EASA Pilot Licensing for gliders, SFCL, became effective on 8th April 2020. Pilots with Bronze Certs issued before that date may continue to fly until 8th April 2021.
Note: The Bronze certificate will cease to be valid for flying without supervision after the 8th April 2021
The nearest equivalent to an SPL is the Bronze Certificate. This is a certificate which is only issued after a pilot completes a long course of Dual and solo flying and successfully completes a General Flight Test. The syllabus and standards are comparable with a power PPL and comply with, or even exceed, the ICAO Glider Pilot License standards.
Even when qualified with a Bronze Certificate, a glider pilot, even if they own the glider, still requires approval and a briefing from a Duty Instructor to fly from a gliding club. Clubs generally apply strict currency rules and require even the most experienced pilots to take check flights if they are not current. This is quite different from Power flying where a PPL holder can fly their own aircraft without any approval.
IGSA Cross Country endorsement
Before a pilot can attempt cross country flights, where there is a real risk of having to land-out, a pilot must gain a cross-country endorsement. This consist of dual training in field selection and practice field landings. In most countries this is done in motor gliders but can be done in ordinary gliders. The IGSA Cross country endorsement will cease to be valid after 8th April 2021.
FAI Silver Badge
The FAI Silver badge can be awarded to a pilot when:
- completes a 50k flight in accordance with the FAI Sporting code. It may be a free distance, an out and return or a leg of a longer flight.
- completes 5 hour flight
- achieves a height gain of 1000m
FAI Gold and Diamond Badges
These are awarded on advanced achievements such as 300k, 500k flights or 3000m and 5000m height gains.
The IGSA has three levels of Instructor Ratings. These cease to be valid after 8th April 2021
- Air Experience Instructor (AEI) who can instruct new students on trial lessons
- Class II Instructor FI(S) – can perform all training apart from 1st solos and 1st cross-country flights.
- Class I Instructor FE(S) – senior instructors who can send students on their 1st solos and 1st cross-country flights
In addition there is a Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) rating who manages the instructors at a gliding club.
The IGSA Operational regulations sets out the standards appropriate to each rating.
Under EASA FCL regulations, the AEI will disappear as these is no equivalent under FCL, Class II instructors will become Flight Instructors (FI) while the Class 1 instructors will become Flight Examiners (FE).
Forms for apply for Bronze , Silver, Gold, Diamond and others can be found on the forms page.
Legislation came into force in Europe on 8th April 2020 which enables EASA to implement a Gliding Licensing across Europe known as SFCL.
The licence is an SPL – Sailplane Pilot License. Two classes of Medical are available for use with the SPL. With a Class 2 medical, the SPL is ICAO compliant and may be used in any country subject to that country’s regulations. With a LAPL medical, the SPL is only valid for use within the EU and EAA excluding the UK. Only AME’s will be able to perform medicals in Ireland. In addition, a Class 2 medical will be required for pilots that receive remuneration (this is not applicable in Ireland as there are not commercial gliding operations).
Pilots must apply to the IAA for an SPL . Existing holders of Bronze/Silver will be able to convert to an SPL.
Full implementation of the new Licenses commenced on 8th April 2020 with a one-year transition period during which pilots may continue to use a Bronze cert.
A lot of progress has been made with EASA regarding the development of a Gliding Rule book and centralising gliding related rules into a single Part Gliding. The Sailplane Rule Book may be accessed on the EASA Web site at https://www.easa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/dfu/Sailplane%20Rule%20Book.pdf.