GA - Economic Value and Strategy Reports.

In advance of this Saturday’s GA Strategy launch at Duxford, the Department for Transport have published the GA Strategy document and accompanying economic research into the value of GA online:

General aviation: economic value

General aviation strategy

Please let AOPA know if you have any comments on either of these reports.

Additional benefits for AOPA visitors to Jersey.

Charles Strasser, Vice President AOPA UK, has announced additional benefits for AOPA visitors to Jersey.

Worldwide members of AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, already benefit from 7 days free parking for aircraft under 3 tonnes at the Jersey Aero Club and a 5% discount on duty and tax free exported Avgas. Click here to see the low historic and current fuel prices in the Channel Islands.

Now two hotel groups in Jersey, both GA pilot friendly, have agreed to special prices available to paid-up AOPA members. Hotels will ask for pilot ID’s and current AOPA membership card on check in
Morvan Hotels, have two hotels in St. Helier, the Best Western Royal and the Monterey. They will grant a 15% discount off their best available rate and flexible cancellation terms. For bookings use AOPAJY in the promo box in their website or phone their central reservations 01534 873006 quoting the same code.
Dolan Hotels, have three hotels outside St. Helier, the Somerville, Hotel Cristina and the Golden Sands.They will grant a 10% discount off their Advance Purchase Rate (B&B only). For bookings use access code AOPA0814 on their website or phone their central reservations 01534 491900 quoting the same code.


Norwich Controlled Airspace Reduced after CAA Review

Following a recent review of Norwich International Airport’s (NIA) controlled airspace (CAS), the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced a reduction in the size of the Class D airspace. Although acknowledging that the Control Zone (CTR) and Control Area (CTA) around Norwich were working well following their implementation in 2012, the CAA has reduced the upper level of both from FL50 (approx 5,000ft) to 4,000ft. As a result, the transition altitude above the CTR and CTA will therefore be raised from 3,000ft to 5,000ft.

The change was announced in the CAA’s ‘post implementation review’ of the Norwich CAS - published today. NIA and the CAA are working collaboratively to introduce the revised airspace on 17 September 2015, scheduling it with other initiatives being undertaken by the Airport.   NIA will, however, be allowed to request the original upper level be reinstated if they experience an increasing need to hold inbound aircraft at higher levels.

The CAA said it was satisfied that the Norwich CAS had been beneficial in protecting aircraft in the instrument approach and initial departure phases of flight. However, a change to the vertical dimension of the CAS is operationally possible, although not to the lateral dimension. Although aircraft that are not radio equipped are excluded from controlled airspace (without prior permission) the impact on the general aviation community of the Norwich CAS has been minimised, with NIA meeting the original approval requirements to facilitate transit of the airspace. The lack of any safety related events since the CAS came into force endorsed this view.

The CAA tackled suggestions from some respondents to its review that a reduction in movements in 2014 questioned the need for controlled airspace at Norwich.

Phil Roberts, Head of Airspace at the CAA, said: “Protecting the travelling public is at the centre of our decision making process when we consider an airspace change proposal. Although traffic levels have not matched predicted figures at Norwich since the initial airspace change application was made, they have nevertheless increased every year since the industry-wide drop in 2008.” 

In response to the specific issue of gliders being unable to enter the CAS, the CAA said it encouraged pilots of non-radio aircraft to approach Norwich ATC to arrange access.

    Introduction of an Emergency General Aviation Report (GAR) Telephone Line (0845 723 1110)

From 1 March 2015, we are pleased to announce the launch of an Emergency General Aviation Report (GAR) Telephone Line for General Aviation (GA) pilots, operators and owners. If you need to submit or amend a GAR for Border Force purposes in an emergency situation, you may call the GAR Emergency Telephone Line on +44 (0) 845 723 1110.

The emergency telephone line may only be used for a flight that is:

  • not required to report to the police under the Terrorism Act 2000; and
  • outside the GAR reporting timescales.

An emergency may be described as:

  • medical emergency of a pilot/passenger; or
  • air ambulance with critical passenger; or
  • other emergencies requiring a change to information contained within an already submitted GAR; or
  • last minute changes to a submitted GAR, only when changes to online version are not possible.

You are required to complete a GAR prior to your departure. For information about this process please see the link below.

This telephone line is strictly only for the purposes listed above. For all other GA enquiries please visit our online information:

Home Office Strategic Communications  


SERA - Summary of Changes.

The Standardised European Rules of the Air (commonly referred to as SERA) took effect across Europe on 4 December 2014 and in the UK superseded most (but not all) of the UK Rules of the Air
Regulations 2007.  Full details of the rule and the associated changes are contained in the CAA’s SERA web pages.

SERA is based on the same International standards as the UK Rules of the Air so in most respects they are identical.  However, there are a number of differences to what aviators in the UK are
accustomed to and these are summarised below.

