UK CAA grounding of YAK’s – lifted in 2002

13th May 2002.

Flying has to stop on the 21st May 2002 for all Russian and Lithuania aircraft until new papers are issued.

The bad news is that Russian registrations are illegal for use outside of Russia. The UK CAA have made investigations with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Russian Federation (SCAAR) who have advised that FLA and the former aircraft factories are not authorised to issue registrations and C of As to aircraft that operate outside of the borders of Russia.

You may read about the Russian grounding of aircraft outside of Russia, this is the letter from the UK CAA explaining all . Unfortunately, this does not only ground all UK a/c, but by implication all Russian registered a/c outside of Russia.

Also, at the same time, the UK CAA is grounding Lithuanian aircraft. this is the letter from the UK CAA explaining all , we feel that this was done to level the playing field as the LY a/c were being transferred in a timely manner to the UK register at expiry of the current certificates. Now they have to be done all at the same time!!

All is not lost, as the UK register is still available. It is just the time taken to process the applications that is the challenge. YAK UK has certified many YAKs over the years and is in a strong position to take on this work.


Several letters follow written by the UK CAA and department of transport local goverment, (DTLR) in date order.

Letter from DTLR on 10th May 2002, ref APF 28/13/12

We have been advised by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Russian Federation (SCAAR) that the YAK 50/52 aircraft has not been type certified as required by Annex 8 to the Chicago convention. Therefore the SCAAR has neither issued certificates of airworthiness (CofA) for the aircraft of this type nor have they entered any on the state registry of civil aircraft.

We are seeking clarification from SCAAR on this issue but it appears to us that the CofA issued to your aircraft is the equivalent of a permit to fly issued by a recreational aviation body. If so it does not meet the requirements of article 8 of the air navigation order and the operation of the aircraft in the UK would be illegal.

In light of this information I should be grateful for if you would either:

a) Provide written evidence that your aircraft is properly registered by the SCAAR on the Russian State Register of civil aircraft and has a Certificate of airworthiness which the SCAAR wish to be considered as a Russian CofA for the purpose of the Chicago Convention or

b) Confirm that the aircraft will not be operated in contravention of article 8 of the air navigation order.

Yours sincerely, Duncan Nicholls

26 April 2002 Ref 9/97/10/714

Dear Mr Jefferies


Mr Mark Hamment, of our General Aviation Department, has passed me your e-mail of 27 March 2002 and therefore this response summarises the current situation in respect of Yakovlev aircraft on the Russian and other registers. As the last paragraph of your e-mail suggests potential future litigation over this matter it has been copied to our Legal Advisor’s Office for their consideration. We are also in possession of your letter to Mr Rourke dated 17 April 2002, which seeks to revisit the subject of Yakovlev aircraft built after 1993. That letter has been circulated within the CAA and will be discussed and separately addressed at a later date.

You are aware, due to the nature of your organisation’s involvement, of the background to the status of these aircraft with regard to the issue of a UK Certificate of Airworthiness or a Permit to Fly. A review of our files for these aircraft suggests that they aircraft are of a military design that has never been the subject of civil type certification. This was borne out by a letter dated 13 September 1993 from Mr Ioan Florin Vornicelu, General Director of Aerostar SA to yourself which quite clearly stated that the ‘Yak 52 airplane was manufactured and delivered under the jurisdiction of the military authorities. Until the recent years no requests existed for the civil certification of this aeroplane.’

We are also aware that an attempt to gain such civil certification by Aerostar SA was started several years ago but, due to the difficulties in securing the appropriate design information from the original State of Design, this venture did not reach a definitive conclusion. We do not believe that such civil certification has been achieved. We also received a letter in April 1994 from Mr V Sushko, Chairman of the Interstate Aviation Committee (forerunner of the present State Civil Aviation Authority of Russia) which highlighted the export of Yak 18T, Yak 50, Yak 52 and Yak 55 aircraft with expired service limits. This letter also noted that Yak 18T aircraft, which were produced after the recommencement of production in 1992, were being constructed and modified contrary to agreed CIS airworthiness procedures. This adds to the apparent confusion that surrounds the status of these aircraft.

You are well aware that the existing UK CAA policy allows such aircraft that have seen previous military service to qualify for a Permit to Fly. The CAA exchanged various letters in 1993 and 1994 reiterating this policy to some degree or other in respect of the Yakolev 18, 50 and 52. Many aircraft of this type are in fact operating in the UK already on such a basis. You are also aware of the restrictions imposed upon such aircraft that have been manufactured after a certain date but which have not been in military service and therefore cannot be regarded as ex-military. Our letter of 24 May 1994 set out the policy that aircraft manufactured after 1 January 1993 would not be eligible for Permits to Fly. It is our understanding from recent exchanges that only a small proportion of the foreign registered Yakolev aircraft operating in the UK at this time could not qualify for such a UK Permit on this basis.

