An aircraft's Permit to Fly is validated by a Certificate of Validity that is issued by the LAA annually, on satisfactory completion of an inspection and a check flight.
The annual Permit to Fly revalidation inspection is also an opportunity for an LAA Inspector to check with the owner that the agreed maintenance programme is being followed.
The maintenance of an aircraft throughout the year and for the Permit to Fly revalidation inspection is very much a team effort between the aircraft owner and their chosen Inspector and your first port of call will be your chosen Inspector who will be able to advise you on the full process.
Note that not all inspectors can inspect all types of aircraft, but they will be able to advise you of the types they are able to look after and the Inspector location map provides information of a particular Inspector's authorisations.
To revalidate the Permit to Fly, a check flight is flown and the completed schedule (which can be downloaded from the LAA website) is submitted to LAA Engineering. The check flight is flown by a check pilot at some point in the 12 months prior to the Permit to Fly revalidation application being received by LAA Engineering (as long as it is after the previous revalidation application).
Revalidating a Permit
Sometimes referred to as the ‘permit renewal’, this is one of the main activities each year in the life of an LAA aircraft. Traditionally, this was the time to do the annual maintenance check and fly it to a schedule to check handling and performance. In reality, the Permit to Fly is not renewed, but is revalidated.
Once the aircraft has been inspected by the Inspector, they will submit an Airworthiness Review Report to LAA Engineering recommending that the Permit to Fly is revalidated. Within a month of receiving the Airworthiness Review report, the aircraft owner (or applicant) must submit a Permit to Fly revalidation application to LAA Engineering and that starts the revalidation process.
Much like a car MOT, it is possible to go through the process up to a month before the expiry of its current Certificate of Validity, with the new Certificate of Validity expiring a year after the old one.
The new Certificate of Validity will normally be emailed to the owner/applicant unless a request is made to post out a copy.