SERA is slightly different to other European Regulations because it applies to all aircraft in European airspace (not just 'EASA aircraft').  Also, SERA does not address all of the areas that UK Rules of the
Air historically have (for example, certain aircraft lighting requirements) and in some cases it requires States to write their own 'enabling' measures  to allow some activities to take place (for
example, VFR at night).   It also allows for the retention of provisions that were already in place before SERA took effect, as long as these comply with and supplement SERA.  The result is that the
UK has retained a small number of domestic Rules of the Air and issued a number of General Permissions and General Exemptions.  These can be found through the CAA’s SERA web pages.

Key changes

1. Visual Meteorological conditions

SERA requires aircraft flying VFR in controlled airspace to remain 1500m horizontally and 1000ft vertically from cloud and in a flight visibility of at least 5km at all times.

The CAA is temporarily allowing aircraft flying VFR within Class C, D and E below 3000ft AMSL by day at 140kts or less to continue to apply the 'clear of cloud and with the surface in sight' minima as they have always done. This temporary arrangement currently lasts until 4 August 2015, and a permanent arrangement has yet to be finalised.  The CAA will keep industry informed of progress with this.

2. Cruising levels

The quadrantal cruising levels system historically used in the UK does not exist in SERA. Instead, the semi-circular cruising level system applied throughout the rest of the world is used.  To aid transition
to the new system, this will now take effect in the UK on 2 April 2015.

3. Minimum Heights By Day

Although SERA changes the minimum height to a blanket 500ft above the surface, the CAA has used the flexibility provided in SERA to allow aircraft in the UK to fly below 500ft provided they are 500ft
away from persons, vessels, vehicles and structures – in other words no change from the UK’s former '500ft Rule' that people flying in the UK are used to applying.  The CAA has also granted
generic permissions to allow for all the long-standing exceptions to the old rule 5 that were contained in rule 6 – i.e. gliders hill-soaring, aircraft picking-up and dropping articles at aerodromes,
practising forced landings and flying displays/air races/contests, to continue unaffected.  Otherwise 1000ft is the minimum height over cities, towns or settlements or over an open-air assembly of
persons above the highest obstacle within a radius of 600 m from the aircraft.

4. VFR at night

Aircraft have been able to fly under VFR at night since June 2012. SERA introduced a small number of additional requirements for aircraft flying at night. These are:

  • If the aircraft leaves the vicinity of an aerodrome a flight plan must be filed.   This can either be a ‘paper’ plan, an AFPEX plan or an abbreviated plan (‘booking out’).
  • The cloud ceiling must be at least 1,500ft AMSL;
  • The flight visibility must be at least 5km, or 3km for helicopters;
  • When flying at 3,000ft AMSL or below, the surface must be in sight at all times; and
  • The night VFR minimum height requirements are more stringent than the day requirements. Aircraft are to be flown at least 1000ft above the highest fixed obstacle within 8km of the aircraft, or 2000 ft when flying over high or mountainous terrain. 

5. Special VFR (SVFR)

SERA introduced a speed limit of 140kts to aircraft flying under an SVFR clearance. The weather minima is now:

  • Remain clear of cloud and with the surface in sight
  • Maintain a flight visibility of 1500m, or 800m for helicopters

6. Rights of way on the ground

Rules on overtaking and giving way are now less specific. Aircraft and vehicles overtaking other aircraft and vehicles can now pass on either the left or the right.

7. The Right Hand Rule

The UK rule which required aircraft to be flown along the right hand side of line features ceases to be a legal requirement.  However, it is still considered to be good practice as a means avoiding
collisions with aircraft coming the other way, and so is strongly recommended.

SERA does not makes any changes to pilot licenses or their conditions and limitations. Some licences include limitations such as visibility minima which may be greater than the minimum specified in the
Visual Flight Rules.  Therefore pilots are recommended to remind themselves of the applicable minima for their licence (you can find this on the personnel licensing pages of the CAA website).

Dave Drake
CAA Project Lead for SERA 

Airfield Planning Issues.

The past three months have seen over thirty requests for assistance from owners, operators and supporters of flying sites. This reflects the continuing trend of airfield pressures, both from economic and housing threats which made up 10 of the queries and from inappropriate developments such as wind turbines in the immediate vicinity of flying sites, 8 enquiries. There has been good news too, Sandown airfield appears to be prospering under the custodianship of the local aero club, who are in the process of community fund raising to buy the airfield, Blackpool, which closed in October, re-opened in December for GA and helicopter operations under new management and the former RAF Church Fenton reopened at the start of 2015 as a civilian airfield.

The GAAC role in these cases has been to provide objective responses to those seeking to keep airfields open, while attempting to advise local planning officers both of the importance of GA airfield as a part of their local business, transport and economic infrastructure, and the recognition of this in the National Planning Policy Framework. In addition the GAAC is also actively driving the importance of leisure aviation as a resource and advocating local airfields’ role in providing accessible and sustainable flying training.

Planning Protection

One of the reasons for this increase in activity has been the recent Government response to the Red Tape Challenge in terms of recognition of the importance of the GA industry and to recent GAAC comments on the need for sustaining a reasonable infrastructure of airfields to support it. While the Government have continuing wish to devolve decision making to Local Planning Authorities, they have asked our advice in supporting the protection of small and medium-sized airfields and in briefing planning authorities.

