Under Article 12 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016, a flight in a non-EASA aircraft is considered non-commercial if the only payment made in connection with the flight is to a registered charity. This means the charity must receive all proceeds from the flight and the cost of the flight itself must be covered by the pilot. The charity may not be the operator of the aircraft.
For EASA aircraft, the CAA considers flights under the same conditions to also be non-commercial and therefore may comply with this guidance.
In England and Wales, a registered charity means a charity which is registered under section 30 of the Charities Act 2011. In Scotland, it means a body entered in the Scottish Charity Register as defined under section 106 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. In Northern Ireland, this means an institution which is established for exclusively charitable purposes and is subject to the control of the High Court, as defined under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.
Provided flights are conducted on this basis, there is no need to apply to the CAA for permission to conduct a charity flight. Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders wishing to conduct similar flights must comply with the applicable EASA operational regulations.
If a member of the public wins a charity flight in a private aircraft, it is important that they understand that the level of safety is the same as if they were arranging a flight with a friend or colleague who is a private pilot.
To avoid any misunderstanding we recommend that any pilot intending to fly passengers who have won the flight as a prize should confirm that the charity understands this is a private recreational flight and should be considered as a prize in the same way other recreational prizes are considered. That is to say, they should realise that the flight is not without risk and the levels of safety and oversight are very different from a commercial flight and potentially from those of a flying lesson provided by a training school. If this is not acceptable to the charity, and it requires higher levels of safety, then it should be suggested that they consider offering a prize of a commercial aviation activity such as a flight with an Air Operator Certificate operator or flying school.
In addition to their normal pilot in command responsibilities for passengers, when offering a non-commercial flight as a charity flight, pilots should also make sure the passenger understands that it is a recreational private flight and like any recreational activity carries an element of risk. Whilst that risk may be similar to other recreational activities, it does not achieve the same safety standard as buying an airline ticket on a commercial flight. Pilots may use whatever means they think appropriate to set the context of the flight as a recreational activity. Every opportunity should be given for the passenger to decline the flight if they so choose. It should also be made clear to the passenger that flights in light aircraft are dependent on the weather or other operational factors. The flight may not be able to take place on a particular day if the conditions are unsuitable.
As there are no legal airworthiness and licensing requirements for paramotors, paragliders and hang gliders, it is strongly recommended that such flights meet the standards as detailed in the rules and requirements of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) or an equivalent organisation.
Before conducting a charity flight, it is recommended that pilots check that the level of insurance cover is adequate for the intended purpose of the flight, and ask the recipient of the flight to check that their own life and/or private health insurance covers the intended flight.
This guidance is also available as CAP 1330: Charity flight guidance
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