Commission Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011 requires in Part-MED, Section 2 ("Requirements for medical certificates"):
"MED.A.030 Medical certificates
(a) A student pilot shall not fly solo unless that student pilot holds a medical certificate, as required for the relevant licence.
(b) Applicants for and holders of a light aircraft pilot licence (LAPL) shall hold at least an LAPL medical certificate.
(c) Applicants for and holders of a private pilot licence (PPL), a sailplane pilot licence (SPL), or a balloon pilot licence (BPL) shall hold at least a Class 2 medical certificate.
(d) Applicants for and holders of an SPL or a BPL involved in commercial sailplane or balloon flights shall hold at least a Class 2 medical certificate.
(h) A licence holder shall not at any time hold more than one medical certificate issued in accordance with this Part."
Though, it has to be taken into consideration that most BGA training in the UK currently is formally NOT (directly) towards an EASA Part-FCL license (SPL or LAPL(S)). The grant of such a license does not fall under the (immediate) purposes of BGA gliding training - and in the UK, hence, BGA gliding student pilots are not considered as applicants to an EASA Part-FCL license. Nonetheless, upon conversion to an EASA Part-FCL license, MED.A.030 does apply to the license holder indeed - and a valid and relevant EASA Part-MED medical is then also required to be held.
The LAPL Medical is required for a Light Aircraft Pilot License - such as a LAPL(A) for aeroplanes, a LAPL(H) for helicopters, a LAPL(B) for balloons or a LAPL(S) for sailplanes.
It can be issued by the GP. As a guideline for its cost, it can be issued for £60 (e.g. at Lensfield Medical Practice).[todo 1]
Its validity period is 60 months until the license holder reaches the age of 40 - or 24 months if the license holder has already reached the age of 40.
This Medical has sub-ICAO standards; but the idea of the LAPL Medical is - without compromise to EASA aviation saftey standards - to foster General Aviation by also allowing people to fly accross the European Union (and the EEA) who would otherwise not be able to meet ICAO medical standards.
Class 2 Medical
The Class 2 Medical is required for the PPL, BPL and SPL licenses - which are issued to ICAO standards.
It has to be issued by an approved Aeromedical Examiner. Its cost depends on the pilot's medical history but it can be estimated to at least / around £150.[todo 3]
Its validity period is 60 months until the license holder reaches the age of 40 - 24 months if the license holder is between 40 and 50; and 12 months if they have reached the age of 50.
The Class 2 Medical is normally required for private flying. But also for commercial operations specifically on balloons (BPL) and sailplanes (SPL) - subject to the license privileges - a Class 2 Medical is sufficient (and a Class 1 Medical is not required).
Class 1 Medical
The Class 1 Medical is required for the CPL, MPL, ATPL licenses - which are issued to ICAO standards.
It usually has to be issued by an approved Aeromedical Centre. Its cost depends on the pilot's medical history but the cost of the initial issue can be estimated to at least / around £275.[todo 3]
Its validity period is generally 12 months - and only 6 months once the license holder reaches the age of 60 (or the age of 40, if they are involved in commercial passenger transportation).
This medical is usually irrelevant to glider pilots who do not also fly other aircraft categories commercially.
The particular national circumstances also have to be taken into consideration:
On the one hand, Part-MED - insofar applicable - only stipulates the minimum medical requirements within the EEA. Member States principally might impose even more confined restrictions, though. For example, in Germany, LuftPersV § 16 paragraph (2) no 2 makes it necessary to hold the Part-MED Medical even at the beginning of the flight training (also for sailplanes/gliders) - even though MED.A.030 (a) only makes holding the relevant medical a requirement for the first solo flight. So, all flights within Germany - before such a medical is held - can only be passenger flights. Consequently, to not be caught off guard, the relevant national requirements should be reviewed before flight training in another country is planned and conducted.
Due to UK CAA General Exemption E 4825, on the other hand, up until April 2020 no Part-FCL license needs to be held to fly sailplanes. Respectively, no training towards a Part-FCL for flying gliders is necessary - which renders Part-MED not applicable for all BGA training whose (immediate, direct) purpose is not the grant of a Part-FCL license.[todo 4] Though, nonetheless, for flying within BGA clubs, obviously BGA requirements needs to be adhered to, too.
BGA Medical Requirements in the UK
Generally, for BGA dual instruction flights, there are no specific medical certificates the glider pilot student is required to hold. Often club membership application forms ask to make a declaration on the medical conditions, though.
Then, for the first (and subsequent) solo flights - as well as for mutual flights, i.e. flights together with another qualified pilot, the BGA accepts the following documents to show the necessary medical fitness (as of March 2019):
- EASA Part-MED Medical of LAPL standard (not ICAO-compliant)
- EASA Part-MED Medical of Class 2 or Class 1 standard (ICAO-compliant)
- third country ICAO-compliant medical certificate (subject to general recognition by UK CAA)
as well as (as of March 2019):
- driving licence issued by an EU nation (or UK crown-dependencies)
- valid BGA Medical Declaration to DVLA Group 2 standard endorsed by GP
- valid NPPL Medical endorsed by GP (restricted / unrestricted)
- UK CAA Pilot Medical Declaration
- if under the age of 25: self-declaration to DVLA Group 1 standard - held by the club
- if temporarily resident in the UK only: non-EU medical certificate (not ICAO-compliant)
- (Air Cadet gliding medical certificate or NATO military aircrew employment standard)
Currently, the bold options are the most commonly used evidences accepted for medical gliding fitness within BGA clubs. Below the age of 25, self-declarations simply suffice. From the age of 25, people usually hold UK/EU driving licenses. Otherwise, the least complicated option is probably to visit and ask their GP for the NPPL Medical / Medical Declaration.
Qualified pilots who exercise their Part-FCL licence privileges necessarily have to hold the relevant and valid EASA Part-MED Medical for the privileges in question.
Things to do
- Are there possibly cheaper LAPL Medicals with other GPs?
- Requirements, Medical Examination
- Any experience?
- National Regulations? probably not for gliders in the UK... have to look into ANO.