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The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

-- A case for regeneration through regulatory change

A specialist paper by the Royal Aeronautical Society

JUNE 2006


Royal Aeronautical Society

At the forefront of change


ounded in 1866 to further the science of aeronautics, the Royal Aeronautical Society has been at the forefront of developments in aerospace ever since. Today the Society performs three primary roles:

to support and maintain the highest standards for professionalism in all aerospace disciplines; to provide a unique source of specialist information and a central forum for the exchange of ideas; to exert influence in the interests of aerospace in both the public and industrial arenas. Benefits Membership grades for professionals and enthusiasts alike Over 19,000 members in more than 100 countries Over 70 Branches across the world Dedicated Careers Centre Publisher of three monthly magazines Comprehensive lecture and conference programme One of the most extensive aerospace libraries in the world The Society is the home for all aerospace professionals, whether they are engineers, doctors, air crew, air traffic controllers, lawyers, to name but a few. There is a grade of membership for everyone -- from enthusiasts to captains of industry. To join the Society please contact the Chief Executive, Royal Aeronautical Society, 4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7670 4300. Fax: +44 (0)20 7670 4309. e-mail: [email protected] Website:


he Royal Aeronautical Society has 20 Specialist Interest Group Committees, each of which has been set up to represent the Society in all aspects of the aerospace world. These committees vary in size and activity but all their members contribute an active knowledge and enthusiasm. The Groups meet four or five times a year and their main activities centre around the production of conferences and lectures, with which the Society fulfils a large part of its objectives in education and the dissemination of technical information. This work is valuable not only in terms of the Society's charter objectives but also financially, as the conference programme contributes to the Society's annual income. In addition to planning these conferences and lectures, the Groups also act as focal points for the information enquiries and requests received by the Society. The Groups therefore form a vital interface between the Society and the world at large, reflecting every aspect of the Society's diverse and unique membership. By using the mechanism of the Groups, the Society covers the interests of operators and manufacturers, military and civil aviators, commercial and research organisations, regulatory and administrative bodies, engineers and doctors, designers and distributors, company directors and students, and every other group of professionals who work within aerospace. No other institution represents such a wide and varied range of professions. The Society membership must ensure that these Groups continue to reflect the constant innovation and development of aviation. This can only be achieved by regular input from members. The Group Committees would welcome new members and those interested should write to the chairman of the relevant committee c/o the Conference and Events Department. The Specialist Groups are: Aerodynamics, Air Finance, Air Law, Air Power, Air Transport, Airworthiness & Maintenance, Aviation Medicine, Avionics & Systems, Environment (called Air Travel Greener by Design), Flight Operations, Flight Simulation, Flight Test, General Aviation, Historical, Human Factors, Human Powered Aircraft, Management Studies, Propulsion, Rotorcraft, Space, Structures & Materials and Weapon Systems & Technology. If you feel you can provide an input, or expand the interests covered by a particular group, please act today and get in touch. Remember, the RAeS is only as influential as the members make it.

This paper represents the views of the General Aviation Group (formerly the Light Aviation Group) of the Royal Aeronautical Society. It has been approved by the President and Chairman of the Learned Society Board and it does not necessarily represents the views of the Society as a whole.


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

-- A case for regeneration through regulatory change

A Specialist Paper prepared by John Edgley, CEng, MRAeS

RAeS General Aviation Group

The Committee of the General Aviation Group (formerly Light Aviation Group) of the Royal Aeronautical Society Prof Lee Balthazor (Chairman), John Bradley, Dr Bill Brooks, AVM John Brownlow, Eddie Clapham, Bill Dobie, Francis Donaldson, John Edgley, Ludo Forrer (YMB), Dr Tony Gee, Dr Guy Gratton (Vice Chairman), John O'Hara, John Robertson, John Scutt, Dick Stratton, Chris Taylor, Barry Tempest and Bob Wilson.


The Committee of the General Aviation (formerly Light Aviation) Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) has become increasingly concerned at the lack of design and manufacture of light aircraft to UK original designs. New recreational aircraft designs are being created and produced in Australia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, New Zealand, Poland and the USA, with even those designed in the UK usually transferred elsewhere for development and production. This paper aims to review the current situation and recommend how the situation may be addressed. The Group believes that UK designers and aircraft builders, both amateur and professional, are as capable and skilful as those anywhere in the world, and that the UK is therefore currently failing to achieve its full potential. This paper investigates the situation, compares the UK to a number of overseas countries, and concludes that, although not necessarily the only reason, the main reason for this decline is the over prescriptive method of approval for test flight of prototype aircraft. The General Aviation Group recommends that to have a regenerated and vibrant light aircraft industry in the UK it is necessary to encourage the prototyping of a number of amateur designed experimental aircraft under rules that are appropriate to the risk to individuals involved and to third parties. From this will follow the subsequent development of a small proportion of these experimental types into aircraft that can progress either into series production aircraft with a full Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA), or can be sold to a wider range of amateur constructors, both in the UK and overseas, either as plans or as kits under the existing rules that apply to the Popular Flying Association (PFA) and British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA).

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The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

-- A case for regeneration through regulatory change

CONTENTS 1.0 Preamble ......................................................................... 5 2.0 Introduction .................................................................... 5 3.0 Light Aircraft Certification in the UK ............................ 7 3.1 Approval of New Aircraft Designs .......................... 7 3.2 Light Aviation -- a Missed Opportunity ................. 8 3.3 Approval of Gliders in the UK ................................. 9 4.0 Light Aviation Regulation Overseas ..............................10 4.1 Australia ....................................................................10 4.2 New Zealand and South Africa ...............................11 4.3 Mainland Europe ......................................................12 4.4 North America ..........................................................13 5.0 The UK Popular Flying Association Approach ............. 13 6.0 Analysis of the UK Register ...........................................14 7.0 Public Investment, the Universities and the Wider Aircraft Industry .............................................................16 8.0 How Safe is Light Aviation? ...........................................17 9.0 A Proposal for the UK ....................................................17 10.0 Conclusions ...................................................................18 Appendix A -- An interpretation of Annex 11, and other EASA exemptions ...........................................................18 Appendix B -- Overview of the Experimental Rules in Australia ..........................................................................19 Appendix C -- Overview of the French Light Aircraft Regulatory Scene ........................................................... 21 Appendix D -- Summary of US Regulations and their Outcomes ....................................................................... 24 Appendix E -- Third Party Risk from UK General Aviation Aeroplanes ..................................................................... 26 Appendix F -- Rationale and Acknowledgement ............. 26


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

Sir George Cayley's `governable parachute'.

The Daedalus Project's Light Eagle Human-powered aircraft. In 1988 this aircraft flew by pedal power the 70 miles from the Greek mainland to the island of Santorini. This was an MIT project; the RAeS has sponsored several human-powered aircraft competitions.


1. Since time began mankind has looked to the skies and dreamt of flight. The birds and insects, and even bats, fly and we are told that some dinosaurs were able to fly, but mankind remained firmly rooted to the ground. In mythology Daedalus was supposed to have flown from the Greek mainland to the island of Santorini. Only in the past two hundred years or so has man achieved this goal, and by mechanical means. The Montgolfier brothers first flew a balloon in France on 4 June 1783, Sir George Cayley's glider flew 900ft at Brompton Dale in 1853 and 17 December 1903 saw the first powered flight by the Wright brothers in the USA. The many developments throughout the 20th century led to Neil Armstrong landing on the moon in 1969, to transatlantic supersonic flight by Concorde becoming an everyday occurrence and, in 1988, to a human-powered aircraft, designed and developed in the USA at MIT, flying the 70 mile flight of Daedalus. 2. Throughout the pioneering days many small aircraft, gliders, kites, gyrocopters and the like were designed and built by individuals and small groups, working often in almost total isolation, throughout the world. This effort and human interest led cumulatively to the whole aeronautics experience that today we take for granted and which has led to a whole vibrant and exciting aviation culture and industry. The UK has a proud record in contributing to these developments through innovative technology and the bravery of aviation pioneers. 3. But where are we now? We are no longer able to fly transatlantic in a supersonic aircraft, and only from the USA do we see any adventure in space travel and aircraft for record breaking attempts. To the British public at large, flight has become a utility in today's world, and an aircraft an aluminium tube with a couple of wings that will get the businessman to his next meeting, or the package holiday maker to the latest `hit' holiday destination. In the UK, aviation seems to have lost much of its glamour and excitement. 4. So what happened? Do we want to try and re-engage the youth of today in aeronautics and flying as an exciting experience? The Royal Aeronautical Society is certainly, among many other aims, committed to such a goal, as it was committed to the goal of advancing the science of aeronautics in all its forms at the time of its formation in 1866 by the Duke of Argyll.


5. The Committee of the General Aviation Group (formerly the Light Aviation Group) has for some time been concerned at the decline of light aircraft design and manufacturing in the UK. This has coincided with the Society's general concern about the future of the UK aerospace industry reflected in several recent public statements on competitiveness of the UK aerospace industry. While the light aviation sector has not been singled out for attention, the Group argues that, as Britain's more successful international competitors all nurture their light aircraft design and building activity, there is a critical link between developments in light aviation and the overall competitiveness of a country's aerospace industry. 6. The critical link is the inspirational effect of light aviation on those contemplating a career in aerospace and other aviationrelated industries. Young people may perhaps feel more identity with the sporting element of aviation, which could lead to career choices as aircraft designers, technicians, technologists, engineers, air traffic controllers and pilots, as well as careers in all forms of research and education in aeronautics. At a later stage in career development, light aviation may also lead to a continuing `air mindedness', where, for example, commercial pilots after active retirement, may continue to fly and to take an interest in the younger generation through flying both powered aircraft and gliding; or the case of engineers who continue to research and design, and in some instances build, light aircraft as a recreational activity. In general, as a nation, the UK appears to have lost some of its historic interest in engineering and manufacturing, as well as flying. Light aviation could perhaps re-ignite a wider awareness and interest among the general public who might perhaps identify more closely with aircraft and flight where the commercial and military aspects of aviation sometimes appear increasingly remote from the individual. Even those who fly regularly in commercial aircraft tend to see this more as a means of transport than as an aviation experience. Finally, the many thousands of people who regularly watch airshows attest to a reservoir of interest in aviation that needs to be encouraged and stimulated into taking a more active part in the sector. Light aviation represents the cheapest and most direct route into a `hands on' aviation experience. 7. The Society last addressed this subject in May 1999: since then little has occurred to have substantively improved matters1. Yet


Light Aviation Group `The Future' Position Paper, May 1999.

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concern over the future of aviation and aerospace in the UK has continued to grow as evidenced by the DTI's Aerospace Innovation and Growth Team report which, while again omitting light aviation, did reflect upon the need to inspire another generation of skilled people to build a competitive aviation industry. 8. In the 1930s and in the two decades following WW2, the UK produced many successful designs, but there has been a marked decline and a dearth of products since then. On the other hand, many of our competitors in Europe, Australia, and some of the former Soviet block countries have managed to establish a market in the UK for imaginative and capable light aircraft (many of them supplied as kits for home building) and which have been commercially successful both in terms of manufacturing and international distribution. Not only has the UK design, development and production of light powered aircraft virtually disappeared, but the design and manufacture of high performance gliders and motor gliders are now almost exclusively commercial activities undertaken by our competitors in continental Europe. As one observer recently noted: "While walking through the halls at this year's AERO show at Friedrichshafen and marvelling at all the wonderful new designs emanating from the Czech Republic, France, Germany and Poland it suddenly occurred to me that there wasn't a single aircraft from Britain, not even a kit or a set of plans!"2 9. In the UK, while home building to plans, or now more generally kits, is a popular activity by individuals under the auspices of the Popular Flying Association (PFA) and the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA), these plans and kits are generally of overseas design. The PFA web site states that currently they have approximately 1,500 such amateur build projects, but the majority are aircraft of foreign design and development3. During 2004 the UK imported 22 new gliders, but there were none manufactured in the UK. There were approximately 240 new microlights added to the UK register, of which only one third were produced in the UK and of these, only about half were of original UK design. Approximately 200 new light aircraft, both as kits and finished aircraft, were added to the register (including 62 light helicopters) but only 19 of these, all of which were home built kits, were produced in the UK, and even then the majority of these kits were of non UK design4. 10. It is difficult to explain the reasons for the decline, to the point of its total demise, of light aircraft design and development in the UK. It is unlikely that this situation stems from a shortage of the required skills in aeronautics since education of young people in aeronautical engineering does not appear to be lacking in either numbers or quality. Nor can it be a lack of market potential since aircraft from Europe and elsewhere are selling well in the UK, both in kit and completed form. Our culture, it is sometimes claimed, no longer welcomes light aviation activity in our skies, but it is difficult to understand how this, if true, would translate into a lack of determination to undertake a potentially profitable commercial activity. However, regulation of aircraft design, construction, development, and support is sometimes regarded as too severe and expensive in the UK, and that safety regulation is less costly in other countries making the achievement of profitable light aviation activity much easier.

The AERO 2005 show at Friedrichshafen. "Not a single aircraft from Britain."

