

EDF Energy Renewables has confirmed that it is withdrawing its appeal against the decision of three Hampshire councils to refuse planning permission for a proposed wind farm near Bullington Cross.

The Bullington Cross wind farm proposal involved the development of a 14 turbine, 28 MW wind farm on agricultural land to the north of the A303.

The scheme faced immense opposition from the local population, users of Popham Airfield and AOPA, through the General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC), and in June 2014 planning consent was refused by the planning committees of Winchester, Test Valley and Basingstoke and Deane councils.

EDF Energy Renewables announced its intention to appeal against the decision in December 2014.
After reviewing the scheme in the light of recent government announcements on onshore wind, EDF Energy Renewables has told the Government’s Planning Inspectorate that it will not be proceeding with the appeal hearing scheduled for later this year.

United Flying Octogenarians.

The USA founded UFO – “United Flying Octogenarians” is launching its European Area.

Founded in the USA in 1982, when an enquiry at the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) confirmed that there were 6,000 pilots over the age of 80 on the US Register. To date over 1,400 have joined UFO. They meet regularly at Regional Fly-ins for fellowship and talks on aviation subjects.

So far there are 35 European pilot members and Charles Strasser, a Vice President of AOPA UK, has accepted the invitation of the UFO Board to take on the job of UFO European Area Manager. It will be his task to find and enlist age qualifying pilots. The basic rule is that at the age of 80 or later, they must have held a valid pilots licence issued by any ICAO licensing authority.

UFO USA has members even over 90 years young, but there is no intention of forming a separate club for them.

The easiest way to join UFO is to use the application form on the UFO website , where more information can also be found. The annual membership fee is US$20.

Or email Charles Strasser for further details.

TAG Farnborough Airport – Airspace Change Proposal - Part B Report.


Feedback Report Part B, which details how suggestions, refinements and objections have been considered for the final proposal, is available to view and download from the TAG Farnborough Airport Airspace Change Proposal website at the following link : 

Summary map of the differences between original consultatation and final proposal as detailed in the Part B Report:

TAG will also be submitting the final proposal to the CAA on 3 July 2015.

A decision on the proposal is expected by the end of the year and will be published on the TAG Farnborough website.

Roger Walker
Director Airport Operations

Use of NPPL or LAPL with N-REG Aircraft.

AOPA have had a response from the FAA  to a query raised by Nick Wilcock, via the CAA, some two years ago in respect of the use of NPPL or LAPL with N-REG Aircraft.

The FAA has confirmed that N-reg aircraft may be flown with a valid NPPL or UK-issued LAPL, but only in UK airspace.  Thus even though a UK-issued LAPL may be valid across Europe, it may not be used outside the state of licence issue to fly N-reg aircraft.

AOPA - Working for You.



Follow @FASVIG on Twitter.

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The FASVIG website - - is now setup to support tweeting of posts and pages so do please spread the word on aspects of the Programme dear to your heart.

For the best information on the Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Group you can still sign-up for email Newsletters at

Steve Hutt

FASVIG Programme Coordinator


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