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Frequently Asked Questions

EASA Licensing

EASA licensing rules will apply from 8th April 2015. Please click on this link for EASA Flight Crew Licensing FAQs.

Meanwhile, BGA and NPPL requirements are applicable to glider and self launching motor glider flying (see below).

BGA Gliding Certificate with Endorsements

Q Do glider pilots in the UK need to hold a licence?

A Not to fly unpowered or self-sustainer gliders. Pilots of self launching gliders need to hold a national or EASA licence. The overall licensing situation changes in April 2015 (see EASA licensing for details).

Q Why have a BGA Gliding Certificate with Endorsements?

A The BGA Gliding Certificate with Endorsements have been in place for decades to successfully provide a self regulating and appropriate standard across BGA clubs. ICAO publishes the international pilot licensing benchmark as the ICAO Glider Pilot Licence. The CAA recognises that the BGA Gliding Certificate with Bronze and Cross Country Endorsements exceeds the ICAO Glider Pilot Licence requirements.

The BGA standards are intended to ensure a level of competence which allows the holder to undertake solo cross country flights. The holder would be expected to exercise judgement regarding the suitability of weather or terrain for safe flight, and to seek advice before flying in circumstances outside previous experience. Additional endorsements exist in support of other flying activities.

Q What are the BGA Gliding Certificate Endorsements?

A The BGA Gliding Certificate Endorsements are detailed in BGA Laws and Rules. The endorsements are:

  • Solo (at which point the Gliding Certificate is issued)
  • Bronze
  • Cross Country
  • Aerobatics
  • Cloud Flying

Q How is BGA instruction provided?

A The BGA Training Organisation includes specifically trained BGA gliding instructors who operate at BGA clubs. Almost all are volunteers. They instruct to a syllabus of training and with reference to the BGA Instructor Manual. Details are available on the Instructors webpages.

Q How do I get a BGA Aerobatics Endorsement?

A The Aerobatics Endorsement is issued on successful issue of a BGA Aerobatics Badge. Details of the Aerobatics Badge scheme are at http://www.gliding.co.uk/bgainfo/aerobatics/badge-scheme.htm

Q How do I get a BGA Cloud Flying Endorsement?

The qualification requirements for a BGA Cloud Flying Endorsement (CFE) are detailed in BGA Laws and Rules Part 2. The BGA has run the first phase of formal CFE briefings in each of the BGA regions, and has extended the examining privileges of a number of BGA FEs to include testing for the CFE. The broader roll-out of the BGE CFE can now take place and, in order for that to happen:

Depending on whether or not they hold/or have recently held a formal instrument flight rating, individual pilots looking to obtain a BGA CFE will have to attend a formal BGA CFE briefing/seminar and undertake an assessment of competence with a suitably qualified BGA FE. In the first instance, they should contact their CFI who will be able to advise them on the availability of local BGA CFE briefings, and put them in contact with an appropriate BGA CFE examiner.

Club CFIs should liaise with their SREs on all matters related to the running/availability of CFE seminars and the identification/appointment of BGA FEs.

BGA FEs that would like to have their examining privileges extended to cover the CFE should contact their Senior Regional Examiner. Contact details can be found at http://www.gliding.co.uk/bgainfo/instructors/contacts.htm

UK National Private Pilot Licence

Q What is the NPPL?
A The NPPL is a UK National, sub-ICAO licence, with ratings for SSEA (Simple Single Engine Aircraft, the old "Group A"), SLMG and Microlight aircraft. The licence, unlike the JAR licence, is issued for life. It is only valid for UK airspace, except for the SLMG Rating, which will be ICAO compliant with additional training and a JAR Class II medical Certificate. There are no plans to add instrument or night ratings to the NPPL.

Q What does the NPPL allow me to fly?
A The licence has three ratings:

SSEA - all simple single engine aircraft to a maximum weight of 2000 Kg, and up to four seats. Difference training is required for tailwheel undercarriages, variable pitch or constant speed propellors, retractable undercarriages and pressurisation.

SLMG - all SLMG types. This includes both "TMGs" and true Self Launching Sailplanes. Differences training as for SEP (this should hardly be a problem for most glider and SLMG pilots)

Microlight - all aircraft classed as "Microlight types"

Q What licence do I need to fly a motor-glider?
A An NPPL with SLMG rating, or a EASA TMG licence, or the old UK SLMG PPL.


Q What are the NPPL training requirements?
A For SSEA and SLMG 32 hours are the minimum requirement from ab-initio. For Microlight 25 hours are required. SSEA Training for a licence must be carried out at a Registered Facility at a licensed airfield, as per JAR requirements. SLMG training may take place at specified BGA sites, and Microlight training from the same sites as at present. There are two flight tests in addition to the 32 hours training, one for navigation, called the Navigation Skills Test (NST) and one for handling, called the General Skills Test (GST). The current JAR theoretical knowledge exams must be taken (and passed!).