One of the first results of these initiatives has been the Airfield Safeguarding Advice document, drawn up by Richard Vousden and distributed electronically to around 320 Local Planning Officers. Through monitoring of these e-mails we have been able to ascertain that of these, around 210 were received and read by the recipients.


Sadly, it is inevitable that Hucknall airfield is destined for history, as the entire site will be turned over to a local authority housing partnership at the end of February. However we have continued (supported by Grant Shapps MP) to seek means by which Panshanger might be kept alive.

One initiative discussed with Welwyn and Hatfield Council at a meeting on 3rd February is to evaluate a re-alignment of runway which will allow airfield operations to continue while at the same time, allowing some land to be released to meet housing demands. The proposal is being further discussed with site owners Mariposa Developments, but in the meantime we have prepared a comprehensive support document for continued operation of the airfield as a local amenity, for submission as part of the Local Plan Consultation, which is open till 19th March.

It is noteworthy that a similar proposal has been advocated by the owners of Old Sarum airfield who wish to use land at three locations on the perimeter of the airfield for housing, but retain aviation activities and upgrade facilities. The plans are however being resisted by a local "Save Old Sarum" action group who claim the proposed developments will alter the character of location and that noise complaints would ultimately lead to airfield closure.

At Manston, while much of the infrastructure and resources have been sold and the site has been acquired by a 'regeneration company’ for other land uses, it is noted that a further submission has been made by Riveroak Developments to acquire the site and reopen it as a freight hub.

At Wellesbourne, an attempt by the owners of the airfield site to force inclusion of their ‘Scoping Consultation’ in Stratford District Council’s core housing strategy was successfully overturned by lawyers acting for the Wellesbourne Matters, pro-airfield action group. The GAAC has been working with Wellesbourne Matters to create a document highlighting factual errors in the developers’ research, with a view to overturning it again when it is presented as part of their change of use planning submission.

At Wycombe the GAAC is continuing to monitor attempts by Wycombe District Council to ‘claw back’ around 30 acres of land on the south side of the aerodrome, by rejecting the renewal of the existing airfield lease, which was taken over by Heli-Air. The major effect on aviation activities if this were to go ahead would be the loss of the airfield’s N/S runway and the end of gliding operations by  Booker Gliding Club.

Planning approval has been given by Chatham and Rochester Councils for the redevelopment of Rochester Airport with a lit tarmac and parallel grass runway, new hangars and admin buildings, as part of a 25-year plan. There is a further delay however as one small part of land is under the jurisdiction of Tonbridge Council which has yet to give similar approval.

Recent headlines have been grabbed by Liberal Democrats in Gloucestershire who have given support to a proposal by the Commercial Estates Group (CEG) in Cotswold District Council’s draft local plan consultation that could see up to 2000 homes built on the airfield. A robust GAAC response is being prepared for the consultation, but this is being seen as something of a speculative effort. CEG do not own the airfield, and there has been no sign that the airport owners wish to sell it.

Two less usual areas of airfield assistance have been offered. One, in the case of South Moor Farm at Langdale near Scarborough has included letters of support for planning permission for a new flying site. We have however also advised the site owner that as the location is in a sensitive area (the NY Moors National Park); he needs a particularly robust planning and environmental case in order to be successful.

An unusual threat arose to continued operations from the strip at Brimpton in Berkshire, which despite having operated for over 30 years alongside the Atomic Weapons Establishment was suddenly required by the CAA, under new security regulations, to inform AWE security ahead of every aircraft movement. This is both impossible and most emphatically not wanted by AWE Security! After discussion, we have advised that an agreed protocol with AWE should be forwarded to the CAA for their agreement.

Wind Turbines

Following the refusal of initial planning applications for the large wind turbine development at Bullington Cross which threatens operations at Lasham and Popham by three local council planning committees, the applications have moved as expected, to appeal. The GAAC has also offered all three councils’ assistance in preparing supporting submissions on behalf of the GA Community and has ensured our initial grounds for objection have been relayed to the Planning Inspectorate.

In addition, the GAAC has been required to object on safety grounds to a further seven inappropriate wind turbine development proposals in the immediate vicinity of both ‘farm strip’ flying sites and larger more active light aircraft airfields. In three of these cases, planning permission was refused by the local planning authority, but has subsequently been appealed by the developer.

In these cases, while our initial evidence will be used at the resulting enquiry, further requests for information, supporting letters and the rebuttal of inaccurate claims by so-called ‘aviation consultants’ are adding significantly to workload.  It is also noteworthy that in a significant number of cases unscrupulous developers have clearly ignored visible and long-established flying sites, hoping to hoodwink or force through an application without carrying out an appropriate risk analysis or contacting the flying site operator. In each case we have reminded the LPA that the development is in breach of CAA advice and if allowed they place the local authority in a potential position of liability if a resulting incident were to occur.

