Pilots of Part-21 sailplanes (formerly described as EASA sailplanes) including powered sailplanes including TMGs need to hold a Sailplane Pilot Licence (SPL) by 8 December 2021.

Meanwhile, BGA and national rules continue to apply to pilots of Part-21 and non-Part 21 sailplanes.

What does it mean for me?

Qualified gilder pilots (Bronze with cross country endorsement) or above will need to apply through the BGA to be able to fly solo from 8th Dec 2021, if you have not applied for a SPL be the 8th Dec then you still can fly. However you will not be classed as an unqualified pilot and must be supervised by a FI(S).

You will also require a CAA Pilot declared medical when you apply for you licence.

Please see link below to apply for your licence.

Sailplane Pilot Licence Conversion – Pilot & Club Info (

If I have a LAPL (S) do I need to apply for a SPL?

No. A Part-FCL LAPL (S) and a Part-FCL SPL are both automatically deemed to be an SFCL SPL with effect from 8 April 2020. When the CAA reissues a licence for administrative reasons or upon application by licence holders, the CAA will replace Part-FCL sailplane licence for an SFCL SPL. Adding a privilege after the licence has been issued.

Once I Have An SPL, How Do I Keep It Valid?

The SPL is a lifetime licence. The privileges of an SPL can be exercised as long as the recency requirements have been met.

What are the recency requirements?

The basic SPL recency requirement is 15 launches, 5hrs and two flights with an instructor in the previous 24 months. There are additional requirements for other SPL privileges.  The two flights with an instructor can be flown with a BGA instructor until the conversion period ends, ie before the 8th December 2021.

What does it mean for me if I have not completed all my training to Bronze with the cross country endorsement?

The training you have done will be transferred to the new SPL training programme and syllabus; a new training record book will be issued to you. This training record will be retained by the Declared Training Organisation (DTO) and you will collect it from your instructor before you fly and then it will be stored by the DTO after your training flight. Once you have successfully completed the SPL the training record will be retained by the DTO for three years.

Is the SPL syllabus the same as the bronze training?

Most of the training is the same; however there are some different parts that you will have to complete.

Do I have an exam?

Yes. You will have a written exam like now and then it will be followed by flights with an examiner who will conduct all the qualifying exercises for the SPL

Will it be my CFI who does the flying exam?

No. It will be a BGA approved examiner who will come to the club for your exam.

What will the flying exam contain?

You will be examined on one method of launching, Winch or Aero tow. To complete all the exercises that the examiner requires you to do, however it will be best to qualify on Aero tow for your exam, otherwise the examiner will have to keep coming back until you have completed all the exercises for example upper air work.

If I have qualified on Aero tow do I need to be examined again on winch launching?

No. Once you have complete your SPL, then your home club can make a note in your log book to say you have completed the training and can conduct winch launch, Car launch, Buggy Launch, ridge soaring etc. This will also be recorded in you training log which is returned by the club.

Will I have to pay the examiner?

We are not sure at the moment? It is a possibility that a charge may have to be paid.

Will I have to pay the CAA for my SPL once I have passed the exam?

Yes. You will need to pay the BGA who will then check your paperwork and send it to the CAA for you.

Do I need a medical before I go solo?

If you are undergoing training for UK Part-FCL PPL, SPL, CPL or MPL prior to your first solo flight you are required to hold an appropriate Medical Certificate. It is therefore, a good idea to obtain the necessary Medical Certificate for the licence you intended to hold or aspire to hold before you spend lots of money on your flight training.

For more information please look at the following link on the BGA web site.

Sailplane Pilot Licence Conversion – Pilot & Club Info (

If you require more information please contact:

CFI Tony World or DCFI Nobby Noble