UK CAA launches proposals to simplify private pilot licences

student pilot

The engineer’s mantra, Keep It Simple, Stupid, has been taken onboard by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with proposals for a simpler process to gain and maintain a General Aviation private pilot licence.

The proposal is part of a consultation launched today, 18 October, and published in CAA document CAP 2335 General Aviation Pilot Licensing & Training Simplification, Phase 1: Strategic Direction.

It includes creating a single set of Private Pilot Licences (PPL) for aeroplanes and helicopters that comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.

Other draft proposals include:

  • Creating another single set of aeroplane and helicopter pilot licences that do not comply with international standards. Such sub-ICAO licences are designed for flight in UK airspace only and subject to certain limitations but would make it easier for potential pilots to gain a licence.
  • Better integrate the syllabuses of the sub-ICAO licences with the internationally-recognised PPL to allow holders to progress more easily from one to the other. The sub-ICAO licence could use operational limitations borrowed from the current microlight aeroplane community and allow ways for holders to progressively remove those limitations as well as the sub-ICAO status.
  • Develop an approach for sailplanes and balloons, including a licence for commercial passenger-carrying ballooning operations, which are a significant element of UK ballooning.
  • Develop how existing licences are maintained and kept valid under any new system the CAA creates, while minimising undue disruption and costs on users, flying schools and the CAA.

CAA video

A working group has been established with key General Aviation community experts including GA associations as well as flying instructors and PPL students.

Michael MacDonald, co-head of the CAA’s General Aviation & RPAS Unit said, “This project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify, rationalise and re-examine the GA licence regime.

“We’ve worked closely with and listened to the GA community and thank them for their continued involvement. We also want to continue to hear their views so that we get this right. We would encourage everyone with an interest in GA to get involved and participate in this consultation.

“This project will take some time to work through, and we anticipate the need to have a series of consultations and we hope this will help make the licensing and training process simpler for all flyers.”

The CAA statement goes on to say that a collaborative approach was taken to ensure the proposal fairly reflected views from the wider GA community.

“If you are involved in GA in any capacity, we would like to hear from you,” said the CAA.

“You may be a pilot, an instructor, a pilot in training, running a flying school or have any GA licence from the CAA. If so, we would ask you to read and respond to this consultation and help shape the future of UK GA flying.”

The consultation will be open for eight weeks and will close at midnight on Friday 16 December 2022. Any enquiries regarding this consultation should be submitted via email to [email protected]

CAA Consultation on GA licences

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