Pilot Licence Conversion

Do I need an EASA Licence?

Under European regulation, any pilot flying an EASA aircraft is required to hold an appropriate EASA Part-FCL licence and EASA medical certificate by April 2018. Full details are contained in EASA’s ‘Aircrew Regulation’. Separate licences are required for sailplanes (which includes powered sailplanes including TMGs), aeroplanes, helicopters and balloons.

As part of its’ GA Roadmap work to ensure proportional regulation for GA, EASA is simplifying the Part-FCL sailplane rules. That work is unlikely to result in final publication until 2020. EASA is also changing the LAPL rules.

As a result, a number of countries including the UK have chosen to issue appropriate exemptions to minimise the impact of change on recreational pilots. So in the UK, EASA glider pilots can choose to continue to operate under BGA requirements, and EASA TMG and EASA aeroplane pilots with valid national licence privileges can continue to operate using their national licences (see the relevant CAA exemption for details). Please continue reading below.

CAA exemptions are published here.

Licence conversions remain available to those who wish to convert to an EASA licence – please see below.

Sailplane Pilots

The UK CAA has issued a temporary exemption from the requirement for pilots of EASA sailplanes to hold an EASA licence until 7th April 2020.

So until 7 April 2020 (for now, but ultimately we anticipate April 2021), pilots of EASA sailplanes including powered sailplanes can choose to operate as they always have done.

Please note that if a pilot chooses to exercise his or her Part-FCL licence privileges or is operating in a country that requires compliance with Part-FCL, he or she must of course comply with the relevant Part-FCL licencing and medical requirements. The ‘BGA Guidance for SPL and LAPL(S) Holders’ can be viewed here.

Sailplane pilot licence conversion

Sailplane pilots who choose to convert are directly supported through the conversion process by the BGA. To ensure that all pilots will eventually have the correct sailplane licence, ratings and certificates, the BGA has agreed with the CAA that the BGA will handle the application and checking process and make recommendations for licence issue to the CAA under a national Qualified Entity approval. The process is described below. Detailed guidance is included in the BGA licence conversion application form and the BGA’s EASA Part-FCL licensing Frequently Asked Questions.

EASA Licencing FAQ's

Aeroplane Pilots

The opt-out from Part-FCL for aeroplane pilots who fly EASA aeroplanes ended on 8th April 2018. However, as EASA is reviewing the LAPL requirements, the CAA has published a temporary exemption which until 7th April 2020 will allow a pilot to fly an EASA aeroplane using their UK PPL or NPPL but limited to the privileges of a LAPL(A).

Aeroplane pilot licence conversion

Aeroplane pilot licence conversions have to be processed by the CAA. Guidance is available on the CAA website.

Pilots who tow are reminded that they need towing privileges on their Part-FCL licence. Towing queries that can’t be answered by the FAQ’s can be directed to derrenfrancis(at)aol.com

EASA Licencing FAQ's

Sailplane pilot licence conversion process – step by step

  1. Consider whether you need to obtain a medical or qualify further under the BGA system before converting.
  2. Decide what type of licence and additional qualifications you are going to apply for.
  3. Complete the application form using the guidance within the application form.
  4. Check that your application is complete, including certified and clearly readable copies of documents where required.
  5. Send your application to: BGA, 8 Merus Court, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1RJ

Adding a privilege to an SPL or LAPL(S) after the licence has been issued

During the conversion period it is possible to add a privilege to a previously issued SPL or LAPL(S) using the conversion criteria. The step by step process is;

  1. Consider which Part-FCL privilege you believe you want to add based on BGA/National privileges or other additional training
  2. Complete the application form using the form completion guidance document
  3. Check that your application is complete, including certified or original and clearly readable copies of documents where required
  4. Send your application to; BGA 8 Merus Court, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1RJ

Changing an SPL to a LAPL(S)

Noting that neither an SPL or LAPL(S) is required to fly an EASA sailplane in the UK until 2020, where a pilot chooses to use SPL privileges the pilot must hold a valid EASA class 1 or 2 medical certificate. To use LAPL(S) privileges, the pilot must hold at least a LAPL medical certificate.

Changing from an SPL to LAPL(S) is straightforward.

  1. Complete sections 1, 2 and 3, and the LAPL(S) tick box in section 5 of the BGA’s Part-FCL licence conversion application form (the BGA has the other detail from your earlier conversion application)
  2. Include a payment of £42 payable to the BGA (all £42 is passed on to the CAA)
  3. Include your SPL which has to be returned to the CAA. We suggest you retain a copy (eg take a picture).
  4. Send your application with payment and SPL to; BGA 8 Merus Court, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1RJ

More Information

Clearly the first port of call for any licence conversion queries is the information published on the website including the EASA licensing FAQs. Where that doesn’t provide the answer, the BGA office staff are always happy to help.

The BGA office deals with sailplane pilot licence conversion applications as soon as they arrive. The entire process from receipt of application to CAA issue and delivery can take anything from a couple of weeks for a straightforward application, to somewhat longer where the applicant is an examiner, in which case it gets a bit complicated at the CAA end.