Industry Co-operation

In addition, the GAAC are continuing to work with the industry to try to both develop mitigation and awareness of the specific needs of and risks to General Aviation. In addition to our work with the Air Space Initiative Wind Farm Working Group (ASIWWG), in November for the first time, we addressed the Renewable UK national conference, presenting the case for General Aviation as a specific category with different requirements to Commercial Air Transport.

In addition we are working with both Renewable UK and the CAA to identify further means of enhancing conspicuity of anemometer masts. While we have no statutory capability, the CAA asked the GAAC to provide advice to planning officers in a joint initiative and in addition to the use of ‘spherical orange markers’ such as used on high-voltage power cables, and reflective bird flight deflectors, we are also looking at areas such as lighting, brightly coloured ground matting, high-visibility sheathes on the lower guide wires or the painting of the top of masts, to achieve reasonable visual recognition at about 1km

Significant Areas for Sport
Work continues on the future classification by Sport England of flying sites as Significant Areas for Sport (SASP), based on sport flying and competition aerobatic activities, giving additional planning protection. Currently around 15 sites have been identified for consideration by Sport England.

However some of these sites have requested a delay while the land owners are consulted as there are clearly implications for future sale of land in the future. An aerodrome owners’ questionnaire has been circulated for each site but due to the high workload on other projects, this has not moved forward as rapidly as hoped.
Stephen Slater.
February 2015

NOTE: The General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC) is the most representative UK body in General Aviation and is recognised as such by Government, the CAA and others to be the organisation that speaks for General Aviation on planning and environmental issues and we intend to widen our ‘awareness’ campaign to other issues where there is consensus. AOPA UK strongly supports the work of the GAAC and gives substantial annual donations to it. Find out more about the GAAC here.

Caution if overflying disused Airfields.

An RAF training plane had to take evasive action when it ventured in to airspace used by a Cambridgeshire model flying club last year.

A UK Airprox Board report labelled the incident "high severity" after the trainer flew within 40ft (12m) of a remote-controlled model aircraft.

The near-miss happened 600ft (180m) above the village of Northborough near Peterborough.

The board said the "safety of the aircraft may have been compromised".

The report said the planes were flying on 4 February 2014 in airspace permitted for use by a local model aircraft flying club.

The model's operator thought his plane was flying at up to 150ft (45m), but the trainer, from RAF Wyton near Huntingdon, confirmed it had been flying above it at one point at 600ft.

The Airprox Board report concluded "safety margins had been much reduced". The board suggested because nearby RAF Wittering had changed to a non-flying base users of the airspace had become less aware of dangers.

It said all operators in the area needed to be alert to each other's activities. RAF Wittering has since returned to flying status.

Cardiff International Airport joins Strasser Scheme

In a Valentine’s day present to General Aviation, Debra Barber, the recently appointed Managing Director of Cardiff Airport, has added Cardiff International Airport to the list of airports in the AOPA “Strasser Scheme”.

This is  great news for General Aviation to celebrate, as all public UK and Channel Islands Airports which were asked to join the AOPA “Strasser Scheme” have now done so with the exceptions of Bournemouth, London Luton, Lydd and Manchester. Only these 4 are refusing to join this potentially life saving CAA recommended scheme.

In 1997 the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published a review of General Aviation Fatal accidents 1985 to 1994 under the title CAP 667. Of particular interest to GA pilot Charles Strasser when reading this, was paragraph 9.2(c), which stated:

“There were a number of fatal accidents where a timely diversion or precautionary landing could have avoided an accident. In the UK there is a ‘culture’ of pressing on and hoping for the best rather accepting the inconvenience and cost of a diversion. This ‘culture’ needs to be changed, firstly by educating pilots and secondly by persuading Aerodrome owners that there should be no charge for emergency landings or diversions. It is recommended that all Aerodrome owners be persuaded to adopt a policy that there should be no charges for emergency landings or diversions by general aviation aircraft.”

Since neither the CAA nor the GASCO (General Aviation Safety Council) acted to get this important potential life saving recommendation implemented, Charles Strasser, the then Chairman of the AOPA CI Region, decided in 1998 to accept this challenge. It has taken him 16 years to get all present 206 UK Civil and Military airfields, excepting only Bournemouth, London-Luton, Lydd and Manchester, to participate and waive fees for genuine emergency and precautionary weather diversions. (London Heathrow, Gatwick and City were not asked).

The “Strasser Scheme” has undoubtedly prevented GA pilots from “pressing on” and instead make the right decision to land at the nearest airfield.
For full details of the AOPA Strasser Scheme and the current list of Airfields in the scheme see here.

There are some misunderstandings and to preserve the integrity of the scheme, this 16th anniversary is a perfect opportunity to remind GA pilots of the importance not to abuse the concession granted by airport owners in the interests of safety. The CAA recommendation starts off “This ‘culture’ needs to be changed, firstly by educating pilots…...  This means that pre-flight planning, including route, destination and alternate weather information must be undertaken. Landings at predetermined alternates, whether filed or not, are clearly not “precautionary diversion landings”.

