The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today reminded holders of ‘national’ pilot licences of the need to convert to a European equivalent by 8 April 2014 to maintain their current flying privileges. The deadline affects all commercial and private pilots holding a valid non-JAR licence (sometimes also referred to as a CAA licence), which would have been issued before January 2000. With only six months to go to arrange the switch over, the CAA said it was concerned some pilots would be left with invalid licences if they failed to meet the deadline. Flight instructors, in particular, could be caught out and face disruption to their training schedules.
Aeroplane or helicopter pilots holding a national PPL, CPL or ATPL are encouraged to visit the CAA website
for more information on arranging to convert their licence to one issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Pilots flying microlights, gliders, gyroplanes or hot air balloons are not affected by the 2014 deadline.
To ease the conversion process, UK national licence holders who do miss the deadline will be allowed to use the privileges of the new Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), for one year only. This will restrict the licence holder to non commercial operations as pilot in command in the appropriate aircraft category, and does not include any instrument flying or instructor privileges. This will happen automatically, and pilots do not need to contact the CAA to arrange to receive these privileges.
By April 2015, however, all national licences across Europe must be converted to an EASA equivalent for the holder to continue flying ‘EASA aircraft’, which include many popular recreational types such as Piper PA28s, and Cessna 172s. National licences will remain valid indefinitely for non-EASA aircraft, though. So, a national PPL holder flying a microlight or vintage aircraft in the UK can continue doing so unchanged and need not contact the CAA.
The need to convert national licences by April 2014 is part of the standardisation of pilot licensing across Europe, a process that began in the UK in April 2012 and is due to be completed in2017. After that date any pilot flying an EASA aircraft will need to have an EASA licence with a valid EASA medical certificate.
The CAA has issued an Information Notice
with more details.
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The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.