Flight Operations Using VTOL Aircraft

Closed 20 Nov 2023

Opened 16 Oct 2023

Feedback updated 19 Feb 2024

We asked

We asked for feedback on the CAA’s position on commercial flight operations using VTOL aircraft.

You said

We received 14 responses in total. Multiple respondents asked for timelines for when the interim guidance will be replaced with new or amended regulations. Several respondents called for closer collaboration with the industry and a level of harmonisation with other authorities.

One respondent suggested regulations should be reviewed to account for the introduction of VTOLs. Another respondent suggested that the proposed conversion training would not account for the low-altitude nature of VTOL operations and the locations where they will take place (such as urban environment).

A respondent noted that Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (RFFS) provisions do not sufficiently account for the use of lithium batteries by VTOL and the potential hazards associated with firefighting lithium fires and should therefore be reviewed. One respondent suggested the CAA should work on alternative means of compliance for aircraft unable to fully meet current requirements.

One respondent noted that while the paper is about CAT operations, it also mentions non-commercial operations as well, producing confusion on the scope of the paper. It also lacked rationale for treating VTOL as Complex Motor-Powered Aircraft (CMPA).

Several responses highlighted the lack of detail in the paper on issues such as energy reserve requirements, alternate landing sites/diversions, visibility limits, and other operational elements. There was also an overall preference to maintain operational parity with helicopters.

One respondent suggested current operations rules will not support meaningful commercial eVTOL services and EASA operations rules should be the basis for UK-specific regulation.

One respondent asked for better articulation on how existing rules apply to VTOLs, especially in the context of transition from vertical to horizontal flight.

We did

We are giving all comments due consideration to ensure VTOLs are regulated in an appropriate manner relative to the risk.

To this end, we remain in close contact with the industry to collect their views and suggestions and have undertaken a detailed analysis of all applicable current UK regulations and other countries’ proposed rules. The CAA is committed to the Future of Flight timelines and work is underway to draft revised flight operations rules. Industry input will be solicited. However, no specific timelines can be given at this time on when the regulations will be amended as elements of the changes are outside of our control.

We note that the conversion training mentioned in the policy statement does not replace any additional training that may be necessary to perform certain operations, eg. low-altitude, in specific locations or weather conditions. Conversion training is only intended to assist in enabling a pilot to fly different types of aircraft than the ones they were trained on.

We are aware of the challenges posed by lithium batteries in VTOL aircraft, especially in the context of Rescue and Fire Fighting Services and are actively engaged in Eurocae work on this topic.  Future guidance for vertiports will include RFFS criteria.

We point out that the paragraph referring to non-commercial operations was only intended to highlight that cost-sharing flights using VTOL are not permitted. We are currently of the view it is appropriate to treat VTOL as complex motor-powered aircraft because of their novel nature, and broad differences in their constructions and operational performance. This prohibits cost-sharing flights using VTOL aircraft.

Regarding using EASA’s regulations as a basis, while we do learn from outputs of other regulators, we are firmly focused on introducing regulations that are appropriate for the UK environment. We will seek to remain aligned with our international partners, insofar as it meets the priorities of the UK.

We are also aware that there are other areas of operations policy that will require clarification, including energy reserve requirements and visibility. We are in the process of reviewing all areas of the operations regulations to ensure they are appropriate for VTOLs and their operations, and further consultation in the form of working groups will be established.

You can find further information on our ongoing work and outputs on the CAA’s Innovation Hub.


This document presents UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) current position for operators of Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft wishing to conduct commercial air transport (CAT) operations in the UK. It is to be viewed as interim guidance while we continue to work with stakeholders to enhance our understanding of the technology and how it is to be operated. It enables industry to plan for future operations while detailed rulemaking takes place.

The deadline for responses has been extended and they are requested by 20 November 2023.

What happens next

An overview of our proposal, stakeholder comments and resulting CAA actions will be posted in the Advanced Air Mobility challenge section of the CAA’s website.


  • Commercial airlines
  • Industry representative bodies
  • Government departments
  • Regulatory bodies
  • International Civil Aviation Organization


  • Airworthiness