Changes after EU and EASA exit

Updated 15th June 2022

The UK is no longer a part of the EU. It is a ‘third country’ that has retained EU regulations including aviation regulations which continue to apply under UK law from 1 Jan 21.

This webpage highlights changes relevant to gliding and will be updated as the facts become available.

Pilot licencing

Part SFCL, Part FCL and ANO licences

Part-FCL licences are issued under the UK Aircrew Regulation and are required to fly Part-21 aeroplanes and helicopters. Licences required for flying Part-21 Sailplanes are contained in Part-SFCL.

A UK issued SPL that was issued while the UK was still a member of EASA continues to be valid on UK registered Part-21 sailplanes. An SPL may also be used to fly a non-Part-21 sailplane.

UK Air Navigation Order licences (often known as ‘national licences’ while the UK was still an EASA member) are issued under the ANO and can only be used to fly non-Part-21 aircraft, except in some limited circumstances. This area of policy continues to be reviewed and will likely change in the future.

Flying in the UK on a non-UK licence

Third country operators are usually required to operate under ICAO requirements when in another ICAO signatory country. The UK regulation is here. Licence holders from other ICAO states (regardless of residency) flying in the UK will need to follow the CAA’s licence validation procedures. Note – WWGC2022 participants will be subject to a temporary arrangement managed by the BGA with permission from the CAA.

For non-Part-21 aircraft, the ANO contains a general validation that allows the non-commercial use of foreign ICAO licences on UK-registered aircraft.

UK residents flying Part-21 aircraft on ICAO licences not issued by the UK or EASA should also note that the requirement to obtain a validation or make the appropriate declaration to the CAA continues after leaving the EU, regardless of the state of registration of the aircraft being flown.

Flying in third countries using a UK issued SPL

Third country operators are usually required to operate under ICAO requirements when in another ICAO signatory country. The UK SPL + Class 2 medical certificate is ICAO compliant. That means pilots holding a UK SPL + Class 2 medical certificate may fly UK registered gliders in the EU.

UK issued flight crew licence holders should be aware that since 1 January 2021, they have no privileges to operate aircraft on the register of an EASA Member State. EU regulation requires validation of a UK SPL to fly an EASA state registered sailplane in the EU. Note – no validation of a UK SPL should be required to fly a G-registered sailplane in the EU.

– The French DGAC is responsible for issuing SPL validations. When a third country SPL holding pilot is flying a French/EU registered glider, an SPL validation is required.  The French DGAC validation form is available here. The fee is 80 Euros.  In that case, UK CAA advises that the DGAC will contact CAA to confirm that the UK issued SPL is valid etc. To enable UK CAA to release the information to the DGAC, the SPL holder will need to complete SRG1160.  The DGAC turn around the initial application within 48 hours. The minimum turnaround time at CAA from receipt of the SRG1160 is 10 working days. The BGA recommends that pilots who need to validate their UK SPL give themselves a month to complete the process.

– The German federal state aviation authorities are responsible for issuing SPL validations. LBA recent advice to the BGA is that pilots should contact the aviation authority of the federal state in which they intend to operate. The contact addresses of the state aviation authorities can be found under the following link:

It is recommended that a UK issued SPL holder intending to instruct in a third country confirms that instructing is permitted with the licence and privileges held by the pilot.

Flying non-UK registered sailplanes in the UK

It is the obligation of the State of Registration to determine who can fly an aircraft that is registered in that State.

In addition to the UK pilot licensing requirement, the State of Registration (eg Germany in the case of a D registered glider) may require a State of Registration validation of a UK licence where the aircraft is flown in the UK. Owners of non-UK registered sailplanes are advised to check with their State of Registration.

Use of non-Part 21 aircraft during training to add a privilege

SPL holders can use UK (G) registered non-Part 21 sailplanes, powered sailplane and TMG to add privileges to an existing SPL.

Non-UK ie EASA state issued SPL holders will have to ask their issuing competent authority if they can conduct training to add privileges on a UK registered non-Part 21 sailplane, powered sailplane and TMG.

Moving aircraft into and out of the UK

Temporarily moving a glider or other gliding equipment into the EU, eg for expeditions, competitions, etc.

The UK Government has reached a proportionate approach to border crossing with gliders and other gliding equipment. The situation briefed to the BGA by UK Government is that where a privately owned glider is moved across the UK border in a trailer towed by a private vehicle and the intent is to return the glider across the UK border (for example visiting the EU for a holiday, competition, etc), the temporary export and subsequent re-import may be declared by conduct, where the act of crossing the border counts as your declaration. You do not need to fill out any forms.

There is a significant amount of experience of crossing the EU border from the UK using declaration by conduct. Eire customs describe the requirement for crossing from the UK into the EU with a glider towed by a car as an oral declaration accompanied by an inventory to support the oral declaration.  The C108 form provides an inventory. Users should check if the port of arrival/departure allows for an oral declaration.

ATA Carnet would also be an option. NB the associated cost and deposit.

Temporarily moving a glider into the EU for repair

The UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) allows goods to temporarily move between GB and the EU for repair without incurring customs duty on import, regardless of their origin.

Outward Processing is a procedure that allows goods to be temporarily exported from the UK for repair or processing, and then reimported to the UK without payment of UK customs duty or import VAT. Further info on Outward Processing and the conditions that need to be met for the relief can be found at:

VAT on used aircraft imported into the UK by a private owner

When purchasing goods in EU (for later import to GB) from a private user of the same goods, the EU seller is likely to have incurred irrecoverable VAT. For the later sale, no VAT would be due on a private sale in the EU, but (now we have left the single market) import VAT will be due on arrival to GB, subject to any import reliefs that may apply.

In a similar scenario but where the goods were bought from a VAT registered business in the EU, a purchaser intending to import those goods to GB would be advised to check if the seller is zero-rating the supply to them, as an export from the EU. Import VAT would be due in GB, on the same basis as described above.

Goods in free circulation in N Ireland at 31 December 2020 are classified as being in free circulation in EU and not in GB. Goods being moved from Ireland to GB are imports.

EASA Documents

Continued acceptance of EASA references on aircraft documents

The CAA will continue to accept references, including EASA form numbers, to any EU regulation which are cited on documents carried by UK-registered aircraft. This includes Certificates of Airworthiness (CofA), Airworthiness Review Certificates (ARC) and Noise Certificates. These will remain valid until they are renewed, whereby they will be replaced with CAA references and form numbers.

EASA Permit to Fly

The CAA has published a temporary exemption relating to EASA Permits to Fly

Use of EASA maintenance facilities and Form 1’s

The owner or operator of a UK registered aircraft can use an organisation that holds a Part CAO or Part M Subpart F approval issued by EASA or an EU member state only if that the organisation holds or has applied for UK CAA approval.

Form 1’s from an organisation that does not hold or has not applied for UK CAA approval are not accepted by the CAA. NB – BGA is working with CAA to identify a solution for lifed items impacted by this UK requirement.

Other links

CAA EU/EASA exit microsite

CAA EU/EASA-exit webinars on a range of aviation topics including GA

CAA Official Record Series exemptions website

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