Mission Aviation Fellowship

UK CAA launches Skyway Code

The UK CAA has launched its much anticipated ‘Skyway Code’ – intended to be an aeronautical equivalent of road user’s Highway Code.

The idea of the Skyway Code was first mooted within the CAA up to 10 years ago, with a remit to condense the thousands of pages of aeronautical legislation into a ‘pocket-sized’ guide to the principle rules and regulations that govern General Aviation flying in the UK. The CAA say that the primary focus of the Skyway Code is to enable the safe operation of aircraft and the safe use of airspace. In particular, the Skyway Code incorporates the most recent EU / EASA regulations (such as PART-NCO) which many pilots have found difficult to source and even more difficult to interpret.

Initial work on the Skyway Code was carried out by CAA staffer Ben Watkins, himself a keen glider pilot. Ben has since left the CAA and work on the Skyway Code was carried on by Ed Bellamy of the CAA’s General Aviation Unit. He said, “We wanted the Skyway Code to be something that GA pilots, new or experienced, would find useful. Rather than include every bit of information available we’ve focused on what a pilot most needs to know – primarily aircraft operations and airspace, with a strong emphasis on the practicalities of VFR flying.”

The CAA say that the Skyway Code is designed to provide private pilots with easy, quick access to key information and that the new online guide condenses the ‘must know’ information on UK GA flying into 162 pages of information and graphics in an easy to navigate PDF. Areas covered include:

  • Pilot responsibilities
  • Pre-flight checks and flight planning
  • Airspace rules and regulations
  • Using aerodromes
  • Risks and emergencies
  • Flying outside the UK
  • Links to useful safety and regulatory resources

The Skyway Code includes illustrations throughout and has been limited to key useful information. As well as covering the regulations it includes examples of radio phraseology, tables to work out crosswind components and ground marshalling signals. To flying instructors with long memories, it is seen as being a modern-day equivalent of the defunct CAA publication ‘CAP 85’, which condensed aviation law for private pilots into a single useable document in the pre-JAR era.

At present the Skyway Code is available to view on-line or download as a PDF at www.caa.co.uk/skywaycode . The CAA say that guide will be updated annually with other key updates and amendments available on the CAA website a. The CAA also say that comments and suggestions over the content of the guide are welcome and can be sent to [email protected]ing, using the subject line ‘Skyway Code’.

Author: Adrian Mahovics

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