Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:56 am
Not quite. The LAA PtF fleet (or at least the vast majority of types) were exempted a few years ago.
The LAA's guidance (TL 2.07) states:
In some cases, LAA aircraft are not allowed to fly over any assembly of persons, at any height except to the extent necessary in order to take-off or land from a government or licensed aerodrome, in accordance with normal aviation practice, However following successful negotiation with the CAA, in the majority of cases the Permit to Fly either does not include this restriction or owners can apply to have the restriction removed. Of course, the normal rules of the air must still be observed, including retaining the capability to glide clear and maintaining minimum clearances from obstacles. See your Permit to Fly document for the details applicable to the individual aircraft concerned, and historical note below
Historical note: Before July 2010, Permit aircraft were not allowed to fly over congested areas. A CAA exemption was then issued (E3175, or as renewed) that allowed certain permit aircraft (microlight aeroplanes, amateur-built aeroplanes up to 1500 kg, and factory-built aeroplanes up to 1500 kg that were previously on a Certificate of Airworthiness) to overfly congested areas, subject to the normal rules of the air being observed. These rules include retaining the capability to glide clear and maintaining minimum clearances with obstacles. This exemption did not apply when test flying or check-flying the aircraft. The exemption overrode any statement to the contrary in existing Permit to Fly documents. In February 2012 the exemption was superseded by Information Notice IN-2012/003, which made the arrangement permanent.
This IN didn't include CAA PtF aircraft, however, and so last year's amendment now aligns both PtF categories, and as you say, essentially affords them the same overflight privileges as certified light aircraft.