Glider Towing

Andrea Strata • 7 October 2021
in community General Aviation

Is it still possible for an FI(S) holding also a PPL license with glider towing rating to instruct a PPL holder for towing gliders in airplanes?

This was possibile in national italian rules  before Easa rules inplementation and also with FCL (see FCL805 and 905) previous implementation of SFCL.  This was the way in wich  the tow pilots as been formed in Italy (and i guess in Europe).

The SFCL now refers only to towing glider rating on TMG.

Thank you

Andrea Strata


Comments (8)

Martin Vajs

I don't think so. You must be a holder of FI with privilegies in letter (g). Look at FCL.905.FI.


Unfortunately, by rule, for SFCL FIs it's not possible to instruct FCL.
However, in my personal opinion, i recognise that these pilots (SFCL FI (S) + PPL towing rating) must have great expertise both flying and towing sailplanes and can contribute a lot to raise safety as expert teammates.

Diego Ardissone

Actually, under the old Italian national rules, it was possible and legal, for an FI(S), holding also a PPL(A) with a sailplane towing rating, instructing other PPL/CPL/ATPL holders for that rating!

So these guys have gained the letter (g) in their SPL license, due to "grandfathering rights". This sounded clear, when only PART FCL existed.

But now we have also PART SFCL, which unfortunately limits the sailplane towing rating for SPL holders, only for TMG operations.

And what about PART FCL article 4?
"Non-JAR-compliant licences including any associated ratings, certificates, authorisations and/or qualifications issued or recognised by a Member State before the applicability of this Regulation shall be converted into Part-FCL licences by the Member State that issued the licence."

EASA cannot remove something which was gained under national law, before the new regulation even existed!

Zoltán Mészáros

Sorry. If you had a rating before FCL your authority should have a procedure to convert it to FCL

Diego Ardissone

Indeed these guys had the rating converted to FCL (letter (g)), but now with SFCL it's a bit more ambiguous. And recently our aviation authority (ENAC) published a new FAQ, which I automatically translate here for you:

"Can a Flight Instructor train in an aircraft category other than the one on which he holds the Instructor Certificate?"
"No. The instructor must have an instructor certificate of the category in which he intends to give instruction.
For example, the instruction for obtaining the TMG or a license to tow glider for a PPL (A) license holder, must be provided exclusively by an FI (A) or CRI (A). The instruction for obtaining the TMG or a towing license for an SPL holder must be provided exclusively by an FI (S)."

Jannes Neumann

Dear Andrea,
you are right that possibility existed in some countries' national regulations. However, it never made it into JAR-FCL and consequently not into Part-FCL. Still it would make sense, as an aeroplane D/ATO does not have suitable tow planes and a sailplane D/ATO no FI(A), usually. Let's say it is on the wish list to allow a FI(S) with PPL(A) + glider towing rating to train another PPL(A) pilot for the gilder towing rating.
Best regards,

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