EASA Pilot Licence Conversions

easa-logoThis note intends to bring glider pilots up to date on the subject of conversion from BGA Gliding Certificates and endorsements to an EASA licence and associated ratings.

1. From April 2015, all pilots flying EASA aircraft, including sailplanes, must hold a valid Part-FCL licence. 2. The BGA will handle the process of converting your BGA Gliding Certificate and Endorsements to a Part-FCL licence.
3. The BGA is accepting applications for licence conversions now.
4. Although we recommend that pilots do not leave it until the last minute to apply for their Part-FCL licence, everybody should review the conversion guidance on the BGA website before deciding when to apply.

The political decision to adopt European regulation some years ago is just that – a political decision made by the UK government. The BGA has been engaged for many years with EASA, the UK Department for Transport and the CAA among others in addressing a seemingly endless flow of regulation. Alongside colleagues within the European Gliding Union and the GA Alliance, the BGA continues to work very hard to achieve as proportionate, low complexity and low cost an outcome as possible. It would be remiss to not to recognise the enormous amount of time, effort and, in many cases, personal cost expended by a small number of very talented, well connected and experienced volunteers who are successfully negotiating in Europe on behalf of all air sport pilots to modify and limit the impact of regulation.

The European Commission regulations 1178/2011 and 290/2012 are together known as the ‘Aircrew Regulation’. The Aircrew Regulation with the associated ‘Acceptable Means of Compliance’ sets out the detailed requirements for the new European pilot licence system. Annex I to the regulation is ‘Part-Flight Crew Licensing’, known as Part-FCL. These are the requirements that must be met to obtain and maintain a European licence, which is known as a Part Flight Crew Licensing (shortened to Part-FCL) licence. A temporary derogation to the ‘Aircrew Regulation’ that excludes pilots from the need to comply with that regulation will end on 7th April 2015. From that date, pilots flying EASA aircraft must comply with Part-FCL requirements.

The Licence Conversion Process
To ensure that all pilots will have the correct sailplane licence, ratings and certificates by the 7th April 2015, the BGA has agreed with the CAA that we will begin the process of conversion from the existing BGA Gliding Certificate and Endorsements to the equivalent Part-FCL system. The BGA will handle the application and checking process and make recommendations for licence issue to the CAA under a Qualified Entity approval. The BGA is committed to protecting existing privileges and in making the conversion process as straightforward as reasonably possible.

So what does this mean to individuals?
After the 7th April 2015, pilots flying EASA aircraft – including sailplanes – must comply with Part-FCL requirements. So if that includes you, you will need to convert your BGA Gliding Certificate and Endorsement qualifications to the equivalent Part-FCL system by the 7th April 2015. This is an administration process using a single application form. The good news is that the BGA will support you through the conversion process between now and 2015.

Some headlines:

  • The licence and majority of ratings you will apply for are issued for life – they are kept valid through holding a medical certificate and through currency requirements
  • Your GP can provide a medical – details here
  • The instructor certificate is revalidated every three years
  • There is a BGA licence conversion fee that includes the relevant CAA charges. The BGA Executive Committee considered the subject of fees in great detail during June 2013. Having considered a long list of factors including, primarily, the need to keep the fee to the minimum reasonably possible, the need to insulate clubs from fees and charges as they adopt associated Approved Training Organisation requirements, and the financial constraints felt by younger pilots in particular it has been agreed that the one-off licence conversion fee including CAA charges will be £42 for those aged 21 and under and £84 for those over 21. These fees cover your licence for life; additional future licence fees will only apply if you change or add to your EASA sailplane licence
  • We will continue to operate under the existing BGA processes as described in BGA Laws and Rules until 2015. Flying carried out under BGA processes is valid for EASA licensing purposes until April 2015. BGA Laws and Rules will be modified at the end of 2014 to reflect the changed requirements under EASA from April 2015

The gliding licence conversion process is described in detail along with a series of FAQs and can be found here

At first sight the information may seem overwhelming. However:
· If you are a glider pilot who doesn’t need to add a bunch of ratings to a licence, the conversion process is actually very simple
· If you are an instructor, the process is also simple
· If you need, for example, an aerobatic or towing rating, or an examiner authorisation, the process requires more preparation
· In all cases, we strongly recommend that you use the application form completion guidance

We also recommend that you do not leave your application until the last moment. The BGA is now accepting completed applications.

A few words about LAPL Medical Certificates
The BGA has published advice about the EASA medical requirements here

An experienced pilot of senior years recently offered the following advice:

It would seem sensible if all BGA glider pilots currently seeking initial or renewal medicals (with their GP) were directed towards a LAPL medical rather than a DVLA based medical. In my case (over 70 years old) the LAPL medical cost the same from my GP as a DVLA medical, with the advantages that it lasts twice as long (2 years instead of 1), and restrictions on my DVLA medical re carrying passengers are removed.

Pete Stratten
Chief Executive
British Gliding Association

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