New simple requirements for the initial testing process for experimental aircraft in the UK that will benefit small-scale aircraft designers and manufacturers moved a step closer today with the launch of a final consultation on the changes by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The consultation is aimed at reducing the red tape and financial burdens associated with securing airworthiness and operational approval for new light aircraft designs, encouraging the growth of new design concepts.
Today's move is part of the CAA's commitment to deliver a risk-based and proportionate approach to overseeing general aviation and follows the launch of the experimental conditions proposal at the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) in London in November 2014. The RAeS has worked closely with the CAA on the proposal.
The proposal offers aircraft designers the ability to try out a new concept aircraft (up to a maximum take-off weight of 2,000kg) in the air without going through the costly and time consuming procedures that currently exist to get a new design past the initial stage of prototype. If, after trying out a promising idea, it is thought to be viable, then a full design approval programme can be planned and funded in the usual way.
Individuals and organisations conducting proof of concept flights will still be required to undertake a risk assessment to support the activity and in particular, ensure that the risks to third parties are adequately addressed. For example, flights would not be allowed over congested areas, the pilot must be suitably qualified and no passengers or cargo can be carried.
The main objective of the move is to reverse the decline in the number of new aircraft designed and developed in the UK.
Details of the consultation, including how to respond, can be found on our website. The consultation will run for four weeks and the CAA will publish its response as soon as possible after that.
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Notes to Editors
The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. It ensures the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards; protects consumers by making sure they have choice and value and are treated fairly; drives improvements in airlines and airports' environmental performance and ensures industry manages security risks effectively.