Building on a year of positive change for UK General Aviation (GA), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced further updates at a major briefing for the GA community today.

The announcements are part of the CAA's work to make regulation of the UK's GA sector more proportionate and evidence-based.

Announced at the event was a new exemption from existing rules that will, allow paid recurrent flight training or testing in aircraft that have a Permit to Fly airworthiness certification. Also allowed is training or testing towards the issue of a new rating on all permit aircraft, provided the pilot already holds a PPL.

The CAA also said that:

  • It has been working with the GA community to develop a new alternative to the EASA PPL(A) and LAPL(A) syllabus which has been submitted to the European Aviation Safety Authority this week. This will be more relevant for today's environment with more focus on the practical areas of flying. The next stage is to develop new theoretical knowledge questions which will reflect this new approach.
  • This week it had extended the cost sharing rules to include UK permit aircraft and introductory flight rules have now been extended to include type-approved microlights and gyroplanes.
  • These moves follow the launch earlier this week of a consultation on a significant review of the rules in the UK Air Navigation Order that affect GA.

Over 250 pilots and GA representatives attended the event at Duxford Airfield for an update on the CAA's GA work and the launch of the Government's new GA strategy. They also heard from EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky, Grant Shapps MP and received an update on the GA elements on the UK's Future Airspace Strategy.


All of the CAA's changes support its new top level principles for GA regulation that are:

  • 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.

Commenting on 12 months of positive change for GA regulation Andrew Haines CAA Chief Executive said: “I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in achieving this step change; the members of the GA Unit and others in the CAA who have played key roles in the GA programme and, of course, those in the GA community who have stepped up to the plate and contributed so much to its success.”

Commenting on the new approach, Steve Dunnett, Executive Committee Member of PPLIR Europe said: “We applaud the CAA in general and the GA unit in particular for their dramatic change of approach to GA regulation over the last three years.”

Full details of the CAA's GA programme and the GA Unit's first annual report can be seen at

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Notes to Editors

The creation of a dedicated GA Unit within the CAA emerged from the Government's Red Tape Challenge in 2013, which explored ways to reduce the regulatory burden on the general aviation sector. The 25-strong Unit has been assembled from airworthiness, flight operations and licensing specialists from across the CAA. All have significant knowledge and experience of general aviation, with most being active private pilots. The Unit is based in the CAA's Aviation House facility in Gatwick.

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.