The UK Civil Aviation Authority understands the acute impact that Coronavirus is having on the industry, as well as those with upcoming travel plans.
The information below is for the commercial aviation industry and general aviation.
We have published safety advice and tips for pilots returning to GA flying post COVID-19 at www.caa.co.uk/cap1919
The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued guidance on recreational aviation confirming that dual and instructional General Aviation flights will be permitted from 4 July 2020 in England. There will continue to be a need for General Aviation organisations to actively mitigate the risk of cross-infection between their staff, customers and other third parties, and to ensure that from 4 July 2020 that a 2 metre distance is maintained where possible. Where this is not possible, to reduce the risk of cross-infection a 1 metre distance should be maintained where possible while taking suitable precautions In addition to the advice that the Government has published (COVID-19 Secure guidelines), we have also published specific advice for flying clubs and schools preparing to return to normal flying operations following the recent restrictions (CAP 1924)
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In response to the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and in line with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidance, the Civil Aviation Authority exempts all operators, aircrew, instructors, examiners engaged in commercial air transport, along with aircraft maintenance licence holders and air traffic controllers for whom the CAA is the Competent Authority, and wherever normal revalidation facilities are not available from the normal validity periods for licences, certificates and ratings that expire before the 31 October 2020 subject to the conditions in the exemption.
ORS4 No 1383 for details.
The CAA has also issued further exemptions covering all UK flight
crew licence holders: please refer to ORS4 1385, ORS4 1384 or ORS4 1378 as
Details of all published exemptions relating to COVID-19
In case of any queries relating to aviation security training requirements under the National Aviation Security Programme (NASP), please contact
We have published an exemption to allow operators the ability to carry a copy of the Airworthiness Review Certificate (ARC) onboard the aircraft for a period of up to 30-days after issue or extension of the ARC to allow the original certificate to be put onboard the aircraft.
Please see ORS4 No 1355 for details.
Further guidance for airworthiness organisations and licensed engineers is available on this page.
Guidance for operators regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and cabin crew proficiency checks as required by Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 of 5 October 2012 is available in ORS4 No 1349.
We have published guidance for airlines on the application of Regulation EC261/2004 in the context of the developing situation with Covid-19.
For health guidance, please contact Public Health England for further advice.
EASA has published further guidance for airlines, which is available on the EASA website.
We have published guidance on face coverings and passenger rights.
Candidates who have already started their Flight Crew Theoretical Knowledge Examination, will be permitted an additional 6 months. See ORS4 1353 for details.
While most of the community has returned to flying. We have received many reports of how the sector has safely and thoughtfully started flying safely and considerately we have been asked to investigate a larger than normal set of incidents. This includes reports of aircraft flying over built-up areas below the legal minimum height, single engine piston aircraft flying over Central London in contravention of SERA, and a significant number of infringements where pilots are flying through airspace they believe to have been deactivated but is in fact operational.
Before you go flying, please remember that various educational material is available either from us or the GA associations and supporting bodies. Our restart checklist is available at www.caa.co.uk/cap1919 with more detail at www.caa.co.uk/cap1925
Many airfields, ATC units and areas of airspace have yet to return to normal and may be either closed or have changed operational hours and availability. Please consult an online flight planning tool and check NOTAMs (please make sure you review the whole NOTAM, important information such as activation and deactivation timings is often only contained in the body of the text). Also, remember if you're using an unlicensed airfield or private strip you may need to seek permission first, even for a touch and go.
So please plan ahead, make requests in good time and, as many areas of the country are extremely busy with GA activity, have an alternative plan if your destination or air traffic control are unable to meet your request due to COVID or operational restrictions.
Public Health England has produced guidance for health and safety procedures for UK airports. This guidance has been sent to all major UK airports.
If you are working at an airport and require this guidance, please contact Public Health England.
Guidance for airfields on operations at a licensed aerodrome by aircraft that do not require the use of such a facility is on our website
As we continue to support industry through the Covid-19 pandemic, we are aware of a potential demand to support the carriage of patients who are symptomatic of the virus, where there is benefit in the provision of installing a bio-containment system to protect the crews operating both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Information has been provided to the CAA from both regulatory bodies and approved organisations, which has enabled us to develop a route to permit these installations.