Landings to drop off passengers or pick up fuel, similarly do not qualify.




The Future of the IMC Rating as the Instrument Rating (Restricted) (IR(R))

Civil Aviation Authority INFORMATION NOTICE Number: IN–2015/009 provides important information about the future of the UK IMC Rating as the IR(R).

The notice includes information about the provision of training for and revalidation of the rating and also changes to the administrative process.

The original document can be downloaded from the CAA using the link above. The content of the information notice is shown below :

Civil Aviation Authority INFORMATION NOTICE Number: IN–2015/009

The Future of the Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating (IMC Rating) as the Instrument Rating (Restricted) (IR(R))

1 Introduction

1.1 The purpose of this Information Notice is to update pilots and training organisations on the continuation of the IMC Rating or the Instrument Rating (Restricted) (IR(R)) - as it appears on Part-FCL licences.  In order for the CAA to continue to issue these ratings (post 8 April 2014) the requirements of Article 4(8) of the latest version of Commission Regulation 1178/2011must be complied with. This necessitates some minor changes to current administrative practices, including by licence holders and examiners.

1.2 This Information Notice supersedes and replaces all previous statements by the CAA concerning the future of the IMC Rating.

1.3 Nothing in this Notice affects the conversion of IMC ratings obtained prior to 8 April 2014 or those who held instructor or examiner privileges for the IMC rating before that date. IMC ratings and instructor/examiner qualifications for the ratings can continue to be converted and entered on Part-FCL licences and certificates in accordance with the conversion terms set out in CAP 804.

1.4 Pilots holding UK licences including IMC ratings that are not endorsed on to either a JAR-FCL or Part-FCL licence are not affected by this Notice. 

1.5 With effect from 8 April 2014, pilots with UK national licences (pre-JAR-FCL) have been restricted to the privileges of the Part-FCL LAPL(A), including being limited to flight under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), when flying European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) aeroplanes. UK national licences cease to be valid for flight in any EASA aircraft from 8 April 2018. The privileges of national licences when being used to fly non-EASA (Annex II) aeroplanes are not affected by EU legislation.

2 Background

2.1 European Regulation (EU) No. 1178/2011, as amended – ‘the Aircrew Regulation’ – came into force on 8 April 2012. This regulation included various provisions that the CAA was able to use to convert UK IMC ratings into a restricted form of European Instrument Rating (IR), with exactly the same privileges. This restricted IR appears on a UK issued Part-FCL aeroplane licence as the IR(R).

2.2 During 2013 the UK obtained agreement in Europe that the Aircrew Regulation could be amended to allow authorities to continue to issue national authorisations to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), potentially until 8 April 2019 - but subject to certain specified conditions. The amendment to the regulation was approved and came into force on 2 April 2014. The relevant text is a new article 4(8), which reads as follows:

Until 8 April 2019, a Member State may issue an authorisation to a pilot to exercise specified  limited privileges to fly aeroplanes under instrument flight rules before the pilot complies with all of the requirements necessary for the issue of an instrument rating in accordance with this Regulation, subject to the following conditions:

a) the Member State shall only issue these authorisations when justified by a specific local need which cannot be met by the ratings established under this Regulation; 

b) the scope of the privileges granted by the authorisation shall be based on a safety risk assessment carried out by the Member State, taking into account the extent of training necessary for the intended level of pilot competence to be achieved;

c)  the privileges of the authorisation shall be limited to the airspace of the Member State’s national territory or parts of it;

d) the authorisation shall be issued to applicants having completed appropriate training with qualified instructors and demonstrated the required competencies to a qualified examiner, as determined by the Member State;

e)  the Member State shall inform the Commission, EASA and the other Member States of the specificities of this authorisation, including its justification and safety risk assessment.

f) the Member State shall monitor the activities associated with the authorisation to ensure an acceptable level of safety and take appropriate action in case of  identifying an increased risk or any safety concerns; and

g) the Member State shall carry out a review of the safety aspects of the implementation of the authorisation and submit a report to the Commission by 8 April 2017 at the latest.

2.3 It is important to realise that this amendment to the Regulation does not automatically allow the IMC Rating (in the form of the IR(R)) to continue to be issued to Part-FCL licences until 2019. There are conditions which must be complied with and a report must be submitted to the Commission in 2017, which the Commission must be content with at that time. If they are not content the provision to continue issuing the IR(R) may be withdrawn.

3 Changes to the Administration of the IMC Rating/IR(R) to Address the Conditions of Article 4

3.1 At present the IMC Rating/IR(R) is administered differently from all other licence ratings in that the CAA has not required to be notified by examiners or licence holders when the rating is renewed or revalidated. Consequently, whilst the CAA has records of how many IMC Rating or IR(R) ratings have been issued in each year, the CAA has no record of how many remain current/valid.