Q Where can I train for the NPPL SLMG within the BGA?
A There are a number of BGA sites approved for SLMG training. If your own club cannot help you, contact a CAA SLMG PPL instructor - a list of clubs carrying out SLMG training can be obtained from the BGA office.

Q What are the RT Requirements?
A It may be impossible in some circumstances to carry out the navigational element of the training without an RT licence. It is recommended that applicants for the NPPL obtain an RT licence with Level 6 English language proficiency.

Q How do I keep my NPPL SLMG rating valid?
A Until 30th Jun 2009, the revalidation for the NPPL SLMG is that licence holders must present their logbook evidence of completing a minimum of 5 hrs (3 as PIC) in the last 13 months within the existing validity period. The examiner will sign a Certification of Revalidation for a 24 month validity period from the date of signature. Revalidation after June 2009 requires a new process (revised April 08) and 24 month revalidation including;

  • 12 hours flown in 24 months (8 hrs as PIC)
  • 12 takeoff and landings
  • 1 hour of flight with a CAA instructor
  • 6 hours flown in the 12 months prior to the validity expiry date

Full details (for example regarding additional class ratings on an NPPL) can be seen in CAP804 and in AIC 30/2008 (white 146)

Q What allowances do I get for gliding?
A There is only one conversion criteria - the BGA Glider Pilots Licence. Holders of this licence will only be required to carry out a minimum of 10 hours prior to taking the two tests and the exams to gain an SEP or SLMG NPPL.

BGA Glider Pilots Licence application form
BGA Glider Pilots Licence notes

Q How do I convert from SLMG to SSEA and from SSEA to SLMG
A Undertake differences training with an appropriate instructor. No tests!

Q Can I fly tugs?
A Yes, on an SSEA rating. (but not for money!)

Q Can I instruct on a NPPL?
A Not at present. Existing CAA SLMG instructors or JAR TMG instructors can teach the NPPL SLMG syllabus.

Q I have a current PPL SLMG. How can I convert to an NPPL SLMG?
A Apply on the basis of your current licence, with a NPPL medical certificate.

Q I am a lapsed PPL holder. How do I get an NPPL?
A If you have lapsed due to medical requirements, you will need to meet the NPPL medical requirements. If in doubt, lapsed SLMG PPL or lapsed NPPL SLMG holders should obtain an assessment of training/testing required by a CAA rated SLMG flying instructor to ensure that the renewal requirements for the issue of an NPPL SLMG are met.

Q What are the medical requirements?
A They are very similar to those currently in force for gliding. The basic medical standard is DVLA Group II, equivalent to HGV driver. The medical is a pilot declaration, countersigned by your General Practitioner. There is provision for those who cannot attain this standard to fly on the basis of DVLA Group I, although only solo flight or flight with another qualified pilot will be allowed.

CAA website - NPPL medical pdfs www.caa.co.uk/srg/med/whatsnew.asp

Q How will the licensing process work?
A The BGA, LAA and AOPA formed a company some years ago to process NPPL applications. The actual processing work will take place at the LAA offices. The CAA has devolved the NPPL administration to the associations, with the aim of reducing costs.

Q How do I record differences training such as for tailwheel or variable pitch propeller?
A The instructor carrying out the training puts his number & signature in your logbook to certify that the differences training has been carried out.

Q Where do I get an application form?
A From the NPPL website

Q How do I find out more, including fees?
A The NPPL website can be found at www.nppl.uk.com. Otherwise, the BGA website or office@gliding.co.uk should be able to deal with most SLMG specific enquiries.

Q How do I apply for an additional rating to my NPPL?
A Meet the requirement for that rating and apply using the appropriate rating application form.

Q Can I fly a UK registered SLMG outside the UK with an NPPL SLMG rating?
A Yes, providing that your NPPL SLMG rating is ICAO compliant. The holder of an NPPL with SLMG rating is entitled to ICAO Annex I privileges for international flight provided that they obtain a Part-MED Class 1 or 2 medical certificate and demonstrate compliance with the ICAO requirements of 40 hours training. 

Please apply directly to the CAA Flight Crew Licencing at the Safety Regulation Group, Gatwick by writing a letter explaining that you would like your NPPL SLMG endorsed as ICAO compliant. You will need to supply a copy of your licence, evidence of 40 hours experience including the NPPL SLMG training course, and a copy of your EASA or JAR Class 1 or 2 medical. To help the CAA licensing administration officer dealing with your application, you should quote the reference as CAP804 section 5 Part A, subpart 1, page 2.

Flying in Other Countries

Q. I want to fly in other countries. Are my UK qualifications acceptable?
A.
Information about this is available here.

 

 

 

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