Standardised European Rules of the Air SERA
SERA replaces most of the UK rules
The UK’s CAA has specifically created a set of supplementary rules in the form of The Rules of the Air Regulations 2015.
The key differences for helicopters are :
VMC – Aircraft flying VFR in Class C, D or E airspace must remain 1500 m horizontally and 1000 ft. vertically away from cloud and in a flight visibility of at least 5 km at all times. The UK have asked that VMC includes “remaining clear of cloud, with surface in sight, and flight visibility of at last 5km”.
VFR at night – is permitted. Aircraft leaving the vicinity of an aerodrome must maintain 2-way communication with ATC and file a flight plan. The process of ‘booking out’ is still accepted as an alternative method to filing a formal paper or electronic flight plan in certain circumstances. Similarly, abbreviated flight plans filed in flight are still permitted. There are also more restricting weather minima:
- Minimum cloud ceiling of 1500 ft AMSL
- Flight visibility of 5 km, or 3 km in the case of a helicopter flying outside controlled airspace
- Maintain sight of the surface when flying at 3,000 ft AMSL or below
- Minimum height of 1000 ft (or 2000 ft if over high terrain) above the highest fixed obstacle within 8 km of the aircraft except when taking off or landing