Pilot Licence Conversion

Do I need an EASA Licence?

Pilots of EASA Sailplanes including powered sailplanes including TMGs

The EASA rules for sailplane pilot licensing are the ‘Sailplane Flight Crew Licensing (SFCL) rules which are supported by detail described in the SFCL AMC and GM.

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.

– The Flight Instructor (sailplanes) certificate is non-expiring, subject to rolling recency requirements.

Please note that any existing SPL or LAPL(S) that was issued under Part-FCL is now deemed to be an SFCL SPL and the privileges of the licence can be used with either a LAPL medical or a class 2 medical.

In the UK, the SFCL rules must be complied with by 8 April 2021.  We expect the COVID-19 issues to result in an extension from April 2021 to October 2021. So 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, with a likely extension of that date to October 2021.

All gliding instructing at BGA clubs continues under BGA requirements until April 2021 (with a likely extension to October 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

– we aim to maintain a core of EASA qualified examiners

– we facilitate limited and specific EASA SFCL 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

  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 complete application including including certified and clearly readable copies of documents where required by post BGA, 8 Merus Court, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1RJ, or email lizzie@gliding.co.uk

If I already hold a LAPL(S), do I need to exchange it for an SPL?

No. A Part-FCL LAPL(S) and a Part-FCL SPL are both automatically deemed to be an SFCL SPL with effect from 8 April 2020. When the CAA reissues a licence for administrative reasons or upon application by licence holders, the CAA will replace Part-FCL sailplane licence for an SFCL SPL.

Adding a privilege after the licence has been issued

During the conversion period it may be possible to add a privilege to a previously issued licence using the conversion criteria. The step by step process is;

  1. Consider which Part-SFCL privileges 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
  5. CAA should replace your licence with an SFCL SPL.

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 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.