Published on February 5th, 2023 | by Mark Dwyer


UK Approve Passenger Flights in ex-Military Jets

This week the UK Civil Aviation Authority approved revenue passenger flights in ex-military jet aircraft. The CAA operates a risk analysis framework called Safety Standards Acknowledgement and Consent (SSAC) that allows operators to offer fare-paying recreational flights in certain aircraft that are unable to meet commercial safety standards. There are currently five Classes of SSAC;

  • Class 1: Wing-walking
  • Class 2: Experience flight in an historic (single engine piston) ex-military aircraft
  • Class 3: Experience flight in an historic ex-military helicopter
  • Class 4: Experience flight in an ex-military multi-engine piston aeroplane.
  • Class 5: Experience flight in an ex-military jet aeroplane

Any company, organisation or individual that operates SSAC flights must have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. These SSAC operators need to hold a Permission to prove they meet all relevant insurance, maintenance, and safety requirements. Such SSAC operators are regularly inspected and audited by the CAA, and the pilots need to have a commercial licence.

An operator intending to offer SSAC flights must ensure that the risks to both participants, third parties and other airspace users have been considered, and that these risks have been explained to potential participants and written consent from the participant obtained.

One of the first companies that will benefit from this approval is Aero Legends based at North Weald. Following the announcement the company said: “Aero Legends are delighted to learn that passenger flights in ex-military jet aircraft are now approved. The Civil Aviation Authority announced the approval of Class 5 SSAC earlier today. This follows an extensive industry consultation to revise the framework in 2022.”

The statement went on to say “Aero Legends are elated to confirm that fighter jet experiences will start in April 2023. All fighter jet experiences will operate from our base at North Weald Airfield. We are privileged to be the first operator providing experiences under the revised SSAC framework. Members of the public can now experience outstanding and significant ex-military jet aircraft.”

Flights will be available in their BAC Strikemaster, which is a weaponised counter-insurgency and light attack aircraft. The ultimate development of the Jet Provost and predecessor to the Hawk, the Strikemaster is equipped with an uprated Rolls-Royce Viper turbo-jet engine, a strengthened airframe and wing hard-points and fuel tanks together with completely new communication and navigational system in the cockpit alongside dual ejection seats.

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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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