CAA Assistant Communications Director Jonathan Nicholson looks at our role relating to recreational flying
In the past few years we've made a radical change to the way we oversee recreational aviation. A government red tape challenge into the area, together with our own acknowledgement that the level of regulation we were using was disproportionate, has led to a new system aimed at encouraging a vibrant general aviation (GA) sector in the UK.
Our regulation now aims to be much more proportionate and seeks opportunities to deregulate or devolve our work wherever possible. But, with the caveat that we will absolutely continue to seek to protect third parties that might be affected by GA.
Part of the change has seen the set up of a dedicated GA Unit, specifically charged with overseeing the sector and applying the new principles. This has been tied to an extensive programme of work looking at how we can remove or reduce regulation to make it more appropriate. Key achievements so far include de-regulating small single seat microlights, allowing paid flights in ex military aircraft, relaxing some pilot licensing rules and generally allowing pilots more input and freedom to make their own choices over how they fly.
All the work has been undertaken in conjunction with the government and the GA representative bodies, who have been very supportive of our new approach.
There is still a lot of work to complete, with over 140 projects currently underway or planned. We're also working closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency to influence their regulations as although we change change UK regulations many of the overarching requirements and rules for GA come from Europe.
So, while the past few years have seen some significant achievements there is still much work to do.
To learn more about General Aviation, you can read the GA Unit's first annual report.