Pilot Training and Licencing
Learning to fly
Can I learn to glide with a disability?
Yes. There are some disabilities that might prove difficult, but each case can be discussed with the club and the instructor involved. Learn more here.
Qualifying as a glider pilot
Adding to existing pilot qualifications
Flight Telephony Radio Operators Licence (FRTOL)
For information about and how to obtain an FRTOL, please refer to our pilot radio licence webpage.
Instructing and instructor training
SFCL Compliant Pilot Training
BGA and FAI sporting achievement
Resources and Links
Do I need a licence to fly an unpowered or self-sustainer sailplane (glider)?
In the UK
No. There is currently no UK requirement to hold a sailplane pilot licence to fly an unpowered or self-sustainer sailplane. See ‘Pilot Licence Conversion’ for the latest news.
Outside the UK
Usually yes. Pilots need to comply with the licensing requirements in the country in which they are flying. Note that the USA has verification requirements. And note that because the LAPL medical is not ICAO compliant, many non-European countries will not necessarily accept it. Some countries recognise BGA pilot qualifications. If in doubt, contact the CAA in the country in which you plan to fly.
Do I need a licence to fly a self-launching sailplane or a TMG? (known as SLMGs in the UK ANO)
The UK’s current licence requirement for a self-launching sailplane is either a UK PPL/NPPL with SLMG privileges, or an SFCL SPL with self-launching privileges.
The UK’s current licence requirement for a TMG is either a UK PPL/NPPL with SLMG privileges*, or an SFCL SPL with TMG privileges**.
See ‘Pilot Licence Conversion’ for the latest news.
Flight in non-EASA aircraft can be counted towards SPL, PPL(A) or LAPL(A) recency. The CAA has published details here.
*this is to remove the need for sailplane pilots to hold two licences, ie sailplane pilots who fly TMGs would otherwise need to apply for an aeroplane licence with TMG privileges and subsequently, when available, also apply for an SPL. We advise that sailplane pilots with an NPPL SLMG who fly TMGs in due course convert to an SPL with TMG privileges.
**TMG privileges can be held on aeroplane licences. A TMG privilege is not the same as a self-launch privilege.
Do I need a licence to fly microlight self-launching sailplanes?
Yes. Either an NPPL microlight or an SPL with self-launch privileges.
The following explanation may be helpful.
Non-EASA aircraft are flown in the UK under UK national requirements, ie the ANO 2016.
‘SLMG’ as referred to in the ANO 2016 includes both Part-21 and non-Part 21 examples of the same unless otherwise stated, and that when an aircraft meets the SLMG definition, it is an SLMG.
‘Sailplane’ includes powered sailplanes.
A ‘glider’ is a ‘sailplane’.
In 2014, the CAA was asked to interpret the law and noted in an information notice (IN 2014/139 which following the publication of the ANO 2016 was removed. However, the interpretation remains valid) that an SLMG is ‘an aircraft with the characteristics of a non-power driven glider, which is fitted with one or more power units and is designed or intended to take off under its own power’. An example noted by the CAA in 2014 is a self-launching microlight aircraft which meets the following criteria;
- 3 axis primary flying controls
- Wingspan of at least 11 metres
- Wing mounted airbrakes or spoilers
- Designed for soaring flight
An example is the Silent Electro.
The CAA noted in 2014 that a UK SLMG class rating is equivalent to a powered sailplane endorsement established under EU regulations. Therefore the LAPL(S) and SPL (with valid self-launch or TMG privileges) are valid for the equivalent UK SLMG. The CAA warned in 2014 that the LAPL(S) and SPL are not valid for microlight aircraft that are not SLMGs.
Flight in non-Part 21 aircraft can be counted towards SPL recency. The CAA has published details here.
Do I need a towing rating to tow a sailplane with a powered aircraft?
EASA pilot licencing regulations require tug pilots operating Part 21 sailplane towing aircraft to hold a sailplane towing rating on their Part 21 aircraft licence.
A towing rating is not required to tow with a non-Part 21 aircraft; the minimum licence requirement is an NPPL.
Flight in non-Part 21 aircraft can be counted towards PPL(A) or LAPL(A) recency. The CAA has published details here.