The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published voluntary operating rules for flying schools and clubs in an attempt to close a loophole that allows passenger transport ahead of the planned introduction of pan-European rules.

In the UK there is an increasing number of companies offering vouchers for “trial flight lessons”. The CAA is concerned that most recipients do not intend to take up flying and so the flights should be regarded as passenger flights. “When the British used to have clubs for everything, flying clubs were structured and had membership policies. Now this has changed into commercial flights being offered to the public in the form of trial lessons, and membership to clubs can be made on the spot,” says Bob Commander, CAA head of general aviation policy. The CAA has issued an “activities manual”, essentially a voluntary operations manual, to counter the “kick the tyres, light the fires” approach to flying, he says.

While voluntary, the CAA expects the leading experienced voucher companies to put pressure on small operators to comply with the scheme because it could improve a company’s legal standing if an accident were to occur, and lessen the insurance burden.

The manual is based largely on the draft version of the European JAR Ops 4 rules, covering aerial work. Although JAR Ops 1 covering commercial air transport and JAR Ops 3 for helicopters have been adopted by members of the Joint Aviation Authorities, rules for aerial work and corporate aviation are languishing in JAA committees and many expect no further movement until the European Aviation Safety Agency takes over responsibility for operations and licensing in 2007. The UK CAA is keen to see rules in place, albeit voluntary, to “ease operators into the European rules”, says Commander.

Source: Flight International