Basic Air Law..........................Copyright © 2008 Boston Aero Club Limited..................http://www.bostonaeroclub.co.uk/club/airlaw.htm
All pilots should be fully conversant with the law before taking to the air.
Low Flying Rules
Controlled Airspace and ATZs
Rule 5 Rules of the Air Regulations 1996
An aircraft shall not be flown below such height as would enable it, in the event of a power unit failure, to make an emergency landing without causing danger to persons or property on the surface.
500 foot rule
An aircraft shall not fly closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle or structure except when landing and taking-off in accordance with normal aviation practice or a glider when hill soaring.
Note - this is not a minimum height rule - it is a proximity rule - 500 ft minimum distance measurable in any direction e.g. horizontally or vertically.
Practice approaches within 500 feet of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure can only be conducted at licensed aerodromes.
Flying over towns etc.
An aircraft flying over a congested area of a city, town or settlement shall not fly below a height of 1000 feet above the highest fixed object within a horizontal radius of 600 metres AND at sufficient height to safely land clear of the congested area in the event of a power failure (whichever is the higher).
Congested area means an area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes.
An aircraft shall not carry out any aerobatic manoeuvre over the congested area of any city, town or settlement.
Flying over large organised events
Except with the permission in writing of the CAA, an aircraft shall not fly over an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons below a height of 1,000 feet, or such height as will permit, in the event of a power unit failure, the aircraft to alight clear of the assembly, whichever is the higher
Landing near large organised events
An aircraft shall not land or take-off within 1,000 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons, except at an aerodrome, in accordance with procedures notified by the CAA, or at a landing site other than an aerodrome, in accordance with procedures notified by the CAA and with the written permission of the organiser of the assembly.
Rule 16 Rules of the Air Regulations 1996
Immediately before an aircraft flies the commander of the aircraft shall examine the current reports and forecasts of the weather conditions on the proposed flight path, being reports and forecasts which it is reasonably practicable for him to obtain, in order to determine whether Instrument Meteorological Conditions prevail or are likely to prevail during any part of the flight.
Visual Flight Rules (VFR)
Rule 26 Rules of the Air Regulations 1996
These rules govern the procedures for conducting flight outside controlled airspace under visual meteorological conditions (VMC). The requirements are designed to provide sufficient visibility so that other aircraft can be seen and avoided. VFR flight is only permitted when conditions are equal to or better than the the VMC minima. VFR flight cannot be conducted at night (night means 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise at surface level).
Level Flight Visibility Distance from cloud
At or below 3000 feet amsl 1.5 km Clear of cloud AND in sight of the surface
Above 3000 feet amsl to
Flight Level 100 5 km 1000 feet vertically and 1500 metres horizontally
Rule 19 Rules of the Air Regulations 1996
An aircraft in sight of the ground which is following a road, railway, canal or coastline, or any other line of landmarks, shall keep such line of landmarks on its left.
Rule 17 Rules of the Air Regulations 1996
An aircraft in the air shall give way to other converging aircraft as follows :-
• flying machines shall give way to airships, gliders and balloons,
• airships shall give way to gliders and balloons,
• gliders shall give way to balloons.
When two aircraft of the same classification are converging in the air at approximately the same altitude, the aircraft which has the other on its right shall give way.
When two aircraft of the same classification are approaching head-on or approximately so in the air and there is danger of collision, each shall alter its course to the right. (When hill soaring in free flight convention dictates that the pilot with the hill on the left should move out so the other pilot is not compelled to turn into or over the hill.)
An aircraft which is being overtaken in the air shall have the right-of-way and the overtaking aircraft shall keep out of the way of the other aircraft by altering course to the right, and shall not cease to keep out of the way of the other aircraft until that other aircraft has been passed and is clear (a glider overtaking another glider in the United Kingdom may alter its course to the right or to the left - when ridge soaring in free flight convention dictates that overtaking takes place on the hill side allowing the pilot being overtaken to make a normal turn away from the hill).
Controlled Airspace and ATZs
Airspace in the UK is divided into controlled airspace and uncontrolled airspace and further sub-divided into classes of airspace. Class A to E airspace is controlled airspace although class C is not currently used. Class F and G airspace is uncontrolled.
Rule 39 Rules of the Air Regulations 1996
An aircraft shall not fly, take off or land within an aerodrome traffic zone during notified times without the permission of the air traffic control unit at the aerodrome or, where there is no air traffic control unit, in accordance with the aerodrome flight information service or, where there is no air traffic control unit nor aerodrome flight information service unit, in accordance with information from the air/ground radio station at that aerodrome, to enable the flight to be conducted with safety. An ATZ will normally adopt the class of airspace in which it is situated.
Class G Airspace
Flight Permitted - subject to avoidance of ATZs (unless permission given), Danger Areas and other restrictions marked on air maps or otherwise notified.
Class F Airspace
Flight Permitted - Advisory Airspace - beware - these are routes used by commercial and private traffic which may be operating under IFR (instruments) - depicted on charts as a single dashed line these routes extend 5 nautical miles either side of the line.
Class E Airspace
Belfast and Scottish control areas - ATC contact recommended
Class D Airspace
Control areas around smaller commercial airports. ATC Clearance required - two way radio communication required. Flight plan.
Class B Airspace
Upper airspace - above FL245 (24,500 ft) -
Class A Airspace
Major Airways below FL245 - (mainly commercial traffic) including London CTR and TMA, Manchester TMA and CTA at Daventry, Cotswold and Worthing.
Copyright © 2008 Boston Aero Club Limited