Glider pilot license

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A glider pilot license SPL is a license that entitles you to operate a glider independently. In Europe, the standards for this have been standardized by the European Union .

Situation in Germany

The basis in the Federal Republic of Germany is Regulation (EU) No. 1178/2011 of November 3, 2011 on the establishment of technical regulations and administrative procedures with regard to flight personnel in civil aviation in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 216/2008 of the European Parliament and the Council.

Previous regulations

Until 2003, the general "flight license for private aircraft pilots" was called ( private pilot license , PPL). Supplementary sheets were required for special categories of aircraft : PPL-C for gliders, PPL-B for motorized gliders and motor gliders and PPL-A for powered aircraft . You could do the respective training for this and purchase the supplementary sheets separately. After 2003, the JAR-FCL ( Joint Aviation Requirements - Flight Crew Licensing ) changed the licensing regulations for private pilots and thus also for glider pilots. The rules for gliding continued to be strictly national. The glider license was renamed GPL ( Glider Pilot License ), and there was a new regulation that you must have made at least 25 take-offs and landings in the last 24 months in order to exercise the rights of the license.

Current regulation

The new regulations according to EASA-FCL have been in effect since April 8, 2012 , old licenses had to be converted by April 8, 2015 and have not been valid since then. With the new regulation, the glider license was split into two licenses, the ICAO-compliant SPL (Sailplane Pilot License) and the non-ICAO-compliant LAPL (S) (Light Aircraft Pilot License). Both licenses are valid indefinitely and have the same requirements for acquisition, but differ in the examination intervals for the medical certificate and in the Europe-wide / worldwide validity.


The ICAO-compliant SPL is valid worldwide and does not expire. In order to be able to exercise the rights of the license, however, five hours and 15 take-offs and landings (at least 5 in each registered take-off type) as well as two training flights with FI must be carried out in the last 24 months. The medical examination interval is 60 months up to an age of 40 years, 24 months up to 50 years and 12 months over 50 years. License holders of the SPL are allowed to offer commercial flights and train to become flight instructors. The entry of further start types and a TMG class authorization is possible.


The non-ICAO-compliant LAPL (S) is valid throughout Europe and does not expire. In order to be able to exercise the rights of the license, the same requirements apply as for the SPL: Five hours of flight time, 15 take-offs and landings (at least 5 in each type of take-off entered) and two training flights with FI in the last 24 months. The examination interval of the medical certificate is 60 months up to the age of 39 years and 24 months from 40 years. Commercial flights and further training to become a flight instructor are not permitted. Other start types and the TMG class authorization can be entered in the license.

SPL (front)

Course of training

In order to obtain the glider license, the pilot's doctor must certify that one is fit to fly before the first solo flight . During the initial examination, the flight doctor can also request an ophthalmological and an ENT examination. At least 15 hours of flight are required by law to acquire a glider license, of which at least 10 are with and 2 without a flight instructor. In commercial flight schools, the training can be completed more quickly than in clubs. In the numerous aviation clubs, the training takes longer, since flights are usually only flown on weekends, but it is significantly cheaper with volunteer flight instructors. Depending on the weather, talent and your own time budget, you can expect a training period of one to three years.

There is no longer a minimum age, but most clubs require a minimum age of 13 to 14 years. In order to be allowed to fly alone, the student must be at least 14 years old and must be checked by a second instructor. If this agrees, the student may fly alone under the supervision of a flight instructor in the area of ​​the airfield.

There are different sections in the training of the German Aero Club : A, B, C and the preparation for cross-country flights.

Section A (Beginner Training)

The student learns how the aircraft behaves when the rudder is deflected, what to do to maintain direction and speed, and how to make turns. Once he has mastered the basics, he continues with take-off and landing. At the same time there is theoretical training. At the end of this section there is the first solo flight. In order to be allowed to fly alone, the student must be checked by a second flight instructor. If this agrees, the student must perform three traffic laps in a solo flight and the student may fly alone in the further training with a flight assignment and under the supervision of a flight instructor in the area of ​​the airfield.

Section B.

Here the student builds his skills in solo flights and in flights with a flight instructor. The turns are flown steeper and faster. Here the student learns how to recognize and use thermals. At the end of this section there is another small test in which the trainee pilot has to show the skills he has learned in three flights. Currently, the B test requires 3 traffic loops in solo flight, circular flight with a 30 to 45 degree bank angle, curve change, high-speed flight and a landing in the target area 50 m × 200 m.

Section C.

This section is particularly about thermal flying . The student must manage a 30-minute thermal flight alone. He also learns the side glide . Another goal is to retrain to a single-seat aircraft, which, however, usually already happens in section B. At the end of the section there are again three traffic loops, this time with a curve change and landing approach in a side glide ( slip ).

Preparation for cross-country flights

Now the student and the flight instructor are planning to fly away from the airfield for the first time. At least two overland briefings and one foreign land exercise with a teacher must be carried out. After passing the theoretical test for the SPL and completing this section, the trainee pilot may perform flights outside the instructor's sight with a written flight assignment. The aim is to carry out an overland flight of at least 50 km in a solo flight. The 50 km flight can also be replaced by a 100 km cross-country flight with a flight instructor.