While we have made contact with critical service providers, we would like to advise industry on the most expedient way to obtain approval for the carriage of bio-containment systems. We will provide alleviations in relation to the manufacturing of parts, in order that there are no delays to operations when the requests are made by health care providers to provide this service. We ask that these steps are followed by organisations seeking approval to use such systems:
The Government has received a large number of offers of support from the aviation industry during the COVID crisis. To handle these offers, Crown Commercial Services (an agency of the Cabinet Office) has established a single web portal for organisations to submit their offers (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business).
NHS Trusts and local government agencies will follow this official government process to make sure the operators and pilots chosen are suitably qualified for commercial air transport flying as this is required to undertake the work. Pilots/operators should not accept requests for assistance through any other means.
To source an aircraft for transport cargo or passengers work related to COVID-19 NHS Trusts and local authorities should contact: HACA.email@example.com or 07395 949777.
We are acutely aware of the impact that COVID-19 is having on UK aviation and are committed to supporting all sectors to recover as quickly and as safely as possible.
The fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on a fall in demand for aviation across the board has resulted in an understandable reduction in the capacity of some air traffic control units. As aviation restarts it will take time for these units to bring operational teams back online (many of them across the UK have been forced to furlough employees and reduce the amount of operational staff on duty) and for all the services they provide to return to normal capacity. We also anticipate a gradual recovery in LARS provision as staff at both MoD and civil units will have been either redeployed or furloughed during the 'lockdown'. Consequently, LARS services may not be immediately available or at most a Basic Service may be the best that can be provided while staff recover their competencies.
Following a review of how the return to service could happen we believe that when the current 'lockdown' and its related restrictions are relaxed and these air traffic control units start to recover there may be a mismatch between their capacity and the demand from the GA community. In these unprecedented times it is vitally important that every stakeholder plays their part in supporting the aviation industry to recover. We are therefore temporarily requesting GA pilots to support this build up of capacity by air traffic control units by filing a flight plan prior to departure if they are intending on accessing an airport CTR or CTA.
The request to file a Flight plans does not apply in the following circumstances:
More information on filing a flight plan is available at: https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/20130121SSL20.pdf
This temporary request is solely focused on those who require pre-planned access to airport CTAs/CTRs and does not affect flying in any other airspace. Importantly this measure is not meant to discourage or impede GA from using airways. Filing a flight plan does not remove the need to call when approaching the boundary for clearance.
These measures are temporary and we will be looking to remove them as soon as possible. We will be reviewing the restrictions on a monthly basis.
The CAA has published the following exemptions to support the industry through the COVID-19 outbreak:
Details of all COVID-19 related exemptions.
Following the recent and unprecedented COVID-19 developments, this update details how our airworthiness team and the wider organisation are working under these circumstances. Given the measures recently announced by the Government, our airworthiness team is now working remotely until further notice. Our team in the Shared Service Centre are also working remotely, however we still have the ability to support the industry through the normal routes. During the period, we wish to advise we will be working in the following way:
It is our intention, where possible, to continue to maintain our onsite oversight activities as per our current scheduled programme. However, recognising guidelines for social distancing we will be utilising remote methods such as video conferencing and telephone calls. In advance of any planned audits, you will be contacted by your allocated surveyor who will advise you of the information required in advance of the audit. This will require the organisation to answer several questions and provide information. This will relate to the organisations Safety and Quality Management Systems.
Our Shared Services Centre's (SSC) Airworthiness and Technical Standards teams will continue to process your applications in the usual way and you should not notice a difference in service. If for any reason our capacity and therefore time to process is impacted, we will let you all know.
We are presently working on the provision of providing electronic versions of certificates, that will be sent with an accompanying email that proves the validity. These certificates may not look like the normal versions you receive. Electronic versions of certificates will be recorded by our Shared Service Centre and will be replaced in the future once we re-establish our normal services.
Our team in Airworthiness and Shared Service Centre are available to support these activities and we would not expect there to be any impact with regard to the issuing of Permits to Fly. We expect an impact in our ability to conduct C of A's and Export C of A's due to the current travel restrictions and advice from Public Health England. Please contact your allocated surveyor in the case that these services are required, and we will advise of the preferred route to conduct the activity.
Licence applications, renewals and the addition of type ratings will continue to be processed through our Shared Service Centre in the usual way. New licence applications may take longer to process due to our ability to access our office at Gatwick. We do not anticipate, currently, any impact on our renewal and variations (adding of type ratings).
