in Aerospace

CAA to bring many new light aircraft designs under national regulation

Posted 16 June 2020 · Add Comment

Following a public consultation, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today confirmed that new designs of aeroplanes and helicopters weighing between 450kg and 600kg will move from pan-European certification, under the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), to national CAA regulations.

CAA offices Gatwick.
Copyright CAA

European regulations now allow national regulators the ability to choose to extend their oversight to include these aircraft and several other EU nations are also choosing this option.

Ninety-one per cent of the 1,379 responses supported the proposal which had been developed to include the views of a working group of general aviation stakeholders brought together to advise the CAA.

The change aims to introduce greater flexibility for certifying sub-600kg aeroplanes and helicopters and bring them into more direct and potentially more proportionate national oversight.

Rachel Gardner-Poole, Head of the CAA’s General Aviation Unit, said: “We believe the change to national oversight will mean many more modern, light two-seat single-engine piston aeroplanes will be available, modernising, refreshing and enlarging the fleet to the benefit of UK pilots, operators and businesses. We will now work with the UK’s GA associations to bring the change into effect as soon as possible.”

For aeroplanes falling under the new arrangements, the CAA has opted to class these as microlights, rather than an alternate option proposed of a new light sport aircraft category. The microlight option was strongly supported by the consultation responses.

The consultation also included the option to move selected sailplanes to national regulation. The CAA has said this option will not be taken forward. There were no strong views expressed in the consultation responses and the CAA believes any benefits the change could bring about can be achieved via other regulatory changes.

You can see the CAA’s consultation response at

The change supports the CAA's aim, via its General Aviation Unit, to radically improve the regulation of the General Aviation (GA) sector in the UK.

In all of this work the CAA seeks to deliver its top-level principles for better GA regulation. These are:

  • Only regulate directly when necessary and do so proportionately
  • Deregulate where it can
  • Delegate where appropriate
  • Do not gold-plate, and quickly and efficiently remove gold-plating that already exists
  • Help create a vibrant and dynamic GA sector in the UK
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