GA Pilots asked to renew language requirement

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is advising private pilots to check the currency of the English language proficiency endorsement on their licences, as pilots applying for any of the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) licences must have a valid English language endorsement.
All UK pilots were automatically given an endorsement by the CAA in 2008 following a global ruling by the International Civil Aviation Organisation requiring all pilots to formally demonstrate their knowledge of English - the international language of aviation. However, this blanket Level 4 endorsement was only valid for four years, and, unless renewed, expired in March 2012.

Most commercial pilots have now been upgraded by flight test examiners to a Level 6 endorsement, which is valid for life. However, the majority of GA pilots, unless they have undertaken a flight test in the last four years, will not have been similarly upgraded. PPL and NPPL holders may therefore be unable to acquire an EASA licence until they renew their language proficiency endorsement.

Pilots can renew their endorsement - upgraded to a Level 6 (native English speaker) - through a simple ground-based assessment with any Radiotelephony Examiner, Flight Examiner, Type Rating or Class Rating Examiner. Unless a licence specifically states the holder has a Level 6 language proficiency endorsement, pilots should assume they need to obtain one.

Ray Elgy, Head of Licensing and Training Standards at the CAA, said: Obtaining a Level 6 endorsement is relatively straightforward. Any Flight Examiner can give a pilot a non-expiring Level 6 endorsement on the basis of a simple conversation on the ground. Pilots whose licences have, or are due to expire, should therefore contact their local Flight Examiner as soon as possible.

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