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 Part-FCL 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, pilots of sailplanes (including powered sailplanes) can continue to operate under national requirements ie BGA and NPPL until 8 Apr 2020.
During April 2018, the European Commission was unable to issue their temporary opt-out. As an interim measure, the CAA issued a number of exemptions to ensure that pilots could continue to operate under national requirements. The CAA’s exemption detail is available here.
So until 8 April 2020, 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, he or she must of course comply with the relevant Part-FCL licencing and medical requirements.
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 Part-FCL licensing Frequently Asked Questions.EASA Licencing FAQ's
Aeroplane pilots who fly EASA aeroplanes using UK NPPL or UK PPL privileges are advised that the opt-out for aeroplane pilots ended on 8th April 2018 – they need to hold the correct licence and privileges (including sailplane towing rating) by 8 April 2018. There are some temporary alleviations described in CAA exemptions which are detailed here.
Aeroplane pilot 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 need towing privileges on their licence.
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
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.
- 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)
- Include a payment of £42 payable to the BGA (all £42 is passed on to the CAA)
- Include your SPL which has to be returned to the CAA. We suggest you retain a copy (eg take a picture).
- Send your application with payment and SPL 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 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.