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FAQ: Airworthiness

Who do I contact with regard to airworthiness matters?

Should you have any questions regarding the following: Aircraft Certificates of Airworthiness, Aircraft Special approvals, Aircraft Maintenance or Aircraft Maintenance Organisations please direct your questions to the Senior Manager Airworthiness at

Should you have any questions regarding  the following: Aircraft Registration, Aircraft Certification, Defect Reporting and Manufacturing  Organisations please direct your questions to

Do I need permission from the CAA to import an aircraft into the country?

Yes. Only if the aircraft is older than 15 years. This is a Trade and Industry requirement not a South African Civil Aviation Authority requirement. An application form is obtainable from the Certification Engineering Division and the applicable fee is in Part 187 of the CAR's.

Do I need permission from the CAA if I want to incorporate a modification on my aircraft?

Yes. Contact your maintenance organisation or the CAA's Certification Engineering Division.

How do I apply for an exemption answer?

If the exemption requested forms part of the CAA regulations, follow Part 11.04.01 of the CARs. (PDF).  Please note that an exemption cannot be granted from a regulation that does not exist

Where do I report bad maintenance or non-compliances?

Please contact the Airworthiness Division.

Do I need a licence on a specific type of aircraft to enable me to release the aircraft back into service?

Yes. Please follow the requirements of Part 66 in the CARs.

How do I apply for special flight permits?

Please submit form CA21-15- and the prescribed fee to the Engineering Division. Contact details are available from the CAA website.

What documentation do I complete for applications?

Refer to the annexures in the Civil Aviation Technical Standards (CATS) documents - Volume 3 of the Digma Aviation Legislation. Alternatively, phone the Airworthiness Division and request the particular form. All forms can be sent via email or are available from the CAA website. Contact details are available from the CAA website.

How do I obtain an AMO licence?

Complete a manual of procedure as well as a quality manual which may form part of your manual of procedure. All requirements pertaining to what should be in the manuals are contained in SA CATS AMO. You will also be required to submit an application form and the fee as per CAR 187.

Who may fly an aircraft after scheduled maintenance?

If it is not a test flight, the aircraft owner may fly the aircraft. In the case of a test flight, a test pilot is required to perform the flight test.

Can I extend my aircraft MPI?

Unfortunately not. The maintenance release only caters for the time for which it is made out.

If my MPI has run out, how do I get my aircraft to a maintenance facility?

Request a special flight permit from the Engineering Division. Any Airworthiness Inspector will assist with this matter. Application forms can be sent to you via e-mail or downloaded from the CAA website.

What to do if I want to build my own aircraft? ​

​ We recommend that you contact the SACAA Engineering Office by emailing your query to or request an appointment.

What information must I prepare?

​Information pertinent to the aircraft design e.g. the type of aircraft, details of engine; propeller; material envisaged for use and proposed schedule; a three-view drawing or photograph of the proposed aircraft where possible.

What sort of assistance will I get from the SACAA?

​We will give you any guidance including any forms and information necessary to ensure you thoroughly understand the SACAA Regulations that apply to your project.

What type of approval would my aircraft be eligible for?

​What type of approval would my aircraft be eligible for?

What is a Build Number?

​A Build Number is a document issued by the Director to all construction projects of amateur-built aircraft intended to be placed on the South African Civil Aviation Register.

It applies to aircraft that are (only) intended to be constructed or assembled by natural person(s) who undertook the construction project solely for their own education, recreation and experimental purposes only.

What does the Build Number Signify?

The Build Number, as issued by the Director, signifies that the SACAA is aware of the construction of such an aircraft and it complies with the minimum requirements for amateur built aircraft as determined by the SACAA.

After registration an amateur-built aircraft/rotorcraft will further be eligible for an Authority to Fly.

What documents do I need to submit for my amateur-built aircraft to receive a build number?

Except for any other substantiation the SACAA may deem necessary in order to process the application, main documents required towards attaining a build number are:

  • A current and properly completed application form (Form CA 24-07),
  • Copy of the applicant’s identity document,
  • Design criteria/specification of the aircraft for which the build number is sought, and 
  • Proof of purchase for the kit from Kit Manufacturer of the kit intended for construction by the applicant. This is required when the applicant is not constructing the aircraft from own kit or plans.

Will there be any restrictions or operating limitations placed on my amateur-built aircraft?

​Yes. Each aircraft issued with an Authority to Fly has operating limitations attached. The following (but not limited to) are applicable:

  • Flights may not be undertaken over built up areas and open-air assemblies of persons except for purposes of take-off and landing, 
  • The aircraft shall not be utilized for commercial or any activities to generate remuneration and so forth.
  • Private utility and owner training only.
How can I get my manufacturing organisation approved?

A five phase process is undertaken to certify a manufacturing organisation, which includes the following phases:

  1. Pre-Application phase
  2. Formal Application
  3. Document Evaluation
  4. Demonstration and Inspection
  5. Certification
How long does this five phase process takes?
It really depends on the milestones specified in the schedule of events submitted by the applicant, and of course the authority will as well need equivalent amount of time to make necessary reviews and inspection. The applicant's readiness is basically the determining factor.
Who is eligible for the Manufacturing Organisation Approval?
Anyone who holds or has an agreement with the holder of design approvals such as the following:
  • Parts manufacturing approval(PMA)
  • Part 24 Aircraft Approval
  • Type Certificate
  • Technical standard order Authorisation.
Am I eligible for the Manufacturing Organisation Approval if I hold an STC?

No, unless you plan to manufacturer modification or replacement parts for sale in conformance with the approved data listed on the STC.

 Application for the Part Manufacturer Approval (ZA-PMA) should be made on a prescribed form with reference to the STC and addressed to the Certification Engineering Section of the SACAA.

What do I do when I want to amend my manufacturing approval?

The holder of a manufacturing approval who desire to make changes/ amendments to the manufacturing approval, must do the following:

  • Notify the authority (Manufacturing Section) in writing about the  intentions
  • Apply for an amendment to the manufacturing approval
  • Submit Manual of Procedure amendments for approval
  • Notify the authority once you ready for the amendment audit.
Is the Manufacturing Approval transferrable?

A manufacturing approval is not transferrable. However a change in ownership of the holder of an approval is deemed to be a change of significance to the organisation, which constitutes the new organisation application.

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