Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Adolescents now banned from ultra-light aircraft

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Adolescents under age 15 are now banned from boarding ultra-light aircraft after the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said it had completed an amendment to the Ultra-light Vehicle Operation Regulations (超輕載具管理辦法).

“The minimum age was determined after we consulted the Insurance Act (保險法), because the life insurance policy does not cover adolescents under the age of 15,” CAA Director-General Yin Chen-pong (尹承蓬) said. “We now require passengers boarding an ultra-light aircraft to be least 15 years old.”

The CAA said it decided to set the minimum age requirement after complaints that it was dangerous for elementary and junior-high school students to board such aircraft on field trips, despite the fact students were required to secure consent from their legal guardians.

Adolescents from 15 to 18 years of age are only allowed to ride in ultra-light aircraft as passengers with a flight instructor or other licensed individuals, and are barred from operating the craft, Yin said.

Furthermore, learning permit applicants must be at least 18 years old, the CAA said, adding that trainees can only practice operating an ultra-light aircraft under the supervision of an instructor. Those applying for a pilot’s license must be at least 20 years old and trainees can only fly solo after they obtain the license.

Yin said the amended regulations require pilots to maintain a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.04 percent, or below 0.2mg per liter when measured on a breathalyzer, which is a stricter standard than that for car drivers.

He added that ultra-light aircraft pilots are asked to follow the “see and avoid” principle when they operate the vehicles, particularly when two aircraft are approaching head-on, converging at the same altitude or when one aircraft is trying to overtake another.

According to the CAA, ultra-light vehicles are characterized as fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters, gyroplanes, powered parachutes and power paragliders. Those operating the aircraft without a license face a penalty of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.

Currently, pilots of ultra-light aircraft can fly in 10 designated zones nationwide.

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