What is the purpose of Permits to Fly and who issues them?
Every aircraft flying in Ireland must have either a certificate of airworthiness or a permit to fly. Certificates of airworthiness apply to aircraft whose manufacturer has arranged certification. Aircraft that have no manufacturer or whose manufacturer is no longer in business may be granted a permit to fly ("Permit"): typically these are homebuilt or classic / vintage types. ILAS deals with Permit aircraft that are heavier than microlights, typically greater than 450kg maximum weight. ILAS has been given authority by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) to inspect and recommend an aircraft for the issue of a Permit. The IAA then issues the actual Permit to the owner. Every aircraft that is issued a Permit through the ILAS process must have been inspected by an ILAS approved inspector. The IAA can also issue Permits outside the ILAS process, but this is usually confined to one-off flights for certified aircraft.
Who can service or maintain an aircraft on a Permit?
The owner may carry out the maintenance, provided he / she follows the relevant Maintenance Schedule. The owner should check with his / her ILAS inspector if there is any doubt about the scope of work allowed. An owner may get a third-party commercial maintenance organisation to carry out work on the aircraft but it must be referred to his / her ILAS Inspector.
Who can recommend an aircraft for the issue of a Permit?
ILAS recommends an aircraft to the IAA, following completion of the relevant inspections and forms by an ILAS Inspector.
Who can sign approval of work done on an aircraft?
An ILAS Inspector, the builder (as part of a duplicate inspection) or a Licensed Engineer who has referred to the ILAS Inspector.
Who can sign an ILAS Build Book?
Every homebuilt aircraft project in the ILAS system must have a build book to record the work done on the various stages of the project. The builder can sign as part of a duplicate inspection along with the Inspector but only an ILAS Inspector can sign off final closure or completion of the main stages of construction.
Can I fly my Permit aircraft overseas or across international borders?
Yes, in general. There are arrangements between most countries of Europe for access to each others’ airspace for homebuilt Permit aircraft. In a minority of cases the national airspace authority needs to be notified in advance or approval obtained. In the case of non-homebuilt Permit aircraft generally permission must be obtained from the relevant national airspace authority. Contact ILAS for country-by-country details. There are of course other requirements that are not specific to Permit aircraft, including customs, immigration and/or police notification requirements, and in some cases specific insurance and/or transponder requirements. It is best to check before setting out. Members of ILAS fly their aircraft widely and will be happy to share their acquired knowledge with you.
Can I fly IFR in my Permit aircraft?
Currently, you may not fly in IMC conditions in a Permit aircraft, even if it is suitably equipped (including an ADF in some EU States) and the pilot is suitably qualified. Irish Permits are normally issued on a day-VFR basis only. You may approach the IAA and apply for an exemption to the above, which is entirely up to the IAA to decide.
Can I fly aerobatics in my Permit aircraft?
The IAA normally issues Permit with no-aerobatics wording. However if the aircraft is specifically designed for it, you may apply to have this restriction removed. For example, a person operating an aerobatic classic type such as a Bucker or a Stampe may conduct aerobatic flight on the basis of appropriate Permit wording, whereas the operator of a homebuilt may have to make a case that the particular type is permitted to do aerobatics and has a suitable track record of safety in other jurisdictions. Again, one would have to approach the IAA and apply for a Permit amendment.
Can I fly my Permit aircraft for hire or reward?
No, unless the IAA give an exemption to allow a Permit aircraft to, for example, appear in a commercial film.
Can I carry out Aerial Work, such as glider tugging or parachute dropping in my Permit aircraft?
Only with the specific permission of the IAA.
Can I train in my Permit aircraft?
The owner may receive tuition in his/her own aircraft but Permit aircraft are not allowed to be used for flight training for non-owners.
Can I fly at Night in my Permit aircraft?
Currently, no as Permits are issued for day VFR flying only.
Can I modify my Permit aircraft?
Any proposed modification from the original plans (homebuilt) or design (classic) needs to be first discussed with your inspector. You may invalidate your Permit if you make unapproved modifications.
Can I purchase a Permit aircraft?
Can I import a Permit aircraft?
Yes, provided you meet any IAA requirements for that particular aircraft. You may be required to prove to the IAA that your potential import conforms to a code such as JAR-VLA or FAR-23. You should consult with the IAA in advance, as they may not be permitted by EASA to operate some aircraft in the EASA environment.
Can I operate a helicopter on a Permit?
Homebuilt helicopters are available but there are none operating under ILAS at present. The IAA would need to be consulted before commencing the project.
Can I operate a gyrocopter on a Permit?
See the Irish Sports Rotorcraft Club’s website.
Can I operate a turbine aircraft on a Permit?
You would have to approach the IAA directly.
Can I operate an ex-Military aircraft on a Permit?
So far, the only ex-Military aircraft on Permits in Ireland are such basic types as Piper Cubs, which gain a Permit as Classics. Heavier metal would have to go to the IAA for individual approval. The IAA does not currently have a legal protocol for the bigger, faster types such as surplus jet trainers like Fougas or Jet Provosts nor is there an infrastructure in Ireland for their support.
Can I operate a floatplane on a Permit?
Can I operate a Permit aircraft as part of a group or syndicate?
Yes, provided all of the group members are listed as registered owners of the aircraft and all are paid-up members of ILAS.
Can I use Mogas in a Permit aircraft?
Yes, provided the aircraft is accepted by the IAA for the use of Mogas.
Can I fly a Permit aircraft without a valid Permit?
Only if it has a valid Certificate of Fitness for Flight and a valid Certificate of Compliance and then only for test and adjustment purposes.
What kind of radio system can I use in a Permit aircraft?
A radio is not mandatory. Alternatively you can have a portable radio or a fixed permanent installation, the latter requiring a radio Station Licence from ComReg.
Does a Permit aircraft require a transponder?
Only if you intend to fly in controlled airspace when a Mode C transponder is required..
Does a Permit aircraft have to comply with Airworthiness Directives?
Yes, even if the manufacturer may no longer exist, the IAA or another National Authority may require the owner/operator to comply with relevant ADs, Service Bulletins or any other kind of special notices.
For how long is a Permit valid?
Permits are normally issued for 1 year.
Whose Maintenance Schedule should I use?
The manufacturer’s schedule is the primary reference. If the manufacturer no longer exists, or in the case of homebuilts, the operator should use the generic ILAS Schedule revised in consultation with the Inspector, or a relevant type club’s schedule.
Is my Permit aircraft subject to IAA audit?
Yes. The IAA has the right to inspect any Irish-registered aircraft and the conduct of its operation, including a physical check of the aircraft and an audit of it’s paperwork. The IAA also audits ILAS annually.
What is the power / size limit for Permit aircraft?
260 hp and a maximum of four seats.
What are the owner’s responsibilities with regard to Permit aircraft documentation?
Because the owner can carry out his / her own maintenance, he / she must also maintain the logbooks, documentation and records. Unlike for certified aircraft, which require the use of a maintenance organisation, which normally handles the paperwork, the onus is on the owner of a Permit aircraft to do such work himself / herself and keep the records up to date. The owner must also make sure that a copy of the Permit and all other required documentation is aboard the aircraft for each flight.