We are now in receipt of the updated guidelines from the Department for Transport, the relevant text is below.
Training and Flying Instructors
Flying instructors and support staff should be formally informed of the risks and all actions being taken to combat the risks. This is to ensure they:
- understand the specific risks and mitigations
- understand site protocols
- are physically and mentally well enough to engage in a return to training
It will be for individual training organisations to agree with their instructors any conditions for their return. Instructors deemed clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to follow government advice.
In most cases it will not be possible to keep a distance of 2 metres apart inside a training aircraft. Measures to manage the risk of transmission will depend on the type and size of the aircraft.
Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, training schools and instructors should take the most appropriate actions to reduce the risk of transmission.
Social distancing also applies to all parts of a business where students or instructors may congregate outside of the aircraft. Examples of this include reception areas and classrooms.
Cleaning is vital in all areas of the training venue and aircraft. Training organisations should write and implement a cleaning plan. This should be updated when new information becomes available.
It should ensure that all areas to be accessed by flying instructors, students and support staff are deep cleaned to a minimum standard. This includes regular cleaning for:
- surfaces on board the aircraft
- all other areas accessed by students, instructors and support staff.
- all frequently touched surfaces, for example, door handles, banister rails, buttons and toilet areas The government has published guidance on working safely and how this can be applied in the workplace. Each business will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take depending on the nature of the business and how it is operated, managed and organised.
Actions you could take include:
- more frequent hand washing and surface cleaning
- wearing a face covering, where it is safe to do so
- disinfection of the aircraft (i.e. frequent touch points including headsets) and outside facilities to a standard which follows government guidance for cleaning in non-healthcare settings
- keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
- using screens or barriers (where safe and appropriate to do so) to separate people from each other. These should only be introduced into aircraft under an approved modification
- using side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
- provision and use of hand sanitiser
- reducing and fixing the number of people each person has contact with – for example, training organisations should consider limiting the number of students per instructor (so each person works with only a few others).
- ensuring only essential people are present in the aircraft for the purposes of safety and effective learning Organisations should make customers aware of, and encourage compliance with, limits on gatherings.
Communications for Aerodromes
Aerodrome operators and others involved in GA are encouraged to communicate with local communities. This is to ensure that the easing of restrictions on GA activity is understood not just by the GA community, but also by the general public – particularly those living near to airfields. This is to avoid people becoming concerned by the increase in airfield activity. Pilots should also act responsibly, for example by avoiding noise-sensitive and built-up areas.
Both the CAA and stakeholder organisations within the GA community are valuable sources of information about managing the challenges of flying in the current environment, and members of the community are encouraged to consult both for more detailed advice and guidance where applicable. Read the CAA’s advice and tips for a safe return to flying.