Pilot Licence Conversion
Why Convert to an EASA Licence?
Under European regulation, any pilot flying an EASA aircraft is required to hold an appropriate EASA licence and EASA medical certificate. 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.
However, under a temporary ‘opt-out’ from the Aircrew Regulation, non-commercial pilots can choose to operate in the UK using national, BGA, or EASA licence privileges. For sailplanes and balloon pilots only, the opt-out extends until 8 Apr 2020. For all others, the opt-out ends on 8th April 2018.
So until 8 April 2020, sailplane pilots, including those who have converted to hold an EASA licence, can choose to operate as they always have done, including using BGA medical requirements. Please note that if a pilot chooses to exercise his or her EASA licence privileges, he or she must of course comply with the relevant EASA licencing and medical requirements.
Touring motor gliders may be flown using a sailplane licence or an aeroplane licence where the TMG privilege is included. Pilots who fly powered sailplanes that EASA defines as Touring Motor Gliders should stay close to the latest BGA advice; the BGA and CAA are currently working to ensure that sailplane pilots who fly what EASA defines as Touring Motor Gliders and would continue to do so using an SPL or LAPL(S), are included within the extended opt-out for sailplane pilots.
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. Guidance is included in the BGA licence conversion application form and the BGA’s EASA licensing Frequently Asked Questions.EASA Licencing FAQ's
Aeroplane pilots using UK NPPL or UK PPL privileges are advised that the opt-out for aeroplane pilots ends on 8th April 2018 – they need to hold the correct licence and privileges (including sailplane towing rating) by 8 April 2018. Aeroplane licence conversions have to be managed by the CAA. Guidance is available on the CAA website here.
Pilots who tow in EASA aircraft are reminded that they will need to include towing privileges on their application. Towing queries that can’t be answered by the FAQ’s can be directed to derrenfrancis(at)aol.comEASA Licencing FAQ's
Sailplane pilot licence conversion process – step by step
- Consider whether you need to obtain a medical or qualify further under the BGA system before converting.
- Decide what type of licence and additional qualifications you are going to apply for.
- Complete the application form using the guidance within the application form.
- Check that your application is complete, including certified and clearly readable copies of documents where required.
- 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;
- Consider which Part-FCL privilege you believe you want to add based on BGA/National privileges or other additional training
- Complete the application form using the form completion guidance document
- Check that your application is complete, including certified or original and clearly readable copies of documents where required
- Send your application to; BGA 8 Merus Court, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1RJ
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 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.