New CAA approval for handheld radios
New CAA approval for handheld radios

A great many light aircraft and microlight  pilots have relied on handheld radios as their sole radio communications equipment for as many years as the units have been available. The Icom AC-22 met CAA Approval requirements for air/ground/air use and has been the mainstay of the lighter end fleet but since EASA took over radio approvals the company has been unable to find a satisfactory route to get their later models approved and therefore legal for in-flight use.

All that changed on November 29 when the CAA announced that it had assessed and determined that handheld radios meeting certain clauses of the European Standard for ground-based 8.33 kHz channel spaced VHF radios are safe for airborne use and will not adversely impact network interoperability. Consequently, the CAA has issued Aircraft Equipment Approval LA301075 which will facilitate the use of these radios in UK registered Annex 11 aircraft in the UK only, and outside of Class A, B or C airspace.

This move effectively solves the dilemma for pilots currently using a 760 channel handheld and who will require a new 8.33 kHtz spacing enabled set by the end of 2017, when their existing set becomes obsolete. Icom already has two 8.33 kHz sets available that meet the CAA’s new Approval, the Icom IC-A6E, priced from around £250 incl., and IC-A24E (with DVOR mode) from around £330 incl.

Other handheld manufacturers are yet to announce whether their units comply with the new Approval.


The CAA Information Notice detailing these changes can be found here.