During these unprecedented times, we would kindly request your support to our teams carrying out their oversight activities. This will be aided by the reporting of all safety significant events, as defined in EU.Reg 376 / 2014 via the Mandatory Reporting System (MOR).
As a result of the restrictions implemented to control the spread of the COVID-19 the UK CAA has adopted revised working practices for the issue of Airworthiness certificates or Permissions to aircraft owners, operators and approved organisations.
The revised working practices include a change to the issue of electronic certificates or permission digitally signed by the CAA and sent via electronic transfer methodologies.
The certificate or permission will be accompanied by an e mail explaining the validity of the document and carriage requirements on board an aircraft in the case of Aircraft Approval Certificates.
The Electronic certificates are rendered valid as the original documents in their digital form. When printed a copy of the accompanying email must be stored with the certificate or permission copies to confirm the validity of the documents.
For Aircraft Electronic Certificates when printed, they satisfy the on-board carriage requirements for aircraft engaged in international air navigation in accordance with UK Air Navigation Order (ANO) Article 229, Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 Air Operations and Articles 29 and 31 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation as well as the requirements of Annex 7 and 8 to the same Convention.
This revised process is expected to continue whilst current working practices are in place and will be reviewed when the situation changes.
To enable organisations flexibility with regard to their internal Quality Audit plan, the below listed guidance has been provided to enable organisations to understand the various scenarios which exist when delaying any internal audit; its possible ramifications and where required seek CAA agreement.
Delaying an audit (or multiple audits) for a period of time but still completing the audit plan within the specified time periods as required by the regulation should be managed by the organisations internal Quality/SMS System with an updated Quality Audit plan provided to the CAA along with substantiation why the audits cannot be completed as scheduled. In this case the CAA will not issue any documentation but merely acknowledge the submission.
Provided that there are no safety related findings or significant MORs in the last 12 months, the organisations independent audit time periods specified within the applicable regulation and associated AMC/GM material may be increased subject to agreement by the CAA. A revised audit plan should be submitted along with substantiation why the audits cannot be completed as scheduled and within the specified periods of the regulation. Once agreed the CAA will issue a Temporary Arrangement document where necessary confirming acceptance of such arrangements and any caveats which may be required in a specific instance.
As Part 21 does not require audit plans to be submitted to the CAA, the organisation should use its procedure as identified in the Exposition for amending and controlling the internal audit and supplier audit plan including the approval of changes by appropriate management personnel.
When approving changes, management personnel for production organisations should consider the following:
While in the current situation it is understandable for an organisation to consider postponement of planned audits as part of a mitigation strategy to reduce contact between personnel, the level of audit should not be reduced below that needed to ensure continued production conformity (such as product audits or other evaluations such as First Time Pass Rate/other KPI reviews) or to a level that creates a backlog of QMS audits that cannot be anticipated to be recovered during the audit period. Consideration could also be given to alternative methods of oversight or evaluation, such as independent desktop evaluation of recorded operator self-audits or of supplier/subcontractor declarations.
When planning appropriate resource to maintain production, organisations should remember the need to plan for appropriate supervision and production conformity oversight (by inspection/evaluation/audit) as well as the direct production activity. Where reduced production volume or risk/performance based assessment of an internal area or supplier is used as a justification for reducing planned audit activity, this should be recorded as part of the approval of the amended audit plan.
This is a reminder to organisations- AOC/CAT-Operators, Part M/CAMO and associated Maintenance, Business/Corporate Operations, Rotorcraft, General Aviation and State Aircraft. Also applicable to Leasing organisations.
For additional information on General Aviation flights for maintenance checks, ferry and engine health under COVID-19, please see the guidance on this page, directly below this section.
This general notification covers- Engines and APU'S, Operation during preservation/storage, Fuel and Biocides, Rotorcraft transmissions.
As a result of the current Covid-19 situation, many aircraft are being taken out of service on an unplanned basis and undergoing preservation. While larger organisations will have established procedures, this will need to be addressed by organisations for whom this is not a normal aspect of their business. In addition, the numbers of aircraft involved can produce a challenge in terms of availability of the specified preservation equipment and processes
This notification seeks to assist organisations, particularly those unfamiliar with the storage and preservation of aircraft, by reminding them of the appropriate measures and sources of information available, so that when aircraft are returned to operational service they can do so with a minimum of additional disruption whilst maintaining an appropriate level of safety.
