ANO Article 115/140/223 Issues
This article was originally written in 2004 and has been updated since. Most of the text here is thus mainly of historical interest.
Note 24/8/2005: the new 2005 ANO has all the articles renumbered, and Article 115 is now Article 140!
Note 10/2/2014: the current ANO article is 223 (or maybe 225). Search caa.co.uk for cap393.pdf for the latest ANO.
Under ANO Article 115, aerial work (which includes any flight where an instructor is paid for the flight) in a foreign registered aircraft requires permission from the Department for Transport (DfT). This has been the case for ages. This was not enforced until recently and following a big change in policy a number of people have been prosecuted in 2005 to date. Update 2015: these permissions are now issued by the UK CAA.
What was not widely known is that the Department for Transport (DfT) readily issues these permissions. Perhaps if this had been known, many people would have applied for them.
According to the CAA/DfT, the events which have led to a spate of prosecutions was "abuse" of the regulations, plus certain commentaries in the aviation press that were regarded as inflammatory by the CAA, and they decided to take action. In the words of an DfT official I spoke to, they are out to stop commercial work in non-G-reg planes - in most cases this means N-reg. So.... what is "commercial work" and can an ordinary private pilot (i.e. one who is flying without getting any money for it) get inadvertently caught by the rules?
The DfT do give permissions to AOC holders and passenger carrying (airline) operations but these are closely controlled and it's a whole different area.
It was only during the Dennis Kenyon court case and its subsequent press coverage that it became widely known that the DfT routinely issues the permissions. For some reason, the people who got them kept very quiet - as one would perhaps expect someone to do if they got a special dispensation from the Inland Revenue!
The DfT contact I spoke to most recently (Feb/March 2005) is Roger Kinsey, fax 0207 944 2194, phone 0207 944 5847. He needs aircraft paperwork (CofA, insurance cert, copy of trust paperwork, etc) and the approval is for named pilots on a specific aircraft for a specific period. No instructor details need be provided but they do need details of the maintenance organisation(s). There is no charge for the permission. The forms which they need you to fill in are here and here Word-version - check - these may be out of date. Note that if e.g. your insurance expires in 3 months' time but your Annual isn't due for another 9 months, the permission will be valid for just 3 months, so one needs to be careful to avoid getting a permission which turns out to be too short to be useful. The DfT sends the completed form to the CAA (confirmed August 2005) who then tell the DfT whether it is OK; it takes up to 2-3 weeks.
My last contact with the CAA legal department (Ian Weston) and with the DfT (Roger Kinsey) was on 1st March 2005. Both sounded helpful. The following is a summary:
DFT: Training and FAA checkrides are OK for owners (and groups of 4 or under) and the DfT gives permission for this.
CAA: They are issuing a long letter which will be on the DfT website soon, with a copy going to the AOPA magazine and others.
CAA: I asked what has caused all this and he said it was abuse of the system.
CAA: He expects a change of law within 12 months, limiting the residence of foreign-reg planes to 90 days.
DFT: The DfT is increasing the priority of a long term project to introduce legislation to ban resident foreign-reg planes. It was however acknowledged by the DfT that this has been on the cards as long as anyone can remember.
CAA: I made the point that the main reason for people going N-reg is the
FAA IR, made necessary by the fact that anybody who earns enough to
fly seriously IFR has a real job etc and can't set aside the time to do the JAA IR. He agreed and said the CAA is aware of this and is pushing EASA for a
suitable IR alternative, on the grounds that it will improve safety.
CAA: He made it clear that he doesn't like a lot of the stuff written in
the UK aviation magazines; my impression was that he thinks a lot of it is
unrepresentative of the way the CAA thinks. For example he said they don't prosecute unless something serious happens.
DFT: Renting is OK and no DfT permission is needed, provided that the renters don't use the rented aircraft for aerial work including paid instruction (instruction free of charge is OK). He agreed to this after I carefully explained to him that the actual use would NOT be aerial work if it had been done in a G-reg plane.
DFT: It was believed that people go N-reg primarily for cheaper maintenance. I explained that maintenance (or cheaper anything) is most definitely not the reason except in a small percentage of cases, and that if there was an accessible PPL-IR the N-reg scene would gradually dry up. He appeared to accept this.
Update 25/4/2005: Any instructor doing paid instruction on any aircraft in UK airspace (whether or not G-reg) needs to have a JAA Instructor Rating. The last reasoning I have seen on this is this: ANO Art 29 says that the instructor must have a licence granted or rendered valid under the ANO, or have a JAA licence, and the licence must include an instructor rating. Foreign (non-JAA) licences are rendered valid by ANO Art 21(4), but not for instruction in flying. That means you need a UK or JAA instructors rating to instruct for grant or variation of a licence or rating in UK airspace. If true, in practice this will mean that the instructor may need to be dual (JAA+FAA) rated if you are either trying to get signed off as ready for one's IR checkride, or doing a BFR/IPC. This would not be a problem if the instructor is not being paid for the flight training, or if the training is taking place outside the UK FIR.
The above is only a snapshot of the current situation, and at time of writing it is changing regularly.
Update 9th March 2009: The current DfT requirements are here local copy. Interestingly, the members of an incorporated group/syndicate all have to be Directors if they wish to seek the DfT permission; mere shareholders (which is a much more common arrangement) can't do it, and there is a limit of four Directors max. There is no limit on the maximum number of shareholders in an unincorporated syndicate.
Update 10/2/2014: There is a move to move the DfT work to the CAA, who will charge for the permits. This is the 2013 consultation that they ran (not apparently well publicised). The response summary document is here but contains nothing of relevance to the GA issue.. The potentially worrying aspect of this is how much they decide to charge. Discussion here.
The DfT also give permits for a charity flight in an N-reg. I got one in Feb 2014. A CAA permit is also required if the radius is over 25nm; this applies to all aircraft registrations.
Update 10/2016: The UK CAA has stated they no longer need to be contacted for the permission to obtain training in an N-reg. This is great news! However it helps only for the narrow scenario of an N-reg owner getting himself some training or checkride where the instructor is paid. Details here.
This page last updated 12th November 2016
Any feedback, reports of dead links, corrections or suggestions much appreciated: