• SERA replaces most, but not all, of the UK Rules of the Air Regulations but there are a small number of significant changes to UK rules that pilots, air traffic controllers, aerodrome operators and anyone else involved in the operation of aircraft need to be aware of. These include key changes to:

    • Visual Meteorological Conditions
    • Cruising Levels
    • VFR at night
    • Special VFR
    • Rights of way on the ground

    None of the changes to flight rules or weather mimima overrule the limitations and privileges of pilot licences. Therefore it is important for pilots to understand the applicable minima for their licence.

    Legislative changes

    SERA applies to every aircraft operating in EU airspace regardless of type or state of registration. But as the rules will 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 requirements.

    The UK has retained a small number of supplementary rules derived from the former Rules of the Air Regulations 2007. These were published on 17 March 2015 as The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015 and took effect on 30 April 2015. They 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.

    Flight Planning requirements

    SERA’s introduction has prompted a number of queries concerning its flight planning requirements and how these affect flying in the UK. Although the flight planning requirements formerly contained in the UK’s Rules of the Air Regulations 2007 are not carried forward into the 2015 Rules (effective 30 April 2015), this doesn’t mean there are major changes to flight planning.

    In fact there is very little change. SERA introduces new circumstances when a flight plan is required (e.g. SERA.5005(c) for VFR flight at night leaving the vicinity of an aerodrome), but it’s 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 CAP 694's guidance continues to apply, together with indications as to where CAP694 is likely to evolve to better reflect SERA content.

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