3.2 Paragraphs (f) and (g) of article 4 require the CAA to monitor the use of the rating and to provide a report on the safety or otherwise of its use to the Commission in 2017. To create a meaningful report the CAA will need to have records of how many IMC Rating/IR(R) ratings are valid. This will enable the CAA to include data on how many of the ratings are potentially being used and to set this against the number of accidents, incidents and occurrences reported involving flights under IFR.

3.3 After engaging with representatives from UK General Aviation (GA) associations and organisations, a joint agreement has been reached that in order to safeguard the future of the IMC Rating as a rating that can be endorsed on to a Part-FCL licence as an IR(R), the CAA must change the administrative procedure to require that all revalidations and renewals of the IMC/IR(R) are reported to the CAA. This would make the administrative process the same as for all other Class and Type ratings and full Instrument Ratings.

3.4 To facilitate implementing this change, the CAA will amend the existing Form SRG 1176 (the Examiner’s Record for the IMC Skill Test), so that this can be submitted to the CAA as reports for issue, revalidation and renewal. The amended form will be made available on the CAA website for use by examiners. The change to the procedure - that reports must be submitted - will be incorporated into both Guidance (Standards) Document 25 and the Flight Examiner’s Handbook (FEH) at the next opportunity.
3.5 The CAA is also going to update Form SRG 1125 (Application for an IMC Rating/IR(R)). This form will be made available on the CAA website for use by applicants for the issue and renewal of IMC Ratings/IR(R).

Important Note:

Applicants for and holders of the IMC Rating or IR(R) must maintain a PPL(A) or higher aeroplane licence. A LAPL(A) is not sufficient. Part-FCL does not permit any kind of IR (Modular, Competency-Based Modular or En-route) to be added to a LAPL(A). The LAPL(A) is designed to be a VFR-only licence and the training and skill test for the LAPL(A) reflect this. 

3.6 For clarity, the privileges of the IR(R) as it appears on a Part-FCL licence are stated here.

The privileges of the IR(R) are those of the Instrument Rating Restricted as follows:

(i) the holder of the IR(R) must not fly as pilot in command or co-pilot of an aeroplane flying in Class A, B or C airspace in circumstances which require compliance with the instrument flight rules;
(ii) the holder of the IR(R) must not fly as pilot in command or co-pilot of an aeroplane on a special visual flight rules flight in a control zone in a flight visibility of less than 3 km; 
(iii) the holder of the IR(R) must not fly as pilot in command or co-pilot of an aeroplane when the aeroplane is taking off or landing at any place if the flight visibility below cloud is less than 1,800 metres;
(iv) the holder of the IR(R) must not fly as pilot in command or co-pilot of an aeroplane outside the airspace of the United Kingdom in circumstances which require compliance with the instrument flight rules.

(These privileges are the same as those of the UK Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating as set out in Schedule 7 of the Air Navigation Order 2009 (as amended)).

4 Instructors Wishing to Teach for the IMC Rating/IR(R)

4.1 Paragraph (d) of Article 4 requires that the CAA determines who may instruct for the IMC Rating/IR(R). This section provides clarification for Instructors who wish to instruct for the IMC Rating/IR(R) and explains instructor privileges that must be held.

4.2 Part-FCL specifies the instructor certificates required to teach for the Instrument Rating. The following are also considered competent to deliver instruction for the IMC Rating/IR(R):

a) The holder of a valid Part-FCL Flight Instructor Certificate issued by the UK CAA who can teach for the Instrument Rating (for example FCL.905.FI(g) is endorsed within their licence); or
b) The holder of a valid Part-FCL Instrument Rating Instructor Certificate issued by the UK CAA

The instructors must also hold the appropriate aeroplane class or type rating.

4.3 In addition, the CAA will authorise instructors to instruct for the IMC Rating/IR(R) if they comply with the following:

a) the instructor must hold a Part-FCL aeroplane licence issued by the UK CAA;
b) the instructor must be an Flight Instructor (Aeroplane) (FI(A)) without supervisory restriction applied, who is qualified to instruct for the single pilot class rating for the class or type of aeroplane which the IR(R) instruction is to be conducted in; 
c) the instructor must hold a valid IR(R) rating or IR(A) (not En-route Instrument Rating (EIR)) on the Part-FCL licence;
d) the instructor must have completed at least 10 hours flight time by sole reference to instruments in an aeroplane, Full Flight Simulator (FFS), Flight Training Device (FTD) 2/3 or Flight Navigation Procedure Trainer (FNPT) II;
e) the instructor must have completed the course as specified in FCL.905.FI(g) as detailed in FCL.930.IRI; and
f) the instructor must pass an Assessment of Competence to instruct for the IR(R) with  a Flight Instructor Examiner (FIE) as specified in FCL.905.FI(g).

Note: The course specified in FCL.905.FI(g) may be completed for the purpose of qualifying to instruct for the IR(R) without having the prerequisite IFR experience for the issue of the FCL.905.FI(g) privileges.