Organisations involved in operation, maintenance and maintenance management of stored/parked aircraft are reminded that they are, as a minimum, required to follow the aircraft type certificate holder recommendations for correct preservation methodologies identified via the Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) and/or the Engine Maintenance Manual (EMM).
Engines should be protected and preserved from contamination and deterioration, as a failure to strictly follow TC holder instructions could result in deterioration of internal engine components such as mainline Bearings, Compressor and Turbine components and associated systems such as Engine Controls, Electrical, Fuel, Oil and Hydraulic Systems. In addition Rotorcraft drivetrain and rotating dynamic components will also need to be considered.
Where it is not possible to follow the TC holder AMM/EMM instructions because of the current circumstances, for example lack of availability of equipment then application should be made to the appropriate Type Certificate holder for acceptable alternative instructions.
Some TC Holders have already issued specific communications to operators, CAMO organisation and Maintenance organisations regarding approval of alternative methods as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions. When TC holder deviations are granted, the CAMO and the Maintenance Organisation must maintain adequate records of the approval of the deviations. The workpack and any release documents must refer to the TC holder deviation in order to demonstrate that the aircraft has been maintained appropriately at the point of reinstatement of any flying activities, and it should be ensured that that all non-standard equipment or materials have been fully removed before the aircraft/engine is operated to avoid damage or inflight issues.
For aircraft equipped with auxiliary units, similar consideration should be included when preservation and storage periods are considered.
Engines and APUs can quickly deteriorate if, as a minimum, the correct blanking to the Intake and Exhaust is not properly installed and checked and maintained. This is the first line of defence to protect and preserve engine(s) against potentially damaging ingress of FOD which may cause unforeseen airworthiness issues.
Experience has shown that birds also cause unexpected obstruction resulting in potential damage which could have been prevented by effective blanking.
Some Type Certificate Holders/manufacturers may authorise, via special technical requests, approval of non-standard engine protection/blanking equipment if the OEM approved items cannot be obtained quickly.
As mentioned above, adequate records of the acceptance of these alternatives must be retained.
Reference must be made to the Type Certificate Holders/manufacturers maintenance recommendations (AMM, EMM) for storage in differing environmental conditions.
Storage and preservation in conditions of elevated humidity, particularly if adjacent to saline environments i.e. coastal airfields, should be additionally considered for the effects on the engine internal air passages and electrical connections, whereby corrosion etc. may be exacerbated. Compressor linings may typically be at risk of deterioration during such periods.
Correct blanking of intake and exhaust provides mitigation against such conditions.
Corrosion Inhibiting- may be necessary, depending on the length of time the engine may be required to be in preservation and non-operation.
Dessicant materials- may also be required to be utilised. Refer to the Type Certificate holders/manufacturers recommendations. Inspection/checks at a recommended period for such moisture mitigation may be required to prevent unnecessary moisture build-up and deterioration of the dessicant.
Windmilling- in some instances, depending on exposure of the aircraft to wind direction and gusting while parked and because of the design configuration of the particular oil system and bearing lubrication, it may be necessary to prevent rotation of compressor and turbine rotor assemblies. The Type Certificate Holder/ manufacturers maintenance recommendations (AMM, EMM) for windmilling mitigation techniques should be consulted.
All aircraft manufacturers provide and publish instructions for both short and long periods of preservation of installed engines. The Operator/CAMO and maintenance organisation are strongly advised to adhere to the relevant instructions and preservation methodologies, which may include the following:
The above starting and running being undertaken in various combinations such as weekly/monthly or longer schedules will be particularly important if the aircraft/engine is expected to be placed back into service quickly.
Close inspection should be accomplished of the intake, bypass, exhaust and any other ductwork or aperture, drain line/masts, access doors, etc. prior to the above activity for potential blockage and obstruction that could cause avoidable damage to the engine. In addition, fuel/hydraulic system leaks due to unforeseen seal and pipe connection/interface deterioration may have taken place during the storage period.
Organisations should be aware that over-fuelling and potential pooling of flammable liquids may provide sources of ignition and fire on initial start-up i.e. hung starts.
