• The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the implementation of restrictions on public gatherings which has had a direct impact on Flying Displays. A significant number of events have already been cancelled and others are considering their options.  Whilst the overall regulation of Flying Display activity stands as published in the appropriate Civil Air Publications and Regulatory Articles, the Civil Aviation Authority General Aviation Unit is reviewing areas of regulation (inter alia Display Authorisation validity / currency requirements, Flying Display Director currency, etc) so as to best support the Display Community once the restrictions are lifted and Display Flying recommences.  Further information will be published in late April / early May 2020; however, in the meantime an update on the following areas is provided.

    DS20 Display Symposium

    Following cancellation of the DS20 Pre-Season Flying Display Symposium, the next symposium is scheduled for 10 / 11 November 2020.  Delegates who had registered and paid for the DS20 Pre-Season Flying Display Symposium will be automatically registered for the Post-Season Flying Display Symposium, with the fee carried forward to cover the November symposium. Further details on how other prospective delegates can register to attend the Post-Season Flying Display Symposium in November will be published by early May 2020.

    DS20 Flying Display and Special Event Application Fees

    Flying Display and Special Event application fees support the administrative costs associated with processing applications and producing the associated Permissions.  Consequently, once an application has been received and processed, a refund for events that are subsequently cancelled is not possible. However, an amendment to the date of the event is possible and applicants should contact the Civil Aviation Authority General Aviation Unit and request a date change, with a revised risk assessment (if necessary) should they wish to postpone an event impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Airborne Flying Display Director Course

    The responsibilities and actions of an Airborne Flying Display Director (AFDD) are detailed in Civil Air Publication (CAP) 403 para 8/47, and from 20 April 2020 Display Authorisation (DA) holders will be able to undertake a formal Airborne Flying Display Directors (AFDD) Accreditation Course. 

    The UK AFDD Course will be managed and delivered by TSA Consulting Ltd, however the Civil Aviation Authority maintains primacy for the course content, assessment of submissions and the awarding of AFDD Accreditations.  

    The 2020 AFDD Course provides an opportunity for DA holders to undertake an online course from 20 April to 26 June 2020.  DA Holders are advised that the 2020 AFDD Course is not mandatory and AFDD accreditations will not be issued as a result of this course; however, they are encouraged to undertake the unassessed course where feedback will be provided on individual performance. This is in preparation for Display Season 2021, for which an AFDD accreditation will be mandatory in order for DA Holders to be able to function as an AFDD in a Flying Display or Special Event. Dates for the 2021 AFDD Course will be published later this year. Further details on the Airborne Flying Display Directors (AFDD) Course are available at https://www.fddtraining.co.uk

    Recreational Flying 

    The Civil Aviation Authority General Aviation Unit continues to receive queries on recreational flying - Government guidance for which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-recreational-general-aviation.

    This guidance clearly states that people should not take part in recreational flying during the current coronavirus outbreak or travel for other flying-related tasks. This is in line with government guidance to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to go out, defined as to shop for basic necessities, for medical reasons or to travel to and from work and it is absolutely necessary to do so. 


  • Flying Displays must be carefully planned, both on the ground and in the air. These webpages set out guidance for Flying Display organisers and display pilots. Links to relevant application forms are also included.

    Safety and administrative arrangements

    Further details for flying displays and special events are set out in CAP 403: Flying Displays and Special Events: Safety and Administrative Requirements and Guidance. It includes requirements for applications for Flying Display and Special Event Permissions and Flying Display Director (FDD) Accreditation. The new CAP403 has been amended and updated following a consultation in December 2020. 

    To participate in a flying display, display pilots are required to obtain a Display Authorisation (DA). Details on obtaining a DA will be found in CAP 1724 Display Standards Document which is also being reviewed.


    Full details of associated charges can be found in the CAA Scheme of Charges.

    Flying display and special event organisers

    If planning a flying display that will be advertised and open to the public, a Flying Display Permission will be required. However, a Permission may still be required for unadvertised private events. Further details can be found in CAP 403.

    Permissions for flying displays will only be granted to FDDs that have been appropriately accredited under the joint CAA/MAA FDD accreditation scheme. For flying displays consisting of one single item, Permissions may be granted to the display pilot who can then act as an Airborne FDD (AFDD), provided other conditions are met. Further information on FDD accreditation and how to apply can be found in CAP 403 and on the Flying Display Director Accreditation page.

    If planning an event that involves the use of helicopters for arriving and departing members of the public, Guidance for event organisers and helicopter operators at special events (PDF) should be referred to.

    Display pilots

    To participate in a flying display, display pilots are required to obtain a Display Authorisation (DA). Details on obtaining a DA can be found in CAP1724 Flying Display Standards Document.

    DA issues, revalidations and upgrades can be applied for using form  SRG1300.

    To help facilitate newly qualified display pilots (tyro DAs) with an opportunity to gain experience and exposure within the Flying Display community, the CAA has developed a scheme whereby first time newly qualified display pilots may be eligible for display slots at flying displays where event organisers and Flying Display Directors do not incur any extra charge.  Further details of the qualifying requirements can be found in CAP403.

    Behavioural and attitudinal fitness assessment

    FDDs and display pilots are required to complete a behavioural and attitudinal fitness assessment in order to demonstrate that they are suitable candidates for organising and participating in a flying display. Further information and access to the online assessment form can be found on the behavioural and attitudinal fitness assessment webpage.

    Making an application for a Flying Display or Special Event Permission

    For further information about applying for a Flying Display or Special Event Permission and access to the online application form, please visit How to apply for a Flying Display or Special Event Permission.


    SRG 1330, the Airborne Flying Display Director Checklist can be used to supplement any existing procedures that Airborne Flying Display Directors (AFDD) use prior to flying in a Flying Display or Private Flying Display as defined in CAP 403 and should be provided to the nominated individual present on the ground at the display venue responsible for contacting the emergency services in the event of an incident or accident.

  • Related Information

    Read our display season 18 mid-season update

    Military Aviation Authority Regulatory Publication: RA 2335 - Flying Displays and Flypasts