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EASA Regulations

Posted 14 Jul 2022

EASA Regulations

The EASA regulations cannot be disregarded by UK pilots, and understanding the additional certifications and clearances that may be needed post-Brexit.

Before Brexit took place, the rules and regulations set by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) were largely considered synonymous with those set by the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom (CAA UK). However, following Brexit, it must be understood that the CAA is no longer under the jurisdiction of EASA, and that approval by one body does not guarantee approval by the other.

Brexit has affected several industries in the UK, and aviation is one of those which has been impacted rather immensely. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the free and unchecked passage between the UK to EU member states has stopped, with regulations being put into place to monitor travel between the regions.

This is because the UK is now treated as a third country by the EU member states, and pilots flying into these countries now have to go through customs requirements before being granted entry.

While all this may sound incredibly inconvenient, it is necessary to understand that while certain rules have been put into place, the process of travelling from the UK to Europe and back is still relatively straightforward.

Due to the close proximity of the UK with the rest of the EU member states and the long-established cross-border exchange that has been occurring for quite some time now, EASA regulations still have a large impact on pilots hailing from the UK.

The EASA regulations cannot be disregarded by UK pilots, and understanding the additional certifications and clearances that may be needed post-Brexit is important to ensure smooth and safe travel within the country as well as without.



The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is the main regulatory body of the European Union that deals with aviation safety. EASA dictates the aviation rules and regulations of all member states of the EU.

The European Union is an alliance of 28 member states, with all countries being governed by a uniform set of policies. The Civil Aviation Authorities of all member states fall under EASA, and no certification can be issued without EASA approval.

EASA works to establish common safety and travel rules that can make air travel as efficient, safe, and hassle-free within Europe as possible. 



The United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority is the country’s main regulatory body when it comes to matters of aviation. All pilot licences and certifications are issued by the CAA.

Prior to Brexit, the CAA of the UK was also under the jurisdiction of EASA. However, UK’s exit from the European Union led to the CAA becoming an independent body and the sole authority on aviation in the country. The split between EASA and the CAA means that the two bodies are now completely independent of each other, and approval by one regulatory body does not automatically guarantee approval by the other.

While many of the rules and regulations established by the two bodies continue to be the same, the fact that the UK is now identified as a third country means EASA approval is not guaranteed along with a CAA approval.



 Brexit is the name given to Britain’s exit from the European Union in 2016. The decision came as the result of a massive referendum in which over 30 million citizens voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

Previously, citizens of the UK and people from other countries across Europe could freely travel across the border and settle without any customs requirements. This is no longer the case since the UK is not a part of the EU alliance anymore.



 Brexit has had a huge impact on pilot licensing in the UK. Since the CAA is no longer operating under EASA, the licences issued by the CAA no longer grant EASA privileges. While pilots could previously travel across Europe on an entry-level licence, further upgrades will now be necessary in order to make the licences valid for travel outside of UK borders and into EU territory.

 To understand how Brexit has impacted licensing and travel by pilots from the UK to the EU member states, here’s a breakdown of how each of the licences has changed since the UK’s exit from the EU.  


Private Pilot Licence (PPL)


The Private Pilot Licence (PPL) has been the licence of choice for hobbyists across the United Kingdom as well as Europe. Requiring only 45 hours of training and the ability to fly light, single-engine aircraft, it is the perfect licence for most recreational pilots.

The PPL is a licence approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which means it can be used to travel internationally as well. Before Brexit, a PPL holder could easily travel across Europe on a basic, entry-level PPL since the CAA still fell under the jurisdiction of EASA.

However, after the UK exited the EU, EASA no longer recognised the UK-issued PPL, which meant that it could only be used to fly within the borders of the United Kingdom. While the PPL can still be upgraded with additional ratings in order to fly to Europe, travel between the UK and other European countries was much easier previously.


Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

 Similar to the case with the PPL, the CPL has now also become a UK-specific licence, until it is upgraded with additional EASA-approved ratings. The fact that the CPL is a commercial licence also means that in order for a pilot to work in exchange for money in Europe, a work visa will be necessary.

Previously, a pilot could easily fly across the UK border and settle in any other EU member state. The UK pilot no longer has open access to jobs across the EU member states. The Commercial Pilot Licence is also ICAO-approved. This means that once the holder has access to EASA approval, they can easily travel across the border and work on their CPL. However, an upgrade will be necessary.


Part-FCL upgrade for PPL, CPL

 In order to be able to fly to Europe on a PPL or a CPL, the licence must be upgraded with a Part-FCL (Flight Crew Licensing) rating. This allows the licence holder to operate an EASA-approved aircraft. Without the rating, the PPL or CPL holder can only fly aircraft registered in the UK.

