Aircraft designed for military purposes may be granted Permits to Fly by the CAA subject to demonstration of acceptable airworthiness in accordance with CAA procedures and requirements.
CAP 632 - "Operation of 'Permit to Fly' Ex-Military Aircraft on the UK Register" is a comprehensive source of information and provides guidance on the following topics:
- Summary of revisions in Edition 6
- Overseas operations
- Technical Requirements
- Scope of this CAA publication
- General requirements
- Organisational Control Manual
- Technical requirements
- Specialist equipment and systems
- Pilot/Crew qualification and experience
- Operational Requirements
- Recording and Audit Procedure
- The Compilation of an OCM
- Safety standards acknowledgement and consent
- Appendix A: Guide to the compilation of the OCM
- Appendix B: Safety management
- Appendix C: Guidance of experience requirements to fly jet or high performance piston engine aeroplanes
- Appendix D: Specimen pre-flight briefing
- Appendix E: Guidance on appropriate flying clothing and safety equipment
- Appendix F: Guidance and conduct of the adit visit
- Appendix G: SSAC Operations Manual
Anyone intending to register an ex-military aircraft in the UK should use the contact details at the end of this page.
Ex-military aircraft may be maintained in accordance with British Civil Airworthiness Requirements (BCAR) Section A A8-20.
An OCM is a requirement for the following categories of aircraft operating on a UK Permit to Fly:
- ex-military aircraft weighing more than 2730kg MTOW
- piston engine aircraft with a rating of 800HP or more
- turbine or turbojet engine aircraft weighing less than 2730kg MTOW
CAP 632 Annex A - "A Guide to the Compilation of an Organisation Control Manual" provides further information.
CAA work in relation to the approval or updating of an OCM does not currently incur any costs. However, the CAA reserves the right to charge for any additional work that proves necessary.
Some ex-military aircraft are capable of flight at speeds in excess of 250 knots. Permission must be obtained before flight at such speed is undertaken.
CAA Form SRG 1318, together with the appropriate fee, should be sent to the Flight Operations Inspectorate (as seen below.) Details of costs can be found in the CAA Scheme of Charges - General Aviation.
Guidance on the restoration and rebuild of ex-military and other historic aircraft
This information only covers aircraft on a national Permit to Fly. Key issues to consider when undertaking a restoration or rebuild of these aircraft are:
- Involving the CAA at an early stage of the process – so we can see the aircraft and approve work throughout the restoration process.
- Ensuring that any decisions on replacement or newly manufactured components are substantiated by an approved organisation e.g. BCAR A8-23/24/25.
- For a restoration to be approved there must be something recognisable from the original aircraft
An early inspection from CAA design and airworthiness surveyors will allow us to make a decision on whether the aircraft will be an original or a replica.
There is no set minimum amount of the original aircraft required to allow the project to be considered a restoration. However, there must be something recognisable from the aircraft for it to be classed as original, normally primary structure and generally from the fuselage, even if these parts are subsequently replaced.
The aircraft's data plate will be key in establishing its original identity. Where this is no longer available evidence from historians or published material can be used and a replacement data plate made. This should include the serial number and manufacturer. We will check that a restoration has not previously been approved for the same airframe identity.
Where there is no record of the manufacturer's serial number but a military serial is known then this may be used.
In some countries a registration may be re-used on more than one airframe. This can result in an aircraft in existence where only the paperwork remains from the original and it is in fact a 'donor' aircraft. In the UK this is not accepted and genuine provenance of the actual airframe will need to be shown. However, if no other aircraft on the UK register is currently painted with the same markings then a donor aircraft does not have to be physically marked as such but it must be recorded in its paperwork.
In many restoration projects there will be little remaining of the original airframe and the availability of replacement parts will be limited. New parts will therefore need to be manufactured and it is important that the material and construction of these is monitored. In many cases this work will be undertaken by an approved BCAR A8-23 or A8-24 organisation which we have already approved to undertake this work. If it is not then the project and key decisions must be supported and substantiated by a CAA approved design organisation [BCAR A8-8 class E1 or E2 etc. or BCAR A8-21]. Where work is sub-contracted the approved organisation commissioning the work must demonstrate its oversight of the sub-contractor.
All of this work will need to be recorded to show a progressive picture of the decisions and tasks undertaken during the rebuild and presented as part of the application for a Permit to Fly.
It is vital that we are contacted at an early stage of the project and kept informed of progress. Only contacting us once the project is well underway could result in the aircraft having to be dismantled to allow us to inspect work already undertaken.
Normally replicas are one-off constructions that conform with the original design. These can be given a Permit to Fly provided they are not part of a volume manufactured series. There are exceptions for example where the original manufacturer has re-opened a production line. Any design changes from the original will need to be approved by the CAA. When deciding whether a replica ex-military aircraft can have a Permit to Fly we will consider:
- The likely number to be constructed;
- The design standard used, including modifications to the original standard; and
- The production facilities and processes.
It is possible to have reproduction aircraft where there is a reasonable match with the original's appearance and construction and substantially the same engine and systems. For example the Yak-11 conversion to Yak-3/9. As the original construction methods will not be used we will need greater assurance over the design and construction methods used.
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