What’s behind your permit fee?

Permit-to-fly microlighting is a regulated activity and the regulator is the Civil Aviation Authority. They decide that you need a Certificate of Validity (CoV) for your aeroplane. They also decide the criteria – that your aeroplane must be inspected and you must show you are keeping it in an airworthy condition.

BMAA carries out the administration of the CoV (which most people refer to as their ‘permit’). We have a contract with CAA to allow us to do this; it defines what BMAA must do and the qualifications of the people who do it. This means we have to employ an accountable manager (the CEO) and a suitably qualified aeronautical engineer (the CTO) to manage the permit process.

We also oversee a network of inspectors and this requires a suitably qualified person (the Chief Inspector). He in turn has to ensure each inspector is assessed, trained, audited and kept up to date throughout the year.

Of course, we then need an administration system and an administrator to process paperwork, take your payment and notify the CAA that your aeroplane has a valid CoV for another year.

All of this costs money. Your membership and also the CoV fee pay for the entire system that delivers your paperwork.

Of course, the BMAA is not just a ‘permit’ organisation; instead we carry out a huge range of other activities to benefit microlighters. A few of these are:

Technical services – approving new types, ensuring the safety of modifications or repairs, advice, test flying etc. etc…

Representation – reducing CAA’s regulations, opposing unnecessary gold-plating, lobbying government and other bodies… so that you can keep on flying. We have successfully gained a whole range of 'wins' for microlighters - see this page for what Geoff Weighell, former BMAA CEO achieved for you...

Instructor network – facilitating the Panel of Examiners who oversee training standards, maintaining the NPPL syllabus and exams, keeping instructors updated…

Liaison – with the microlight industry, AAIB, other flying associations, Royal Aero Club, international federations…

Airspace – monitoring airspace change proposals and opposing changes that badly affect our members.

Promotion – spreading the word, encouraging others to fly, bursaries, organising events and activities.

Education – we oversee two aeroplanes being built by school students to introduce them to STEM, aeronautics and, of course, microlighting!

Member services – ‘Microlight Flying’ magazine, eMF, social media, awards, certificates, WINGS proficiency schemes, discounts, badges,

… and so much more! In fact, you can download a map of our activities here.

As a microlighter, your flying is dramatically improved thanks to the BMAA. The alternative would be to apply for your CoV (‘permit') directly from the CAA. Their fees would be at least as much as the BMAA’s (and probably a lot higher), you would not benefit from the BMAA’s high service standards and, of course, you wouldn’t get the whole range of other benefits that the BMAA brings. Who would oppose the CAA's new regulations if the BMAA didn't exist?

We are a not-for-profit organisation, run by microlighters for microlighters. We don't aim to make a profit; instead we try to keep fees just as low as possible. Let’s work together to make sure we can continue to enjoy flying into the future, knowing the BMAA is on your wing! 

Rob Hughes