11. Compared with some other major aerospace manufacturing countries (Australia, the US and France are especially relevant in this respect), who have nurtured their light aircraft design and building activity, the UK faces a number of obstacles. In the United States the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) actively supports light aircraft design and manufacture and has an experimental category under which research aircraft can be flown with a minimum of certification complexity. This has even encouraged employees of the larger aircraft industry to do their own research, and in many cases to build experimental aircraft as a home pursuit. In France, many light aircraft, both home and factory built, are designed and manufactured under a favourable regulatory regime. In Germany there is a very strong tradition of designing and building experimental gliders as a part of an engineering course at university. Likewise in the former Soviet Union student design bureaux existed in many of the major aerospace universities. New Zealand and South Africa both report active encouragement by the authorities and Australia has relatively recently introduced an Experimental Category based on the FAA model which has had a regenerating effect on the industry in Australia, an example that the Light Aircraft Group of the RAeS would like to see emulated in the UK. 12. While the Society has considered the general requirements for a more competitive UK aerospace industry; the General Aviation Group contends that light aircraft design and manufacturing has an important part to play in this future. In recent years significant private investor funds have been made available for light aircraft projects, and over the past 15 years or so there has been some effective public encouragement from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and more recently from the Regional Development Agencies (RDA), which have made grant funding available to a number of new and innovative projects. These initiatives should be encouraged and expanded to make it easier for similar projects to develop into successful competitive enterprises. In addition this paper looks briefly at the role of universities and the wider aircraft industry in historical terms, and how, albeit to a limited extent, some university departments are beginning now to revive their interests in light aircraft design and manufacture. 13. But without a significant improvement in the regulatory climate in the UK, this interest is likely to prove nugatory. This is due primarily to the certification framework laid down by the UK Government through the Department for Transport (DfT), expressed in the Air Navigation Order (ANO), and administered by

2David Unwin, the Editor of Today's Pilot writing an article on this subject, Today's Pilot, November 2005 with subsequent replies from PFA, BMAA, BGA, Angus Fleming (AMF), Chip Erwin (Czech Aircraft Works) and others, Today's Pilot, December 2005 3PFA website at 4UK register can be found on the CAA website at


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)5. A key part of the problem is that the UK Government requires aviation to be financially selfsupporting in terms of safety regulation. In this respect the UK appears to be the only country in the world to place such financial demands on its aviation industry. This gives our competitors a significant edge in world markets. However, further to this, and possibly more important, has been the over-prescriptive method of approval for test flight of prototype and other experimental aircraft. This in itself has a significant cost implication, but more particularly causes unnecessary, anti-competitive and time consuming delays in what at an early stage is purely experimental research and development. There is no evidence that aviation safety is compromised in those countries that have a more relaxed view towards experimental light aircraft. In fact, quite the contrary, since more experimental research is bound to lead to a greater engineering understanding and therefore ultimately, greater safety for series produced aircraft. Added to this is the fact that the majority of aviation accidents are caused by some form of pilot-induced error or incorrect assessment of the weather, and only a minority of accidents are caused by failure of the aircraft, as will be shown. 14. This paper contends that UK designers and aircraft builders, both amateur and professional, are as capable and skilful as those anywhere in the world. However, the UK is currently failing to achieve its full potential. The recommendations made in this paper, especially the specific reference to the need to introduce some form of experimental certification, would help to stimulate a revival of the UK light aircraft industry. Moreover, with the formation of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and with the prospect that many of the rules affecting aviation generally are likely to be changed, it is a particularly good time to address the issue of certification since it appears that experimental flying of the type envisaged will remain a national responsibility, and it gives our national authority the chance to look more closely at what is done by our overseas competitors in order that the UK may regain its former position of excellence in aeronautical research and development.

Scrap Heap Mega Challenge. A three-day design and build event that had to take place in the US because of UK restrictions on flight. The winning team was headed by Dr Bill Brooks from the UK

the design of completely new airframes and engines, or the modification of existing aircraft, in cases where these aircraft are not intended for commercial production8. In the past this class of aircraft was regulated through the design (and possibly manufacturing) company or organisation having a `B' conditions approval9. This type of approval covered companies or organisations ranging from those designing large transport aircraft down to those designing the smallest one seat microlight. In practice such approval has proved difficult and expensive, although not impossible, for the smaller companies and organisations, including one-man organisations, both to obtain and later to administer. 17. An alternative for the designer of a one-off new light aircraft design has been to apply for a Permit to Fly (Permit) with the PFA or the BMAA, so long as such aircraft comes within specified allowable limits such as maximum take off weight, seating capacity, stall speed, engine horsepower to name but a few limitations. The problem even with a PFA or BMAA permit has been that the level of proof of compliance required to achieve a Permit is, in the judgement of the General Aviation Group, well above that which is necessary for an experimental test flight of a prototype aircraft. As in any experimental test flying, the designer and manufacturer of the aircraft will be directly involved in the test flying; as a result the pilot will be well qualified and specially briefed to the nature of the flying required. Additionally, there will be restrictions imposed on where, and possibly when, such flights may take place. 18. An additional problem is that the current regulations effectively prevent transfer of the certification status of an aircraft with CofA to a Permit. There is a large global market for UK based developers of light aircraft technology to improve either CofA aircraft, or to test new types of engines, propellers or exhaust systems, for both CofA and Permit aircraft. The current cost and regulatory complexity, unaffordable to small companies



3.1 Approval of New Designs 15. The certification of aircraft in Europe is undergoing a radical change as the majority of aircraft will in future be regulated by the recently established European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The standards for any factory-manufactured aircraft being awarded a Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) will be dictated by EASA. Some aircraft will still, however, come under the jurisdiction of the National Authorities (in Britain the CAA). These will be designs covered by the so called Annex II of the EC Basic Regulation 1592/20026. Annex II includes all amateur (home) built aircraft and all microlight aircraft, two categories which in the UK have traditionally been overseen by the Popular Flying Association (PFA) and the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) -- the usual alternative to direct regulation by the CAA7. 16. In addition to the above, the new EASA rules in Annex II (b) exempts "aircraft specifically designed or modified for research, experimental or scientific purposes, and likely to be produced in very limited numbers." Thus the national authorities will continue to regulate all experimental and research aircraft, whether this be

5CAA website at 6The EU basic regulation is to be found

at or the direct address 7For an interpretation by the CAA of these and other EASA exemptions, see Appendix A.

is certainly reasonable to say that a traditional hand-built prototype is, by definition, not intended for commercial production, even if the intention is to later put the design into production. 9See British Civil Airworthiness Requirements (BCAR) Section A. In a letter to the General Aviation Group of the RAeS, the Safety Regulation Group of the CAA has confirmed that `B' conditions will remain the UK national process for experimental test flying.

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and organisations, effectively eliminates the possibility of low cost experimental test flying on generally-available and simpleto-fly CofA light aircraft. Such small companies and organisations, however well qualified, are therefore inhibited from developing ideas and proving them in the air. 19. A factor often missed in discussion is that new design and innovation will often be initiated by the kind of engineer or designer who, while fully conversant with the rules that govern safe flight of an aircraft, is perhaps more skilful at the imaginative process of design and innovation than at the more formal process of proving compliance with the regulations. In the early stages of the design, including initial flight testing and assessment, it is not necessary to complete the full process of demonstrating compliance with all applicable airworthiness regulations to enable flight testing to be carried out safely. The ability to undertake the more formal proof of compliance process is a skill in itself. A parallel would be the separation of marketing and sales functions in a commercial organisation. All these skills, including that needed to prove compliance, will be applicable at some stage if a project is to become a commercial success. However, the first stage of safe design, safe build and safe flight of a prototype could be carried out under the sole responsibility of the innovator, without the need initially for these other skills. This approach would not only save time and money by reducing the burden on the designer or manufacturer, but could also reduce the considerable costs incurred by Airworthiness Authority charges. 20. In order to regenerate the previously successful design and development of new light aircraft in Britain, change is needed to the regulatory requirements for prototype flight testing. In particular this requires removing the requirements for external oversight beyond the absolute minima to ensure third party safety, and to shift the burden of responsibility from the regulatory authorities to those individuals, small firms or other organisations responsible for the test flying. Such a shift of responsibility has been shown to work in other countries. Such a change could also lead to greater encouragement for air-vehicle and aircraft design, and regulatory compliance related training, in the universities and other institutions training aeronautical engineers. 3.2 Light Aviation -- a Missed Opportunity for the UK? 21. It might be assumed that substantial capital investment is needed to finance the construction, development, test flying, certification and production of a new light aircraft. But experience over the past twenty or so years has shown that there are sources of both public funding through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), or more recently the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), and private funding, in the UK and overseas, for the design and production of new light aircraft types. Indeed many such projects have been launched in the UK during this period10. There may have been valid business or technical reasons why the majority of these projects foundered, or in some cases transferred overseas; however a significant number were severely hampered not only by the bureaucratic burden of regulation in the UK, both in general terms of proof of compliance and in terms of obtaining initial clearance for flight of an experimental or prototype aircraft, but also by the airworthiness charges that have been out of line with those charged to foreign competitors.

The fuselage for the Centaur flying boat, a UK-based project but under construction in the USA under the Experimental Category.

The author presenting Filip Lambert with the first prize in the RAeS Design Competition on completion of the Mission prototype in 2004, ten years after winning the competition.

The Farnborough Air Taxi and other Examples 22. The Farnborough six seat air taxi is one example. In the 1990s several years were spent working on this project where the design team had to demonstrate production standard quality control procedures involving statistical analysis of hundreds of composite material samples before they could start on a prototype. The result was that the aircraft was not made in the UK. Under new management, the same company teamed up with Epic Aviation Inc in the US and flew the Farnborough wing on a development fuselage under the US Experimental Category within 18 months11. Another example is the Centaur flying boat which won a DTI SMART exceptional award in 2001, one of ten such awards in the UK, (awarded to projects with significant economic implications), but this project has now been transferred to the USA for development under the US Experimental Category12. 23. While it is possible to fly a prototype in the UK, for example the Lambert Mission, it is much harder than it should be13. The Mission was the winning entry for the 1994 RAeS Light Aircraft Design Competition and, although built in Belgium, it was subject to UK oversight by the PFA. Filip Lambert, and his brother Steven, showed amazing tenacity to bring this new design to the point of first flight of a prototype in 2004, ten years after the original award; but under an Experimental Category, without the need for formal proof of compliance under the regulations, a first flight could have been accomplished much quicker. In any new design

11Farnborough F1 Website at 12This project also won a RAeS Handley Page Award. The Warrior (Aero-

10Records from the DTI list a total of 30 such awards to small companies between 1988 and 2002, and, assuming an average £60,000, these amount to £1.8m. This list is believed to be incomplete, and the true figure for use of public funds may be higher.

Marine) Ltd website will be found at In a letter Warrior confirms that they are still hoping to transfer back to UK-based certification if circumstances allow. 13Lambert Aircraft website is at


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

The Reality Escapade, a UK project but developed jointly with a US company for initial test flying.

First production Wilksch WAM120 in the Europa, built by a Wilksch customer specifically for this engine. Progress was delayed by UK approval limitations.

there will be a degree of innovation. After the first flight it is inevitable that further development will be needed to bring the prototype aircraft to the standard needed to obtain either a full CofA or a Permit, necessitating a repetition of much of the proof of compliance procedure. A consequence of this sort of delay is that too much time, energy and resource is used up achieving a first flight, and much of the premature effort expended on the first prototype is made redundant. 24. Likewise the PFA is overseeing the approval programme for the highly innovative Wilksch Airmotive diesel engine14. From small beginnings as a start-up venture in 1994, Wilksch have demonstrated a modular range of 2-stroke Diesel cycle engines that have the potential to match the power/weight ratio of established avgas burning engines. There have been many inevitable hold ups inherent in this type of project, but the need for PFA approval of modifications to an amateur-built aircraft in order that it could be used to gain flight experience with the engine has led to additional and largely unnecessary delay. This is a clear case of where it should have been possible for the company to use a CofA production aircraft, carrying out modifications to the engine under a relatively simple self approval system, rather than needing PFA approval for each modification as it took place. 25. In the field of microlights the joint UK/US Escapade aircraft project relied primarily upon British engineering and test flying expertise15. Yet, despite this co-operative effort, the companies involved chose to do their development test flying in the USA because the regulatory regime permitted this initial test flying with a much lighter regulatory burden than would have been the case in the UK 26. In the late 1970s, in the case of the design and development of the Optica slow flying observation aircraft, the initial permit to test was granted by the CAA at an early stage of development when, although a large number of aerodynamic and stress calculations had been made, there was no formal paperwork in the accepted sense16. The prototype was initially grossly under powered, but not unsafe for test flying, and in the hands of an experienced test pilot this allowed safe rapid development of the

14Wilksch Airmotive website is at 15Reality Aircraft website is at 16The Optica was designed by the author of this paper. See Flight

ducted fan and power plant installation with little or no CAA involvement. It was only later, when all the technical problems had been ironed out, that more formal documentation was submitted leading to full UK, and later USA, certification. Quite apart from the cost saving, this allowed the research and development that led to the design being developed more fully than would now be possible. Indeed, with the way that the rules have changed in the subsequent 25 years, it is very unlikely that this project could now be undertaken in the UK. 3.3 Approval of Gliders in the UK 27. Until EASA's creation, the British Gliding Association (BGA) enjoyed considerable latitude in its ability to modify gliders with the minimum of bureaucracy in the approval process because gliding has not been regulated by the CAA. The BGA Technical Committee has in the past been able to set modification approval at a minimum sensible level, taking into account the potential effect of the modification on the aerodynamics, structural integrity, weight and balance and crashworthiness of the glider. The track record of the BGA bears out the fact that very few of the modifications made have ever led directly to an accident or made injury in an accident more likely. 28. However, for those gliders imported after September 2003, the modification process currently run by the BGA will no longer be valid. This is just one of the consequences of coming under the jurisdiction of EASA. Gliders imported since then are required to have a Certificate of Airworthiness issued by the National Airworthiness Authority (presently the CAA). Because of this, any modifications made (and this includes any instruments added after delivery) have to be endorsed by an approved Design Organisation. The BGA is presently engaged in an expensive exercise to determine how best such an organisation can be set up, at a tolerable cost to the membership. There are likely to be no easy answers. For example, the BGA has already been placed in the position whereby a simple modification to the rear seat of the DG 500 glider (to prevent injury in the event of a heavy landing) cannot be `read across' to the DG 1000 under the authority of its Technical Committee. This is because the DG 1000 is post September 2003, and therefore falls under the new rules. Consequently owners wishing to incorporate this simple safety improvement have been obliged to pay a commercial organisation that holds a Design Approval, a significant fee formally to incorporate what is essentially the same modification17.


International, 12 May 1979.

example is particularly notable since much glider safety research over the past 15 or so years has been undertaken in the UK under the direction of Dr Tony Segal, in co-operation with QinetiQ and its predecessors. See also Tony Segal `Nosewheel or Skid', Sailplane & Gliding, August-September 2005.

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29. Similarly, a research project during the 1990s led to a proof of concept glider, the EA918. This project received substantial public funding through the DTI. Test flying of the prototype, at an early stage of development, was possible because gliders had up to that point been unregulated in the UK; with the BGA issuing a form of Permit to Fly for operations from BGA controlled airfields. Under the new EASA rules it will be almost impossible, unless an Experimental Category is introduced or the status quo is retained, to develop a glider in this way in the UK in the future. 30. Both for modification and operation of imported gliders, and for design and development of new gliders, there is a clear need to reconsider the method of certification now being proposed for the UK in the light of the new EASA rules, retention of the status quo being the preferred option of the BGA. If this is not done the UK is going to be severely disadvantaged in the future.


