Students and EASA (Updated)
While the rain prevents flying it is a good time to think about the upcoming EASA transition. While the whole thing is very complicated the BGA and CGC have provided some good information to help experienced pilots.
Therefore this blog post is more targeted at student pilots.
What is happening?
On 8th April 2015 we are moving from a system of UK regulation to a system of European Regulation. This means that existing qualifications are no longer valid, and you will need to transition your qualifications or retrain.
The rule of thumb is:
It is easier and cheaper to get BGA qualifications and transition them to EASA before April 2015, than it will be to get a qualification after April 2015.
Under the EASA system there will be a £84 admin fee for updating your qualifications (£42 if you are under 21). This applies to the initial transition and any additional amendments. For example, if you want to fly solo on the aerotow your will need an aerotow endorsement. If you meet the requirements before you transition, then you only pay £84/£42 once. But if you transition and then want to fly solo on the aerotow you will pay £84/£42 twice.
What qualifications are affected?
The whole system is affected but the relevant points are:
- You will need a new LAPL medical to fly solo;
- The A/B badge, Bronze, Cross Country Endorsement will cease to exist;
- The new Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (Sailplanes) LAPL(S) will be introduced.
There will also be Sailplane Licence (SPL) which is valid worldwide, but the medical is different and more expensive. LAPL(S) is valid only in Europe but in practice may be recognised in other countries.
The next part provides some general advice for people at different levels of experience. It may be possible to move though several levels between now and April 2015.
What should I do if I'm pre-solo?
Get an LAPL medical, it will be valid for solo flying both before and after April 2015. If you have some flying experience going solo this summer is possible. Most people only need 50-80 flights.
What should I do if I'm post solo? (Updated 26/6/14)
Get an LAPL medical. Unless you have got most of your Bronze already it is unlikely that you will be able to complete your Bronze and Cross Country Endorsement in time for the transition. Therefore, you should focus on training rather than qualifications. You will find that the training for the Bronze and Cross Country Endorsement is useful and will contribute towards a LAPL(S) even if you do not have the full qualification by April 2015. It is likely that you will have to take the LAPL(S) exams even if you have passed the Bronze theory test. Ultimately your aim should be to meet the requirements of the LAPL(S) after April 2015.
What should I do if I have a Bronze?
Get an LAPL medical, and complete your Cross Country Endorsement before 2015. The Bronze + Cross Country Endorsement is enough to transition to a LAPL(S) by just filling in a form and paying £84/£42 admin fee. You can also think about doing the endorsements discussed in the section below. The key challenge is you get your 1 hour and 2 hour soaring flights this summer. As it will be harder to do them after August.
What should I do if I have a Cross-Country endorsement?
At this level you should already be aware of your EASA status but if you are not.
Get an LAPL medical. The Bronze + Cross Country Endorsement is enough to transition to a LAPL(S) by just filling in a form and paying £84/£42 admin fee. In theory you can start this immediately but there are a few reasons to delay. The main one is that BGA qualifications are easier and cheaper than LAPL(S) endorsements. Therefore it would be better to transition with as many BGA qualifications as possible. Specific ones to think about are:
- Winch Launch endorsement - 20 solo launches
- Aerotow Launch endorsement - 12 solo launches
- Bungee Launching - 3 solo launches
- Aerobatics endorsement - have BGA Standard Aerobatic Badge
- Cloud Flying Rating - t.b.c but BGA Cloud Flying Rating may be valid
If you want to do any of these things after April 2015, it is better to get them done before your EASA transition.
See the links at the top of this post for more detail on the LAPL(S)
How do I get the LAPL medical?
The CAA provides some detailed information but you can get your medical form completed by your GP. Note that your GP may have never done this before so bring along the explanation leaflet, an make sure you understand the process.
Unlike the old medical the EASA LAPL medical is only valid for 5 years.
Do I have to do this?
Unfortunately, yes. After April 2015 you will require at least an LAPL medical to fly solo, and you will not realistically be able to do more than local soaring without a LAPL(S).