Aircraft are divided into two areas for licensing purposes:
- Part 21 aircraft
- non-Part 21 aircraft
This classification applies to types of aircraft, not individual aircraft. So, for example, if a particular Cessna 172N is a Part 21 aircraft that is because all Cessna 172N are classed as Part 21 aircraft. And if one particular De Havilland Chipmunk T10 is not an Part 21 aircraft that is because all such Chipmunks are classed as being non-Part 21. Non-Part 21 aircraft are also known as Annex I (one) aircraft.
Part 21 aircraft
Many aircraft in the UK are classed as Part aircraft wherever they may have been manufactured or registered. This includes many of the types you'll see around flying schools –like the Cessna C172, the Piper PA-28, Diamond DA40 and Robinson R44 etc.
In the UK, holders of Part-FCL licences can fly both Part 21 and UK-registered non-Part 21 aircraft that are within the ratings and privileges included in their licence.
For example: The Cessna 172 is a Part 21 aeroplane. The Tiger Moth is a non-Part 21 aeroplane. Both come within the single engine piston (SEP) class of aeroplanes. This means if you hold either a valid SEP Class Rating or SEP privileges you can fly either aeroplane.
If you have a licence issued in accordance with the Air Navigation Order (ANO), such as the NPPL(A) which has a valid simple single engine aeroplane (SSEA) class rating. You can fly both Part 21 and non-Part 21 single engine piston aeroplanes but there is a limitation on maximum take-off mass of the Part 21 aeroplane.
Helicopters do not have class ratings. Instead, each type of helicopter is a type rating, for example Robinson R44, Bell 206 and Guimbal Cabri G2.
To fly a Part 21 helicopter, you must hold a Part-FCL helicopter pilots licence, as CAA is currently unable to endorse a Part 21 type rating on a licence issued in accordance with the ANO.
With some exceptions, the following types of aircraft are defined as non-Part 21 aircraft and are governed by the ANO :
- Aeroplanes and helicopters operating with a valid permit to fly
- Microlights Aeroplanes
- Ex-military aircraft
- Foot-launched aircraft
- Vintage aircraft
Other sorts of aircraft
To fly other categories of aircraft you may need to hold the specific licence for that category.
To fly Part 21 sailplanes and powered sailplanes the pilot must hold either a BGA Pilot Certificate or a Part-SFCL Sailplane Pilot’s Licence
To fly Part 21 balloons the pilot must hold either a PPL(BA), CPL(B) or a Part-BFCL Balloon Pilot’s Licence
To fly Part 21 Airships the pilot must hold either a PPL(BA) or a Part-FCL PPL(As)