31. The General Aviation Group have researched in some detail the comparative situation overseas and most particularly in the USA where the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had an Experimental Category for some years; France which has developed a system in parallel with the UK, but which, despite earlier moves to the contrary, subsequently developed rules that give a very much lighter touch to regulation of amateur built aircraft of all types; and Australia which has relatively recently introduced a new system derived from the FAA example. 4.1 Australia 32. The system in Australia used to be similar to that in the UK. As in the UK, it was realised that original and innovative design, and indeed any sort of light aircraft production, had almost ground to a halt. Australians involved in light aviation are strongly of the opinion that there is benefit to the aviation community as a whole from encouraging domestic light aircraft design and innovation: "Most of the aircraft component companies would go under if it was not for the experimental market. In Australia the GA market has dropped 54% in the past ten years whereas the Experimental category has increased by 165%. I think this is also the case in US."19 In 1998, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA) introduced an Experimental Category based on US regulations. These are detailed in two Advisory Circulars (AC), namely AC 21.10(0) `Experimental Certificates' October 1998 and AC 21.4(2) `Amateur-Built Experimental Aircraft -- Certification' September 200020. 33. The Australian system, as with that in the USA, encompasses the full range from commercial and military experimental aircraft to amateur designed and built aircraft, the latter being split into different categories for original designs and kits. CASA accepts that the majority of experimental aircraft will fall into the amateur category, and hence has written an AC directed specifically to amateur built aircraft. The introduction of this system was largely the responsibility of the then National


The Spitfire Mk26 with an 8-cylinder Jabiru engine, a recent Australian kit design that is becoming popular in the UK.

Technical Director of the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA.), and he recalls the background to the change: "I was on the writing team that put the Part 21 experimental rules in place in 1998. The Sport Aircraft Association of Australia put me up to that task when I stepped unexpectedly up to the position of National Technical Director. I knew nothing about the experimental rules, but coming from a purely conventional aviation background -- airline and GA maintenance, CPL fixed and rotary, Flying Instructor etc. -- I was decidedly uncomfortable with the idea that a person might be permitted to build and fly an aircraft without the mandatory oversight of `approved persons'. Fortunately, I was able to spend a week at EAA headquarters, where they graciously explained the whole thing to me; and converted me. "Nowadays I am a true believer. I have seen the results with my own eyes: a dramatic increase in amateur build activity, quality and diversity. So despite some lingering controversy among the more entrenched reactionaries at CASA, the experimental rules have served us well here in Oz. Since late 1998 for example, I think that I have inspected and issued certificates to about three or four hundred amateur built aircraft; not to mention some magnificent historical and ex-military machines."21 34. The new Australian rules have led to notable commercial success stories. The Jabiru is a two seat home built kit, and approved by the PFA as a Permit aircraft. Since 1996 113 of these have been added to the UK register, with a further 12 under construction. This aircraft design also spawned the new Jabiru engine which is now available in various sizes from four up to eight cylinders and 85hp to 180hp. A total of 490 Jabiru engines have been sold in the UK. More recently a four-seat kit has been added, the first four-seater kit to have been approved for amateur construction by the PFA, of which 13 are flying in the UK and a further 22 under construction. The factory has recently gained approval for the UL-D microlight and the J160 VLA, having gone through the normal certification process. The UL-D has now received UK CAA approval and the J160 has just been submitted to EASA. The new Australian rules also contributed to the international commercial success of the Gippsland Airvan22 as well as the Victa Airtourer which ended up as the Australian Airforce CT-4.


EA9 was designed by the author of this paper. See Flyer Magazine, January 1998. 19Garry Spicer, President of the Sport Aircraft Association Australia (SAAA) in a letter to the General Aviation Group of the RAeS. SAAA website is at 20These and other relevant AC will be found on the CASA website at

from Stephen Dines, former National Technical Director of the SAAA, to the General Aviation Group of the RAeS. A summary of the new Australian system, written for this Paper by Stephen Dines, can be found in Appendix B. 22Gippsland Aeronautics website is at


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

4.2 New Zealand and South Africa New Zealand 35. The certification procedures for Light Aviation in both New Zealand and South Africa encourage innovation and experimental light aircraft23. The New Zealand CAA (NZ CAA) do have an Experimental Category, and although this is not encouraged, they allow the fitting of experimental engines in CofA aircraft24. Information from the NZ CAA and other reports suggests that there is no evidence that the Experimental Category has led to any increased risk to third parties25. The rules have, for instance, led to a major development of the Fletcher top dressing aircraft by Pacific Aerospace Corporation Ltd (PAC) who, during the development phase to produce the Fletcher 750XL, operated the aircraft under the Experimental category26. In addition a new seaplane called 'Shearwater'27 is in the test flight phase of development for the custom built (homebuilt) kit plane market. 36. The Waikato region of New Zealand has emerged as a prime aircraft design and production area, bringing with it a personnel and support infrastructure. A major factor in this development and subsequent expansion has been recruiting adequately qualified staff and housing them. PAC, based at Hamilton airport, produce the 750XL and the CT4 military trainer aircraft, and a new company, Alpha Aviation, is starting licensed production of the French Robin R2160 and R212028. Approximately 20km west of Hamilton, Micro Aviation NZ Ltd. are producing the Bantam B22 Microlight aircraft which they designed and developed29. To date 287 of these microlights have been sold throughout the world and as well as becoming a private microlight of choice they are sought after as a substitute for more expensive helicopters which are utilised in patrol type work. As a result, production is being expanded to keep up with demand. 37. In short: "New Zealand has been an aviation minded country from the outset of aviation and due to its initial isolation has developed a can-do attitude to aircraft design and repair. This has resulted in a large number of aircraft being designed and built under the umbrella of SAANZ. Most are not suitable, or designed for, a commercial market but keep alive the tradition of innovation and the quest for the perfect design of airframe and engine."30 It should be emphasised that the NZ CAA personnel are seen as being particularly helpful and encouraging during the development and certification process for light aircraft. South Africa 38. South Africa does not have an Experimental Category as such; however the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SA CAA) encourages the development of new types under the

23Details of the position in New Zealand came from Capt Neville Hay, FRAeS, President of the NZL Division RAeS and himself the builder of CriCri ZK LBW, a very small French designed twin-engined single-seater aircraft. 24Detailed information from the regulators perspective is available by reference to Part 21 on the NZ CAA website at 25The New Zealand equivalent of the US Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is the Sport Aircraft Association of New Zealand (SAANZ) whose website is at 26Pacific Aerospace Corporation Ltd. website is at 27Shearwater website is at http://www. 28Alpha Aviation website is at 29Hamilton Micro Aviation NZ Ltd website is at http:// 30Letter from Capt Neville Hay to the General Aviation Group of the RAeS.

classification `Non Type Certified Aircraft (NTCA), Parts 24, 94, 96 and 66 Subpart 10'31. This system has been in operation for some 30 years; the accident rates have basically been constant for some years; and the statistics on rate of registration of NTCA and the rate of accidents reveal that there is a higher rate of aircraft being registered than there are accidents. This data suggests that the structure of the approach towards NTCA is working, however, the processes are considerably different to those of the USA. The process does not allow for changing from CofA aircraft to NTCA and then back again; once an aircraft has been moved into NTCA, such as in the case of a Veteran aircraft, then it cannot be returned to CofA status. By comparison it should be remembered that in the UK even this flexibility is not possible, since British CofA aircraft can no longer be transferred to Permit status. 39. NTCA is the grass roots of the South African aviation industry. Some of the younger people who have been involved in the NTCA sport have moved on to become aircraft designers, technicians, technologists, engineers, air traffic controllers and pilots and experimental prototype aircraft have led to commercially viable enterprises: "In South Africa, NTCA aircraft with SA design authority can obtain NTCA Approval. These aircraft are made available in SA and are also exported. The Windlass, Aquilla and Thunderbird are some examples of SA aircraft that are supplied as production NTCA and are considered as Microlights. The SB2 is an aircraft that can be considered as a high speed composite tourer aircraft. This aircraft is available as a `scratch built' aircraft and limited kits. The Bushbaby is a low speed aircraft that is offered in both kit form and in completed form. There is the Ravin 500 which is a high speed composite four-seater aircraft, also designed in SA. The above are but a few examples of the range of complexity of NTCA aircraft that contribute to the aviation industry in South Africa. One must bear in mind that the developments of these aircraft have NOT seen any substantial support from Government during its development program."32 40. It is felt that in South Africa there is a gap between the aviation industry and the academic institutions however, as one South African academic aero-engineer observes: "The University of the Witwatersrand -- the only University in South Africa with a true aerospace engineering programme with full time aeronautical engineers on staff -- has done some work on microlights from design to wind tunnel testing which is currently under way as part of a MSc (Eng) project."33 South African students have also been developing an 18m sailplane, the JS1, with some novel ideas both on aerodynamics and wing construction34.


comments from South Africa were obtained through Dr Craig Law, RAeS Divisional Secretary in South Africa, and came from Mr Steve Boschoff, a prominent member of the South African Experimental Aircraft Association. South Africa Civil Aviation Authority website is at http:// (Airworthiness -- Amateur Built Aircraft). The South African Experimental Aircraft Association website is at 32Stephen Boschoff writing in his report to the General Aviation Group. 33Dr Craig Law, in his professional capacity a lecturer at the School of Mechanical, Aeronautical and Industrial Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand . The Flow Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand website is at 34As reported at the OSTIV seminar at Mafikeng, South Africa, in 2001 BOSMAN, J.J. and JONKER, A.S. Technical Soaring, (A Journal of the Soaring Society of America Inc and Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du Vol a Voile (OSTIV)), 27, Nos 1 and 2. January and April 2003 (Printed 2005).

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The Turbulent, a 1950s French design, one of several to be built under license in the UK at about that time.

The Antares, a battery-powered motorglider from Lange-Flugzenbau, a new German manufacturer.

4.3 Mainland Europe 41. It has proved difficult to ascertain how the system for approval of amateur built experimental aircraft operates in other European countries. This is partly due to language difficulties of published information, but probably more that there appear to be various un-documented systems that operate in practice, sometime on a case by case basis, and sometimes on the basis of what has developed as common practice35. France 42. The French have a long history of success in light aircraft design and manufacture. Several French types have been popular in the UK since the 1950s both as finished aircraft and as plans approved by the PFA. The first single seat Jodel appeared in the 1950s, designed by Jean Delemontez. Other designers include Roger Druine, Marcel Jurca and Claude Piel. Some of these gave others the opportunity to start small scale production. The Jodel family gradually became the DR series of Delemontez Robin. The Turbulent and Turbi aircraft of Roger Druine were built in the UK as were the Emeraudes of Claude Piel. The trend has continued ever since. In addition France has a healthy light aircraft manufacturing sector, notably SOCATA, which is now part of EADS, previously Aérospatiale, so demonstrating that large and small aircraft can co-exist on a commercial basis, and Apex Aircraft which has incorporated Centrair, Avions Pierre Robin, Avions Mudry and CAP families. 43. The Réseau du Sport de l'Air (RSA) was set up in 1946, six years before our own PFA, but like the EAA and unlike the PFA it is an organisation specifically remitted to advise and encourage amateur aircraft design and building. Certification comes direct from the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC)36, with prototypes given a certificate, the `Certificat de Navigabilité Restreint d'Aeronef' (CNRA), similar to the Experimental Category in the USA37. This covers amateur prototype and plans-built aircraft up to four seats and 200hp. In 1998 the French added the `Certificat de Navigabilité Spéciale pour Kit' (CNSK) to cover kit built aircraft. In the case of both these categories the DGAC applies a very light regulatory touch. There are typically only two inspections; the DGAC applies limitations during the flight test period; the builder is expected to keep a record of the build; and to show that structural and aerodynamic calculations have been

done. On the other hand, there is no in depth inspection nor checking of these records and calculations38. Germany and Austria 44. In the past Germany is perhaps best known for its long history of high performance glider design, not only through the university based Akafliegs, but also through such well-known manufacturers as Schleicher, Glasflugel, Grob, DG Flugzeugbau, Schneider, Scheibe and Schempp-Hirth. The climate in Germany is such that new design ideas are able to be effectively progressed, evidenced by Lange-Flugzeugbau who have developed a self launching electric powered single seat high performance glider, the Antares, with a total of 26 recently delivered with full CofA, including one to a UK customer39. 45. Originating in Germany, the Grob 115 Tutor is a full CofA aircraft used by the RAF for training; and the recent success of Germany and Austria with powered light aircraft should be emphasized. Ikarus have delivered over 400 C42s and 80 are produced annually40. In the UK the C42 can be flown in either the microlight category or Very Light Aircraft category according to the individual machine's maximum all up weight (up to 450kg -- microlight and VLA above this weight). Diamond Aircraft Industries Gmbh is a major aircraft company located in Europe, Asia, Australasia, Canada, South America and Africa41. Production covers motor gliders to twin-engine machines. The conclusion that can be drawn from the success of Ikarus and Diamond is that the German and Austrian regulatory regimes must have been generally supportive of the design, development and production of the various types now being marketed; otherwise their admirable worldwide sales record would not have been possible. 46. The German regulations do not use the term `experimental category', nevertheless they have established a procedure in Germany for certification of individual aircraft, including home built aircraft and kits. All aircraft which do not or cannot demonstrate full compliance with the applicable airworthiness codes in Germany (i.e. the JARs plus CS-VLR) can achieve a CofA in the `restricted' category42. The Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA), the


35Information from France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland has been obtained by the CAA on behalf of the General Aviation Group of the RAeS. 36The DGAC website is at 37A fuller summary of the French system can be found in Appendix C.

a letter to the General Aviation Group, Filip Lambert, winner of the 1994 RAeS light aircraft design competition, describes the simplicity of the process. See Appendix C. 39Lange-Flugzeugbau website is See Prof Loek Boermans `Designing the Antares', Sailplane & Gliding, FebruaryMarch 2001 and Jochen Ewald `Electric Charger', Sailplane & Gliding, February-March 2004. 40Ikarus website is at 41Diamond website is at (also 42LBA Document No 240.1 English Edition 6/November 2000.