Note- in certain instances, if the airfield where the aircraft is stored is non-operational, then ground starting and running may not be permitted for safety reasons due to suspension of airfield fire services.
In this case a dry crank may be the only option if permitted on the specific engine type. Consultation with the CAMO, the maintenance organisation and/or the TC Holder in such circumstances is strongly advised.
The Operator/CAMO should build into their storage programme some microbiological testing of the fuel as any water left in the fuel will settle, allowing the growth of micro-organisms (bacteria, moulds, yeasts) in water boundary layer and feed off the hydrocarbons in the fuel. Good housekeeping is the first measure to prevent water accumulation in the fuel tanks with regular water drain checks.
In the case where microbiological contamination is detected and needs to be treated with biocides, all maintenance personnel, aircraft owners and operators are expected to follow current/latest instructions from the aircraft / engine TC holder.
Any application of a Biocide into the fuel system of an aircraft must be carried out in accordance with the Type Certificate Holder's instructions and great care must be taken to ensure the correct amount is administered to the fuel. Many TC holders mandate the use of a metering rig to control the biocide application.
Where biocide usage is approved for airframe application only, the engine(s) should not be operated with fuel containing biocide and the aircraft TC (STC) holder is to provide appropriate maintenance procedures to prevent ingestion by the engine of fuel containing biocide.
In response to EASA SIB 2020-06 and the “All Operator” message published by Dupont removing KATHON FP 1.5 from aviation use, CAA has been working in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive to obtain the necessary permissions allowing the import of BIOBOR JF as an alternative Biocide for operators to use.
The CAA has been advised that temporary permit number UKCSP-2020-02 has now been issued for 180 days allowing the import of BIOBOR JF into the UK. This permit will remain in force until 27th October 2020, with work continuing to try and secure an extension. This communication will be updated if an extension is secured.
Organisations are advised that in line with the permit requirements, orders of BIOBOR JF have to be made through Aviall - organisations can place an order directly with Aviall if they already have an established account. Contact details are provided below for information.
Aviall can be contacted at:
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel - 31-252-245-900
Aviall also have a sister division, Boeing distribution services, contact:
Email - email@example.com
Please be aware that the CAA cannot enter into correspondence regarding the conditions for the permit.
As a mitigation in the interim period the Operator/CAMO/maintenance organisation should consider the following as best practice while their respective aircraft are in the stored/parked conditions:
Where the Aircraft is non-operational for extended periods the impact of environment and storage conditions on the rotorcraft drivetrain and rotating dynamic components must be considered. The Operator/CAMO should consult their contracted maintenance organisation or the Type Certificate Holder (TCH) with respect to any necessary maintenance to minimise the possibility of component deterioration.
Gearbox inhibiting, blanking and anti-corrosion techniques for exposed fescalised portions and areas of close tolerance movement such as damper pistons, mast, swashplate and bearings should be taken in to account when rotorcraft are inactive for the extended period. Main gear trains, if not appropriately preserved, may lead to the instigation of unnecessary corrosion, which while initially may not be realised on restarting operations, may subsequently lead to early removal or component failure in later service.
Appropriate maintenance work orders detailing work carried out and the need for recovery action post storage will be required to demonstrate TCH instructions have been complied with.
Mitigation of the above may be addressed by regular starting and running, however in all cases the Operator/CAMO should follow the recommendations of the applicable aircraft and engine TCH using their published approved data, such as the Aircraft Maintenance Manual or Service Bulletins. In the absence of such data the Operator/CAMO should contact the aircraft /engine TCH directly for advice.
We have implemented the following temporary changes to our personnel licensing service:
Please note that this advice may be revised at short notice. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has temporarily amended its policy as detailed below:
1) the CAA and extends the period for theory examinations to 24 months, subject to the conditions stated below:
a) candidates must already have commenced the examination process, having completed at least one examination sitting on or before the 16 March 2020; and
b) while there will be a permitted extension to the 18-month time allotted for completing the entire series of theoretical knowledge examinations, the scope of the exemption will not include any changes to the required pass mark, the maximum number of attempts per paper, and for the CPL(B) the maximum number of sittings as currently required; and
c) Examiners are required to annotate the theoretical examination element of the application form with the following 'COVID-19 delay'
2) The CAA also extends the validity period of examinations completed that were due to expire between 16 March 2020 and 31 October 2020, until 18 March 2021, applicants are to annotate their application with 'COVID-19 delay'.
