SFCL Compliant Pilot Training


Gliding training in the UK continues under BGA requirements until SFCL is required in the UK for flying Part-21 sailplanes, at which point the Sailplane Flight Crew Licensing (SFCL) rules  and associated Declared Training Organisation (DTO) rules will apply. The regulatory references are:

Sailplane Flight Crew Licensing (SFCL). Applicable to pilots of Part 21 sailplanes including powered sailplanes including TMGs who choose to utilise SPL privileges.

Declared Training Organisation (DTO). Applicable to SFCL training.

Statutory Instrument 2023 No. 588 identifies the date following which an SPL is required, ie 30th September 2025.


Training for the following Sailplane Flight Crew Licensing (SFCL) privileges and ratings must take place within a Declared Training Organisation (DTO).

  • Theoretical knowledge training for the SPL
  • Flight instruction for the SPL
  • Training for additional launch methods
  • Training for aerobatics, sailplane towing and sailplane cloud flying
  • Training for the TMG extension or TMG night rating
  • Training towards the sailplane flight instructor (FI(S) rating
  • FI(S) refresher
  • Examiner refresher

The BGA supports SPL holders including who need to add privileges to their licence by retaining a DTO.

During the conversion period, the two in 24 month recency training flights with an instructor may take place with a BGA assistant or full rated instructor who should sign the pilots logbook as completing the flights. (AMC SFCL.160(a)(1)(ii) refers.

The BGA has declared itself as a DTO. Any BGA club that chooses to deliver SFCL training using BGA course programmes is to apply to operate within the BGA DTO (GBR.DTO.0007).

Instructors who are carrying out SFCL compliant training MUST be familiar with SFCL and in particular SFCL.315 FI(S) Certificate – privileges and conditions.

Please note that the instructor certificate shall be issued with privileges to conduct flight instruction as detailed in SFCL.315.

BGA DTO course programmes

The DTO requirements identify that SFCL training is delivered via training programmes that include the aim, syllabus, details of all the exercises to be taught, structure and integration of any applicable theoretical knowledge, and student progress. The BGA has developed and had approved the following training programmes for use by BGA clubs that have been approved to operate within the BGA DTO. These course programmes may only be used or reproduced or copied with the written permission of the BGA Ltd. The BGA published DTO course programmes have been accepted by the CAA and must be complied with when carrying out BGA DTO training. If any issues or errors are discovered when using the course programmes, please do highlight that with the BGA office.

Further training course programmes will be added when required.

SPL launch type training 

‘SFCL.155 SPL Launching methods’ describes the experience, instruction, and logbook certification requirement.

SPL launch method training must comply with the requirements detailed at SFCL.155 including AMC1 SFCL.155 (a) (2) SPL – Launching methods.

Any pilot who holds an SPL can add additional launch privileges following the required level of training by a suitably qualified instructor.

‘Suitably qualified’ means that the instructor complies with SFCL FI(S) requirements and has completed as PIC; in the case of aerotow launches, at least 30 launches; in the case of winch launches at least 50 launches; and in the case of self-launching at least 30 launches (may include both self-launch sailplanes and TMGs).

FI(S) who carrying out launch method training are reminded to refer to the following detail contained at ‘AMC2 SFCL.130 SPL Training Course and experience requirements’:

Ex11a – Winch launch

Ex11b – Aerotow

Ex11c – Self launch

Note 1. SFCL permits a sailplane to be flown by an SPL holder using winch or aerotow or bungee or self-launch, providing that the pilot holds the appropriate launch type privileges and recency. This means that a pilot new to self-launching may fly a self-launching sailplane using aerotow or winch, which can be a helpful way of becoming familiar with handling characteristics prior to the first self-launch on type.

Note 2.

Flight training for self-launching privileges is likely to take place in a TMG.  Where a TMG is used, the FI(S) needs to be qualified iaw SFCL 360 (a)(4) as they are specifically teaching the engine handling, take off, etc.

Note 3.

It should be noted that the forward and aft moving throttle lever in a TMG operates differently from the rotary knob which is a feature in many electrically powered self-launching sailplanes. The difference should be carefully considered, including rehearsing how to abandon a take-off, eg rotate the knob fully anti-clockwise, and how to manage a total or partial power failure on take-off in a very light aircraft where the aircraft may take longer than expected to accelerate following recovery from the power failure.

BGA DTO documents and forms

Please note that all SPL applications including additional privilege applications are made via the BGA using the BGA form.

BGA DTO club application form

Student pilot solo flight authorisation form

Qualifying cross-country certificate (for use during the SPL TMG extension course).

SPL TMG extension test report form (for use by the examiner during a TMG skills test).

FI(S) test report form (for use by the examiner during the FI(S) additional privilege Assessment or Demonstration of Competence).

SFCL.360 9-year demonstration of ability to instruct report form (for use by the FIC) – read more here.

Conduct of SFCL.360 9-year demonstration of ability guidance

Adding a privilege, eg TMG or Sailplane Towing, to an SPL application form (for use by the applicant who wishes to add privileges to an existing SPL).

CAA form and process for adding a privilege, eg Sailplane Towing, to an aeroplane licence, eg a PPL(A).

The CAA process is described here. Please note that the course completion certificate will need to be reproduced on the required CAA form.

SPL recency guidance

The SPL recency requirements at SFCL.160

The FI(S) recency requirements are at SFCL.360

SPL and FI(S) recency guidance is detailed here.

Recording training

The DTO requirements also detail how training records need to be kept as a student pilot progresses through training and information on individual progress. Both the student pilot and the instructor should sign for completed training as the training is progressed. These training records need to be stored in a manner that restricts access to those people who are authorised to access them. The BGA DTO requires clubs to hold these records rather than student pilot holding the records and to sensibly restrict access to those involved in the instruction. If a student pilot wants a record of their training as they progress, they can of course take a picture or other copy of their training record. The training records can be electronic or paper.

Transferring training records

If a club member moves to another BGA club to complete some SFCL training started at their own club, please could the relevant CFIs arrange transfer of the training records between them. In that case, we also recommend that the club that started the SFCL training keeps a copy of the record of training they completed – a photo, a photocopy or a scan will suffice.