Balloon Pilot Licenses (BPL)

    1. What is a balloon?

    The aircraft is lighter than air, manned, generally non-motorised and which is held in flight by using either a lighter gas than air or an on-board heater. According to the above there are the following classes of balloon:

    • Hot air balloons:
      • Group A: sail capacity up to 3 400 m³.
      • Group B: sail capacity between 3 401 m³ and 6 000 m³.
      • Group C: sail capacity between 6 001 m³ and 10 500 m³.
      • Group D: sail capacity exceeding 10 500 m³.
    • Gas balloons.
    • Mixed balloons.
    • Hot air airships (motorised).

    2. How can I be a balloon pilot?

    In order to be able to act as a balloon pilot, it is necessary to obtain the balloon pilot licence (BPL) provided for in Annex III (Part-BFCL) to Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/395 of 13 March.

    In order to obtain a balloon pilot licence, the applicant must be at least 16 years old and take a theoretical-practical course at an approved training organisation (ATO) or in a declared training organisation (DTO).

    In addition, certain psychophysical conditions must be met which are attested by obtaining an aeronautical medical certificate class LAPL or a class 2 medical certificate where one of the following activities is carried out:

    • Commercial balloon flights for passengers.
    • A commercial operation other than commercial balloon passenger transport, with more than four persons on board the aircraft.

    After taking the course at an ATO or DTO the applicant(s) must pass a theoretical test test conducted by AESA as well as a practical examination consisting of a flight test with a flight examiner.

    3. What are the privileges of the holder of a balloon pilot licence (BPL)?

    In accordance with requirement BFCL.115, the holder of a BPL has privileges to exercise as pilot-in-command on balloons:

    • without remuneration in non-commercial operations;
    • in commercial transactions if you are at least 18 years of age and have a trade clearance in accordance with point BFCL.215.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, the holder of a BPL may receive remuneration, without having the above rating, if he/she has powers as an instructor or examiner and performs any of the following activities:

    • the provision of flight instruction for obtaining a BPL;
    • conducting skill tests and proficiency verification for the GLP;
    • training, testing and verification of privileges, ratings or certificates associated with a GLP.

    4. Application for the issue or modification of the balloon pilot licence

    Both to apply for your license, after passing the theoretical and practical examinations, and to update the content of it, you must complete and submit the application format, and the documentation indicated therein, in accordance with Article 16 of Law 39/2015 of 1 October 2015 on the Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations, namely:

    5. Certificates of instructor (FI(B)) and flight examiner (FE(B)) in balloon

    Annex III (Part-BFCL) to Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/395 of 13 March sets out the requirements for the licensing of balloon flight crew and sets out the requirements for obtaining flight instructor certificates (BFCL.300) which allows for the provision of balloon flight training and balloon flight examiner for skill testing, proficiency checks and proficiency assessments (BFCL.400).

    You can consult the information regarding obtaining the balloon flight instructor certificate by clicking here.

    For information regarding obtaining the balloon flight examiner certificate click here.

    6. Information of interest

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