• Key changes resulting from the implementation of SERA include:

    Cruising levels

    The semi-circular level system replaces the quadrantal system and brings the UK into line with ICAO standards applied elsewhere around the world. VFR and IFR aircraft are allocated different levels to fly at:

    • IFR flights use whole 1000's of feet (e.g. 1000, 3000 etc. when flying eastbound, and 2000, 4000 etc. when flying westbound)
    • VFR flights use the intermediate 500 ft. levels (e.g. 3500, 5500 etc. when flying eastbound and 4500, 6500 when flying westbound)

    For VFR flights, compliance with the cruising levels remains good practice but is not mandatory.

    VFR at night

    VFR at night is permitted in accordance with SERA requirements. Aircraft leaving the vicinity of an aerodrome must maintain 2-way communication with ATC and file a flight plan. The process of 'booking out' is still accepted as an alternative method to filing a formal paper or electronic flight plan in certain circumstances. Similarly, abbreviated flight plans filed in flight are still permitted.

    There are also more restricting weather minima:

    • Minimum cloud ceiling of 1500 ft AMSL
    • Flight visibility of 5 km, or 3 km in the case of a helicopter flying outside controlled airspace
    • Maintain sight of the surface when flying at 3,000 ft AMSL or below
    • Minimum height of 1000 ft (or 2000 ft if over high terrain) above the highest fixed obstacle within 8 km of the aircraft except when taking off or landing

    Special VFR (SVFR)

    A speed limit of 140 kts applies to aircraft flying under SVFR, which must also comply with the following weather minima:

    • Remain clear of cloud and with the surface in sight
    • Flight visibility of 1500 m, or 800 m in the case of helicopters
    • Maximum indicated airspeed of 140 kt

    Rights of way on the ground

    Rules on overtaking and giving way are now less specific. Aircraft and vehicles overtaking other aircraft and vehicles can now pass on either the left or the right.