Since 24th March 2020, the LAA has maintained a proactive stance in supporting Government’s stay at home message, providing the CAA and DfT with proposals for a safe return to flying through maintenance, inspection and pilot coaching guidelines and initiatives.
We have been working closely with both the British Microlight Aircraft Association and the British Gliding Association to seek further clarity from the top levels of Government and the CAA, as we believe the revised Government advice of 11th May allows us to plan for the proportionate resumption of private flying, for the following reasons:
Our members are responsible, capable and acutely aware of COVID-19 risks to the more vulnerable individuals within our community.
* Prolonged aircraft storage and lack of pilot currency will increasingly present greater risk when returning to flight, which must be weighed against the risk presented by COVID-19.
* A failure or significant delay to enabling recreational flying activity will have a significant detrimental long term economic and social impact on the GA sector.
* Airfield owners and aircraft operators need to begin planning, to balance the need to protect staff whilst facilitating access for aircraft inspection and essential maintenance ahead of a managed return to flying.
* Private flying should be recognised and treated equitably with other leisure activities as part of the Government’s road map out of lockdown, as a key component of the nation’s aviation sector.
* Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Recreational Alliance have advised that facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities are permitted to reopen from Wednesday 13th May 2020, if those responsible for them feel ready to do so and if they can do so safely, in line with related public health guidance.
It is anticipated that updated DfT guidance will be made available shortly. We’ll circulate this official advice as soon as it is available; via the LAA website, Facebook page and other forums. We are well aware of your keenness to go flying, but recommend you use your discretion in taking part in an activity that is inevitably going to attract a high level of public scrutiny.
We recommend that anyone preparing to fly follows our advice on inspection and maintenance set out in LAA Technical Leaflet TL 2.32, available via our website and https://tinyurl.com/y85vv687. We also recommend that any pilots thinking of returning to flying take a look at some excellent GASCo guidance at https://www.gasco.org.uk/returntoflying.html. Remember too, H.M. Government advice applies in England, but different COVID-19 regulations are in force in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
13th May 2020.