CAA and EASA training

Basic and Advanced

What are CAA and EASA?

CAA stands for Civil Aviation Authority, the body responsible for controlling aviation within the UK. It is the organisation that will issue licences and ratings to private (and professional) pilots who have been trained at establishments registered, or approved by them.

EASA stands for European Safety Agency. Over 30 member countries have harmonised on the requirements for licence issue. The CAA was one of the first EASA (previously JAA) members, and for our purposes, will be the "state of licence issue".

A licence that is issued by one member state is now automatically recognised by all the other member states, without further formality.

This is a major step forward, compared to the situation of a few years ago, when each country had its own unique set of rules, and would not necessarily allow pilots from other countries to fly aircraft that were registered in their country, without a great deal of frustrating beaurocracy.

Licence types - according to the agreed rules, there are now four types of pilot licence - Private (PPL, and LAPL), Commercial, and Airline Transport.

Ratings. A licence requires at least one class rating, for it to be valid. This will normally be the SEPL, initially. Other ratings may be added afterwards, to fly different classes of aircraft, or to fly in instrument conditions, or to instruct.

The seven class ratings are as follows

Class Rating Valid for Revalidated by
Single Engine Piston Land
Two years - 12 hours flight time (last 12 months of valid period) and 1 hour flight with instructor, or - flight test, with examiner, in the last 3 months of the valid period or - passing a test with an examiner, for a different rating (e.g. MEPL, IMC)
Single Engine Piston Sea
Two years As SEPL, except takeoffs and landings must be on water
Single Engine Turbine Land
One year Examiner
Single Engine Turbine Sea
One year Examiner
Multi Engine Piston Land
One year Examiner
Multi Engine Piston Sea
One year Examiner
Touring Motor Glider
Two years As for SEPL

Getting a Private Pilot's Licence

This licence allows the pilot to fly almost any single engine piston aircraft, with passengers. Initially, this is restricted to daytime only, and in reasonable weather conditions (flying in cloud is not allowed).

The requirements to obtain a CAA/EASA PPL:

  • Be aged 17 or over. However, training may start earlier than this, and a student would be allowed to fly solo, at the age of 16
  • Understand English. The courses are all conducted in English. Although the licence will be issued by the UK CAA, there is no requirement to be a UK citizen
  • A medical certificate. This must be obtained before starting training here this may be obtained from a CAA authorised medical examiner (AME), generally in the UK. A medical certificate can be obtained from other states, but in this case it is essential to transfer this to the UK CAA. For a list of CAA AMEs, see the CAA website
  • Technical knowledge, required to become a pilot, and to pass the corresponding written examinations. This knowledge may be obtained by
    • Self-study, using suitable books on the subjects, such as the series by Trevor Thom (The Air Pilots Manual)
    • Self study, using a computer based training package such as, which we recommend because of its efficient multi-media presentation, that many people find much easier than multiple volumes of books
    • Formal classes, that we may be able to provide, subject to sufficient demand
  • Flight training to the approved syllabus. This consists of a minimum of 45 hours flying time. (This is not always enough, especially if the training is conducted over long periods of several months)
  • Pass all the written examinations. These examinations are conducted on site, and the results are available immediately
  • Pass the Practical Test for the Radio Telephony Licence. This is also conducted here
  • Pass the Skill Test. Again, conducted by an examiner at Jerez

Night Rating

  • This allows the pilot to fly at night (providing this is allowed, by the laws of the country in which the flight takes place. For instance, in Spain, all night flight is IFR, and requires an instrument rating)
  • The course consists of 5 hours of training at night, during which the students will be trained for normal and emergency operation, cross-country navigation, and circuits
  • The student will need to complete a minimum of 5 solo takeoffs and landings at night
  • No examination is required

IMC (Now IR(R))Rating

This is valid only for flight in the UK

  • Allows the pilot to fly in weather conditions of reduced visibility, and in cloud, generally outside of controlled airspace, in the UK
  • Ground training
  • Instrument flight training minimum of 15 hours
  • Written examination (one test only)
  • Flight test, with an examiner
  • Renewable every 25 months, by test

Multi-engine rating

The Multi-Engine Piston (Land) Class Rating (by prior arrangement)

  • This allows a pilot to fly most twin-engine piston aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 5.7 tonnes (12,500 lbs)
  • The advantages of a twin aircraft are typically higher speeds, higher cruising altitudes, more passenger capability, greater range, and increased safety, in the event of an engine failure
  • Student must have at least 70 hours prior flying experience as Pilot In Command (on SE aircraft)
  • Ground training 7 hours
  • Flight training minimum of 6 hours, of which 3.5 are asymmetric training
  • Written test, covering general multi-engine knowledge, and specific aircraft type knowledge
  • Flight test
  • For syllabus, click here

Differences training

We teach you the theory, then the practical aspects of flying aircraft with a constant-speed propeller, retractable undercarriage, or tailwheels.

BM Aviation