|Guidance Notes to CAA GA Flights for Maintenance|
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 detail the lawful reasons that you can leave your household during the COVID-19 restrictions.
These reasons do not include leaving your household to go flying as normal.
On 31 March 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) published this information in an attempt to clarify the situation. The information also included;
"Workshops which carry out essential maintenance are entitled to continue (in line with guidance regarding car workshops) provided PHE guidance is followed:
- follow social distancing advice
- frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products"
There was no guidance as to what constituted "essential maintenance" nor how aircraft were supposed to be ferried to the facilities where the aircraft is not based at the same location.
At the beginning of April, AOPA had foreseen a need for clarification of the essential maintenance needs of an aircraft and guidance for aircraft owners in protecting their valuable asset and meet any airworthiness requirements, providing them with a "reasonable excuse" to leave their household in compliance with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. Suggestions were put to the DfT on how to address the growing concerns of aircraft owners realising that their aircraft were going to be grounded for a significant period, which by now was raising a significant number of questions to AOPA from our members.
As a result of lobbying by AOPA, the DfT instructed the CAA to publish further guidance, which resulted in this publication: GA flights for maintenance checks, ferry, and engine health under COVID-19
(You will need to click on Commercial and recreational aviation then scroll down to Airworthiness > GA maintenance check flights.)
Since it was published it is clear that there has been significant discussion, misunderstanding, opposition and misleading information.
AOPA have therefore put together this detailed breakdown of the CAA publication in this downloadable guide.
1. It is not compulsory to make use of the CAA publication
2. If you do make use of it, the first step is to winterise or inhibit your aircraft engine
3. If winterising/inhibiting is not an option follow your engine manufacturers latest recommendations - noting that some have issued updated guidance during COVID-19 restrictions.
4. Do take advice from your maintenance engineers if you can contact them.
5. Do seek permission from your Airfield Operator/Owner if you plan to access, move or fly you aircraft.