The terms under which foreign registered aircraft can enter the UK are established by law and generally reflect the UK’s obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation agreed by ICAO. It is predominantly a matter for UK Government, specifically the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR), to oversee such compliance. In particular, where such aircraft are to be used for public transport or aerial work purposes, a specific permit from DTLR must be obtained. A foreign registered aircraft does not have an unqualified right to fly in the airspace of another State and the operation of these aircraft within the UK is subject to compliance with certain conditions. These conditions are that the aircraft, unless specifically exempted, must be appropriately registered in a subscribing ICAO Member State (not an internal or State register), be in possession of a Certificate of Airworthiness issued in accordance with the requirements of the relevant ICAO Annexes and based upon a known and defined civil type certification standard and any other documents or requirements prescribed by the State of Registry or other Contracting States in which flights are to be conducted.

It would appear from the information currently available to us that these aircraft do not comply with the requirements for an unrestricted Certificate of Airworthiness pursuant to Article 33 of the ICAO Convention. This view is clearly supported by the actions of the Lithuanian CAA who have announced their intention to renew the Certificates of Airworthiness for these aircraft only in the Special Category with appropriate limitations. It also appears that, in the case of the Russian registered aircraft, there is doubt as to the validity of the basis of registration of some of the Russian aircraft for international flights. In view of this there is some doubt as to whether the aircraft are compliant with the requirements for flight within UK airspace, as defined under Articles 3 and 8 of the Air Navigation Order 2000. Obviously if the CAA were to obtain additional and substantiated information, supported by the relevant airworthiness authority of the State of Registry and Design and not just by interested individuals, we may be able to reconsider the situation. In the meantime there appear to be a number of unresolved issues that may affect the future operation of these aircraft.

Yours sincerely

J C McKenna Manager

The following letter is a copy of a letter written by Mark Hammant, CAA, Gatwick, UK. 25th March 2002 as a result of investigations into the Russian certification system and after recieving the this letter (Smolensk letter 22nd June 1990 ) regarding the RA 44 series of registrations via a UK owner of a YAK 52 on that register.


Following our recent telephone conversations on the operation of Russian registered aircraft in the United Kingdom I am now able to confirm the following.

The CAA has recently received correspondence from Mr Rudakov (Director of the Russian Federation State Department for the Control of Flight Safety), regarding the operation of Yakolev aircraft. The correspondence appears to indicate that the Yak 50 and 52 aircraft are not certified or registered as civilian aircraft in Russia. This causes concern over the legality of operations in the UK. However, before a final decision can be taken on these aircraft the CAA is awaiting clarification of one of the points Mr Rudakov has made.

It also appears that these aircraft have not been civil type certificated in Russia, or any other State. Accordingly the aircraft cannot be issued with a Certificate of Airworthiness that the United Kingdom can recognise as being compliant with Article 33 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. Any CofA that has been issued would therefore be regarded as a restricted CofA normally limited to the State of Registry. This means that such aircraft do not have a right of international recognition to operate within the UK and it appears that these aircraft may be operating illegally. The certificates under which these aircraft appear to be operating may equate to a UK Permit to Fly. As such the UK CAA may consider upon application the issue of an exemption to allow any flight by these aircraft in UK airspace. Such exemptions are not open-ended and would normally be limited in any case to a maximum period of three months. Current UK policy is that ex-military aircraft of this type may be eligible for the issue of a Permit to Fly and several examples of this type are already flying on this basis. There is however an issue regarding newly manufactured aircraft of the type and our policy at present excludes these from the Permit route since they are not classified as ex-military aircraft.

Whilst, the initial correspondence from Mr Rudakov related only to Yak 50 and 52 aircraft, clarification as to the certification and registration basis of other aircraft types known to be operating in the UK has also been requested. It would appear that the same certification and registration issues might apply to these types.

I hope that this clarifies the current position although it should be recognised that the CAA is continuing to give further consideration to the matter.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hamment Surveyor GAD

November 2001……IMPORTANT NEWS, ALL Lithuanian registered aircraft at the expiry of the existing certificate of airworthiness will have new certificates issued in the “special category” The implications for ALL users in Europe is that an overflight permission will be required to validate the C of A in any country other than Lithuania. (your insurance will decline paying in event of a claim, also you will leave yourself open to prosecution on several counts)

From this point onwards YAK UK ltd will deliver all YAK 11, 18A, 50 & 52 aircraft to the UK with British registration and Permit to Fly certification.
As of this time the YAK 12, 18T & 55 have not been “investigated” by the UK, CAA This investigation comprises of reading flight manuals, maintenance manuals, providing load schedules, and a detailed service record/ history of the type. Upon completion of the investigation and a test flight of the type to find any “unsavoury characteristics” of the aircraft a permit to fly will be issued possibly with limitations. (day VFR)

At YAK UK Ltd we are able to undertake the work of placing the YAK 12, 18T & 55 on the UK register if required. (or any other type for that matter)

We recommend that the UK register is used for a/c based in the UK. Some countries in Europe accept the Lithuania “special category” certificate, you are required to ask permission though.

We undertook extensive stress analysis reports to satisfy the Lithuania CAA of the integrity of our “wet wing” long range fuel modification, with the necessity of changing to the UK registration we have again gone through a lengthy and costly process of satisfying the Cival Aviation Authority. For customers who have these modifications we will have to amortise the cost of this against the existing fleet.

Take a look at our documents down load page to find examples of CAA certification documents, these show the various modifications required for UK approval.