Major PPL licensing change effective from 8 April

A major change to PPL licensing comes into force this April and pilots are urged to check they will still have a valid licence to fly their aircraft.

To fly an EASA-certified aircraft from 8 April 2018, pilots will need to hold an EASA licence. That means almost all flying club aircraft such as Cessna, Piper, Robin, Cirrus and other factory aircraft can only be flown with an EASA licence.

Pilots holding a JAR or UK CAA licence will have to convert to an EASA licence or fly a non-EASA aircraft, such as a homebuilt or classic that is now on a Permit to Fly.

The only exceptions are for sailplane and balloon licences (EASA SPL, BPL, LAPL(s) or LAPL(B)) which have a deadline of 8 April 2020.

It’s part of an Europe-wide move to standardise pilot licensing regulations across member states of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The CAA says:

“A JAR licence will continue to be valid until its expiry date but cannot be renewed. Expired JAR licences will have to be converted to an EASA licence. After the deadline, it will only be possible to fly EASA certified aircraft if you hold an EASA licence.

“You will not lose your licence if you do not convert by 8 April 2018. If you hold a JAR licence, you will not be able to exercise the privileges of your licence until it has been converted to the EASA format.

“Lifetime UK PPLs will still be valid to fly Annex II non-EASA aircraft, subject to holding the minimum level of medical required and a valid rating. However, any privileges to fly EASA aircraft will be lost.

“Holding an EASA licence will entitle you to fly EASA registered aircraft. They are also valid for life, whereas JAR licences required renewal every five years.

“We recommend that pilots submit their applications early: we cannot guarantee that we will be able to process last-minute applications in time for the deadline, which may result in the grounding of a pilot.”

More here


  1. Yet another way of screwing more money out of private pilots and continuing the needlessly complex licensing system. I have a UKPPL license for life and yet am now not allowed to fly the simple C150 trainer I learnt on while still being able to fly more demanding non EASA vintage types! where is the sense in that? What a pity we are still saddled with this curse even after we are out of the EU along with all the other costly nonsense such as the 8.33kHz debacle.

  2. I hold an NPPL and fly a warrior, after April I will flying permit aircraft or RV9 home built and faster and more fuel efficient

  3. There’s a nice Piper TriPacer at Oaksey Park with group shares available. It’s Annex II but with the benefit of professional maintenance, a lovely clubhouse and country setting. Come and join us!

  4. Am I missing something here ? The excerpt below is from the CAA website :
    ‘For example : The Cessna 172 is an EASA aircraft. The Tiger Moth is a non EASA aircraft. Both are single piston aircraft. So if you have a Part-FCL licence like a LAPL (A) or a PPL(A) that allows you to fly with a single engine piston rating you can fly both the Cessna 172 (EASA) and the Tiger Moth ‘
    I fly a PA28, privately owned, and my understanding is I can continue to fly on my LAPL. Can someone correct me if I am wrong . David Brooks

    1. You are right – the LAPL is an EASA licence. I converted, very easily, from an NPPL because my ARV is one of those rare machines on an EASA permit.

  5. Converting a UK issued PPL {A} to an FCL PPL {A} required the filling out and submission of thirteen A4 size pages of answers to a questionnaire. Also I had to submit verified & signed copies of, my PPL, Radio license, IMC rating, Night rating and Medical certificate. Why, as all of these were issued by the CAA.
    In addition I had to provide written & verified proof that I can speak English.
    To cap it all, I have had to part with £ 73 for the pleasure.

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