A frequently asked questions (FAQ) about General Aviation in Iceland.

Which aviation regulations apply to general aviation in Iceland?

Iceland is an EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) member state. The regulation that applies to air operations is regulation no. 965/2012 and its amendments. The part that applies to general aviation with small aircraft common in Iceland is Part-NCO (Non-Commercial operations with other than complex-motor-powered-aircraft). The regulation is available with its latest amendments here on the EASA website. The amendment regulation containing Part-NCO is regulation no. 800/2013.

For non-EASA aircraft, i.e. aircraft which have not received a type certification from EASA and amateur-built aircraft, Icelandic regulations on civil aviation no. 694/2010 (airplanes) and no. 695/2010 (helicopters) apply. These regulations have not been translated into English, but are largely built upon ICAO Annex 6 Part II and Part III.
It is important to know which regulation applies to the aircraft you are flying, as there may be a significant difference in the requirements. For example, fuel requirements differ to some extent between the regulations.

How do I know whether my aircraft has an EASA type certificate?

EASA publishes lists covering all aircraft that are issued an EASA type certificate. These lists may be found here. In short, amateur-built aircraft and ultralights are not certified by EASA, as are aircraft whose initial design was established before 1 January 1955, and production has been stopped before 1 January 1975. In addition, aircraft designed or modified for research or experimental purposes and likely to be produced in limited numbers, and military aircraft.

Do I need to leave a passenger list at the departure airport?

Yes. Apart from the obvious fact that it is good to have information on the flight plan and passengers on board an aircraft in the event of a crash, or if an aircraft is lost for any reason, Article 19 of the Icelandic Aviation Act no. 60/2008 states:
"An Icelandic registered aircraft flying under this Act shall have:
f. a passenger list, if the aircraft is carrying passengers on a cross-border flight, stating their names, the airport where they are departing and the airport where they are arriving; a passenger list shall also be available at the departure airport, and this shall also apply to domestic flights."
The Icelandic Aviation Act no. 60/2008 applies to all Icelandic aircraft, whether they are flying commercially or privately, therefore this requirement also applies to general aviation flying in small aircraft.
If for some reason it proves difficult or impossible to leave a flight plan and passenger list on paper at the departure airport, pilots could e.g. send a text message to a phone or email to the flying club, friend, or family member with a flight plan and passenger list that could be accessible if needed.

Do I need to file a flight plan for all flights?

Any flight, or portion thereof, to be provided with air traffic control service; every IFR flight; international flights and any flight requesting alerting service shall file a flight plan (see Iceland AIP ENR 1.10.1).
If flying from one uncontrolled airport to another, there is no requirement to file a flight plan. However, as stated in the AIP, a flight plan must be filed if a flight would like alerting service. If no flight plan is filed and an accident occurs, there is a risk that help will arrive late if no one is aware of the flight in question. Therefore, it is a good rule to file a flight plan for all flights, whether it should be provided with air traffic control service or not. It is also a good rule to always let a friend or family member know about the planned flight and estimated landing time.

Do I need to perform mass and balance calculations for each flight?

Part-NCO does not require the pilot-in-command to perform mass and balance calculations for each flight. Nevertheless, it is very important to make these calculations before taking off, especially if the load of the aircraft is close to the maximum permissible weight. Many plane crashes can be directly attributed to the aircraft being overloaded or incorrectly loaded before take-off.
Part-NCO of Regulation no. 965/2012 (according to amending regulation no. 800/2013), article NCO.GEN.105, states:
"The pilot-in-command shall be responsible for only commencing a flight if he/she is satisfied that all operational limitations referred to in 2.a.3 of Annex IV to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 are complied with, as follows:
iv. the mass of the aircraft and the centre of gravity location is such that the flight can be conducted within limits prescribed in the airworthiness documentation;"
Doing a load sheet is one way for a pilot-in-command to ensure that the aircraft's mass and balance is within the limitations. For small aircraft, you could for example prepare in advance a few load sheets applicable to common configurations (2 passengers + full tanks, 2 adults + 2 children + 30 USG fuel, etc.). There are also smartphone apps where you can do mass and balance calculations for small aircraft.

Do I need to do performance calculations for each flight?

The same applies, as with mass and balance calculations, the regulation does not require these calculations to be available. Part-NCO of regulation 965/2012 (according to amending regulation no. 800/2013), article NCO.POL.110, states:
"The pilot-in-command shall only operate the aircraft if the performance is adequate to comply with the applicable rules of the air and any other restrictions applicable to the flight, the airspace or the aerodromes or operating sites used, taking into account the charting accuracy of any charts and maps used."
The pilot-in-command must be confident that the aircraft's performance is sufficient, i.e. that the aircraft can take off and land within the runway to be used. Of course, this also applies to the take-off climb performance. In a lightly loaded aircraft during take-off or landing on a long runway, it is easy to be sure of the aircraft's capabilities. However, when the weight of the aircraft approaches the maximum allowable weight or the runway is short, grass or gravel, or covered with snow, it is important to calculate the take-off weight and use the performance tables in the Aircraft Flight Manual to ensure that it is possible to take off or land on the runway.
See also Lendingar og flugtök á grasbrautum og gljúpum malarbrautum

May I accept payment for flying with passengers?

It is not permitted to fly with fare-paying passengers in Iceland unless holding an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). However, the cost of private flying can be shared up to a certain extent.
In Article 6 of regulation no. 965/2012 (according to amending regulation no. 379/2014) states:
"4a. By way of derogation from Article 5(1) and (6), the following operations with other-than-complex motor-powered aeroplanes and helicopters, may be conducted in accordance with Annex VII:
(a) cost-shared flights by private individuals, on the condition that the direct cost is shared by all the occupants of the aircraft, pilot included and the number of persons sharing the direct costs is limited to six;"
‘Direct cost' means the cost directly incurred in relation to a flight, e.g. fuel, airfield charges, rental fee for an aircraft. There is no element of profit.
See also Flug með farþega gegn gjaldi

Are airplanes and helicopters permitted to land off airport in Iceland?

Yes, it is allowed to land airplanes and helicopters off airport in Iceland. However, there are many things to keep in mind before landing off airport.

  • The airplane or helicopter must be equipped for landings off airports and it is always the responsibility of the pilot-in-command to ensure that the landing site is acceptable.
  • If the land is privately owned, permission must be obtained from the landowner/tenant before landing on the property.
  • Due consideration must be given to people and wildlife in the area to be landed on. If there is a risk of disturbing the peace of uninvolved persons or wildlife, low-flying and landings/take-offs should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Minimum heights must be respected at all times, 1000 feet AGL over urban areas and assemblies of people or 500 feet AGL elsewhere, except when necessary for take-off or landing.

The FAA has issued an information booklet containing useful guidelines for off-airport operations. It may be found here.

Was the content helpful? Yes No