In the latest move to make the regulation of the UK's General Aviation (GA) sector more proportionate and evidence-based, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced today at the major Aeroexpo GA event a new training syllabus for pilots and proposed changes to some private pilot medical requirements.

The new training syllabus for private pilots has been devised in conjunction with some of GA's leading instructors and training experts. It offers training schools an alternative to the existing European Aviation Safety Agency syllabus. Available to use now for training for the PPL(A) and LAPL(A) the new syllabus is more suited to today's flying environment. We also consulted all the helicopter private pilot training schools in the country and their feedback resulted in a minor change to the PPL(H) syllabus as an alternative. New theoretical knowledge questions to go with the syllabus will be developed and plans introducing online examinations have started. You can see the new syllabus at www.caa.co.uk/ga.

We have also worked with a number of aviation medical experts in the UK to develop a consultation on medical requirements for some private pilots which aims to make them more realistic and reduce bureaucracy. No changes are proposed for pilots with commercial licences.

It proposes that the medical requirement for UK private pilot licence and national private pilot licence holders are to hold a current DVLA Group 1 Ordinary Driving Licence (ODL). Existing medical options (for example a UK declaration with GP counter signature) will remain available. The proposal will bring cost and time savings for pilots and, in most cases, remove the need for General Practitioner (GP) or Authorised Medical Examiner involvement.

Currently pilots with an NPPL licence are required to comply with DVLA group 1 or 2 standards and have their self declaration of fitness countersigned by their GP. Holders of a UK PPL currently need an EU class 2 medical or the NPPL medical requirements if they only use the privileges of an NPPL licence.

The proposal is based on a study of the risks associated with GA flying and also comparing that to other recreational activities like horse riding or canoeing. The consultation also reviews the causes of light aircraft accidents and the likelihood of these being triggered by a pilot being medically incapacitated. The risk to third parties is considered and the regulatory approach taken by the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA, which mirrors the UK proposal, is also reviewed.

A variety of options are proposed and views are sought through the consultation which closes on 10th July 2015. The information received will be used to determine how to take this proposal forward.

Additionally, we have issued guidance to formalise the existing process on how to transfer aircraft from a National Certificate of Airworthiness to a Permit to Fly. This guidance will benefit those owners who can make use of the reduced level of airworthiness assurance associated with the maintenance regimes and the potentially greater accessibility to spare parts for Permit to Fly aircraft.

Launching the new initiatives at Aeroexpo GA Programme Manager Rachel Gardner said: “The new syllabus, consultation on medical requirements and guidance for aircraft owners are the latest steps in our work to improve things for the GA Community and make regulation of GA more proportionate and evidence based. We've launched them at Aeroexpo as so many of the key GA organisations and individuals that we've developed this work with are present.”

Today's announcements are in line with the CAA's new top level principles for GA regulation:

  • Only regulate directly when necessary and do so proportionately
  • Deregulate where we 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.

More detail on the CAA's GA activities and the work of the GA Unit are available on our GA pages.

Notes to Editors

  1. Driving licences have to be renewed every three years after the age of 70 and, apart from an eye test, only require self-declaration.
  2. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.

Media Enquiries

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on 00 44 (0)207 453 6030 or press.office@caa.co.uk. You can also follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA.