To fly legally in Bulgaria, a glider pilot must hold a valid SPL – Sailplane Pilot License / GPL – Glider Pilot License – approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Pilot licensing is done after a completion of a licensing course in gliding based on an approved program. Courses take about 1-2 weeks to finish and involve acquiring about 10 h of flight time and 25-50 flights.
As a part of the European Union – Bulgaria must comply with the EASA regulations. Licensing complies wit the SPL training programs. Currently in Bulgaria there are 2 Declared Training Organisations (DTO) approved by the Bulgarian CAA. Theoretical courses are done in either one but practical training and full licensing is available only at Aeroclub Ludogorie . Since there are no certified examiners in gliding in Bulgaria, training is done mainly by foreign instructors from central Europe. Training in a DTO is in compliance with EASA SPL standards and programs.
Most licensed pilots in Bulgaria at the moment have finished their training in other countries such as Austria, UK, France, Poland, Australia etc. Since September 2019 glider pilot licensing according to EASA standards in Bulgaria has been renewed
Training in most European countries follows an intensive course program. A gliding course in the United Kingdom costs about 800 euro for winching style takeoffs. Prices vary in different countries – from about 600 euro in France to 2000 euro in Austria etc.
Training in different countries follows different programs which are EASA/ICAO compliant and approved. The International Aeronautic Federation (FAI) issues an internationally approved sporting license. The sporting certifies 3 levels according to the pilots experience level. The pilot earns additional badges certifying higher sporting performance.
The sporting license levels are as follows:
- А certificate – allows the holder to conduct solo flights within the area of the home airfield. The certificate requires a basic course and 5 solo flights.
- B certificate – allows the holder to conduct solo flights within the area of the home airfield. To conduct mutual flights with pilots holding the same or lower certificate. The certificate requires 2 flights with a duration over 1 hour and 20 solo flights.
- С certificate – allows the holder to preform cross country flights and to conduct non-commercial joy flights with passengers. The certificate requires 25 solo flights. 3 flight with a duration of at least 1.5 hours and passed outlanding training
- Silver C – for a cross-country flight of at least 50 km straight distance. Flight of 5 hour duration and height gain of 1000 meters.
- Gold С – for a cross-country flight of at least 300 km optimized distance. Flight of 5 hour duration and height gain of 3000 meters.
- Diamond С – for a cross-country flight of 500 km optimized distance. Cross-country flight of 300 km goal task and height gain of 5000 m.