Sergi Giménez Binder October 19 2022 New ultralight aircraft regulation in Spain: what operators need to know Augusta Abogados | Aviation - Spain Sergi Giménez Binder Aviation BackgroundAffected aircraftNew provisionsOn 9 October 2022, a new regulation concerning ultralight aircraft(1) came into force in Spain. This new provision derogates the former regulations contemplated under Royal Decree 2876/1982 and the ministerial order of 24 April 1986.BackgroundArticles 2.3 and 2.8 of the EU Basic Regulation(2) exclude from the scope of such regulation, or allow member states to exempt from such scope, design, production, maintenance and operation activities in respect of certain categories of aircraft with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of between 600 kilograms and 650 kilograms. The Spanish government has thus decided to issue domestic legislation relating to ultralight aircraft, including third-generation ultralight motorised (ULM) aircraft.Affected aircraftThe following types of aircraft are caught by the provisions of the new regulation:category A – "aeroplanes . . . which have no more than two seats, measurable stall speed or minimum steady flight speed in landing configuration not exceeding 45 knots calibrated air speed and a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) . . . of no more than 600 kg for aeroplanes not intended to be operated on water or 650 kg for aeroplanes intended to be operated on water";category B – "helicopters . . . which have no more than two seats and a MTOM . . . of no more than 600 kg for helicopters not intended to be operated on water or 650 kg for helicopters intended to be operated on water"; andcategory C – "single and two-seater gyroplanes with a MTOM not exceeding 600 kg".Since the purpose of the regulation is to foster the development of these types of aircraft, the following aircraft are not considered as ULM aircraft:sailplanes (including powered sailplanes);paragliders (both powered and unpowered);aeroplanes that require a physical effort from the occupant for take-off or landing; andwingsuits and aircraft with an MTOM of less than 70 kilograms.In principle, these aircraft will continue to be governed by existing rules, although certain operational provisions of the new regulation will apply to them.New provisionsFrom 9 January 2023, the new regulation eliminates the old operational altitude limit of 300 metres and increases this limit to a maximum pressure of 3,000 metres or 10,000 feet, with the possibility of operating at altitudes up to 4,000 metres or 13,000 feet for no more than 30 minutes during a single flight. Use of ULM aircraft is only allowed outside regulated, restricted or prohibited airspace; dangerous areas, urban zones and agglomerations of people cannot be overflown. In exceptional circumstances, the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) may grant individual exemptions upon request. Should the flight be operated outside Spanish airspace, the relevant domestic provisions of the foreign state must also be respected.Flight schools for ULM aircraft must obtain a specific permit from AESA. The regulation outlines the requirements and procedures to be followed to obtain such a permit, which must, in principle, be granted within three months from the date of submission of the required documents. It is to be noted, though, that failure by the AESA to issue an express decision within this timeframe must be deemed as a rejection of the application.Flight schools are now allowed to offer introductory flights to potential customers, provided that such flights do not exceed 10% of the total yearly flight time operated by the school and that they are not conducted as a habitual commercial activity. Such flights must be operated by the school's own airplanes and by the school's instructor.For further information on this topic please contact Sergi Giménez Binder at Augusta Abogados by telephone (+34 933 621 620) or email ([email protected]). The Augusta Abogados website can be accessed at www.augustaabogados.com.Endnotes(1) Royal Decree 765/2022, of 20 September 2022.(2) 2018/1139.