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

German certification authority, issues a data sheet for every individual aircraft, and for these types of project work in close collaboration with the amateur builder`s organisation, the OskarUrsinus-Vereiniggung (OUV). In some ways the German system appears similar to the UK, but how this works in practice is not clear. There is a small, but diverse fleet operated under the aegis of the OUV with over 100 aircraft fully cleared, some 200 in flight proving and nearly 300 under construction43. It is noteworthy that the new German aircraft designs generally come from the many established manufacturers of gliders and light aircraft. 47. The Austrian authorities44 have a regulation for homebuilt aircraft called LTH2245, which is currently being revised46. This is only available in German, but appears to refer to FAA documentation, for example the 51% rule to define a homebuilt, ref FAA 21.191. They also publish a very detailed flight test programme (79 pages) for this category47. This specifically refers to the FAA AC 90-89 `Amateur Built Flight Test Handbook'. The Diamond has already been mentioned as popular on the UK register. In addition the very popular Rotax engines that power many of today's light aircraft and microlights were developed in Austria. 48. In Switzerland there is an amateur builder association, the Experimental Aviation of Switzerland (EAS)48. The Swiss certification authority (BAZL), also known as the FOCA, works with this association which handles homebuilt aircraft issues on its behalf49. The EAS website provides clear guidance on the procedures which need to be followed. For new designs, the BAZL approaches these on a case by case basis and it is the applicant's responsibility to propose a deviation or exemption, based for example on experimental limitations. The only mention of Swiss designs approved in the UK by the PFA date from 30 years ago. The well known Swiss light aircraft and glider manufacturer is Pilatus50, and they at one time owned Britten-Norman aircraft in the Isle of Wight. 4.4 North America 49. The FAA has a wide range of regulatory and oversight functions, including the core task of regulating civil aviation to promote safety. But it also has the responsibility to encourage and develop civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology, in particular to help "develop better aircraft, engines and equipment." The FAA directs would-be experimental designers and constructors towards the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the United States Ultra Light Association (USUA). In this respect these organisations reflect our own PFA and BMAA, but there, in terms of aircraft approval, the comparison ends. Whereas the UK organisations have an authorisation from the CAA to regulate, the US organisations are there primarily to encourage and advise their members on best aviation and aeronautical engineering practice. The granting of an Experimental Category certificate remains with the FAA, operating through a system of local inspectors. The FAA inspects the aircraft to verify to the extent feasible the use of acceptable workmanship methods, techniques and practices, and then issues a certificate with appropriate operating limitations. The FAA do

43This is mid 2004 data, to be found on OUV website at 44Department AC, Airworthiness & Certification website to be found at

The Quickie, one of several Rutan canards that led on to many other US advanced technology projects.

not investigate, nor do they verify, the airworthiness of the aircraft, the responsibility for which rests entirely with those involved with designing, building and flying the aircraft. The FAA has no duty of care to those directly involved in the building or the flying of the aircraft51. 50. The FAA is active in encouraging responsible and informed design and construction of experimental amateur designed and built aircraft, and to this end the FAA publishes helpful information, particularly the `Amateur Built Aircraft Reference Material' which is a compendium of the principal FAA Advisory Circulars that are relevant to the amateur52. There is no equivalent in the UK. 51. The culture in the USA, backed up by the regulatory environment, has lead to many innovative designs over the past 50 years. Burt Rutan's work on innovative composite designs is perhaps the most notable53. After a history of innovative canard light aircraft designs, and many bespoke experimental aircraft for individual customers, the company has been the first private enterprise to venture into space, winning the X-prize with SpaceShipOne54. This was followed in 2006 with the 26,000 mile record breaking one and a half times around the world flight by American pilot Steve Fossett in the specially developed Virgin Global Flyer. This is a clear case of the US Experimental Rules allowing the type of development that simply would not be possible in the UK, and it is notable that the latter project was financed by Virgin, that is UK finance, showing that there is no lack of will in the UK for this type of project.


52. The PFA web site details a list of types approved for amateur build projects in the UK. This includes such types as the Rollason Beta and the Isaacs Fury, both of which were designed and developed in the UK, but date from the 1960s. Further analysis of the published list, with the country of origin, shows that over the past 25 years the number of new types being designed and developed in the UK has dwindled, while the number of imports, 45Lufttuchtigkeitshinweis Nr.22 -- FL207-1/06-98 -- August 1998. 46Austrocontrol document TH 22b Draft3 -- May 2005. 47Erprobungsprogramm für Eigenbau-Flugzeuge in Österreich, erstellt von Abteilung Flugtechnik -- Revision 3 April 2004. 48Experimental Aviation of Switzerland website is at 49BAZL / FOCA website is at 50Pilatus Aircraft website is at


full summary of the FAA system operating in the USA and, it is understood, in Canada is given in Appendix D. 52Excerpt from FAA Order 8130.2D, Airworthiness Certification of Aircraft and Related Products. See website at 53Scaled Composites website is at 54X prize website is at

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Number of Designs Approved in Decade

Number of New Aircraft Designs




UK N.America France Other






0 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 Decade 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

0 USA UK Australia France Italy Canada Germany Czech Republic Malta Belgium Russia Poland

Figure 1. Number of new types approved by the PFA per decade of design origin, by country of design origin.

Figure 3. Country of origin of the 72 new aircraft designs approved by the PFA since 1990.

other than US, has risen. (See Fig. 1.) The number of imports from France has remained fairly steady for the past 50 years. 53. Figure 2 details by country of design origin the 259 fixed wing types on the PFA list; the 15 gyrocopters on the list coming mainly from the US and UK have not been included. This table shows the figures that make up the graph above, and also well illustrates the increasing number of aircraft designs being approved from overseas, particularly Australia, but also Germany and Italy. Belgium and the Czech Republic continue to produce the occasional design that is approved by the PFA; there is new interest of at least one design each coming from Russia, Poland and Malta. 54. The details by country of design origin for the 15 years since 1990 are shown in Figure 3. The British examples include all types that have been designed in the UK, whether or not they remained as a one off prototype or went into series production selling to a wider market. On the other hand the overseas types listed are only aircraft that have been sufficiently developed to be series produced and sold on a commercial basis to an international market. In reality, therefore, the UK comparative ratio may be as low as ten to one, and the position is far worse than suggested by the data. There is no doubt that the designs come from countries where there are favourable rules for experimental flying, with Australia the most notable having had a rule change in 1998 as has been described, but also the USA and France which traditionally have both had easier rules for experimental flying.

Figure 2. Number of new fixed wing aircraft designs approved by the PFA per decade, by country of design origin.

55. In addition the PFA publish a list of what they regard as the most popular types of kits at the present time as follows. Rans S.6 Europa Kitfox Minimax Whittaker MW-6 Vans RV series Streak Shadow Microlight or light aircraft55 Light aircraft Light aircraft Light aircraft Microlight Light aircraft Microlight USA UK USA USA UK USA UK

This includes three UK types, but all three types can no longer be regarded as new, having been available for 20 years or more. The Europa is probably the most recent type, but even this project has now been transferred to the USA for further development, and so has been lost to the UK. 56. In addition to the above list there are many other foreign designs coming into the UK which, collectively, would amount to a very considerable number of actual machines, many of innovative design and construction. Particularly of note are the Banbi series (France) the Rutan Canards, VariEze etc. (US) and a large number of other types, including the Jabiru (Australia), the Sky Ranger (France), the EV-97 Eurostar, the Ikarus C42 (Germany) and the Zenair 601(Canada), that all feature in the list of the most commonly newly registered aircraft in the UK as discussed in the next section. All of these overseas types have been flown extensively in the UK and there are no doubts about their basic airworthiness, general safety, popularity and reasonable cost, although they were all designed, test flown, and first accepted for use under very different regulatory regimes than that prevailing in the UK. Moreover, they have, of course, all gone through the CAA/PFA oversight filter before acceptance in the UK. This fact alone indicates that other regulatory regimes can be effective in the encouragement of innovation, without compromising safety.

Decade UK USA FranceCanadaAustraliaGermany Italy Other Total 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 Total 3 1 7 5 0 2 1 1 6 18 4 36 15 42 11 19 7 6 55 129 1 1 1 1 4 11 3 5 3 3 31 5 1 13 3 6 41 48 70 39 33 259


57. An analysis has been undertaken for all new aircraft registrations in the UK for the five years 2000-2004. To the published list has been added, so far as is known, the country of manufacture for the UK market, and for those aircraft


3 3 8 3 1 18


2 2 1 1 4 1 4 5 1 5 10

6 7

aircraft is a common terminology (to differentiate from a microlight), they were formerly termed `Group A Aircraft' and are now termed `Fixed wing landplanes' on the UK Register.


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

Name by which aircraft Type of aircraft -- type commonly known Fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter or microlight Robinson R44 Raj Hamsa X'Air Pegasus Quantum Airbus A319/320/321 Mainair Blade Europa Pegasus Quik Sky Ranger Jabiru Grob G115 EV-97 Eurostar Thruster T600 Ikarus C42 Rans S6 Robinson R22 Boeing 737 Zenair CH601 Diamond DA40

No of a/c, yr av 29 29 28 25 25 22 22 22 18 15 15 15 13 13 10 8 8 7 7 6 338

Country Country of design where built origin for the UK USA India UK Europe USA UK UK France Australia Germany Czech UK Germany USA USA USA France/ Canada Germany/ Austria USA Ukraine USA India UK Europe UK UK UK France Australia Germany UK UK UK USA USA USA USA/Czech Germany/ Austria USA UK etc.


four-seat helicopter two-seat microlight two-seat microlight heavy commercial aircraft two-seat microlight two-seat light aircraft two-seat microlight two-seat microlight two-seat light a/c or microlight two-seat light aircraft two-seat light a/c or microlight two-seat microlight two-seat microlight two-seat light a/c or microlight two-seat helicopter heavy commercial aircraft two-seat light a/c or microlight four-seat light aircraft

factory kit in UK factory Mainair-Pegasus, Lancashire factory factory Mainair-Pegasus, Lancashire kit factory Mainair-Pegasus, Lancashire kit kit factory Aerobatic trainer factory or kit Built under license in the UK factory Thruster Air Services, Oxon factory or kit Built under license in Wolverhampton kit factory factory kit USA and Czech aircraft works factory factory factory

Piper PA28, all models four-seat light aircraft Pegasus/Flightdesign CT2K two-seat microlight Total of top 20 -- just over half overall total

Collaboration UK/Germany/ Ukraine

Figure 4. Top 20 most common types registered in the UK in the five years 2000-2004.

manufactured in the UK, the country of design origin. Fixed Wing Landplanes (formerly Group A aircraft) have been subdivided into heavy commercial aircraft and light aircraft56. Aircraft of a similar type are grouped together, but balloons are regarded as not conforming to a type. Gliders are not included since there has been no requirement for registration in the UK. 58. Figure 4 tabulates the top twenty most common types on the register. The figures are year average over the five year period, and the annual average of 338 compares with 630 in all, thus this list accounts for 54% of new registrations. Heavy aircraft have been included in the table for comparison, and amount to just fewer than 10% of the total. It can be seen that a large number of aircraft, particularly microlights, are built in the UK but from designs originating overseas. The total number of aircraft built in the UK is 146 out of the 338 total, that is 43%, but the number designed in the UK is only 87, that is 26%. It will be seen that the majority of these are microlights, and this latter low figure should be of particular concern since for many years the UK were the leaders in this technology. 59. Figure 5 tabulates the year average by country of manufacture, not design origin, of all aircraft; the majority of these will have been new aircraft.

Some microlights are registered as light aircraft, and in the UK these amount to about 14% of the given light aircraft average. In addition to the main manufacturing countries listed, Switzerland, Belgium and Sweden have produced at least one light aircraft in the five-year period, and Belgium produced two helicopters. It will be noted that the majority of balloons registered in the UK

Figure 5. Country of manufacture of aircraft newly registered in the UK in the five years 2000-2004.

56The cut off point is taken as the JAR-23 limit, that is single engined aircraft up to nine seats or 5,670kg and twin-engined aircraft up to 19 seats or 8,618kg, regardless of which code the aircraft is certificated to. Some 5% only of the thus defined `light' aircraft are above 1,500kg, and a further 17% fall into the 1,000kg to 1,500kg range.

Country of Heavy Light Micro Other manufacture f-w f-w light f-w a/c a/c a/c UK 2 32 106 0 USA 12 74 19 1 France 1 19 29 0 Europe/Mixed 28 0 0 0 Germany 0 19 12 3 India 0 0 29 0 Czech 0 7 19 0 Australia 0 8 13 0 Canada 13 1 1 0 Italy 0 6 6 0 Austria 0 9 0 1 Ukraine 0 0 9 0 Brazil 5 0 0 1 Spain 0 0 0 0 Poland 0 1 0 0 Unknown/Other 0 3 0 0 Total by type 61 179 242 6

Heli Gyro

0 47 2 10 <1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 <1 62

Ball Total and airships 3 63 191 1 0 168 0 0 51 0 0 37 0 <1 35 0 0 29 0 1 27 0 0 21 4 0 19 1 0 15 0 0 10 0 0 9 0 0 6 0 6 6 0 0 1 0 0 4 9 70 630

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63. In the early1960s human powered aircraft were investigated at the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield, at Southampton University and at de Havilland, Hatfield. Two flying aircraft resulted, the SUMPAC which first flew in November 1961 and the Puffin which flew shortly after. In the 1960s the then Loughborough University of Technology (now Loughborough University) was responsible for the design of the Sprite two-seater light aircraft, and along with that project produced two practical publications which were well ahead of any other UK guidance documents available at that time57. Regrettably this excellent work, which should have supported the continued health of Britain's light aircraft industry, did not do so. 64. In 1964 Rollason Aircraft and Engines sponsored a competition for a small single-seat racing aircraft, the winner was the Beta which went on to limited series production by Rollasons58. Active air races took place at that time. One of the runners-up was designed and built by students at the Hatfield College of Aeronautics (now University of Hertfordshire) in association with de Havilland apprentices, although the prototype was never completed. Although a follow up competition was sponsored by the Royal Aero Club in 1969 which generated interest from Beagle employees, there is no subsequent record of light aircraft interest by any of the UK`s major aircraft companies59. 65. A handful of universities are currently making moves to again become involved in light aircraft development. Queen Mary, University of London, currently has an experimental project to mount small electric motors to the wing of the EA9 Optimist glider, but in the absence of any form of experimental category the chance for test flight in the UK is presently an unknown, there being no clear route within the CAA or the BGA. The university held `B' Conditions design approval for work done in the wider aircraft industry, but this is of little practical help in the type of experimental light aircraft work now envisaged. 66. Glasgow University entered the most recent RAeS light aircraft design competition and in 2001 their project, the Tempus, was selected as the first of the three chosen finalists. The other two selected were both private individual design projects. To date none of the aircraft chosen from this competition have come any where near to prototype status and, from contact with all three, it is clear that the difficulties of certification approval have become a very major issue. The Glasgow University project was being undertaken in co-operation with Interplane Ltd in the Czech Republic. This project has not been finished for lack of funding and the fact that Interplane pulled out, but there is no doubt that, in terms of certification, the link up with the Czech Republic was important for a first flight there and not in the UK. 67. Brunel University has recently decided to involve itself in light aircraft design as part of its various courses. This has included a new course including flying training as part of the programme for award of BEng and MEng degrees, use of a reconfigurable flight simulator as a tool in teaching aeroplane design, and there are reported to be plans that may culminate in the design and build of new experimental aeroplanes. This is a welcome (but isolated) example of concentration upon light aeroplane, and whole flightvehicle design at an engineering university. Such activities would certainly benefit from the availability of an Experimental Category.

