Model Aircraft and the Civil Aviation Authority



 For the purposes of regulation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), powered model aircraft are separated into three distinct categories:


Under 7 Kg (15½ pounds)


7 Kg (15½ pounds) and over, but less than 20 Kg (44 pounds)


20 Kg (44 pounds) and over.


The operation of all model aircraft is subject to specific regulation governed by the Air Navigation Order (ANO), models weighing over 7 Kg are subject to further specific regulation which controls where, when and how these models are operated. In addition, for models over 20 Kg, further controls are imposed, including airframe inspections during construction.

In the eyes of the CAA models over 20 Kg are deemed to be light aircraft, and as such require exemptions from the ANO to be obtained in order that they may be legally flown. The terms of the exemption can dictate that certain sites are unsuitable for the operation of certain models. Each individual aircraft weighing over 20 Kg requires an individual Exemption Certificate and the directives of the Exemption Certificate must be strictly adhered to at all times when the model is flown. In addition, prior to the issue of an Exemption Certificate, each model must undergo an airframe inspection and be signed off during construction by an approved inspector. It must then complete a series of test flights in front of an approved person before it is permitted for the pilot to fly the model on his own.

The Ghost Squadron mainly fly models weighing over 7 Kg as it has been found that larger models have more realistic flight characteristics which enhances the enormous spectator appeal that large models possess. Some of the models operated by the Ghost Squadron have wingspans of up to 10.5 meters (34.4 feet) and can weigh up to 74 Kg (163 pounds). Obviously not all venues are suitable to operate this type of model, and for this reason, the Ghost Squadron also operates smaller models, more suitable for smaller events. The agility of smaller models can make them equally spectacular to the watching public. Ghost Squadron flying displays are predominantly done to a theme. This may be learning to fly, World War 1 dog fights, World War 11 combat and bombing, aero towing gliders, aerobatics, electric flight and so on.