To assist the air display community during and post COVID-19 we have extended the currency requirements detailed in CAP 403 and CAP 1724 for Display Pilot Authorisations ('DAs'), Display Authorisation Evaluators ('DAEs') and Flying Display Directors ('FDDs').
Following an initial 12 month period, DAs have a validity of 13 months. To help the community during this time DAs due to expire between 31st March 2020 and 31st October 2020 that cannot be revalidated under the normal process described in CAP 1724, can be extended until 22 November 2020. This extension is not available to pilots with initial issue DAs.
Any pilot using this extension must first receive a briefing from an appropriately authorised DAE (The requirement at para 11.22 CAP 1724 where a display pilot is not permitted to have a DA assessment conducted by the same DAE for more than two consecutive years is not applicable for this extension ) to refresh the required level of theoretical knowledge for the aircraft category (or type where specified on the DA). That briefing should be based on the contents of CAP 1724 Appendix C: DAE Evaluation Checklist (the briefing may be carried out remotely) and must be completed before any display flying.
The DAE completing the briefing must confirm via email to GA@caa.co.uk the date that the display pilot received the briefing and that the DA expiry date has been extended. The display pilot must carry a copy of this extension with their DA.
The display pilot must provide a copy of the DA and any extension issued to the FDD of any planned flying display along with form SRG1327: Pilots Certified Declaration for Submission to the Flying Display Director.
All pilots holding a valid DA must attend a display symposium within the first 12 months of the issue of their DA and then at least once every three years. During the current situation we will put in place a 12-month extension of this requirement for pilots who had registered for the 2020 pre-season flying display symposium. We will automatically record this on our database.
Delegates who had registered and paid for the 2020 pre-season flying display symposium will be automatically registered for the 2020 post-season symposium and all fees that have been received will be carried forward.
Once GA restrictions are lifted by the UK Government, and prior to undertaking a Flying Display and in addition to any specified aircraft currency requirements for 'Permit-to-Fly' ex-military aircraft as detailed in CAP 632, all display pilots (with or without the DA extension) will be subject to the following minimum currency requirements:
Display pilot minimum currency requirements preceding a flying display
Display aircraft Within 30 days of date of display
All Display Aircraft three complete display routines flown or practised in DA category
Display pilot minimum aerobatic currency requirements preceding a flying display
skill level Within 30 days of date of display
All aerobatic skill levels Three complete display routines flown or practised in DA category
Pilots must include at Para 2d of SRG1327: Pilots Certified Declaration for Submission to the Flying Display Director (FDD) details of these minimum currency flights that have been undertaken, along with the list of associated manoeuvres for the proposed display.
As FDDs may not be able to maintain the currency requirements set out at Para C7 of CAP 403 a 12-month extension is available to FDDs whose planned flying displays have been cancelled. To use this extension please contact the CAA GA Unit with details of the cancelled display(s) and previous FDD history so that we can amend your details.
FDD's must check that participating pilots comply with the COVID extension requirements ensure before they are permitted to participate in a flying display.
All other requirements contained within CAP 403 and CAP 1724 remain in place.
Please email the Air Display Regulation Manager at GA@caa.co.uk
All UK CAA Exam sessions will be cancelled up to and including 3 July 2020.
Candidates/ATO's will receive an automated notification of cancellation and monies will be returned to their respective accounts.
The CAA has been closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to regularly check and act accordingly upon UK Government restrictions and Public Health England guidance to protect public safety.
Exam sessions from 6 July 2020 onwards remain scheduled, however further cancellations may be required in response to any extension or furthering of restrictions. Such cancellations will be at the sole discretion of the CAA.
Any travel and related expenses incurred by the candidate to attend any CAA examination will not be refundable by the CAA in the event that the CAA cancels an examination due to Covid-19 restrictions.
For a period of three months, from 16 March 2020 to 16 June 2020, the CAA will waive any fees normally incurred for late cancellation and/or transfer to a future CAA examination sitting.
Details on the conditions of this exemption and how to request are detailed in ORS 4 NO 1353.
You might be surprised to hear that you're not alone if you feel anxious. Work, relationships, finances and life in general can be challenging at times, creating stress and worries that can weigh heavily on our minds. Many of us will be finding life in the current situation even more stressful and when this is combined with not being able to do the things that we usually do to de-stress and relax such as playing sports, meeting friends, going on holiday, this can have a negative impact on our mental wellbeing.
