Sailplane Pilot Licence Conversion

UK regulation requires the pilot of a Part-21 sailplane (effectively all sailplanes other than certain vintage types) is required to hold an Sailplane Pilot Licence (SPL). That requirement is effectively deferred until the 30th September 2025, as detailed in the Aviation Safety (Amendment) Regulations 2023. Meanwhile, BGA and national pilot certification/licensing rules continue to apply.

The minimum BGA gliding qualification for conversion to SPL is the BGA Bronze and Cross Country Endorsements. There is an exception where a pilot has qualified for Silver distance prior to the BGA Cross Country being implemented in April 1996 (see application form for details).

To ensure that all qualified BGA glider pilots will have an SPL with the correct privileges, the BGA has a CAA-approved SPL conversion application and checking process that results in recommendations made to the CAA. The SPLs are issued by the CAA and checked by the BGA.

As at June 2024, over 2400 SPLs have been issued through the simple application process.

Anyone who has yet to apply to convert to an SPL should read this detail.