To overcome aviation radio frequency congestion across Europe, more channels are needed. By moving to 8.33 kHz
channel spacing, three times the number of channels can be created within the VHF band.
On 1 January 2018 the law changes and all aircraft operating in airspace that requires the carriage of a radio must
have 8.33 kHz-compatible equipment fitted and operational. After this date all 25kHz radios can no longer be used,
unless specifically exempted for a particular channel such as the emergency frequency 121.5MHz. This means that all
General Aviation (GA) aircraft must comply with this change to UK law to maintain safe communications with ground
The UK leaving the EU will not affect the implementation of this new legislation.
Manufacturers, suppliers, maintenance organisations and licensed engineers may struggle to cope if there is a rush
to buy and fit radios in late 2017. Consequently, the CAA is encouraging GA aircraft owners to purchase 8.33kHz radios
early as we anticipate demand will be high as the deadline approaches.
The GA Unit, along with associations and key stakeholders, has identified a small number of common frequencies that
may qualify for a temporary exemption from the 8.33 kHz implementation. We have submitted a proposal to EuroControl and
we should hear the outcome in early 2017. If we are successful it will help reduce the equipage burden for a minority
of users. Any exemptions granted will be for a short period of time and will not delay the change in UK
Formal engagement has started with radio manufacturers, suppliers, maintenance organisations and licensed engineers
to allow them to highlight any concerns that the 8.33 kHz implementation might have. Our main focus is to understand
the capacity of industry to support the GA Community from now until 31 December 2017.
There are a number of options for purchasing and installing equipment in time for the 8.33 kHz changeover deadline,
including a number of ways the installation design approval can be simplified. The Implementing Rule (IR) 1079/2012 says that radio equipment put into service
after November 2013 should be 8.33 kHz voice communications system (VCS) capable and manufacturers must ensure radios
placed on the market from this date meet this requirement.
Aircraft will need to be equipped with the number of 8.33 kHz capable radios required by operational rules. So if
where the carriage of two radios is required, both radios must be 8.33kHz VCS capable.
Non-commercial operations fall under Part NCO which does not include a requirement for aircraft to carry dual
radios. But owners are advised to check the relevant regulation to their own operations in order to establish what is
Existing 25kHz radios can be left installed provided that they are only used for exempted frequencies, such as the
Following an agreement between EASA and the FAA, each organisation now mutually recognises TSO/ETSO approvals for
certain aircraft products, which includes VHF radio communications equipment. In Europe there is no longer a
requirement for a manufacturer to separately approve a piece of equipment that holds a TSO; the equipment can be
installed and used as if it has the corresponding EASA approval. Further details on the scheme are at EASA
The CAA holds a list of common equipment on its website and the EASA and FAA lists can also be accessed online.
In certain circumstances the use of a LA3 approved 8.33 kHz radios may be appropriate. Generally, LA3 approved
equipment can be utilised where an 8.33 kHz-capable radio is not mandatory, for example outside of all controlled
airspace after 31 December 2017.
Pilot owners should obtain confirmation from the manufacturer that their radio meets the conditions of the Approval.
Once confirmed, the pilot may then use the Equipment Approval LA301075 as the reference when applying to the CAA for
their Aircraft Radio Licence, which is required by the Wireless and Telegraphy Act. We are aware of the following 8.33
kHz handheld radios that meet the changeover requirement:
There may be other models that meet the requirement, although these are the ones currently identified to the
Certification specification for standard changes and standard repairs (CS-STAN) is a new EASA specification that
enables owners of non-complex aircraft to benefit from a quicker approval process for the installation of certified
avionics that includes VHF radios. CS-SC001a ‘Installation of VHF voice communication equipment’ enables, under certain
conditions, the replacement of a radio through this route that can be used:
CS-SC001a does not include antennas. More detail is available from EASA.
Broadly, CS-STAN approvals are applicable to aircraft operating under VFR that meet the following conditions:
Additionally EASA aircraft can achieve a minor change approval to enable the replacement of a VHF radio. Minor
changes can be approved by EASA and a radio manufacturer will often seek approval for a modification through EASA. The
approval can then be re-distributed by the manufacturer to enable the minor modification approval to be used by another
individual. As the approval is aircraft specific, avionics manufacturers may hold minor modification libraries for
distribution to aircraft owners, licensed engineers and maintenance organisations.
Your aircraft maintenance organisation should be contacted for further guidance about installation and design
Details of hardware that can be claimed and the criteria that must be met are defined within this document: 8.33 kHz funding eligibility criteria.
Please read the eligibility criteria to determine whether you are able to claim.
All claims will be submitted using an online form that will be published on this website in early 2017. This will be
the only way to claim.
The CAA has secured €4.3 million of funding from the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to encourage
the early transition of the UK GA fleet to 8.33 kHz-capable equipment. The contract with the EU has now been signed and
the funding secured. Tony Rapson, Head of the GA Unit said: “We are delighted our application for radio funding was
The funding will be distributed by way of reimbursal to aircraft owners or pilots to contribute toward the cost of
new radio equipment. We are now working closely with the GA associations and key stakeholders to agree on how to
distribute the funds to aircraft owners fairly and simply.
More detail is contained in CAA Information Notice IN–2013/018.
We are expecting a surge in demand for 8.33 kHz radios and aircraft owners must plan early to ensure that they can
source, buy and install compatible equipment before 1 January 2018.
We will announce news and regular updates on the 8.33 kHz implementation project for GA on this webpage.
To keep up to date with developments you can sign up for alerts through our Skywise system. This offers targeted
alerts on news and information from the organisation directly through an app, email or website. For more information on
Skywise, to download the app or sign up for alerts via email go to http://skywise.caa.co.uk/.
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