Feeling low, anxious, worried or even tearful is not something to be embarrassed about and you shouldn't ignore how you are feeling. So, whilst it is OK to not feel OK, it is important to share how you are feeling with someone and to ask for the help and support that you need.
When we are under more pressure than usual and when things are worrying us or playing on our mind, we may behave differently than normal. Everyone reacts in different ways, but when the balance tips towards us not coping with life as well as we usually do, it isn't uncommon to feel upset, irritable or short-tempered. You might lose your appetite, or you might be comfort eating.
You might have increased your alcohol intake to try to relax or relieve stress. You might feel tearful and withdrawn, avoiding social interaction- even if the current rules restricting this are partly responsible for feeling this way to begin with.
Not being able to concentrate, not being interested in the things you usually enjoy, having a low sex drive and not being able to sleep might also be clues to suggest your mental health is suffering. These are all recognised symptoms of depression and any one of these should prompt you to speak with your GP, AME, family, friends or colleagues.
Things will get better, and the best way to ensure this happens is to share your problems and ask for the help you need.
If you are feeling unwell, low or anxious it is important that you talk to your GP for support. Our links may help with maintaining your mental wellbeing and with finding other sources of support, including self-help, and you can find these listed in the “Info for Crew and ATCOs” section. As well as seeing your GP, you can also speak with your AME. They will have experience in helping others who are in a similar situation to you and can provide useful advice and support.
Asking for extra support or help does not automatically mean you are unfit for work. It does mean that you should be having a conversation with your AME so that a proper mental health assessment can be made. If you or your AME do feel that you are not fit for duty and need time off work, then the appropriate steps can be taken to make sure you get the help you need. By seeking advice and help early, it might mean that you can safely continue to work, or if you can't, then you may get back to work quicker in the long run.
Some people may need to start treatment for their mood, either medication or talking therapies. Once you are well again, it is possible to fly/control whilst continuing to take certain antidepressant medications, following an appropriate assessment through your AME. This will likely involve a CAA doctor too. It is important that you report any changes in your health to your AME and that you do not fly/control until a fitness decision has been made. However, the important thing to know is that most people will get through any problems and return to flying or controlling again. If you do need a period away from flying or controlling whilst you recover, you can find an outline of the process for regaining your certificate on the main CAA medical pages.
See the mental health guidance material on our website for more information.
During the COVID-19 'lockdown' period of social isolation most medical certificate holders will be covered by an exemption (with a few exceptions) such that it is neither an essential activity (and therefore a necessity for travel) nor a legal obligation for most pilots and ATCOs to attend an AME. Please discuss this with your AME in the first instance as it is likely that an exemption covers your situation and it may be possible to rebook your medical for a later date. If this is not possible to rebook you may use an alternative AME and have your medical examination - AME contact details are on the CAA website.
AMEs and the CAA will be monitoring changes to Government guidance and regulations and as these develop, AME examination activities will resume according to a dynamic risk assessment of the AME and his/her practice, and your medical and certificatory circumstances.
ANSPs and Operators with ATCOs and pilots controlling/flying for essential services (HEMS/SAR/Offshore) who were unfit and/or whose medical expired before the validity extension date should contact the CAA Medical Department via their Ops inspector to determine if it is appropriate to have a medical renewal examination.
In response to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and in line with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidance, the Civil Aviation Authority exempts all operators, aircrew, instructors, examiners engaged in commercial air transport, along with aircraft maintenance licence holders and air traffic controllers for whom the CAA is the Competent Authority, and wherever normal revalidation facilities are not available from the normal validity periods for licences, certificates and ratings that expire before the 31 October 2020 subject to the conditions in the exemption.
Please see ORS4 No 1383 for details and the supporting guidance on our website.
The CAA has also issued further exemptions covering all UK flight crew licence holders: please refer to ORS4 1385, ORS4 1384 or ORS4 1378 as appropriate.
Details of all published exemptions relating to COVID-19
During the exemption period (and possibly beyond), there will be medical certificate holders who need to provide reports (e.g. annual cardiology review for coronary artery disease) to their AME and/or the CAA in the normal way to maintain their certificatory status. These actions should continue and if this applies to you then you should make every effort to provide the reports as required.
