Microlight aircraft flight hours to count towards EASA PPL recency and revalidation

European representative body Europe Air Sports (EAS) has claimed a victory after finally convincing the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to permit hours flown in fixed-wing microlights to count towards the recency and revalidation of an EASA PPL or LAPL.

Ever since the advent of EASA (2003), the Agency has refused to recognise hours spent flying fixed-wing microlights being included in the minimum currency requirement for retention of EASA PPLs and LAPLs.

EAS says that it has been fighting this attitude for the last 17 years. Rudi Schuegraf, Senior Vice President of Europe Air Sports, explains: “It is a huge opportunity for the future development of General Aviation and our airsports community, especially nowadays in the world where global warming receives top attention.

“It is interesting or maybe somewhat boring to go back to the start of EASA in 2003 and the regulatory transition from JAA FCL to EASA FCL. At that time the microlight movement was about to become a grown-up player in airsports and GA. The aeroplanes had reached high quality and safety standards, but the authorities of the EASA Member States did not yet want to face and accept the reality of the technical progress of three axis microlight aeroplanes.

“The reality today is quite clear, EC Reg 1178 defines aeroplanes in compliance with ICAO as: ‘Aeroplane’ means an engine-driven fixed-wing aircraft heavier than air which is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its wings.

“The AMC clarifies that a pilot flying any aeroplane or sailplane listed in Annex I can credit the hours to his/her personal account for the validation of his EASA license – LAPL (A), PPL (A) and associated class ratings. This simply means that also hours flown on single engine piston aeroplanes below the mass thresholds of (e) in Annex I can be used to validate an EASA FCL based PPL A or LAPL A and its ratings.

“It took many years to convince the regulatory system that hours flown on aeroplanes that are generally called microlights require the identical skills and airmanship as traditional SEP aeroplanes. With this AMC the regulator and the Authorities of the Member States have acknowledged the contribution of the microlight movement and development to the improvement of Aviation safety.”  

The relevant EASA text states:

(a) the aircraft matches the definition and criteria of the respective Part-FCL aircraft category, class, and type ratings; and (b) the aircraft that is used for training flights with an instructor is an Annex-I aircraft of type (a), (b), (c), or (d) that is subject to an authorisation specified in points ORA.ATO.135 or DTO.GEN.240

Author: FTN Editor

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