The Europa, a successful UK project from the 1980s but with further development now transferred to the USA.

are of UK design and manufacture. The table shows that only 32 out of 179, or 18%, of light aircraft registered in the UK were built in the UK. However, out of these 32 aircraft, 22 were Europas. This is a kit aircraft that was very popular, and sold very well, during this period, but sales have since fallen dramatically, and there is no UK designed or built aircraft that has taken its place. It is understood that the remaining interest in this aircraft has been transferred to the USA where development of the certified version continues. The UK position is therefore now deteriorating further. 60. The situation for microlights looks a little better unless the current trends are considered. During the period 106 out of 242, or 44%, microlights registered in the UK were built in the UK, but from comparison with the previous table it is likely that about 24% of these were designed in the UK. Of the 106 microlights built in the UK, 77 of these, that is 73%, were built by one company, Mainair-Pegasus. Reality and Thruster account for a further 5 and 13 aircraft average respectively. These figures indicate that effective UK microlight design is being polarised into one or two companies that can afford to have full design approval with the CAA, with little room for experimentation by small groups of individuals. It is of note that Reality Aircraft is the newest entry and is achieving increasing success in sales, but their technical development has only been possible by undertaking a joint programme in the USA for initial test flying. 61. There were no UK built helicopters entering the register, but from the previous table it will be seen that there are more Robinson R44 four seat helicopters newly registered in the UK than any other type of aircraft. The Robinson R44 is a successor to the very popular Robinson R22 two seat helicopter which was developed over a long period of time in the USA under the Experimental Category rules. It is something that simply would not have been possible in the UK.


62. Many aerospace companies certainly have the financial resources required to support the launch of promising light aircraft designs. The demand for innovative light aircraft at reasonable prices is clearly strong in the UK as evidenced by the large number of imported types, so there is every reason to believe that sound and innovative designs originated in the UK would lead to profitable products. Similarly, university aeronautical engineering departments should be in a position to work on, and possibly gain industrial sponsorship for, innovative designs of light aircraft as happened in the past, but they need financial encouragement to do so.

F.G. Light Aircraft Desin Handbook, TT6801 Third Edition Sept 1971 and JENKINSON, L.R. Light Aircraft Design Example, TT6804 Third Edition July 1978. Both published by Department of Transport Technology, Loughborough University of Technology. 58A/AIRCDRE PAUL, G.J.C. Rollason's Luton Beta Air Test. Popular Flying, May/June 1978. 59WADDINGTON, J.C. The SAA -- 200 Racer Project. Popular Flying, January/February 1970.



The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK



30 Percent in Each Category



C of A Aircraft Permit Aircraft





FR Ae ro ba tic s/ Fl yi ng M ed ic al /S ui ci de C ol lis io n Pr op U nd et er m in ed io n C on tro lV C on tro lI Ap pr oa ch la nd in g ol lis fa ilu re C bj ec t ro un d C ol l G O M C FI T

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Figure 6. Causes of accidents 1980 to 1999 (percent) from UK published accident reports.

Lo w

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Steve Fosset flies Virgin Global Flyer one and a half times around the world ending the flight in the UK. An experimental Category Aircraft from the USA.

68. By comparing practices overseas, to give just two examples, in the former Soviet Union Student Design Bureaux were set up alongside the major aerospace universities such as Moscow, Kiev, Samara and Karkhov (Zhukovsky), where talented engineering students were given the chance to work on the entire cycle of aircraft and spacecraft projects. Many of the former Soviet Union's light aircraft designers (as well as prominent engineers in many other fields) of the last 50 years are products of these institutions. In Germany there is a long and very strong tradition of the Akafliegs, universities that design and build highly experimental gliders. This is a tradition that was begun in 1919. No equivalent organisations exist in the UK. 69. These are but a few examples of university and the wider aircraft industry involvement in the past and at the present time. There can be no doubt that student involvement in practical experimental aircraft that leads to test flying of prototypes would be of enormous benefit to the future of the UK aerospace industry. There are probably a number of reasons why in the UK there have been no prototype aircraft flown in recent years from student projects, but there is no doubt that one contributory reason has been the problems over certification and approval for flight of an experimental aircraft.

due to exceeding the operating limitations either intentionally or not). They found that approximately one third involved Permit aircraft, but none of these involved death or injury to a third party60. 72. The report concludes that, while the risk to third parties from a GA accident is minimal there is a slightly higher percentage risk from Permit aircraft. This is much as one would expect, but as the number of flying hours by CofA aircraft is some ten times that of Permit aircraft, the actual rate of accidents involving Permit aircraft was lower. For Permit type aircraft experience from overseas countries shows that it is unlikely that an Experimental Category would pose any greater risk to third parties, especially bearing in mind that experimental flying will be undertaken in limited designated airspace and under the direct control of the designer or builder of the experimental aircraft.


73. This paper does not propose major changes to the system governing the issue of a full CofA, nor is it necessarily suggesting that the system operated by the PFA and BMAA for approving kits for home building needs to be modified, although it has been shown that some overseas countries are in fact introducing a greater degree of deregulation over amateur construction and kit built aircraft. 74. However, it does suggest that: If the UK is to see a regenerated and vibrant light aircraft industry it is necessary to encourage the prototyping of a large number of amateur designed experimental aircraft. Some of these in turn would progress either into series production aircraft with a full CofA, or could be sold to a wider range of amateur constructors, both in the UK and overseas, either as plans or as kits under the existing PFA and BMAA rules. To make this change would at least put new UK designs on a par with aircraft built in the UK from plans and kits originating from overseas countries that currently operate under an easier regime for amateur designed and built aircraft. Given Australian success in introducing a new experimental system, a way forward could be for the UK to adopt a version


70. The fundamental regulatory issue affecting experimental flight must be safety especially for the general public. The General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) was asked to comment on the general aviation accident statistics. These of course include larger aircraft than those commonly included in the Light Aviation category. First they looked at the risk to third parties from UK General Aviation (GA) aircraft and found that in the 45 years since 1960 there have been only two such accidents. One was in 1966 involving a Cessna 172 when two spectators at an airshow were killed, the other was in 1970 when a DH104 Dove hit a house in bad weather, one third party was killed and two were seriously injured. These were both CofA, not Permit, aircraft. 71. GASCo then analysed CofA and Permit aircraft by type of fatal accident, and found that of the 278 fatal accidents in the period 1980 to 1999 less than 10% of the accidents could be primarily attributed to the aircraft itself. The complete position is shown in Figure 6. Finally GASCo looked in greater detail at the 23 fatal accidents where a main contributory factor was the aircraft that is airframe failure and structural break up (including pilot induced break up


details of these fatal accidents are given in the full report to be found in Appendix E.

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of the Australian model which is based on the long standing and very successful US model61. More generally the UK could encourage all EU countries to adopt such a model under EASA rules, thus ensuring a level playing field across all of the European countries. Amateur builders who build from scratch based on commercially available plans should either be treated in the same way as kit builds as at present, with the benefits of a Permit, or be regulated within a new UK Experimental Category62. In legislating for an Experimental Category, the burden of responsibility should be with the individual constructor, as is the case in other countries already operating such a system. Flying and kit building organisations such as the PFA, BMAA and BGA could still be used in an advisory or independent check capacity, but without the burden of responsibility63. While CAA charges are higher than most of the UK's competitors, with a lighter regulatory touch under an Experimental Category the overall cost of certification would be reduced. In general, the introduction of an Experimental Category directed by the CAA is necessary to regenerate UK light aircraft design and construction as a commercial activity. This would bring the UK in line with, France, Australia and the USA.

SpaceShipOne lands after a successful spaceflight, completing the first leg of the X-Prize competition. The FAA hassled over the aircraft and wanted to license it as a rocket-powered spacecraft, but being pragmatic, settled for a glider license. Photo by Mike Massee.

77. The General Aviation Group believes that greater involvement by universities in designing light aircraft and developing experimental prototypes would benefit UK aerospace as a whole. Finance is bound to be a part of the problem, but projects within these organisations, particularly universities, would clearly benefit from the introduction of an Experimental Category. 78. The certification rules are currently being much changed as EASA takes over from national aviation authorities. This should provide a level playing field for the aerospace industry throughout Europe. However, many of the light aviation categories are excluded from the new EASA rules and specifically the category within which all experimental flight is undertaken will continue to come under national authorities, the CAA will continue to apply its own set of national rules. But with so much change in the process of certification this is an ideal time to see a change in the rules which would encourage innovation in British light aviation.


75. If it is felt important that the UK should regain a position as a world leader in light aircraft design and innovation then it is essential that some form of Experimental Category be introduced. The position of the CAA is that even very small or one man organisations can obtain `B' approval. But in practice, however, a system that is designed for approving the output of major large aircraft companies is far from ideal for meeting the needs of smaller manufacturers of light aircraft and associated equipment. 76. Statistics clearly show that the risk to third parties resulting from light aircraft accidents is negligible. There appears to be no evidence to suggest that this negligible risk to third parties is related to the national or international procedures used for airworthiness assessment. By far the major cause of light aircraft accidents remains failure of pilot skill and proficiency, and only a small proportion of these accidents are caused by technical failure. Several overseas countries have during the past ten years introduced some form of experimental authorisation with considerable commercial success. While there is no evidence of increased risk of accident to third parties, there is every evidence that commercial light aircraft production has been regenerated in those countries and has acted to inspire a new generation of aviation enthusiasts and potential aerospace engineers.

61It has been suggested by CAA sources that Experimental Category (or Experimental Certificate in the case of Australia) is unsatisfactory terminology. The terminology is, however, increasingly being adopted on an international basis. The meaning is generally understood, albeit different countries define it in a different way, and it would be confusing to adopt an alternative terminology. 62If the Australian model is adopted it should be noted that the operating limitations of an Experimental Certificate remain quite onerous, and thus there would still be an incentive for the kit or plan builder to take the PFA or BMAA route and to have the plans or kit approved for issue of a Permit. 63Letter January 2006. NOUJAIM, S. Is it time for a complete change? Popular Flying, March 2006, p 38.


An Interpretation of Annex 11, and other EASA Exemptions, of the EC Basic Regulation 1592/2002. Supplied by the Safety Regulation Group (SRG) of the CAA. February 2006 AIRCRAFT OUTSIDE EASA 1.0 EC Regulation 1592/2002 Article 1 exclusions: Article 1(2) of the regulation excludes aircraft and associated parts and equipment that are `engaged in military, customs, police, or similar services'. This is explained in Airworthiness Notice 13 as follows: STATE AIRCRAFT 2.1 An effect of the EU legislation is that UK civil-registered aircraft that are engaged in military, customs, police or similar services have been considered to be State aircraft since the 28 September 2004. The UK interpretation of Article 1(2) of Regulation EC No. 1592/2002 is that a State aircraft is: (a) Any aircraft engaged in the service of the UK Ministry of Defence; or (b) Any aircraft engaged in the service of a Chief Officer of Police; or


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

(c) Any aircraft engaged in the service of UK Customs and Excise; or (d) Any aircraft engaged in the service of the UK Government to safeguard national security. 2.2 UK civil-registered aircraft that are excluded from the scope of EASA by Article 1(2) will be issued with UK national Certificates of Airworthiness or UK national Permits to Fly as appropriate. 2.3 When applied to UK aircraft, the UK interpretation means that aircraft engaged in the following activities are excluded from EASA and are regulated nationally: Police, Customs and Excise, Military (including training, target towing/simulation for the Military), plus any other activity necessary for national security. 2.4 Conversely, this UK interpretation also means that aircraft engaged in the following activities, amongst others, are not excluded from regulation by EASA under Article 1(2) of Regulation (EC) No. 1592/2002: Coastguard (a rescue service), fisheries patrol, air-sea rescue, Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS), environmental protection, calibration of aids to navigation/landing and recreational gliding or recreational parachuting with participants who are military personnel. NOTE: Council Regulation (EC) No. 1592/2002 Article 4(2), Annex II additionally identifies categories of aircraft, to which the EASA regulation does not apply and therefore remain subject to national regulation regardless of the purposes they are used for. 2.0 EC Regulation 1592/2002 Article 4 exclusions: This Article excludes aircraft within Annex II of the Regulation. Annex II aircraft are: Historic aircraft and those designed for the military that have civil TCs Research/one-off experimental aircraft Amateur-built aircraft (51%) Aircraft designed for the military (Ex-military aircraft) Microlights Gliders under 80kg empty -single seat or 100kg empty -- twoseat Unmanned aircraft under 150kg Any aircraft under 70kg without pilot 3.0 Temporary exclusions under the Certification Regulation: The certification regulation allows aircraft that are operating nationally under sub-ICAO approval, exemption, or deregulation prior to 28/9/03, that should be within EASA, (because they are not excluded above), to continue to operate under existing provisions until 28/3/07. This allows already existing UK non-public transport gliders and balloons to continue to operate. It also covers commerciallymanufactured aircraft that we have allowed to operate under UK permits with the PFA. However, no additional aircraft can be added to these provisions and they will all have to obtain some form of EASA approval before 28/03/07.