4.4 To ensure that the UK is compliant with Article 4(d) of the Aircrew Regulation, it will be necessary for instructors who are teaching the IR(R) through compliance with the requirements of paragraph 4.3 above to have the authorisation to instruct included in their licence by the CAA, which they will need to apply for using Form SRG 1133 and pay the appropriate fee. Their Instructor Certificate will be endorsed with ’(g)(IR(R))’ in the Remarks and Restrictions column against the entry for the FI(A) in Section XII of the licence.

4.5 Instructors qualified in accordance with paragraph 4.3 above and who subsequently wish to instruct for the Integrated IR, Modular IR, En-route IR or the Competence Based Modular IR courses, may apply to have the instructor restriction lifted once they meet in full the prerequisite requirements of FCL.905.FI(g). A further application showing evidence of compliance with those requirements may be made using Form SRG 1133 and payment of the appropriate fee will be required.

5 Examiners Wishing to Conduct Skill Tests and/or Proficiency Checks for the IMC Rating/IR(R)

5.1 Paragraph (d) of Article 4 requires that the CAA determines who may conduct Skill Tests and/or Proficiency Checks for the IMC Rating/IR(R). This section provides clarification for Examiners who wish to examine for the IMC Rating/IR(R) and explains the Examiner privileges that must be held.

5.2 Only examiners who hold licences, ratings and certificates issued by the UK CAA may examine for the IMC Rating/IR(R).

5.3 The holder of an Instrument Rating Examiner (IRE) Certificate issued by the UK CAA has the privileges under Part-FCL to conduct IR Skill Tests and Proficiency Checks. These examiners are also authorised to conduct the IMC Rating/IR(R) Skill Test and/or Proficiency Check. They
must also hold a valid rating for the class or type of aeroplane in which the test is to be conducted.
5.4 The holder of a Class Rating Examiner (CRE) Certificate issued by the UK CAA has the privileges under Part-FCL to conduct IR Proficiency Checks if the examiner complies with FCL.1010.IRE(a). These examiners are also authorised to conduct the IMC Rating/IR(R) Skill Test and/or Proficiency Check, provided they have completed the appropriate Examiner Standardisation training. They must also hold a valid rating for the class or type of aeroplane in which the test is to be conducted. The CRE Certificate may be re-issued to show the IMC Rating/IR(R) test and check privileges as:
“Conduct Flight Tests for the issue and maintenance of the IMC rating and IR(R)”.

5.5 The holder of a Flight Examiner (FE) Certificate issued by the UK CAA does not have the privilege under Part-FCL to conduct IR Skill Tests or Proficiency Checks. However, historically the CAA has authorised FEs to conduct IMC Rating/IR(R) Skill Tests and/or Proficiency Checks. FEs can be authorised to conduct the IMC Rating/IR(R) Skill Test and/or Proficiency Check if they have the privilege to Instruct for either the Instrument Rating or the IMC/IR(R) Rating and have completed the appropriate Examiner Standardisation training. They must also hold a valid rating for the class or type of aeroplane in which the test is to be conducted. The FE Certificate may be re-issued to show the IMC Rating/IR(R) test and proficiency check privileges as: 

“FE PPL(A) -  Flight Tests Permitted; IMC and/or IR(R)”
6 Training Organisations Conducting Training for the IMC Rating/IR(R)

6.1 Further to the agreement reached with representatives of the UK GA associations, it has been decided to maintain the existing policy that there is no requirement for the IMC Rating/IR(R) training course to be conducted within a Registered Training Facility (RTF) or Approved Training Organisation (ATO) within the airspace and territory of the UK.
6.2 Some RTFs applying to become ATOs and some existing ATOs have asked if they can add the IMC Rating/IR(R) to their Training Manuals. The CAA has no objection to ATOs adding the IMC Rating/IR(R) to their Training Manuals, but it will not be an approved course, as there is no requirement for approval. It should not therefore be presented as a course approved by the CAA in any material produced by the ATO.

7 Queries

7.1 It is emphasised that the intent of all of the measures and clarification given in this Information Notice is to preserve the mechanism that will allow the CAA to continue to issue the IR(R) in Part-FCL licences until 2019.
7.2 At the next opportunity Standards Document 25 and the Flight Examiners Handbook will be updated with this information.

7.3 Any queries or further guidance required as a result of this communication including RTFs and ATOs should be addressed to the following:

GA Unit
Telephone: 01293 573988
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7.4 Any queries or further guidance required by applicants for the IMC Rating, extending Instructor and Examiner privileges to teach and examine for the IMC Rating should be directed to:

Licensing, Shared Services Centre
Telephone: 01293 573700
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

8 Cancellation

8.1 This Information Notice will remain in force until 8 April 2017.


Welcome to the February 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

Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA)

The UK implementation of significant elements of the European Union’s Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) has been delayed. As a result, there will be no changes to the UK Rules of the Air stemming from SERA that will impact UK pilots. The changes to be introduced on 4 December 2014 resulting from SERA will only be those that replicate existing UK rules.

