The new Balloon Pilot licensing rules have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union today.
In order to simplify operational and licensing requirements for balloons and sailplanes, EASA decided to remove these requirements from the more complex regulatory framework of Regulation (EU) No. 965/2012 and Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011, and to establish stand-alone regulations exclusively for balloons and sailplanes.
Air sport federations, industry, and national authorities supported EASA in developing the rules, resulting in the new regulations on air operations for balloons (Regulation (EU) 2018/395, in force from 8 April 2019). This regulation has been amended now to include the revised flight-crew licensing requirements for balloons (Part-BFCL) and will enter in to force on 8 April 2020.
The regulation, including applicable operational and flight crew licensing requirements, is tailored to the respective activity: they are less complex, more flexible, and proportionate to the low complexity required for the operation and training for balloons. For example, the onerous air operator approval for commercial operations has been replaced by a declarative system. As regards flight crew licensing, the light-aircraft pilot licence (LAPL) for balloons was deleted. Among a number of achieved improvements, this change simplifies the overall licensing system allowing BPL holders to hold an LAPL medical certificate for non-commercial flights.
The possible combinations of a BPL with a LAPL or a Class 2 medical can be found in the amended Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 - Point MED.A.030 of Annex IV (Part-MED)