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General Aviation Pilot Licensing & Training Simplification 

Following the completion of CAP2335 – General Aviation (GA) Pilot Licensing & Training Simplification Phase 1 in Spring 2023 and the publication of Consultation Response Document CAP2532. We are now publishing a suite of five consultation papers setting out the detailed direction for licenses and ratings across the GA aircraft categories:  

These consultations set out proposed changes to rules following discussion and policy development with GA community members, and form the basis of proposals for changes to the ANO, relevant implementing regulations and associated acceptable means of compliance. 

The consultation closes on 22 May 2024 and is your opportunity to influence these changes. 

Sailplane Pilot Licence

The consultation returned a clear preference towards continuing the conversion to the Sailplane Pilot Licence (SPL) under the UK Sailplane Flight Crew Licensing (Part-SFCL)regulations. We will be working with the sailplane community to explore any areas within these regulations we could improve as part of this project.

Balloon Pilot Licence

The majority of respondents of the consultation who expressed a view favoured retaining a single balloon pilot licence with appropriate ratings for commercial non-passenger and passenger ballooning respectively, thereby supporting continued implementation of the Balloon Flight Crew Licensing (UK Part-BFCL) regulations.  We will be working with the balloon community to explore areas within these regulations that could be improved as part of this licensing and training simplification project.

To assist with this, Department for Transport will be amending in upcoming legislation the implementation deadline by an extra year, to December 2024.  

Other areas:

  • Overall direction: the vast majority who expressed a view agreed with the need for licensing system simplification, including over half agreeing strongly, indicating a clear mandate from the community to proceed with this project. A strong majority also agreed that this review should go beyond just a simple consolidation of the UK and retained European regulations.
  • Technical proposals on ICAO and sub-ICAO licences and consolidating the syllabuses: the vast majority supported each of our proposals indicating a clear mandate for progressing the technical details.
  • Honouring existing licences after we create new regulations: two options were considered by respondents as most attractive: ‘deemed valid for life’ and ‘deemed valid until a sunset’, but there was no overwhelming preference towards either.

Next steps:

  • We will commence Phase 2 of this project, reconvening the community working group to proceed with developing the technical details around these proposals, which we will consult on by early 2024.

A collaborative approach was taken to ensure we fairly reflected views from the wider GA community. We have established a working group of key GA community experts including GA associations as well as flying instructors and PPL students and we would like to thank for them for their continued support on this project.


We speak with Laurence Baxter from our General Aviation Unit to learn more about this work: Help simplify private pilot licensing and training in the UK (podcast)

Phase 1: Investigate the scope for simplifying the licensing architecture

Looking at the high-level issues, including the implications for consolidating UK Air Navigation Order and retained EASA regulations, compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices, and the distinction between general aviation and commercial flight training.

Close Phase 1: Investigate the scope for simplifying the licensing architecture

Phase 2: Licenses, ratings and certificates

Focus on licences, ratings and certificates across all the aircraft categories in scope. We will look at including privileges, training, exams, costs and cross-compatibility where this is relevant,. It will be necessary to further break this down to pilot and instructor components. This also gives us an opportunity re-examine the training syllabus and related guidance material to reflect any emerging safety thinking. This will culminate in a series of policy proposals from which we could develop rulemaking. 

Close Phase 2: Licenses, ratings and certificates

Phase 3: Rulemaking, transparency and simplicity

Once we have identified the policy proposals, we will use the most efficient rulemaking process to put those in place and communicate them to the GA community. 


Close Phase 3: Rulemaking, transparency and simplicity