Type-Certification of 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 approach to type-certification of VTOL aircraft. The CAA policy statement aims at highlighting the approach to type-certification for VTOL aircraft for those seeking to type-certify their aircraft in the UK while the CAA learns more about this type of aircraft, its capabilities, and type of operations they will undertake.

You said

We received 5 responses in total. There was overall support for the approach taken. One respondent wanted to understand if the same principles will apply to certification standards for propellers (CS-P) and engines (CS-E).

Two respondents wanted closer cooperation and alignment with CAA’s international counterparts to expedite approval of VTOLs. One respondent suggested the CAA adopts future EASA Means of Compliance, in consultation with industry, to achieve regulatory alignment.

One respondent asked the CAA to ensure regulations evolve as capabilities of VTOLs and types of operations they participate in evolve as well. Finally, a respondent suggested expanding the description on VTOL to include all aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing, both with on-board pilot and remotely piloted ones.

We did

We acknowledge that stakeholders were broadly supportive or not against the proposed policy position.

The CAA continues to work very closely with its counterparts around the world, to share knowledge and learn from best practices.  We seek to enable swift introduction of VTOL to the UK market and appreciate the importance of international harmonisation, while maintaining appropriate safety standards for the UK.

We confirm that Certification Specifications for Propellers (CS-P) do apply to propellers used by VTOL. With regard to motors, the CAA is working on developing certification standards specifically for electric motors and will publish the draft standards in the near future.

Regarding EASA’s future Means of Compliance, 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 that approach meets the priorities of the UK.

We do not believe it is appropriate to describe VTOL in a way that would include all aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing. VTOL have a number of unique features, such as number of thrust/lift units and control systems, that necessitates to treat them as a separate group of aircraft.

Treating them as part of existing categories would not sufficiently account for those differences. Regarding expanding the definition to include remotely piloted aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft in the certified category are already subject to UK regulations.

We remain committed to flexibility in the face of an evolving VTOL market. As the technology evolves, and in consultation with industry, we will work to maintain a proportionate approach to the regulatory framework and meet the needs of the UK aviation industry, without compromising on safety standards.


The CAA welcomes the continued efforts by the aviation industry to deliver new and innovative products to the market. As part of its efforts to support the industry, the CAA is giving an indication of its policy thinking regarding the operation of VTOL aircraft. 

The CAA is using existing legislation for the regulation of VTOL operations to the greatest extent possible, as we appreciate that our collective understanding of the new technology will grow as designs mature and operations commence. This understanding will inform the CAA’s ongoing work of amending existing legislation to better enable deployment of new aviation technologies such as VTOL operations.

This CAA policy statement aims at highlighting the overall approach to type-certification for VTOL aircraft.

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.


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


  • Airworthiness