Under Article 12 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016, a flight in a non-EASA aircraft is considered non-commercial if the only valuable consideration given or promised for the flight is to a registered charity. To clarify, 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 made under the same conditions to also be non-commercial and therefore may comply with this guidance.
In England and Wales, a registered charity is a charity registered under section 30 of the Charities Act 2011. In Scotland, it is 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, it is 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.
Charity flight guidance for private flights
We recommend that any private pilot intending to offer a flight as a prize to a member of the public as part of fund raising activities for a registered charity ensure that the charity understands that the flight is a private recreational flight and that it should be considered in the same way as other recreational prizes. The charity should clearly understand that the flight is not without risk and that the levels of safety and oversight are very different from those associated with a commercial flight or a flying lesson provided by a training school. If this is not acceptable to the charity and higher levels of safety are required, it should be suggested that consideration be given into offering a prize of a commercial aviation activity, such as a flight with an AOC holder or flying school.
In addition to the normal pilot in command responsibilities concerning passengers, when offering a non-commercial flight as a charity flight, pilots should also ensure passengers understand that the flight 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 that of a commercial airline 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 weather and other operational factors. The flight may not be able to take place on a particular day if 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 their level of insurance is sufficient to cover the purpose of the intended flight. Pilots should also ask the recipient of the flight to check that any life and/or private health insurance cover held is appropriate and valid for such activities.
This guidance is also available as CAP 1330: Charity flight guidance.