All views and opinions expressed in this report are my own, and I do not claim to represent the views of any of the organisations that I mention herein. Stephen Dines The Regulator The National Aviation Authority (NAA) of Australia is the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA, Regulatory Review Program CASA is undertaking a Regulatory Review Program ( to amend and update the entire rule set of Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) and Civil Aviation Orders (CAOs). The new structure does away with CARs and CAOs and replaces them with Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASRs) plus Advisory Circulars (ACs) that contain Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material. The Review has been ongoing since the mid 1990s. Parts 21-35 were the first of the new rules to be introduced, in October 1998. The so-called `Experimental Category' was a component of the new CASR Part 21. History -- Amateur Building Prior to Experimental Prior to the introduction of CASR Part 21, the administration of amateur building was a complicated process. Procedures were laid down in CAO 100.18 and a design standard was published in CAO 101.28. The procedures involved: type approval process publication of a type data sheet builder's workshop inspection and approval issue of approval to manufacture each aircraft appointment of an Approved Inspector mandated stage/pre-closure inspections by Approved Inspector modifications only via CASA Approval or CAR35 Engineering Order final inspection by Approved Inspector maintenance release inspection by an Approved Maintenance Organisation issue of Permit to Fly for testing approval of test pilot/s mandatory CASA flight test schedule flight testing of first-of-type by CASA Test Pilot review/acceptance of flight test report approval of individual flight manual approval of individual maintenance manual further maintenance release inspection by an Approved Maintenance Organisation issue of Special Certificate of Airworthiness on-going airworthiness by Approved Maintenance Organisation The design standard in CAO 101.28 was a quite sensible cut-down composite of US, UK and Canadian design rules, with muchreduced compliance requirements compared to say FAR23. Oversight of amateur building was by the NAA until, in the mid 1980s, it became apparent that the growth of amateur building was drawing excessively on the Authority's resources. As a result, the Authority directed that plans be put in place for the handover of the administration of amateur building to the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA). By 1990, the handover was complete with the sole exception of the `type approval process'

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A Brief Overview of Experimental Rules in Australia by Stephen Dines -- December 2005 This report is intended to provide a brief overview of the introduction of Experimental legislation into Australian aviation, in particular with respect to how those rules enable the construction and operation of Amateur Built Aircraft.


that the Authority retained. (Unfortunately, this decision led to on-going delays and unforeseen costs, and added fuel to the push for Experimental rules.) The SAAA was required to employ an administrator who was acceptable to the Authority and who held the various delegations required to issue the necessary approvals and certificates on behalf of the SAAA. Aircraft manufactured under this system were loosely referred to as `101.28' aircraft and could eventually be operated on the Australian Register (with VH-xxx markings) or, if they fell within applicable limits, on the Register of the Australian Ultralight Federation (AUF), in which case they were assigned a numerical mark (28-xxxx) by the AUF. (Over the years since the formation of the AUF, the definition of an `ultralight' grew somewhat from an initial single-seater of 115kg AUW, to today's 544kg two-seaters. So there are many hundreds of amateur built aircraft in Australia that reside on the `Ultralight' register and are thus less easy to identify statistically. The AUF has recently re-identified itself as Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus, The major drawbacks to the `101.28' system were: cost of administration (in the order of A$2,500 per aircraft) difficulty and cost of incorporating any change that was not specified in the originally accepted type design unnecessarily complicated (and sometimes perilous) flight test requirements difficulty of approving indigenous designs v easy acceptance of overseas designs This last point was an annoying feature of the old `101.28' system that eventually provided a powerful argument for the introduction of an Australian `Experimental Category'. The problem was that the Authority would only accept a new type if that type: had undergone an initial certification process that was virtually the same as for a Standard aircraft; or could demonstrate `equivalent safety' by providing evidence of say, six examples having accumulated 100 hours each of safe flying. Thus, a new Australian type was obliged to undertake an enormously expensive initial certification process, whereas six examples of a type could get into the air quickly and cheaply in the US under their Experimental system. The result was that, of about 150 types that had been through the formal acceptance process with the Australian Authority, indigenous examples could be counted on the fingers of one hand -- with enough fingers left over to gesticulate at the lack of a `fair go' for Australian designers. Introduction of Experimental rules for Amateur Building For decades, the SAAA (and its predecessors) had lobbied the NAA and the Australian Government to allow aircraft to be built under US-style `Experimental rules'. Over the years, other alphabet organisations joined the push, in particular the AUF and AOPA, until such rules were finally introduced into Australia on 1 October 1998. Today, amateur builders may construct aircraft using the experimental rules, whether they choose to operate their machines on the Australian register (VH-xxx) or on the RAAus register (with 19-xxx marks). The procedures for building an aircraft under the `Experimental' rules are straightforward: build your aircraft; maintain a builder's log that provides evidence to show that the aircraft genuinely meets the definition of `amateur-built', and that provides a quality assurance mechanism; organise your own inspections for quality assurance;

arrange for an Authorised Person (AP) to perform a `Final Inspection'; the AP who inspects the aircraft issues an Experimental Certificate along with operating limitations for Phase One and Phase two; within a defined test area, test the aircraft under the Phase One operating limitations and establish a safe operating history; on satisfactory completion of the testing and accumulation of the prescribed hours, certify that the aircraft is safe, then operate normally under Phase two operating limitations. The Australian rules deliberately mimic the US rules for amateur building, so that Phase One safe history is usually 25 hours for an aircraft using a certified engine/prop combination, or 40 hours otherwise. Also like the US model, the AP (or the Authority) is entitled to impose any operating limitations considered necessary in the interests of the safety of third parties (specified as "other airspace users and persons and property on the surface"). Pilots and passengers may fly in the aircraft at their own risk, provided that they are sufficiently informed of the situation to be able to make their own choice. The rules demand fitment of warning signs to ensure that passengers get a chance to become informed even in the event that an operator fails to inform them prior to boarding, as required by the rules. Support for Amateur Builders As the US discovered, the Experimental rules for Amateur Building cannot alone provide safe enough outcomes to satisfy public perceptions. In the US, builders are well supported by the EAA, which provides technical training and counselling to builders and assistance with flight-testing. In Australia, the SAAA provides similar programs to the EAA, as does the RA-Aus (for their members). There are also EAA Chapters in Australia who collaborate to assist fellow builders using the US programmes. Without training and counselling programs provided by experts (i.e. experienced builders), Experimental Amateur Building could become dangerous enough to attract the unwanted attention of legislators, so any NAA should encourage and support the participation of self-help groups. Advantages of Experimental Amateur Building The Experimental rules have increased Amateur building activity in Australia significantly. For example, in 1996, there were about forty-five aircraft completed (including VH- and 28- registered aircraft), bringing the Australian total amateur built population to around four hundred aircraft at that time. As of October 2005, there were a little over one thousand amateur built aircraft on the Australian (VH-xxx) Register alone, and over two hundred of those were added in the preceding twelve months. It is reasonable to assume that a similar number have joined the RAAus Register in the last twelve months (as 19- registered aircraft), for a total population today of around two thousand. Numerous indigenous designs have appeared since the introduction of the Experimental rules, and companies like Jabiru have been able to rapidly develop new models within the Amateur Built community. Problems The introduction of Experimental amateur building rules to Australia was not (indeed is not) without some problems. Although foreseen by the authors of Part 21 as potential problem


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

areas, the main culprits were not managed well enough and remain: incompatibility between the not yet updated old (CAR and CAO) rules and the new (CASR) rules, in areas like flight crew licensing, maintenance and additional airworthiness requirements (especially ADs); and a lack of knowledge of, and reluctance to embrace the new rules, on the part of the staff of the Authority. Obviously, adequate planning and training would forestall such problems. Other Experimental Purposes In addition to amateur building, the Australian Experimental rules serve other important functions, for example: development projects can now be conducted with far more ease and at dramatically less expense than was possible prePart 21, thus enhancing industry competitiveness; aircraft intended primarily for `Exhibition' -- e.g. historic, replica, customised, warbirds, display, technology demonstrators, etc. -- can operate easily on the assumption that, while there may be inherent risk involved for knowledgeable participants, the public at large will be protected from undue exposure to that risk; a prototype may be permitted to continue operating as a private aircraft, instead of being consigned to the scrap bin, after completion of its development flying -- another cost saver for what is really quite a small manufacturing base. Limited Category Quite separate from the Experimental rules, but worthy of mention here, is the Limited Category that was introduced with Part 21. This rule set provides for an aircraft to be issued with a Special CofA, for the purpose (mainly but not exclusively) of operating warbirds. While some other countries might have a similar sounding category, the Australian version is unique, in that it has been purposely designed to allow informed passengers to purchase a flight in what would normally be considered a highrisk operation. As a result, `Adventure-style' flights have proliferated since 1998, and the Warbird industry is now booming in Australia. The Limited Category requires a higher level of initial and on-going airworthiness than Experimental for Exhibition, and also requires self-administration by the Australian Warbirds Association (AWAL) or similar approved body. The Principle of Informed Risk Importantly for both the Experimental and Limited rules, the key enabling principle is that the Australian Government has accepted that persons may partake in a risky adventure as long as: the risk is identified, and the risk is accepted by the participants, and third parties are adequately protected from the high-risk activity, and the level of safety is manageable and managed, so that an undue accident rate does not develop; and no liability attaches to the Government or to the Authority. The last point is highlighted in a discrete Regulation -- CASR 201.003 -- that clearly states: "Neither the Commonwealth nor CASA is liable in negligence or otherwise for any loss or damage incurred by .... the ... operation of a limited category aircraft or an experimental aircraft ..." By defining degrees of risk, allowing risk-takers to manage their own safety, and protecting innocent people from the risk-taking activities of others, Experimental and Limited Category operations in Australia have allowed the industry to flourish, without any perceivable deterioration in safety.

This overview has been prepared by Stephen Dines, who is currently: an Aviation Consultant & Authorised Person for the issue of Special Certificates of Airworthiness & Experimental Certificates a member of the CASA Standards Consultative Committee (SCC) a committee member of the Australian Flying Instructors Association (AAFI); a contributor to the Regulatory Review Program and who was formerly: a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer, Airline & GA a commercial pilot, fixed- and rotary-wing a Grade One flying instructor National Technical Director, SAAA a member of the authoring team of CASR Part 21 e-mail: [email protected]


Overview of the French Light Aircraft Regulatory Scene Regulators The rule maker is the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC). It issues Certificats de Navigabilités (CdN), i.e. Airworthiness certificates. Prescribed inspections are carried out by the agency Groupement pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (GSAC) which in 1994 took over and continues the role of Bureau Veritas. BV was given control of civil airworthiness by the state in 1937 and grew with the French air transport industry over nearly 60 years. Other Organisations Organisations exist for each of the areas of activity in light aviation. Notable here are: Réseau du Sport de l'Air (RSA), equivalent to EAA (USA), covering amateur-built aircraft, `warbirds' etc. Fédération Française de Planeur Ultra Léger Motorisé (FFPLUM), equivalent to BMAA (UK), covering microlights Fédération Française de Vol à Voile (FFVV), equivalent to BGA (UK). The RSA recounts a long and proud history. In the early years of the 20th century, all the pioneers (such as the brothers Voisin, Henri Farman and Henri Fabre) were, in the best sense, amateurs doubling as inventors and experimenters. This all changed with the First World War. The small enterprises had become industrialised and at the end of the war a large number of surplus aeroplanes remained. In the public mind the machine of dreams had become a tool of war and the sky had become a military zone. However, aviation had been given a kick start and attention turned to flying schools and tourism, and the industrialists, trying to maintain momentum, turned to light aviation. In 1928 plans appeared in the French magazine les ailes (Wings) for the HM8 an aeroplane that could be made at home and enable the builder to fly. This was the brainchild of amateur genius Henri Mignet. In less than a year, HM8s appeared in the skies. Then in 1934, appeared the HM14, pou du ciel or Flying Flea. Mignet published his book Sport de l'Air, containing not only a builder's guide, but also construction techniques, a political manifesto, philosophical ideas and a flight training manual. A

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huge movement was formed. Having first flown in 1934, by October 1935, the 100th pou du ciel was homologised. Also some 200 HM8s were flying or under construction. In 1936, passionate builders formed the Réseau des Amateurs de l'Air. The homebuilding movement in France is thus some 70 years old. The phenomenon took everyone by surprise. The law was not ready for these numerous machines. Homologation and certification were not adapted to cover them. Thus in 1938 the Certificat de Navigabilité Restreint d'Aeronefs was created. Home-building an aeroplane and then flying it was at last officially recognised. This opening gave many builders of Mignet's machines the idea of designing their own light aircraft. But then came the Second World War. During the war years, everything was frozen. In spite of this, many builders continued to cut and paste in cellars or granaries. So after the liberation, a range of new small aeroplanes took to the skies in France. Ideas sparked in 1934 had had time to mature. In the late 1940s, many designers flew their first creations at the same time as Mignet's later developments, the pou bébé and the HM 280-290 series. Unfortunately all these machines were limited by the engines available, typically giving only 35-45hp. All this created an administrative problem. These developments were not without breakages and accidents. For this reason, in the autumn of 1946, the CNRA was withdrawn. Builders were now obliged to provide a full set of calculations and have the aircraft flight tested at a flight test centre. This toughening was not to the taste of amateur builders and the Réseau des Sportifs de l'Air was born in November 1946. The word Réseau means Network and was used deliberately. The purpose of the RSA is to defend the principles of freedom to build and fly, which were dear to Mignet. The RSA negotiated with the civil aviation administration and in 1952 agreed a much more supple new text, the CNRA, once more permitting builders' freedom. In spite of everything, through this period of negotiation, new designs continued to appear. Many well-known types date from this period. The first single seat Jodel appeared, designed by Jean Delemontez. Other designers included Roger Druine, Marcel Jurca and Claude Piel. Some of these gave others the opportunity to start small scale production. The Jodel family gradually became the DR series of Delemontez Robin. The Turbulent and Turbi aircraft of Roger Druine were built in the UK as were the Emeraudes of Claude Piel. At the same time as the RSA was reaching agreement on the CNRA in 1952, the PFA was created in the UK, and in 1953 the EAA was created in the USA. The 1960s saw the advent of René Fournier's motor gliders, Henri Nicolier's Menestrel and the CP20 Pinocchio. Also light autogyros first appeared. In the 1970s, new materials were introduced such as Chris Heintz's metal Zénith, and the composite Impala. In 1973 Michel Colomban introduced his single seat CriCri (Cricket). The appearance of Jean Grinvalds' Orion prompted the creation of regulations to manage kit building. Things also developed in the engine field. Greater power was authorised, 200hp, then 260hp. As microlight development flourished in the 1980s, numerous two stroke engines were made more reliable. Projects of all kinds were pursued. Marcel Jurca continued his development of fighter aircraft and proposed, across the Atlantic, machines with up to 1,300hp. At the other extreme, Claude Chudzik flew his canard CC01 at nearly 200 km/hr on only 18hp.

