General Aviation

Published on September 26th, 2022 | by Mark Dwyer


Ireland Allows for Factory-Built Aeroplanes up to 650kg MTOM under National System

As of 26th September 2022, Ireland has opted to allow certain aeroplanes to be regulated under the national legal system rather than EASA regulations. These are land aeroplanes up to 600kg maximum take-off mass (MTOM) and seaplanes up to 650kg MTOM, which are factory built. As already reported here, these are not considered to be Annex I aircraft, but Article 2(8)(a) aeroplanes, or “Opt-Out aeroplanes” (as they’ve been opted-out of EASA).

What kind of aeroplanes are opt-out aeroplanes?

These are aeroplanes, other than unmanned aeroplanes, which have no more than two seats, measurable stall speed or minimum steady flight speed in landing configuration not exceeding 45 knots calibrated airspeed and an MTOM, as recorded by the Member State, of no more than 600 kg for aeroplanes not intended to be operated on water or 650 kg for aeroplanes intended to be operated on water.

The opt-out doesn’t include helicopters or (powered) sailplanes.

Aeroplanes which are already EASA certified aren’t included e.g. those which already hold a Certificate of Airworthiness.

Who can fly them?

The UK consider these aeroplanes to be microlights, where a pilot can fly them on their NPPL(M). Ireland has considered these to be land aeroplanes – so a pilot needs a LAPL or a PPL(A) with Single Engine Piston (SEP) rating privileges. The PPL(A) can be national or EASA Part FCL, restricted or unrestricted.

Currently, EASA training schools may use Annex I aircraft for flight instruction. There has been no response from EASA to indicate if this provision will be extended to Opt-Out aeroplanes.

Who can do the Flight Permit inspection?

It is envisaged that these aeroplanes will be treated similarly to Annex I aeroplanes and operate on a Flight Permit. The organisations that currently administer Flight Permits recommendations will need to add these types of aeroplanes to their scope to do the Flight Permits on them.

Will this affect microlights?

No, microlights (Annex I paragraph (e)) are similar but have a stall speed or minimum steady flight in landing configuration not exceeding 35 knots CAS. They are limited in weight to 450kg or 475kg MTOM. Microlights can continue to be registered, fly, and be flown by a pilot with a PPL(M) or PPL(A).

Will this affect Annex I aircraft – homebuilt, classic & vintage, etc.?

No, Annex I aircraft remain as they are. Now, some additional aeroplanes can operate on the national Flight Permit system too.  

Can I upgrade my aeroplane to an ‘opt-out’ aeroplane if it was built as one?

You must contact the IAA to see if your aeroplane’s MTOM can be changed. The MTOM is listed on the Flight Permit, so you’ll need a new Flight Permit to operate to the higher weight legally.

Remember, that you will need a PPL(A) or LAPL(A) to fly it at a higher MTOM.

Can I fly an Opt-Out aeroplane over foreign territories?

You need to carefully look at the foreign recognition of IAA Flight Permits before flying an Opt-Out aeroplane overseas. EASA offered an opt-out to each Member State, some took it, some didn’t, and some took a varied version of the opt-out. Since these aircraft are not Annex I, be sure and review each country’s rules regarding flying aircraft on a Flight Permit there.

It’s likely that in the short term, you will need to apply for permission to visit other EU countries with an Opt-Out aeroplane.

Where is this published?

More information is on IAA Aeronautical Notice G.18

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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