As recreational aviation has become safer and more sophisticated, CASA has gradually increased the allowable MTOW for RAAus pilots from the original limit of 300kg. The proposed change to increase the MTOW to 760kg is reflective of the growing recreational aviation community and the increased safety of modern recreational aircraft. A noticeable step up from the current restriction of 600kg, the change in MTOW will bring with it some significant benefits for all areas of the aviation community.

The RAAus weight increase proposal delivered to CASA outlined a clear delineation between the operation of higher weight aircraft and the current operational requirements. The current Group A (fixed wing, 3-axis, single engine) will remain defined as aircraft with a MTOW up to 600KG (650Kg for water-based aircraft) AND a stall speed of no more than 45kts. The weight increase proposal introduces a Group G for fixed wing, 3-axis, single engine aircraft up to 760 kg, regardless of stall speed.

CASA’s discussion paper DP 1912SS Maximum Take-Off Weight increase for aeroplanes managed by an Approved Self-Administering Aviation Organisation (ASAO), released in August 2019, revealed that 83% of respondents supported an MTOW increase up to 760kg. This result highlights the evolution of recreational aviation and the need for regulations to reflect the changing landscape. The discussion paper however outlined stall speed requirement remaining at 45 knots for aircraft operating up to 760Kg. RAAus responded to this point in its response to the discussion paper and continues to have positive discussions with CASA. CASA is currently reviewing their position on this requirement.

An increase, when approved, will put more choice and more freedom into the hands of current RAAus members. The shift to a higher allowable MTOW will effectively open up RPC holders to a whole new range of two-seater Light Aircraft that will fall under the new limit. Much-loved aircraft such as the Cessna 152 and perhaps even the Piper Tomahawk and Victa Airtourer, may be available to RAAus pilots. For those seeking a slightly larger aircraft or are looking to undertake longer flights that require more fuel, the change will be welcome news.

In addition to improved choice, there is a strong view that the proposed increase in allowable MTOW will improve overall safety. Pilots will be able to increase the quantity of fuel carried for safer diversions and emergencies provided the original manufacturer MTOW allowed for it, for example the Jabiru 430. For manufacturers and home builders, aircraft can be built to greater levels of structural integrity, using heavier and sturdier materials that the old MTOW restrictions did not allow for. The new regulations are certain to result in new aircraft in the category being built stronger and safer than ever before.


There is still more work to be done. RAAus has stated that they are committed to negotiations with CASA regarding MTOW access for RPC holders and will continue to push for it in the coming months.