After years of lobbying by the aviation community, EASA in 2020 made a concession to allow Ultralight (and Sailplane) to be used towards PPL SEP (and LAPL license) renewals. This is great news for pilots who predominantly fly ultralights.
As European pilots know, PPL SEP class renewal needs to be done every 2 years and requires 11 hours of logged flight time on SEP aircraft and 1 hour with an instructor or a checkride with an examiner. With this new regulation those 11 hours can be done flying ultralights but the last hour needs to be done in a SEP aircraft.
The new Regulation
The change came in as an AMC (Acceptable Means of Compliance) and can be found now in the EASA Basic Regulation (EU) 2018/1139. Below is the exact text.
AMC1 FCL.140.A; FCL.140.S; FCL.740.A(b)(1)(ii) Recency and revalidation requirements All hours flown on aeroplanes or sailplanes that are subject to a decision as per Article 2(8) of the Basic Regulation or that are specified in Annex I to the Basic Regulation should count in full towards fulfilling the hourly requirements of points FCL.140.A, FCL.140.S, and FCL.740.A(b)(1)(ii) under the following conditions: (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
Putting the text into layman terms
We here at EASA tell you (in our regulation AMC1 FCL.140.A; FCL.140.S; FCL.740.A(b)(1)(ii)) that you need to revalidate your license every 2 years and in that same regulation give you instructions how to do it.
We are now providing another way for you to do it. You can count hours in aeroplanes and sailplanes that are Annex 1 aircraft and under your countries National rules ((a)Historic aircraft, (b)Experimental Aircraft, (c) 51% kit built aircraft, (d) Military aircraft, (e) Ultralights under the old 450 kg limitations) or Ultralights up to 600 kg with our new rule Article 2(8) if your country has agreed to allow it.
In order for us to let you use the Annex 1 aircraft for revalidating your license:
- Your minimum revalidation hours (11 hours for PPL SEP) must be on one of the following Annex 1 aircraft ((a)Historic aircraft, (b)Experimental Aircraft, (c) 51% kit built aircraft, (d) Military aircraft, (e) Ultralights under the old 450 kg limitations) or Ultralights up to 600 kg with our new rule Article 2(8) if your country has agreed to allow it.
- You have to do an hour with a Qualified Instructor (governed by this regulation ORA.ATO.135 or DTO.GEN.240) in a standard SEP aircraft as in the normal revalidation rules or with an aircraft that is category (a), (b), (c), or (d) but NOT an ultralight which is category (e).
One step Closer to Sensible rules
We are now one step closer to to having a regulatory framework that recognises European Ultralights as proper aircraft that a pilot can use to develop their skills and experience. Our counterparts in the USA have already enjoyed these rules for the last 16 years.