Changes after EU and EASA exit

Updated 8th Apr 21

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.

The UK and EU have adopted a ‘Trade and Co-operation agreement‘.

Third country operators are generally required to operate under ICAO requirements when in another ICAO signatory country. For example, a UK pilot flying a UK registered sailplane in France would need to comply with ICAO requirements, eg an SPL, with Class 2 medical in a sailplane that has a Cof A and ARC.

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

Part-21 and non-Part 21 aircraft

Part-21 aircraft (formerly known as EASA aircraft) are required to be certificated and operated in accordance with the UK (formerly EASA) Basic Regulation and retained former EASA regulations made under it. Most modern certificated factory-built aircraft (other than microlights and gyroplanes) are considered Part-21.

Non-Part-21 aircraft (formerly known as non-EASA aircraft ) are outside the scope of the UK (formerly EASA) Basic Regulation. Non-Part-21 aircraft were never subject to EASA regulation and are covered by the UK Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016. Vintage or Permit to Fly aircraft are normally non-Part-21. Such aircraft will have a certificate of airworthiness or permit to fly issued under the Air Navigation Order 2016, unless exempt from airworthiness certification. Non-Part 21 gliders hold a BGA C of A.

Pilot licencing

Part-FCL vs ANO licences

Part-FCL licences are issued under the UK (formerly EASA) 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 in 2021 and will likely change in the future.

Flying in the UK on a Foreign Licence

The UK will continue to accept EASA licences issued before 1st January 2021 by EASA member states for use in UK registered aircraft until 31st December 2022. This is via general validation – see for details. There is no requirement to apply to the CAA for an individual licence validation if holding an EASA licence issued before 1st January 2021. EASA licenses issued after that will require an individual licence validation or conversion to fly a UK registered Part-21 aircraft.

Licence holders from other ICAO states (regardless of residency) will need to follow the CAA’s licence validation and/or conversion procedures before flying a UK registered Part-21 aircraft. 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 EU countries using a UK SPL – 17th Mar 21

ICAO rules apply. Therefore the UK SPL + Class 2 medical certificate is a valid licence. In France, that means pilots holding a UK SPL + Class 2 medical certificate may fly UK registered gliders.

Pilots who hold a foreign, eg UK SPL + Class 2 medical certificate who want to fly EU registered gliders in EU nations must comply with the host country national rules. For example, in France, the validation of a foreign (UK) licence is mandatory as was the case in the past. The validation form is available here. The fee is 80 Euros. It is prohibited to perform flight instruction with a validated foreign licence.


Pilots using SPL privileges to fly in the UK may self-declare medical fitness. Check the CAA website for details.

Flying non-UK registered sailplanes in the UK

ICAO Annex 1 states it is one of the obligations of the State of Registration to determine who can fly an aircraft registered in that State.

The CAA has advised that a non-UK registered sailplane may be flown in the UK using an SPL with a valid Class 2 medical certificate, or alternatively, an SPL and valid Class 2 medical certificate issued by an EASA Member State. The State of Registration (eg Germany in the case of a D registered glider) may via its national aviation authority determine a different licensing and medical requirement.

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.

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.

Acceptance of the EASA Form 1 by the CAA

To minimise disruption to the UK Industry, the UK CAA has agreed to allow new or used aircraft components, released to service using an EASA Form 1, to be installed on UK aircraft. This therefore satisfies the requirements of Regulation (EU) 1321/2014, Annex I (Part M), Annex II (Part 145)  and Annex Vb (PART ML) . The related ORS4 General Exemptions can be viewed here ORS4 No.1451 and 1452.

EASA Permit to Fly

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

Moving aircraft into and out of the UK

Transferring aircraft in and out of the UK

The BGA provides detailed guidance on importing and exporting aircraft here.

Customs agent

This customs agent has been recommended to us by glider pilots who have re-imported gliders after repair:

Euroclear Services

Tel: +44 1304 799990 Mob: +44 7967 555912

Traveling to the EU by car

Additional requirements may apply in respect of insurance for trailers and health insurance. Please check the website.

Temporary UK/EU export/import of a sailplane, eg for a gliding holiday or competition

The content of a trailer, eg a sailplane, is likely to need evidence that the export/import is temporary. ATA Carnets are one solution. A temporary admission duplicate list may be another. The BGA is currently engaged with Govt agencies on this issue and will report details as and when they become available.

Where a carnet is required, the BGA has secured an arrangement with the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) for BGA club members of an ATA Carnet fixed price processing/arrangement fee of £240+VAT. This is discounted from the standard fee of £330+VAT. For details on applying for an ATA Carnet via the GBCC, please see here.

VAT on used aircraft imported into the UK

As a result of leaving the Single Market and the EU customs union, the UK must treat the movements of goods from the EU the same as movements from the rest of the world. This means import taxes, including VAT, will be due regardless of where the goods were originally purchased, unless any relief set out in the law applies. The Free Trade Agreement does not extend to VAT reliefs at import. One possible relief at import, is returned goods relief (RGR). However, in respect of goods in the EU at the end of the transition period, these must have previously been to the UK and re-imported by the same person who exported the goods. Further conditions apply, see

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