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The pilot licensing process in Europe seems to be rather, well, complex... I've heard of JAA, JAR-FCL and now apparently EASA licenses, although EASA's website says otherwise:

the Agency is not authorised to issue pilot licences and therefore there will not be any EASA pilot licence in the future

And on top of that, individual countries can issue their own licenses (or at least ratings) that may not be valid in other countries.

So is there any such thing as a single European (EASA) pilot's license? What I mean by that is a single license that allows a pilot to operate any European registered aircraft in any European country, e.g a UK pilot flying an F-registered (French) aircraft in Germany?

There's some overlap with this question, but the answers there don't cover the practical use of a single pilot's license throughout Europe in the way I described.

EDIT: to clarify some comments, by "Europe" I mean EASA member states (let's keep it simple); and I'm asking about pilot licensing in general regardless of the type of flying. If there's any difference in where private/commercial/ATP license holders are allowed to operate in Europe that would be interesting to know.

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  • $\begingroup$ By Europe I guess you mean EASA member states, not EU member states and not states or provinces geographically self identifying as European (e.g Kalingrad). $\endgroup$ – RedGrittyBrick Nov 12 '14 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @RedGrittyBrick Yes, exactly $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Nov 12 '14 at 16:54
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Is there ... a single license that allows a pilot to operate any European registered aircraft in any European country,

Yes.

According to the UK CAA an EASA Part-FCL licence can be used to fly any EASA aircraft in any EASA member country.

I have interpreted your "Europe" as "EASA member" in order to avoid ambiguity about Switzerland, Croatia, Kalingrad, etc.

Most aircraft in Europe are EASA regardless of state of manufacture or registration.


The UK currently grants several levels of licence:

  • UK National Private Pilot Licence (NPPL)
  • UK Private Pilot Licence (PPL)
  • EASA Part-FCL Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL)
  • EASA Part-FCL Private Pilot Licence (PPL)
  • EASA Part-FCL Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)
  • EASA Part-FCL Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL)
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  • $\begingroup$ hmm, AFAIK each country issues its own licenses, but they're recognised by all signatories. Effectively the same, but not quite a single license :) $\endgroup$ – jwenting Nov 13 '14 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting: That's true, I interpreted the "single licence" as being like the UK's single currency - where many banks can print and issue banknotes. There are many issuers of the EASA Part-FCL licences - but they all issue EASA Part-FCL licences and the paper document has a common format regardless of who issued it. $\endgroup$ – RedGrittyBrick Nov 13 '14 at 10:07
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The light aircraft pilot's license (LAPL) allows leisure pilots to fly small aircraft in EU member states and is approved by the EASA. It is currently being implemented in member states, and will progressively replace national licenses. In fact, national licenses will cease to exist in the near future, in Europe.

This license allows its holder to act without remuneration as pilot in command in non-commercial operations on single engine piston aeroplanes-land or TMG with a maximum certificated take-off mass of 2000 kg or less, carrying a maximum of 3 passengers

There also is are variants of this license for helicopter pilots, ballons and for sailplanes (LAPL(H), LAPL(B) and LAPL(S)).

However, this is still a new regulation, involving several different national authorities, and is not yet fully in place. So if you are thinking of getting a pilot's license, you can choose to get the LAPL rather than your national private pilot's license. However, the deadlines for issuing national licenses and for converting licenses to the European standard keep being pushed back.

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  • $\begingroup$ LAPL is a severely limited license and I don't think the original question was about that. $\endgroup$ – Philippe Leybaert Nov 12 '14 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilippeLeybaert I understand the question to be "Is there any such thing as a single European (EASA) pilot's license?". Yes there is: the LAPL, even though it still is a work in progress. $\endgroup$ – usernumber Nov 12 '14 at 18:07

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