Certification process for amateur-built aircraft Currently, there are three categories; microlight, light aircraft built from a kit or light aircraft built from plans. A microlight (ULM) is defined as: maximum two places; maximum take-off weight (MTOW) 300kg single place, 450kg two-place; maximum continuous power 61hp single-place, 82hp two-place; maximum landing speed 65kph. The regulations for a microlight are the same, regardless of whether it is built from a kit or not. The process is based on the principle of declaration. When building is complete, the builder submits technical details identifying clearly that it is a microlight. This is all that is required for a single place machine. For a two place microlight, one must submit a calculations file justifying the materials and construction, and a flight test plan to show compliance with flight safety. Where a kit or a proven design is used, the designer will have provided the calculations file. There is no scrutiny to verify the calculations or the build quality. These are the builder's responsibility and he can be blamed if, after an accident, any information he submitted is incorrect. Submission of these documents leads to the issue of a registration document which must be renewed every two years on the same basis of declaration. A kit plane is distinguished from an aircraft built from plans and a set of stock materials on the basis that a kit contains structural sub-assemblies already made. For a light aircraft built from a kit, the DGAC must be contacted at the outset. Given the green light, the builder then proceeds without any build control or quality inspection. When building is complete, a build file must be submitted. This leads to the issue of clearance documents which have to be renewed periodically. These documents take the form of a Certificat de Navigabilité Spéciale pour Kit (CNSK) which defines the respective responsibilities and flight limitations. An aircraft built without a kit, with no more than four seats and maximum power of 200hp, falls in the category covered by the Certificat de Navigabilité Restreint d'Aeronef (CNRA). (There is exceptional provision for higher powers.) The CNRA requires certain inspection visits (made by GSAC) during construction and for a series of flight tests to prove the aircraft's characteristics. Typically, after plans have been acquired or completed, building is started. The first inspection is made before the structure is covered or closed up. The timing of this inspection depends to an extent on the type of construction used. For an aerobatic aircraft a supplementary inspection is required on completion of the main wing spar. Then an inspection is made when the aircraft is complete and ready for flight testing. Passing this inspection releases flight test clearance (registration F-Wxxx) for 15 hours of flight testing and 50 landings to prove the aircraft's performance. Having completed these tests the CNRA is awarded (and a registration of the form F-Pxxx) renewable every three years subject to an inspection to confirm the maintenance standard. French fleet The current fleet of factory-built, French registered, single-engine aircraft with current certificates of airworthiness up to a MTOW of 5,700kg is some 6,000, not counting amateur-built aircraft. Of these, nearly 4,000 are less than 1,250kg MTOW. The fleet is rather old and additions during the past ten years account for only 16%. More than 80% of the fleet is of French manufacture. Nearly 90% is shared by four manufacturers which are, in order, Apex Aircraft (France), SOCATA (France), Cessna Reims (France) and Piper (US). Light aircraft industry There is a healthy light aircraft manufacturing sector in France.


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

Considerable integration has swallowed many of the smaller companies into Apex and SOCATA. Apex Aircraft took over Centrair and Avions Pierre Robin in 1988, and Avions Mudry in 1997. The current range includes the Robin, Alpha and CAP families. The aim, for Robin, was to build recreational aircraft of wood (the natural composite of high strength/weight ratio) by hand and to a high quality. This reputation for quality remains and the DR400 is by far the most popular type in the French fleet with some 850 aircraft. The two-seat Alpha series originated in the 1970s to meet a flying school need for a trainer. It was an all-metal aircraft produced by Robin and Chris Heintz. Auguste Mudry built his first CAP10 in 1970 for aerobatic training. It is based on Claude Piel's Emeraude. Steady development of the design led to a very light wooden fuselage and carbon fibre wing. The CAP232 single seater aerobatic aircraft, built of wood and carbon fibre, appeared in 1994 and was world champion 12 times. SOCATA is part of EADS (European Aeronautic, Defence & Space), previously Aérospatiale. It now includes the families of Rallye and Morane Saulnier. Its current range of light aircraft ranges from the TB9 Tampico GT, classed as an entry-level trainer, up to the TBM700C2 single turboprop aircraft with the ability to fly at airliner altitudes. Engine development Lycoming and Continental have monopolised the French light aircraft market from the 1950s to the present. Lycoming has a 70% market share; (RR)/Continental 20% share of the current French (factory-built) aircraft fleet. In 1997, SMA (Sociéte de Motorisation Aéronautique) announced its new diesel aero engine programme. SMA is a wholly French partnership between Renault Sport, Aérospatiale (now EADS) and SNECMA. Around this time, concerns about continuing availability of aviation gasoline prompted others to explore this field and several amateur builders got involved. In July 2000, Serge Pennec flew his Dieselis, a light aircraft powered by a 68hp diesel engine from the Opel Corsa, around a 287 km circuit at an average speed of 153km/h on 9 litres of fuel (3.13 litres/100km). The German firm Thielert set out to develop an aircraft version of the Mercedes Class A automobile engine. It aimed, with this engine, the TAE125, to power aircraft like the C172, the PA-28 and, in due course, the DR400 and TB9. The SMA partnership was set up to address the TB Socata range of light aircraft, needing powers of between 180 and 300hp. SMA has developed its SR305 engine, producing 230hp, which was certified by the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) in 2001 and by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2002. Strategically, the SMA was also aiming at the potential to reengine a world fleet of light aircraft, estimated at nearly 200,000 aircraft with power in the range 200-300hp. 70% of this market is in the USA, 10% in Europe and 20% in the rest of the world. The SR305 uses Jet 1 fuel (kerosene) and SMA claims it will cut operating costs by 30 to 40%, compared with existing engines using aviation gasoline. The fuel burn should be lower by 40% and maintenance should be made easier by a 70% lower parts count. The development programme was very ambitious. It is generally recognised that it is more difficult to create a new aeroplane engine than a new airframe. SMA wanted to make a true aircraft

engine, not just modify a car engine for aircraft use, and the development took longer than expected. The SR305 incorporates a Garrett GT35 turbocharger which allows power to be maintained to higher altitudes. SMA set up various partnerships to achieve Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for the engine's installation in different airframes. SMA set up joint ventures with Aeronexx in Brazil, the USA and in France. A JV with the Britten-Norman Group certified the SR305 in the Socata TB20 with the CAA. Other certified installations include the Maule M-7, Cirrus SR21tdi, Piper PA-34 Seneca and the Cessna 182, all US aircraft. SMA has invested in a new purpose-built manufacturing facility with a capacity to produce 2000 engines per year. Future 1,800 aircraft have been amateur-built in France since the 1930s. More than 1,000 are under construction. The would-be builder has a huge choice, starting from the type of vehicle, then from many different designs and constructional materials. For those who cannot find what they want, there is the opportunity to start from scratch and to design, build and fly their own prototypes. The RSA claims that amateur construction is more vibrant than ever, served by more liberal regulations, and comments: "Perhaps it is no coincidence that France has as many aircraft built in this way as all the other European countries combined." A Footnote to Appendix C [The following is the body of a letter from Filip Lambert.] "We have no experience with CNSK so far. "For CNRA (prototypes and plans built aircraft), my friends say it is a rather simple procedure. You go to the regional DGAC office and tell the civil servant what you want to build. The man will give you a few forms and the phone number of GSAC at Bureau Véritas (they will inspect the aircraft) and you can start to build. During that period you have time to make the stress analysis and drawings to the extent deemed necessary. When the aircraft is ready to fly and inspected by GSAC, then you go back to the DGAC office. Two or three days later you will find the `Permit to Test' in the post. Then you can test the aircraft (similar to the FAAexperimental way) under F-Wxxx registration. When you stop flight testing, then you go back to the DGAC and apply for the CNRA. You get a new registration (F-Pxxx) and will be allowed to fly anywhere and with passengers. "To illustrate what is possible, I would like to refer to the Verhees Delta which appeared at Kemble in July. Bart Verhees also lives in Belgium and found no problems getting approval in France for his delta. "For Microlight aircraft the procedure is similar, but slightly different: 1. A microlight is not registered as an aircraft is, but `identified'. The cost is zero. The identification number is e.g. F-59COP, where 59 is the number of the department (county). The identification number is only to be shown on the lower wing surface, not on the fuselage. The `F-' part of it is not required, but we do to avoid confusion when flying in Belgium. 2. There are two microlight categories: the A-cat which is for homebuilt, prototypes, etc... The B-cat is for factory built

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machines. For factory built machines, the SFACT (DGAC branch) in Paris deals with the certification. Simpler than in UK, since a company approval is not required. They are only interested in the aircraft. They want to see stress analysis and/or tests to ultimate load, etc... Responsibility is to the manufacturer who has to make sure every aeroplane is similar to the one used for certification. The manufacturer is responsible for inspecting the aircraft prior to first flight and delivery. (Mfr is responsible for everything). 3. For A-category microlights, the procedure is even simpler. Everything is `declaratif' which implies you take responsibility for everything. The regional DGAC will give you some 4 pages of questionnaire: page 1 and 2 are similar to what Jane's Information asks, including GA drawing. Page 3 is weight and balance form. Page 4 is the declaration that you have undertaken all necessary design and tests, the aircraft meets the requirements and that all information you provided is correct. The next day you can collect your `Permit to Test' valid for one year. After having demonstrated it meets the requirements in flight, you go back to the DGAC and give a copy of your flight test report. Two days later you can collect the `Permit to Fly', valid for two years. (Nobody will inspect the aircraft. You do not even have to provide any sort of evidence that the aircraft physically exists -- I was most surprised about this.) "I found the RSA and FFPLUM not very helpful to find clarity about legislation. The best thing is to go to the DGAC office and they are very helpful. "I read through your overview of French regulations, and feel it is a correct summary of the situation. "Something I find strange in France is that it appears to be quite complicated and difficult to do EASA Part 23 certification. I don't know the reasons. Recently, Robin went to Germany to certificate the DR400 with Thielert engine..."

with itself, committed to improving the safety record of amateurbuilt and ultralight aircraft. Development of legislation Over the past 50 years the US regulatory legislation has evolved steadily, alongside technical developments, each one influencing the other. The EAA in particular has been highly interactive with the FAA, pushing for a range of new freedoms and simplifications of the requirements. Some of the chronology of these interactions is reflected in this Paper as an aid to understanding the present position. Much of the oversight of amateur building of light aircraft and operation is delegated by the FAA to Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARs), individuals authorised to conduct conformity inspections and issue airworthiness approvals. The FAA directs individuals towards the EAA for advice on aeronautical practices, workmanship or design. The EAA has implemented the Technical Counsellors Programme to assist in ensuring the safety and dependability of amateur-built aircraft. However, the EAA has advised the FAA that it will not provide assistance to the builder in designing an aircraft. Experimental Category The FAA provides a range of certification categories. Of particular interest here is the `Experimental' amateur-built category. "The amateur-built programme is designed to permit persons to build an aircraft solely for educational or recreational purposes utilising acceptable aeronautical construction standards and practices. Amateur builders are free to develop their own designs or build from existing designs. The FAA does not approve those designs nor would it be practical to develop design standards for the multitude of unique design configurations generated by designers, kit manufacturers and amateur builders. Upon completion of the building process, the FAA inspects the aircraft to verify to the extent feasible the use of acceptable workmanship methods, techniques and practices, and then issues an airworthiness certificate with appropriate operating limitations." The builder is not required to have the detailed design data, quality systems, procedures etc that are required for production aircraft. FAA inspectors do not become involved in the building process and do not perform any inspections during the building process. The FAA says these should be conducted by a knowledgeable person such as an EAA Technical Counsellor. They should be documented in the aircraft logbook. EAA sponsors Workshops to introduce people to the skills and activities required for home-building. Also there is a Build-To-Fly programme, which is a builder's assistance programme with state of the art facilities and experienced professionals that will help builders build and finish their aircraft. The FAA inspection prior to certification is limited to a general airworthiness inspection. This includes a review of the aircraft builder's documentation, and an examination of the completed aircraft to verify to the extent feasible that acceptable workmanship has been used in the construction process. The FAA also prescribes operating limitations at that time. Typically those limitations will provide for operation in an assigned flight test area for a certain number of hours (Phase I) before the second part (Phase II) becomes effective, releasing the aircraft from the test area. Flight test programme To show compliance with the regulations the applicant is required


Summary of US Regulations and their Outcomes Regulator is the FAA In the USA, regulation is the responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA's several roles include regulating civil aviation to promote safety, also encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology, in particular helping "develop better aircraft, engines and equipment." Other organisations Various other organisations have become closely involved in the certification process. Notable among these are the EAA and the USUA. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was founded in 1953 by a group interested in building their own aeroplanes. It now has over 170,000 members. The organisation derives its name from the `Experimental Aircraft' category which is assigned to aeroplanes used for recreational and educational purposes. The EAA was established for the purpose of promoting aviation safety, construction of amateur-built aircraft and providing technical advice and assistance to its members. The United States Ultralight Association (USUA) was formed in 1985 for the representation of ultralight pilots and enthusiasts. The FAA recognises both of these organisations as being, along