Theory test

The theory test in the subjects of meteorology , aviation law , human performance, communication, navigation , operational procedures, basics of flight, flight planning and flight performance and general aviation knowledge is taken by the State Aviation Authority. An 18-month period must be observed for the entire theory test (FCL.025 b), Paragraphs 2, 3 and FCL.025 c), Paragraphs 1i and iii of EU Regulation No. 1178/2011). The examination of the abilities in the aeronautical radio service is provided by law, but is not accepted by all aviation authorities. The examination is considered passed if each subject has been passed with at least 75%. It is not possible to balance the subjects. The nine subjects are examined separately and can be repeated individually if they are not passed. In this case, you don't have to repeat the entire theory test. After passing the theory test, you now have 24 months to take the practical test.

Practical exam

If the theoretical (theory test) and the practical parts of the training have been successfully completed, you can apply for an examiner to be assigned to take the practical test. In three traffic laps, the license applicant must perform flight maneuvers with the examiner such as B. high-speed flight, change of turns, high-level travel curve, taxiing exercise and side gliding flight. The test program is left to the examiner.

Radiotelephony certificate

A radiotelephony certificate is required to practice radio communications. If you do not have a radiotelephony certificate, the relevant skills must be demonstrated in the theoretical test for a glider license. In this case, however, you are not allowed to fly class C and D airspaces . There are two different certificates. To acquire a (sailing) flight license, one of the two is sufficient:

BZF II - restricted aeronautical radio certificate for the implementation of aeronautical radio in German. It is Z. B. required for flights in Germany.

BZF I - Limited aeronautical radio certificate for the implementation of aeronautical radio in English and German. It is Z. B. required for international flights.

Situation in Austria

In Austria, the glider pilot's license is also known as GPL. At the beginning of the training, a student pilot card must be requested from the Austrian Aero Club . After having completed between 50 and 100 starts with a flight instructor, 30 solo flights follow, of which the last three can already be the practical test flights (the number of flights up to the first solo depends on the student and is determined by the flight instructors according to their assessment Are defined).

In total, gliding flights of at least 6 hours and of which at least 3 hours and 30 starts must be completed on board alone (within the last 24 months). For the glider pilot's license, the theoretical test (theory lessons in the subjects of meteorology, general aircraft science, navigation, aerodynamics, human performance, flight planning and flight operations procedures, aviation law), a hazard briefing and, depending on the area, also a slope or wall briefing are missing. The training ends with the basic license, which entitles you to fly single or two-seater gliders, but not to take passengers with you. The extended basic authorization (flying with passengers) can be obtained by gliding 20 hours and 20 landings with two or more seated gliders under the supervision of a glider instructor (within the last 24 months).

The basic authorization includes authorization for the type of start with which the training was completed. These can be auxiliary or self- engine start , winch or vehicle start , motorized aircraft tow , rubber rope or roll start . These authorizations for take-off types can be obtained retrospectively through 10 landings under the supervision of a gliding instructor alone on board (within the last 24 months), theory lessons and additional tests for the respective take-off type.

Situation in Switzerland

In Switzerland the glider license is officially called the “glider pilot's license” . This is obtained after a theoretical and practical test. A prerequisite is practical training of at least 15 flight hours, of which at least 5 flight hours and 20 landings must be proven on board alone. In addition, the trainee pilot has to use a control sheet to prove that he has received the prescribed practical training from an authorized glider instructor, i.e. that he has carried out certain prescribed exercises. These exercises are not set out in the law, but are contained in an instruction from the FOCA. These exercises include an overland flight with a flight instructor and a solo flight of at least 2 hours.

The prerequisite for admission to the test is the passing of an initial class 2 medical examination in accordance with JAR-FCL 2. Since 1980, no periodic follow-up examinations are required after the initial examination.

The glider pilot's license allows you to fly with gliders alone on board. Switzerland knows the following extensions to the glider pilot's license:

  • Extension for flights with passengers; Prerequisite: 30 flight hours as PIC and practical test
  • Extension for instrument flight (cloud flight); Prerequisite: 50 flight hours as a PIC, 6 hours of practical training as well as theoretical and practical tests
  • Extension for simple aerobatics (only positive maneuvers, no rolls); Prerequisite: practical test consisting of two test flights
  • Extension for higher aerobatics; Prerequisite: extension for simple aerobatics, training by an authorized flight instructor, no examination
  • Extension for touring motor gliders; Prerequisite: Theoretical engine flight test as well as practical training consisting of at least 5 hours of flight and 20 landings as well as prescribed exercises, including landings in unfamiliar places, an overland flight of at least 270 km alone on board and an introduction to alpine conditions.

The authorization for the different take-off types (aircraft towing, winch towing and self-launch) are not extensions, but the corresponding training is confirmed by a flight instructor in the flight log.

Training to become a flight instructor is also possible.

Individual evidence

  1. What will happen to the national licenses? , German Aero Club eV
  2. a b
  3. ^ German Aero Club eV: German Aero Club eV: DAeC Home. In: Retrieved November 13, 2016 .
  4. Examination regulations for conducting the theoretical examination at the Federal Aviation Office
  5. Archived copy ( Memento from October 1, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  6. a b Chapter 1 - Aviation Law ( Memento from October 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 87 kB) in the Aeroclub's catalog of questions on Austrian aviation law

Web links