Low Flying – Watch out the CAA are about
Just released from the CAA is a timely and cautionary reminder to all AOC (Balloons) holders, all CPL(B) holders and all PPL(B) holders concerning low flying, or rather, not low flying. Best pay attention then.
There has recently been a number of either complaints or incidents brought to the attention of the CAA concerning alleged low flying, particularly with regard to flights over congested areas. AOC holders and pilots are reminded of the need to be completely familiar with Rules 5 and 6 of the Rules of the Air Regulations. All licensed pilots should understand the 500’ Rule and the 1,000’ Rule and there should be no confusion between the two.
The 500’ Rule does not apply when taking-off or landing in accordance with normal aviation practice, however there is no such alleviation from the 1,000’ Rule. There is the Congested Area Take-off Permission (subject to compliance with stated Conditions), but this does not apply to landings. Only if a balloon is becalmed may the 1,000’ Rule be departed from in order to achieve a safe landing.
Exemptions from the Low Flying Rules may be possible by way of individual written applications to the CAA on form SRG 1304 (www.caa.co.uk/srg1304). Such applications do attract a fee per application. Should the Rules of the Air Regulations be departed from without a prior approval, a written report must be submitted to the CAA.
The 500 feet rule
Except with the permission in writing of the CAA, an aircraft shall not be flown closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle or structure.
The 1000 feet rule
Except with the permission in writing of the CAA, an aircraft flying over a congested area of a city town or settlement shall not fly below a height of 1,000 feet above the highest fixed obstacle within a horizontal radius of 600 metres of the aircraft.
SRG 1304 is a ‘Special Events and Unusual Aerial Activity Application Form’. This form is used to notify the CAA of any Unusual Aerial Activity or Special Event requiring an Exemption from the Rules of the Air or Air Navigation Order. For all Flying Displays open to the public, please use CAA Form SRG1303 (These forms can be completed online, printed and submitted as instructed). The application is unlikely to be for unspecified low flying neither would it be open-ended!