Part-FCL licences are also referred to as EASA licences in the UK, which means they allow the holder to fly across Europe.

This means pilots who already hold a PPL or a CPL or other ICAO-approved licences will not have to apply for new EASA licences, and can in fact simply upgrade their existing licences to Part-FCL.


Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL)

While the PPL and CPL can be upgraded to Part-FCL, the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), which is a licence opted for mainly by hobbyists looking to fly small aircraft, is no longer valid outside of the UK.

Before Brexit, a pilot could easily travel across Europe on a LAPL because of the fact that it was issued by EASA. However, the UK's exit means the LAPL is now a national licence which can only be used within the borders of the UK. The LAPL is a relatively easy to obtain licence, requiring only 12 hours of total flight time. The medical requirement for the LAPL is also very relaxed, allowing pilots who would otherwise be unable to fly on a PPL to operate small aircraft.

The aircraft flown on a LAPL must not exceed 2000 kgs of take-off mass and the aeroplane cannot carry more than three people at a time. This makes it a great option for hobbyists, however, the region that the pilot can fly is limited to within the borders of the UK. For LAPL holders who wish to fly to Europe, the option to upgrade to a Part-FCL PPL exists. 



 Much like licences, medical certificates issued by one authority will no longer be recognised by the other. For those who hold a UK-issued medical certificate such as the Class 1 or the Class 2 medical certificate, an EASA clearance is also necessary.

This means that for those who are hoping to upgrade their PPL and CPL to Part-FCL, an additional medical certificate issued by EASA is now required. Similarly, for those who have an EU licence with an EASA-issued medical clearance and wish to travel to the UK, a medical certificate issued by the UK’s CAA is necessary.



For pilots in the UK who are yet to upgrade their licences to Part-FCL, there are many reasons why this may be a good idea and beneficial to your overall aviation journey. Here is a breakdown of why you should consider the upgrade.


Broaden your travel horizons

While there is much to explore within the borders of the UK, it is true that the region is not very big. In contrast, the rest of Europe has much more to offer. From natural wonders to bustling cities, the region has much to offer pilots who wish to fly in.

There is so much to see across Europe, including top travel destinations such as Germany, France, Scotland and the Netherlands. When compared to the UK, there is so much more to explore across Europe, and if you love aviation, chances are you also love to travel!

From the Bavarian Alps to the glorious medieval castles in Scotland and Ireland, there is much breathtaking scenery to fly over as well as to explore on foot. Upgrading your existing licence in order to allow yourself the freedom to travel to these beautiful locations on a whim is something you definitely won’t regret!


Access to a greater community of pilots

There has been a history of cultural and social exchange between the United Kingdom and the countries that surround it. It is important to continue fostering this vast community. There are several aero clubs across Europe in countries such as France and Germany to which pilots can fly to from the UK.

It is a good idea to be part of an international community of aviation lovers and be part of more flying clubs abroad so that you can truly benefit from your licence and experience the joy of travelling and community building.

Apart from this, the ability to learn from an international community of aviation lovers is also bound to prove highly beneficial to any aspiring pilot. Most of the clubs across Europe cater to foreign pilots and are housed in international airports near major cities. The close proximity of the countries also means that the flight generally do not take more than two hours.

Just make sure you are aware of any language barriers before flying into a new country that does not have English as a dominant language!


More opportunities

As previously discussed, for commercial pilots who wish to build a career in aviation, there is no way to work in EU territory without a valid EASA-approved licence as well as a visa. It is a good idea to expand your search for career opportunities outside of the United Kingdom, since the diverse community outside of the country may offer many exciting employment opportunities. In comparison to the rest of Europe, the UK is small and has a limited number of jobs on offer. Expanding your network can help you land a great job in the location you love.




Sherburn Aero Club, which has been operational since 1964, is the ideal place for most of your training and flying needs. It is one of the largest flying clubs in the North of England and also one of the largest in the country.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades. If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licenses, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

Sherburn also offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month.

For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran. The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation for the long run.

Sherburn also offers pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward. You are required to take medical exams to prove you are fit enough to take to the skies when applying for a licence, and the facility at Sherburn allows you to start your aviation journey on the right foot.

Our in-house AME, Dr Mark Bellamy, is rated to perform EASA Class 2 and LAPL. He also holds a fixed-wing PPL. Appointments are available every Monday and Tuesday, as well as on occasional Saturdays.

In addition to that, if you are looking for a hangarage for your own aircraft, need servicing or repairs, want to buy a new aircraft or aviation equipment, or are just looking to enjoy and watch the aircraft, Sherburn Aero Club is the place to be.

Call us on 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on EASA regulations, upgrading your UK-issued licence, as well as medical examination facilities available at Sherburn Aero Club.

Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash 



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