Update – EASA licensing and the extended opt out for sailplane pilots

The CAA has been advised that a European Commission amendment to the Aircrew Regulation to extend the opt-out for sailplane pilots to 2020, which was agreed by the EASA Committee in 2017 and was meant to come in force through the amendment for 8 April 18, will not be published until June 18.

So, without some action by the UK CAA, pilots of EASA sailplanes who do not hold an SPL or LAPL(S) would find themselves unable to fly EASA sailplanes during the gap between 8 April 18 and June 18. Which is an unacceptable situation that is entirely outside the control of those pilots.

CAA has confirmed that it intends to publish Article 14(4) Exemptions to permit pilots of EASA sailplanes (which include powered sailplanes, including TMGs) to continue under national arrangements beyond 8 April 18.  Such an exemption is issued on behalf of the State not the CAA. So they will be issued when the Secretary of State via the DfT agrees to them.  CAA have confirmed that the DfT are aware of the 8 April deadline and have assured the BGA that provided the Secretary of State gives consent as expected, then these will go live in time for the 8 April 18.

The CAA have pointed out that had the European plan come together in time, it would not have been published until a few days before the 8 April, and that the tight timeline generated is something the UK CAA and those of the other member states in Europe are responding to rather than having generated.

As you would imagine, the BGA is taking a very close interest in the detail and is in regular contact with the CAA. As soon as we hear more about this dynamic situation, we will advise pilots through the usual channels including their clubs.