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK

to develop a written flight test programme. Detailed publications are available to help with this as well as the EAA flight advisor programme. The flight test programme accomplishes two purposes. Firstly it ensures that the aircraft will be adequately tested and determined to be safe to fly within its flight envelope. Second, the flight test data is used to develop an accurate and complete aircraft flight manual and to establish emergency procedures. All initial flight operations of experimental aircraft must be limited to the assigned flight test area until the aircraft is shown to be controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and all manoeuvres to be executed, and has not displayed any hazardous operating characteristics or design features. The assigned flight test area is typically over water or sparsely populated areas having light air traffic. Phase I is for a minimum of 25 or 40 hours depending on whether or not a type certificated engine is used. Upon completion of the assigned flight test period, the pilot will endorse the aircraft logbook with a statement certifying compliance with requirements. The aircraft may then be operated in accordance with Phase II limitations. Considerable care is exercised in selecting the flight test area. In the case of flight testing an aircraft from an airport surrounded by a densely populated area, but with at least one acceptable approach/departure route of flight, the FAA must ensure that a route of flight is selected that subjects the fewest persons and least property to possible hazards. In addition, upon leaving such an airport, the aircraft is required to operate from an outlying airport until its controllability and safety are established, after which the aircraft may return to its base and use the established corridor for subsequent operations. The description of the area selected by the applicant and agreed by the FAA must be made a part of the operating limitations. In the case of an aircraft located at any airport surrounded by a densely populated area and lacking any acceptable approach/ departure route of flight, the applicant must be advised to relocate the aircraft by other means to an airport suitable for flight testing. An acceptable approach/ departure route is one where the route of flight provides a reasonable opportunity to execute an off-airport emergency landing that will not jeopardise other persons or property. The carrying of passengers is not permitted during Phase I. Having built and certificated his aircraft, there is provision for the builder to maintain it. The FAA provides that "the aircraft builder may be certificated as a repairman if that person is the primary builder of the aircraft and can satisfactorily prove requisite skill in determining whether the aircraft is in condition for safe operation." Kits and the 50% rule An aircraft built from a kit may be eligible for certification as an amateur-built aircraft provided there is evidence to show that the `major portion' (i.e. more than 50%) was fabricated and assembled by the applicant. The FAA does not expect the builder to personally fabricate every part of the aircraft; some components may be purchased. Any choice of engines, propellers, wheels, or other components, and any choice of materials may be used (subject to satisfactory quality assurance). However, aircraft that are assembled from kits composed of completely finished, prefabricated components and parts are not eligible. Ultralights Ultralight aircraft appeared in the 1970s in the form of the powered hang glider. A new FAA regulation for ultralights became effective in 1982.

This required that "ultralight vehicle operations may only be conducted as sport or recreational activity. The operators of these vehicles are responsible for assessing the risks involved and assuring their own personal safety. The rules ... are intended to assure the safety of those not involved in the sport, including persons and property on the surface and other users of the airspace. The ultralight community is encouraged to adopt good operating practices and programmes in order to avoid more extensive regulation by the FAA." The regulation further stipulated a limitation to single-occupant operations. In 1983, the EAA successfully petitioned for an exemption to this regulation, permitting flight training in two place ultralights. Then, in 1984, the EAA recommended mandatory registration of ultralights and an FAA-administered written exam for ultralight pilots. This would verify that ultralight operators have sufficient knowledge to operate their vehicles in a safe manner without hazard to the public or to other users of airspace. Some other regulatory developments After several years of petitioning by the EAA, the FAA in 1989 created a new `recreational pilot certificate' as a lower cost alternative to private pilot certification. The EAA has also petitioned for a reduction in the medical requirements, asking that pilots holding at least a recreational pilot's licence be allowed to exercise recreational privileges without a third-class medical certificate. Subsequently, the EAA asked that Recreational Pilots be able to use a state driver's licence as medical certification, offering a joint research project to track medical issues for general aviation pilots In 2002, the FAA approved a new programme designed by the EAA, which addressed the shortage of Airworthiness Inspectors for homebuilt aircraft. The programme includes EAA designed curricula in FAA training courses. The EAA has established a website offering maintenance, safety and regulatory information on hundreds of homebuilt and ultralight aircraft. In 1971, the EAA embarked on an R&D programme to prove the use of unleaded automobile fuel in certain types of aircraft. By 1985 the FAA had fully approved the use of unleaded automobile gasoline for more than 300 different aircraft model and engine combinations. After 22 years of fuel research the EAA Aviation Foundation's goal is the approval of unleaded fuel for all general aviation aircraft. In 1993, EAA representatives joined with FAA staff, the Small Aircraft Manufacturers Association and engine and propeller manufacturers to begin work on simplified certification procedures for aircraft engines and propellers. New Light-Sport Aircraft rule Effective 1 September 2004, the FAA introduced the Light-Sport Aircraft Rule which covers certification of Light-Sport Aircraft having no more than two seats, a corresponding simplified Pilot Certification, and Repairman Certificates for maintenance or inspection. The rule makes becoming a pilot and owning an aircraft more affordable and less time consuming for many people, while still ensuring that the safety of aviators and the public is maintained. The rule establishes two new airworthiness certification categories for aircraft: A special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA); that is, aircraft sold readyto-fly that may be used for flight training, rental or personal flight. An experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA); that is, aircraft

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sold in a kit form that may be used for personal recreational flight or personal flight training. This is not subject to the 50% rule. Concurrent US light aircraft industry difficulties Some 20 years ago, the US light aircraft manufacturing industry collapsed under pressures from product liability suits. In particular, the production of small two seat aircraft virtually stopped, cutting off the supply of the principal types used for training. A conference was held in 1993 in Kansas City regarding the revitalisation of general aviation. Industry and government representatives established issues to be covered, and agreed that the Small Aircraft Certification Compliance Programme should be used as a model for co-operation between all aviation entities. This Programme, announced by the FAA in 1992, followed from calls for a new certification process for single-engine, two-seat aircraft used primarily for training and recreational flying. The demise of the industry was eased in 1994 with the General Aviation Revitalization Act which provided that, for a period of eighteen years, no civil action for damages for death or injury may be brought against the manufacturer of a light aircraft. The signing of this Act ended a six-year battle for liability reform for the general aviation industry. Following the introduction of the LSA Rule, the outlook for new production (two-seat) aircraft (S-LSA) has been reported as outstanding. The industry introduced more than a dozen new production aircraft types in less than seven months from the ruling, with more to follow.

These can be for many reasons including loss of control in IMC, unauthorised manoeuvres and poor maintenance. Aircraft with CofA -- 14 accidents in 12.6 million flying hours giving a rate per million of 1.1 accidents per million hours. Aircraft with Permit to Fly -- eight accidents in 1.2 million flying hours resulting in a rate of 6.7 per million. These were to: 1981 Luton LA5 Major Both wings failed in overload near Barton after the rear control column detached in flight. (Bulletin 14/81) 1987 S5 Replica The rebuilt aircraft crashed near Falmouth after the fin and rudder broke off as the result of flutter. (Bulletin 9/87) 1988 Jodel D120 Wing failure in overload leading to fabric detachment during deliberate heavy manoeuvring. (Bulletin 9/88) (Private Note: This one is almost certainly suicide but AAIB only state this when the deceased leaves a letter)] 1989 Brugger Colibri Wing failed in overload near Kingsclere, pilot flew aircraft in spirited manner including spins, which were allowed on this particular aircraft's Permit but not on the other 6 in the UK. (Bulletin 10/89) 1989 Falco F8 Crashed in Strangford Lough after the tail detached almost certainly as a result of the canopy coming off. (Bulletin 12/89) 1993 Stolp Starduster The imported aircraft spun in near Askerswell, Dorset after flying wires detached from the upper wing. This was the result of improperly fitted attachment bolt migrating allowing wing to twist and change dihedral. (Bulletin 2/94) 1994 Fokker Replica Crashed vertically near Stourhead, Wilts after failure of unapproved modification to top rudder hinge. (Bulletin 3/96) 1999 Cuby 2 Right wing outer panel failed in heavy turbulence near Giants Causeway. (Bulletin 3/2000) 1999 Tri-Kis Structural break up near Calais for undetermined reasons. (French Report) 3.0 Conclusion The risk of anyone on the ground being killed by a general aviation aircraft is minimal. Assuming that the risk of fatality for those on the ground is in proportion to those in the aircraft, the risk resulting from airframe failure is greater from Permit aircraft than from aircraft with a CofA. It should be noted that a number of the Permit aircraft structural failures were the result of human factors. John Thorpe -- 12 November 2005


Third Party Risk from UK General Aviation Aeroplanes 1.0 Actual Fatalities In the 45 years since 1960, there have only been two accidents where people on the ground were killed by a UK registered general aviation aeroplane. Both were aircraft with a CofA. 26 June 1966 -- Cessna 172 Old Warden, Beds. Pilot killed, three pax serious injury, two third party killed, one serious, one minor. While taking off for a local flight at the close of a flying display, the aircraft was seen to climb steeply to about 250ft before stalling and crashing in an area occupied by spectators and cars. There was no pre-crash failure or malfunction of the aircraft or engine. The pilot's blood alcohol level was 161mg per 100ml. It was concluded that the accident was result of pilot's mishandling with consequent loss of control when significantly impaired by alcohol. HMSO CAP277. 9 April 1970 DH104 Dove Wolverhampton, Staffs. Both pilots killed, one third party killed, two serious injury. The aircraft was positioning to pick up passengers, it crashed during the approach in conditions of low cloud and reduced visibility. Third attempt, viz 1/2 mile cloud base 6- to 700ft. Hit house and burnt. Pilot had CPL, 8,000hrs, 40 on type, Co-pilot CPL 230hrs trainee. Operator McAlpine. Accident Report 10/1971. 2.0 Potential Risk, Fatal Accidents 1980 to 1999 Factor Airframe Failure and Structural Break Up, 23 Accidents


The Design, Development and Production of Light Aircraft in the UK


Rationale and Acknowledgement This paper is the culmination of over ten years of concern by members of the General Aviation Group (formerly the Light Aviation Group) of the Royal Aeronautical Society. The author wishes to acknowledge the help and support that has been given by the current chairman, Lee Balthazor, and all members of the Group Committee over the eighteen months that has been needed to gather information from both the UK, and comparative information from overseas. Particular thanks go to those on the Sub-Committee, listed below, who gave invaluable help in the research and in drafting the paper; to those overseas divisions of the Society who responded in much detail to a questionnaire; to Jon Johanson of Flymore, South Australia, who alerted the Working Group to the new system in Australia and who made key introductions to members of the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia, including Stephen Dynes who wrote the Australian appendix; to John Thorpe, Chief Executive of the General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) for analysing accident statistics; to the Safety Regulation Group of the UK Civil Aviation Authority for supplying information about the UK and other European certification procedures; to the chairmen and members of the Learned Society Board and the Specialist Group Committee who gave support and guidance from an early stage of drafting; to staff at Society Headquarters who guided the author through the final stages of drafting, leading to publication of this paper; and finally to the Society itself for funding the publication and printing of this report, as an indication its belief in the importance of its contents to the UK. 1.0 General Aviation Group of the RAeS -- Specialist Paper Sub Committee John Bradley, CEng, MRAeS Flight Test Engineer and Director of Active Aviation Ltd Former Chairman, British Gliding Association Technical Committee Dr Bill Brooks, CEng, FRAeS Chief Designer and Test Pilot Mainair-Pegasus AVM John Brownlow, FRAeS Empire Test Pilot's School Graduate PFA Approved Test Pilot Eddie Clapham Retired Rolls-Royce Development Engineer PFA Approved Engineering Inspector Bill Dobie, MRAeS Aeronautical Consultant Retired British Aerospace Aerodynamicist Francis Donaldson, CEng, FRAeS Chief Engineer, Popular Flying Association Formerly Development Engineer, Optica Industries Ltd. Dr Guy Gratton, CEng, FRAeS Lecturer in aeronautics, Brunel University. Formerly Chief Technical Officer, British Microlight Aircraft Association. John Robertson, CEng, MRAeS Career at Rolls-Royce in design, marketing and project management; postings to USA and France. Private Pilot

Dick Stratton, CEng, FRAeS Retired Chief Technical Officer, British Gliding Association Career with Saunders-Roe and CSE Oxford 2.0 Overseas Divisions of the RAeS New Zealand -- Capt Neville Hay, FRAeS, President of the NZL Division RAeS South Africa -- Dr Craig Law, RAeS Divisional Secretary in South Africa. 3.0 Authors of the Appendices Appendix A was supplied by the Safety Regulation Group of the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Appendix B was written by Stephen Dines, former National Technical Director of the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA). Appendices C and D were researched and written by John Robertson of the Group. Appendix E was supplied by John Thorpe, Chief Executive of the General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo). In Conclusion The author of this paper has spent a lifetime attempting to rekindle an interest in light aircraft manufacture in the UK. Two main projects, both mentioned in this report, were, he feels, a technical success but a commercial failure. In that time others have been more fortunate, or perhaps they had more commercial competence. Whatever, the worrying fact is that the number of people attempting what in the UK seems to be the impossible is diminishing, while at the same time the UK imports an ever increasing number of aircraft manufactured overseas, in many cases by newly formed companies. To end on a positive note, one of the most satisfying aspects in a career in aviation has been employing new graduates. In both of the prototype design and build projects the author had a policy of employing new graduates, and they were expected to take on any task within their capability within the organisation; every engineering graduate would be expected to have competence in aerodynamics, stress analysis, design and management; in addition to using these skills he or she would be expected also to manufacture and assemble both test and aircraft components. Many of the graduates employed on these two project have gone on to successful careers with the large aerospace companies in the UK, as managers, designers, engineers and technicians, where the experience from a small company appeared to be considered a very positive benefit. Other former employees went into other industries in the UK, particularly information technology; into careers in the Civil Aviation Authority and into careers in the various organisations and associations that support aviation. The author truly believes that the UK needs to encourage light aircraft design, research, manufacture and practical experimentation as part of a successful UK aerospace sector. John Edgley, CEng, MRAeS Immediate Past Chairman, RAeS Light Aviation Group Aeronautical Engineer Author of this paper

JUNE 2006


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