Pilot Licence Conversion

Do I need an EASA Licence?

Pilots of EASA Sailplanes including powered sailplanes including TMGs

The EASA Flight Crew Licensing (FCL) rules for sailplane pilots have been reviewed and, as a result, revised and simpler EASA ‘Sailplane FCL (SFCL) rules are available from 8 April 2020. SFCL includes a number of helpful simplifications compared to the previous FCL sailplane licensing rules. For example among other simplifications, there is a single licence – described as the Sailplane Pilots Licence (SPL) – which can be used with either an ICAO compliant class 2 medical certificate or in the EU and UK, a LAPL medical certificate*. And the flight instructor certificate is non-expiring, subject to rolling recency requirements.

In the UK;

Pilots of EASA sailplanes, including powered sailplanes, can carry on operating under BGA pilot certification and pilots of EASA self-launching sailplanes and TMGs can carry on using a national SLMG class rating until April 2021

All gliding instructing at BGA clubs continues under BGA requirements until April 2021 – therefore all gliding instructors must hold a valid BGA instructor rating.

Meanwhile, the BGA intends to support those pilots who choose to hold an EASA sailplane pilots licence. To do so,

– we will continue to provide a licence conversion service (modified to recognise the changes brought about by the new SFCL rules)

– we aim to maintain a core of EASA qualified examiners

– we facilitate limited and specific EASA FCL training at BGA clubs that choose to become DTO compliant ahead of 2021.

Pilots of EASA aeroplanes (ie other than sailplanes including powered sailplanes including TMGs)

Aeroplane pilots are directed to the CAA conversion guidance available 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.

Sailplane pilot licence conversion process – step by step (from Apr 20 the detail in the application will change to reflect the revised rules)

  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

If I convert to LAPL(S) before April 20, does this mean I need to exchange it for an SPL after 20 April 2020?

No. Part-FCL licences for sailplanes and associated privileges, ratings and certificates issued by a Member State before the date of application of the SFCL regulation shall be deemed to have been issued in accordance with the SFCL regulation. When a Member State reissues licences for administrative reasons or upon application by licence holders, the Member State shall replace Part-FCL sailplane licences for SFCL licences.

Adding a privilege to an SPL or LAPL(S) after the licence has been issued (until Apr 20)

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) (until Apr 20)

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 this website. 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.

CAA exemptions are published here.

‘BGA Guidance for SPL and LAPL(S) Holders’ can be viewed here.

CAP804, which is the CAA’s guidance on all matters to do with licensing, is available here.

The October 2019 Aircrew Regulation amendment included LAPL(A) privileges in the PPL(A), with the actual level of privileges which the pilot may exercise defined by the state of the medical certificate he/she holds.  So if a PPL(A) holder’s Class 2 lapses to a LAPL medical, there is no need to advise the CAA – the pilot can simply carry on flying but within LAPL(A) 2000kg / max 4 PoB limits. The pilot must maintain his/her SEP/TMG Class Rating rather than adopt the LAPL rolling validity.

*the BGA is currently working with the DfT and CAA to identify how in the UK these pilots can continue to exercise their privileges using a medical self-declaration.