SERA has replaced most, but not all, of the UK Rules of the Air. Some of these changes were significant, but most have minimal or no impact. Nevertheless pilots, air traffic controllers, aerodrome operators and anyone else involved in the operation
of aircraft need to be aware of the rules. Key elements include:
SERA applies to every aircraft operating in EU airspace regardless of type or state of registration. But as the
rules do not cover all aspects of the Rules of the Air, Member States may keep supplementary rules that complement
SERA. They may also permit routine operations such as VFR flight at night, and grant exemptions from SERA’s
The UK elected to retain a small number of supplementary rules in the form of The
Rules of the Air Regulations 2015. They took effect on 30 April 2015 and are supported by permissions and general exemptions that preserve legacy
operational flexibilities to the greatest possible degree.
The Air Navigation Order is aligned with SERA.
We publish a consolidation of the Air Navigation Order, the Rules of the Air regulations and other legislation in
CAP393 Air Navigation: The Order and Regulations.
Although the flight planning requirements formerly contained in the UK’s Rules of the Air
Regulations 2007 are not carried forward into the Rules of the Air Regulations 2015, this doesn’t mean there are
major changes to flight planning.
While SERA stipulates when a flight plan is required (e.g.
SERA.5005(c) for VFR flight at night leaving the vicinity of an aerodrome) it is important to note that it doesn’t
prescribe the means by which a flight plan is to be submitted. In this respect there is no change to the current
guidance in CAP694 or the UK AIP (although that guidance will be reviewed). So, for example, abbreviated/air-filed
flight plans will continue to apply in certain circumstances, a 'paper' flight plan is not always required, and SERA
doesn’t affect how a flight plan may be filed.
You can read more detail on how
CAP694's guidance continues to apply, together with indications as to where CAP694 is likely to evolve to better
reflect SERA content.
Following the CAA’s consultation the Secretary of State for Transport
agreed to extend the existing exemption until 25 March 2020. This was in
acknowledgement of the comments made about the proposed change, in particular
from the GA community. It will allow the CAA time to conduct an education
campaign for GA pilots on the rules of the air, including the SERA requirement, before the renewed exemption expires.
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