CAA approves Night and IFR flight for Permit aircraft

Van's RV-10

A seismic shift – that’s the latest news from the CAA and Light Aircraft Association. Permit to Fly aircraft overseen by the LAA can now be authorised to fly at night or under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Up ’til now, Permit aircraft have be restricted to day Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

The news was announced at FLYER Live. The change of policy will allow owners of LAA ‘Permit’ aircraft to apply for permission for night and/or IFR operations. The LAA will then base their decision on design criteria for the aircraft type and continuing airworthiness assessments.

The CAA said its decision will allow existing well-equipped aircraft access to the IFR environment and encourage other candidate aircraft to become better equipped. It should also result in more pilots undertaking training to obtain instrument ratings.

Tony Rapson, Head of the General Aviation Unit at the CAA, said, “This new policy is the result of a lot of hard work between us and the LAA, and it is fantastic to now see the fruit of that labour.

“This will be good for pilots and owners of Permit aircraft and also good for GA in general. We are determined to keep improving the regulatory landscape for recreational flying in the UK.”

IFR panel

This is an instrument panel fitted to a Van’s RV-10, a kitplane. Better than most certificated aircraft already cleared to fly IFR. [Photo: Van’s Air Force] Top: Van’s RV-10, a prime contender for IFR flight.

Stephen Slater, Chief Executive of the Light Aircraft Association, said, “The project acknowledges and accommodates the huge advances in instrument and navigation technology available nowadays in the non-certificated sphere.

“It will also enhance safety by providing an incentive for improvements in aircraft equipment, pilot capabilities and instrument qualifications.

“Acceptance of the Night IFR criteria by the CAA follows a detailed review of the LAA’s safety case and a successful trial period on four representative aircraft which have been evaluated using the LAA’s newly-developed procedures. We’re now looking forward to offering this extended capability to eligible members’ aircraft.”

A list of aircraft likely to be approved is here.

Certain limitations will still apply such as flight into known or forecast airframe icing, or thunderstorm activity. Of course, pilots wishing to fly under IFR rules will have to train for a relevant Instrument Rating.




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