Rules and Regulations for flying a Microlight in South Africa

Regulations regarding licensing of pilots
Regulations regarding licensing of aircraft
Regulations regarding operation of aircraft
List of relevant authorities, bodies etc.


Licencing of microlight pilots

To legally fly a Microlight in South Africa, one must be in possession of a valid MPL (Microlight Pilots License) and Radio operators license.
To obtain a license, the would be pilot, if his nerves last after a few test flights, must enrol at a flight school which has been granted the necessary licenses by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), and receive training from a MISASA (Microlight Section of the Aero Club of South Africa) approved flight instructor.
The training typically requires a total of about 25 hours flying (about 10 hours thereof dual, and the rest solo), and all the relevant ground courses (weather, engines & airframes, airlaw, navigation, theory of flight, radio procedure).
At the beginning of the training, the student must have a medical examination, and apply to the DCA for a student license. After the training, he/she must have a series of flight tests by an instructor other than the one who did the training, and pass written exams on the ground courses, as well as obtain a radio operators license from Telkom SA.
If all tests and exams are passed, the student can apply to CAA for a Microlight Pilots License (valid for the type on which he/she has trained)
This is valid as long as the medical certificate is valid for (5 years from date of examination ). Every five years the pilot must have a further medical examination. If the student/pilot is over 40 years old, the medical must be renewed every three years.
If he passes this, and can prove (by means of log book, or form signed by an instructor) that he has flown 10 hours in the previous year, the license will be renewed by CAA to the date of expiry of the new medical examination.

Medical examinations must be made by a CAA approved doctor (In Jo'burg call Dr Hugh Benjamin 011-884 2529 for a one-stop medical), and include complex sight and hearing tests, as well as a strenuous ECG (which is nearly the death of me every year, watching my heart rate increase into the red line on some high tech machine and wondering what a heart attack would feel like!)
The medical test is then sent with the licence application to CAA and a licence will be issued.

Licencing of microlight aircraft

The licencing of all Microlight Aircraft falls under the control of the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). Microlight licensing and operation is all governed by a document called the LS1. This sets out in detail all the rules and regulations, I will just list the major points in normal English here (not bureaucratese!).
To operate a Microlight aircraft legally, the owner must be in possession of a valid "Authority to Fly" document, which is issued by the CAA.
CAA will issue this document if the following conditions are met:
The owner must be a bone-fide paid up member of MISASA (The Microlight Section of the Aero Club of South Africa) and have taken out the microlight third party insurance from them;
The aircraft must be a CAA approved type (one which has been in use in SA for a number of years);
The aircraft must have had a certified "Annual Inspection" by a MISASA Approved Person, and the owner must have the signed inspection certificate;
The aircraft must be registered by CAA, and have an international registration number issued and clearly displayed on the aircraft ( ZU- number).
If the above conditions are met, CAA will issue the "Authority to fly", which must be renewed anually, when the aircraft has an Annual Inspection by an Approved Person (AP) within 12 months of the previous one, and the AP or the pilot mails or delivers the signed inspection certificate to CAA with the renewal fee (R114.00 at present) before or shortly after the expiry date of the previous inspection (this should be displayed on the aircraft by means of a special MISASA sticker)
If the aircraft is a new type in SA, (Eg a home built), then the procedure is much more complicated:
First an AP must give the aircraft a thorough examination, including structural strength testing, CG (Centre of Gravity) tests etc; Then an approved pilot (usually senior instructor, or someone else who’s balls are bigger then his brains) must give the aircraft a test flight;
Then the owner trots off to the CAA with the AP report and Test flight certificates, and photo's of his baby, and whatever other technical bumbf etc he has, and CAA will most likely issue a "Proving Flight Authority", which is permission for the owner to fly 40 hours of solo on the aircraft, from his airfield of hangerage for a max radius of 50 miles.
After these 40 hours (it is amazing how quickly many pilots fly these hours, sometimes
spending 6 -7 hours a day in their new machines), a further test flight must be made by an approved pilot (the guy with big cojones) and a further airframe inspection is also required!
Then the owner can return to CAA with his log books to prove the 40 hours has been flown, and the test flight and inspection certificates, and CAA will issue the hard earned Authority to Fly. Simple isn't it!
Then all the owner needs is his once a year Annual Inspection, and he can fly the plane till it falls apart (which of course the Annual Inspection should prevent!)