If you experience difficulties with your private or NHS doctors/advisers, your AME may be able to advise you of local or other alternative specialists or providers who can assist with provision of clinical reports and/or tests. If you have difficulties that cannot be overcome in the short term, then you should contact your AME who may be able to approve an extension of up to 3 months of the requirement deadline to provide the reports. Any further extension requests or management of complex cases will be referred to the CAA.
If it is not possible to maintain safety assurance, then unfortunately some commercial pilots and ATCOs will need to have the validity of their medical certificate suspended for a period until the CAA can be assured that it is safe for them to fly/control.
Existing commercial pilots and ATCOs attending the CAA Psychiatry, Drugs and Alcohol and Diabetic clinics are being managed directly by the CAA. Some appointments are being converted into telephone / Skype contacts to determine consultation requirements, and others are being re-prioritised.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. Although clinical trials are underway, there are no vaccines or recommended treatments yet.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it is important that you take care to cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow. Washing your hands more often and for longer, 20 seconds as a minimum, as well as not touching your face will help prevent transmission of the virus.
If you suspect you have COVID-19 pilots you should seek immediate medical advice from the NHS.
If you are admitted to hospital/and or have continuing symptoms from COVID-19 then you should seek aeromedical advice from your AME once you return home and before you next fly/control. Any medical reports relating to more serious periods of illness will need to be reviewed by your AME who will follow CAA guidance.
Pilots/ATCOs who make a full uncomplicated recovery should not fly/control for a minimum period of 7 days from full symptom resolution. You should speak to your AME if there is any doubt and speak to your employer to check company policy on returning to work. For general advice on isolating with symptoms, see the NHS guidelines.
There is CAA guidance for AMEs on the process for assessing fitness following COVID-19.
There is currently no evidence to suggest any long-term health implications following infection with COVID 19. Those who are more seriously unwell or who have had significant respiratory impairment will likely require closer follow up.
A forthcoming EU Regulation (2018/1042) requires operators to enable, facilitate and ensure access to a proactive and non-punitive support programme that will assist and support flight crew in recognising, coping with, and overcoming any problem which might negatively affect their ability to safely exercise the privileges of their licence.
A number of networks are already up and running. They consist of trained peers (pilot/ATCO volunteers) who are willing to listen and support you when you need an impartial, friendly peer at the other end of the phone. They may cover topics such as your psychological well-being, relationship problems, work/life balance, work pressures, career options and financial problems.
In general, they cannot act on your behalf, provide expert opinion, advice or treatment but they will be supported by a team of psychologists and can listen, understand your challenges and help you find solutions or sign-post you to where you might find help.
Many employers provide access to Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) which are usually operated by independent companies and provide confidential access to teams of trained and qualified professionals who are experienced in helping people with a wide range of issues. Specialist information, advice and support can often be given over the telephone or via web or email services. EAPs usually offer independent confidential information and support to help resolve complex stressful issues including debt, family matters, parenting, health and employment. Counselling services may available through some programmes.
Some employers will also have Occupational Health Services, either as in-house services or contracted through an external provider. Occupational Medicine (OM) is a specialist medical field and doctors and nurses who have completed OM training diagnose, manage and prevent disease that has been caused or exacerbated by workplace factors. They are concerned with all aspects of the effects of work on health and health on work. Preventing illness and injuries that can occur as a result of work are an important aspect of OM, as well is rehabilitation following any illness or injury and assisting people with returning to work safely. Psychological factors are important in occupational medicine and helping to manage mental health issues is a big part of an OM doctor or nurse's role.
During uncertain times, drinking alcohol or using substances may be a tempting way of relaxing or taking your mind off personal worries. Drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week can have a negative effect on your health.
Advice on cutting down is available from the Royal College of Psychiatrists along with links to other organisations that can help such as Alcoholics Anonymous and UK Smart Recovery.
There are organisations specifically for pilots including Birds of a Feather International.
There are a variety of resources available to help you to maintain or improve your mental health or to help you spot changes with guidance on how to manage these. Some are particularly targeted at people working within the aviation industry for example:
An Aviation Professional's Guide to Wellbeing from the Flight Safety Foundation
More general advice is available from:
There are a variety of meditation and mindfulness apps available. Some are free to use, others come with subscriptions.
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