SERA will replace most, but not all, of the UK Rules of the Air Regulations and there will be a small number of significant changes to UK rules that pilots, air traffic controllers, aerodrome operators and anyone else involved in the operation of aircraft need to be aware of. These include key changes to:

  • Visual Meteorological Conditions
  • Cruising Levels
  • VFR at night
  • Special VFR
  • Rights of way on the ground

None of the changes to flight rules or weather mimima overrule the limitations and privileges of pilot licences. Therefore it is important for pilots to understand the applicable minima for their licence.

Legislative changes

SERA will apply to every aircraft operating in EU airspace regardless of type or state of registration. But as the rules will not cover all aspects of the Rules of the Air, Member States may keep supplementary rules that complement SERA. They may also permit routine operations such as VFR flight at night, and grant exemptions from SERA’s requirements.

As explained in the our implementation consultation, the UK will keep a small number of supplementary rules taken from the current Rules of the Air Regulations 2007. These will be supported by permissions and general exemptions derived from the current Rules to preserve operational flexibilities to the greatest possible degree. The Permissions and Exemptions can be found here.

The Rules of the Air Regulations 2007 will be replaced by The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015 early in 2015. Pending that change it will be necessary to continue to apply a number of the ‘2007 Rules’; these ‘retained rules’ can be found here.

Note that the final wording of the ‘2015 Rules’ may be subject to refinement, in which case the table will be updated.

Finally, a small number of changes to the Air Navigation Order are being made to ensure it remains aligned with SERA. A summary of the planned ANO changes is available here, while a summary of the planned successor to the Rules of the Air Regulations 2007 plus related Permissions and Exemptions can be found here. These will be updated to reflect changes to legislation as these come into force.

Update to the UK SSR Code Allocation Plan -

The CAA have published Information Notice IN-2001/004 which details updates to the UK SSR Allocation Plan (Chapter 2.6 of the UK AIP EN1..6). These changes have been submitted under AIRAC 04/2015 (distributed 19 February 2015, effective 2 April 2015).

Under the CAA Airspace Charter, CAA Infrastructure Staff (previously Surveillance and Spectrum) are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the UK SSR Code Allocation Plan. Following a recent review, conducted with the assistance of Eurocontrol, the Allocation Plan has been updated to reflect the current Eurocontrol Code Allocation of local codes to the UK, together with corrections to reflect Code Allocations to other states.

In addition, there have been a number of other relatively minor changes as follows:

a) The block of codes held by the CAA for allocation to Special Events has been moved from the code block 4701-4737 to 6001–6037 in order to improve the efficiency of code usage within CCAMS.
b) UK local SSR Codes allocated to NATS as CCAMS redundancy have now been broken out within the Allocation Plan and an explanatory paragraph added.
c) The omission of the Farnborough Frequency monitoring Code from Section 2.2.5 has been rectified.
d) References to CAOC Finderup have been replaced by CAOC Uedem.

Duxford event to launch Government GA Strategy

The next stage of the Government’s plans for General Aviation (GA) will be unveiled on Saturday 28th March 2015 when the Government’s strategy for GA is made public at a joint Government / Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) event at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

The Duxford event and unveiling of the Government’s strategy is the latest stage of a programme to fulfil the Government’s aim of making the UK the best country in the world for GA and boosting jobs and growth in the sector.

Key players in the GA world will be speaking including Grant Shapps MP, Minister Without Portfolio; Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director and; Andrew Haines, CAA Chief Executive.

Specialists from NATS will also be in attendance on the day offering advice on a range of GA airspace safety issues and air traffic control in general.

The event is open to anyone involved in GA and will provide an opportunity to hear an update on the Future Airspace Strategy VFR operations deployment plan and the latest work underway through the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and UK GA programmes.

It also follows a year of considerable progress by the CAA to ensure GA enjoys a safety regulation system that imposes the minimum necessary burden and empowers individuals to make responsible decisions to secure acceptable safety outcomes. The CAA’s latest work with GA can be seen at

The event will take place from 10.30am to 3pm. If you wish to attend then please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including the number of people in your party and if you intend to fly in. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Confirmation of successful registration and further information on the event will be provided nearer the date.

Those registered to attend will also have free access to the Imperial War Museum during the day and reduced landing fees are available for those flying in.

Glasgow Airport Frequency Monitoring SSR Code 2620 -

Following successful implementation in other parts of the country, Glasgow Airport has sought permission from the CAA to utilise a Frequency Monitoring SSR Code. The SSR Code 2620 is
already allocated to Glasgow Airport but the airport has confirmed that it can be assigned as the SSR Frequency Monitoring Code.

The UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) will be updated under AIRAC 04/2015 (distributed 19 February 2015, effective 2 April 2015).

The official notcie can be found here.

CAA Update 22 January :

Following their successful implementation in other parts of the country, a ‘listening out squawk’ covering Glasgow Airport is to be implemented, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed today. The squawk will become permanent on 2 April 2015 and will become the twelfth such code in operation in the UK.

The Glasgow listening out squawk code is 2620 and the radio frequency to monitor for Glasgow is 119.1MHz. It is recommended that pilots flying within 40NM of Glasgow Airport use the code.

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