Operation microlight aircraft

All rules and regulations concerning the operation of Microlight Aircraft are set out in the LS1 Document, which is controlled by CAA. Again I will try to extract the ones I can remember and that are most relevant to active pilots in South Africa (I must admit, I have never actually read the full document from front to back!)
Mainly, both the pilot and the aircraft must be legal - the pilot must have a valid MPL(Microlight Pilots License) and be a paid up member of MISASA, and have a valid third party insurance through MISASA, and the aircraft must have a valid "Authority to Fly" from CAA.
A microlight must meet certain noise control regulations;
A microlight may never fly over a built-up area (the yellow areas on the aeronautical charts);
A microlight must not fly lower than 500 ft vertically over or 2000 ft horizontally from any person, animal or dwelling;
A microlight must remain below 1000 ft AGL unless equipped with VHF radio, compass and altimeter;
A microlight may not enter controlled airspace unless equipped with VHF radio, compass and altimeter, and then only with permission from ATC;
A microlight may not fly at night (defined as ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise);
A microlight may not fly IFR or in sub VFR conditions;

A microlight pilot, other than an instructor in the course of training a student, may not take passengers for any form of remuneration. Other than that, we can pretty much do our own thing, and SA is a big land! Carrying of radio, compass, altimeter is now compulsory in certain congested areas such as the Johannesburg Special Rules Area, the Cape Peninsula, the Durban area etc, and may well become compulsory at all times, which I endorse whole heartedly. Other then the fun of chatting to your mates, telling them when you have just run out of fuel etc, it is a vital for safety to communicate with ATC and other aircraft (especially choppers, who often fly even lower than we do!)

I wanna be a trike pilotThe sky belongs to trikes

List of relevant bodies and authorities

The official MISASA website
MISASA is the elected section of the Aero Club that controls most aspects of Microlighting in South Africa. The committee memebers are all volenteers who devote a great deal of their free time to the sport. Without them, there would be no microlighting in South Africa.
The main MISASA officers for 2007 are listed below. For full details, including all the regional representatives, open the link below the table
Portfolio Name Telephone number
Telephone: 0861 018 018 Fax: 0861 018 018
Postal: P O Box 18018, Rand Airport, 1419
Physical: Hangar 4, Main Road, Rand Airport, Germiston
Chairman Mike Blythl 011 455 4203
Secratary/Treasurer Robert Gassmann 083 468 3333
Training Geoff Dyer 082 331 1104
Safety Alex Rudd 082 568 8635
Technical Gavin Lundie 082 900 3173
Competitions Rob Gooch 082 455 0684
Events Rob McFie 082 498 8590
Click here for the Aero Club web siteThe Aero Club of South Africa

The Aero Club of South Africa is the designated controlling body for all sport aviation in the Republic. The Aero Club of South Africa was formed in 1920 by a group of airmen, "Miller's Boys", who had served with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. The Chairman of the Aero Club for 1999/2000 is Arthur Westworth, an accomplished balloonist. The Director - General of the Aero Club is Neil de Lange.
Today Aero Club has 11 sections and some 5 000 members.

"Il Paciere", New Road, Midrand, close to the terminal at Grand Central Airport in Midrand, South Africa.
Tel +27 11 805 0366 Fax No: +27 11 805 2765 or Email: aeroclub@zanet.co.za
Click here for the CAA websiteCAA - Civil Aviation Authority
Ikhaya Lokundiza - "the home of flight"
Ikhaya Lokundiza Building, 16 Treur Close, Waterfall Park, Bekker Street - Midrand
Tel:+27 11 – 545 1000 Fax: +27 11 – 545 1465
Email: mail@caa.co.za

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New update 6 June 2007by the Webmaster,