Opinion 08/2017

Modular light aircraft pilot licences

General Aviation (GA) is a high priority for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). EASA dedicates effort and resources towards creating simpler, lighter and better rules for GA. Recognising the importance of GA and its contribution to a safe European aviation system, EASA in partnership with the European Commission and other stakeholders has created the GA Road Map.

The objective of this Opinion is to address a proportionality issue related to the introduction of the option to follow a modular training route in order to obtain a light aircraft pilot licence (LAPL) pursuant to Annex I (Part-FCL) to Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 (the ‘Aircrew Regulation’).

Article 12(2a)(b) of the Aircrew Regulation allows for an opt-out from the requirements of Part-FCL, Subpart B until 8 April 2018, therefore, most EASA Member States (MSs) still apply their national licensing requirements to issue national licences the privileges of which are similar to those of an LAPL. Some MSs’ national licensing requirements provide for a ‘modular training route’ to issue a basic licence: after having successfully completed a particular training module, an applicant is issued with a limited (‘modular’) licence with respectively limited privileges (e.g. only for local flights without passengers). Thus, module by module, the applicant may gradually fulfil the requirements for obtaining a licence with further privileges, comparable to an LAPL pursuant to Part-FCL, Subpart B. However, Part-FCL does not provide for such modular training routes, and MSs will no longer have the opt-out option to use those modular training routes for the issuance of such licences as of 8 April 2018.

Considering both the positive effects of such modular training on GA in said MSs as well as the objective to promote GA through the GA Road Map, this Opinion proposes to amend Article 4(7) of the Aircrew Regulation in order to introduce the option for MSs to follow a modular training route for the issuance of an LAPL. Applicants for and holders of such modular LAPLs will need to comply with all Part-FCL requirements except that the MS may tailor the flight training and skill test to the limited privileges of the licence. These limited privileges of such a modular-LAPL holder will also be restricted to the territory of the issuing MS. Modular-LAPL holders will be entitled to obtain the full LAPL after having successfully completed the full flight training and skill test as required by Part-FCL.

The proposed changes are expected to increase efficiency/proportionality by allowing MSs to continue with modular training routes for LAPLs. This will promote leisure and sport aviation by providing cost-reduced training modules followed by LAPLs with respective limitations.