Class D airspace rules changing

UK to revert to international rules on visual flight in Class D airspace after exemption expires

From 26 March 2020 the UK’s exemption from the Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) covering visibility and distances from cloud in Class D airspace for pilots flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) will no longer apply.

From 26 March, VFR flights in Class D airspace will need to comply with SERA.5001, meaning there will be a requirement to be 1000ft vertically clear of cloud.  It will still be possible to ask air traffic control for a Special VFR clearance within a control zone if the weather conditions require this. The exemption has only applied to flights below 3000 feet and slower than 140kts. In future, UK Class D rules will be fully consistent with SERA and the ICAO requirements that are applied around the rest of the world.  ICAO introduced these rules to improve situational awareness for all pilots flying in Class D airspace.

The exemption has been extended several times but the UK has been informed by the European Commission that no further extensions would be possible.

UK air traffic control providers have been notified so they can amend their procedures and the CAA will be publishing further guidance for pilots on how to comply with the new rules in advance of the change.

The CAA will monitor the impact of the change, including the number of aircraft that are declined clearances to cross controlled airspace.