EASA licences

Private Pilot Licence conversions

There are two levels of EASA licence for aeroplanes and helicopters for pilots not wishing to fly commercially:

  • an EASA Private Pilot’s Licence (EASA PPL) which is an internationally recognised ICAO-standard licence.
  • an EASA Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (EASA LAPL) valid in all EU countries with restrictions on aeroplane / helicopter weight (maximum take-off mass of two metric tonnes or less) and with no more than four people on board the aircraft (including crew and passengers).

EASA licences can be issued for five different categories:

  • Aeroplane (A)
  • Helicopter (H)
  • Sailplane (S)
  • Balloon (B)
  • Airship (As)

Think of your EASA licence as a folder that contains privileges and ratings which define what, when, where and how you are able to fly, and includes the right to fly EASA aircraft defined by ratings. While your EASA licence itself will last for life, the ratings within may expire at defined intervals, and those that could expire must be kept valid or renewed if you still wish to use them. (Examples of expiring and non-expiring ratings: an aircraft Single Engine Class rating such as SEP(land), or a Flight Instructor rating, both do have expiry dates and need revalidating or renewing, whereas a night rating or an aerobatic rating have no expiry date and remain valid for life once obtained.)

The EASA LAPL is different to other licence types in that it does not contain aircraft type or class ratings with expiry dates that need revalidation. They include privileges built into the licence itself, so a LAPL(A) won't have an SEP(land) rating with expiry date, but it willhave stated SEP privileges which the pilot must keep valid by ensuring at least a certain minimum amount of flying is maintained. An EASA LAPL can however contain other (non-aircraft) ratings, for example, night, or aerobatics.

An EASA licence can also be used to fly non-EASA aircraft in the UK covered by the ratings within it, and also microlights under an SEP rating or SEP privileges, providing differences training has been signed off by a suitably qualified instructor.