Conversion from UK licences(s) PPL(BA) / CPL(B) to the UK (formerly EASA) BPL
During the period 8th April 2020 to 8th April 2021, holders of the UK national licences had a ‘transition year’ to ‘convert’ their licence(s) to the BPL. Due to coronavirus, this period was extended to 8th December 2021. CAA exemption ORS4 1475 is the legal reference for the extension.
Please note that during the extension period (i.e. after 8th April 2021), the PPL(BA) & CPL(B) continue to be valid inside UK, but are only valid outside UK with the permission of the country concerned.
‘Convert’ is a poor term, since the UK licence(s) remains valid when the BPL is issued, for use within UK for on Annex 1 (non-Part 21) balloons. If your PPL(BA) or CPL(B) are not already in the modern format (A4 page to be folded to A7 and licence number beginning ‘GBR’) you may request (and pay) to have your UK licence(s) reissued at the same time your BPL is processed.
The BBAC has issued detailed briefings on the conversion process for pilots and instructors and guidance for students. These are available on this page. There is also a youtube video of the BBAC briefing sessions for pilots (delivered by Zoom during February 2021) which complements the briefing documents.
The application form for the BPL by conversion from the UK national licence(s) can be downloaded from www.caa.co.uk/SRG1104B
The BBAC has provided a crib sheet to assist with completing form SRG1104B.
The BBAC is asking instructors and examiners to apply for their BPL as soon as they can, so that they can train students in the Part BFCL system.
For other pilots, there is no rush to apply and pilots can convert at a time of their choosing during 2021. However, the BBAC advises pilots to prepare (e.g. establish recency on base licence and any other privileges that require it) early in the 2021 flying season and to make their application before mid-2021. Anyone planning to fly outside the UK will either need to get a permission to use their PPL(BA) / CPL(B) from the country concerned, or will need to have their BPL in hand.
Please note that it may be possible to convert to the BPL even if you are out of currency on the PPL(BA), since the BPL uses a 24 months rolling period as opposed to the 13 months used by the PPL(BA). Please refer to the briefings provided.
There will be a risk of being grounded in December 2021 for those who apply towards the end of the ‘transition’, due to limited bandwidth at the CAA. Please bear in mind there are many thousands of glider pilots also working on a parallel process with the same deadline.
The fees applicable until 08/12/2021 are as follows:
Fee to issue a BPL on basis of conversion of National Licence: £77
Fee to re-issue a UK PPL(BA) or a UK CPL(B) for life: £38 (per licence)
Courier charge (optional instead of second class post): £15