EASA Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL)

Fly EPT Spain can assist with LAPL to PPL(A) licence conversions

Here, we examine the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), highlight the differences versus the PPL, and set out what is required to complete the conversion process LAPL to PPL

Why are there two (2) private pilot licences?

The EASA LAPL was introduced to offer aspiring aviators the chance to gain a pilot licence with a shorter flight training syllabus and a less stringent medical examination than the PPL

The LAPL is suited for pilots who do NOT aspire to fly commercially, and wish only to consider flying as a hobby.

LAPL v PPL – What is the difference between the LAPL and PPL

The Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) and the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) are very similar, but are distinctly different with its own unique set of privileges and limitations.

The LAPL is the most basic pilot licence, and is available for aircraft categories:

  • Aeroplanes
  • Helicopters
  • Sailplanes (gliders)
  • Balloons

The LAPL is a bit more restrictive than the PPL. The Private Pilot Licence being the more comprehensive licence.

Both the LAPL and PPL licenses allow the pilot to fly for non-commercial purposes only i.e. the general aviation pilot can accept funds from passengers (up to 3 for a LAPL, and 5 for a PPL) on a cost sharing basis only, providing the money is only used to reduce the cost of flying (e.g. aircraft rental, fuel, landing fees etc.) and there is no profit involved. 

The LAPL holder can fly a light aircraft no greater than 2000 kg MTOW (Maximum Take-off Weight). As opposed to a PPL which allows you to fly any aircraft no greater than 5700 kg MTOM.

LAPL holders can only fly passengers after flying another 10 further hours after LAPL issue, up to a maximum of 3 passengers, such that there are never more than 4 persons on board (including the LAPL pilot). With a PPL, you can fly with a maximum of 19 passengers.

With the PPL, as well as the sailplane pilot licence (SPL) and the balloon pilot licence (BPL), you can exercise your pilot privileges outside the EU i.e. worldwide. However, the LAPL can only be used within Europe (EU/EASA) and the UK because it is not covered by the ICAO framework of pilot licenses.

Like the PPL, the LAPL allows you to fly during the hours of daylight only, although a Night Rating can be endorsed onto both licences.

The LAPL does NOT allow you to fly in low visibility conditions i.e. in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). With the LAPL, you can only fly in good weather conditions i.e. in visual flight rules (VFR). The privileges of an Instrument Rating (IR) can NOT be added to a LAPL, so the LAPL is always restricted to flying only in Visual Meteorological Weather (VMC) conditions.

The LAPL training course is shorter than the PPL. To get the PPL you need to complete 100 hours of theory and 45 hours of flight instruction. With the LAPL, while you still need to complete the same amount of theoretical study (i.e. 100 hours), pass the same nine (9) examinations as the more advanced PPL, and pass the same short radiotelephony course. The LAPL, however, has a shorter flight training course, with a minimum of 30 hours flying training consisting of 15 hours dual and 6 hours of supervised solo, with a cross-country flight of at least 80 NM during which the student lands at one (1) other airfield. Therefore, if you already have a LAPL and are converting to PPL, you will receive full credit for the theory, and benefit from reduced flight instruction requirements.

Unlike the PPL, the Part-FCL LAPL only requires a Part-Med LAPL Medical Certificate (issued in accordance with Annex IV (Part-MED) to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011) which can be obtained following either a medical assessment conducted by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), but, unlike for the PPL, can also be issued by your local General Practitioner (GP) Doctor. Pilot Medical Declarations (PMD) are NOT, however, valid outside European/UK airspace, because it is not an internationally recognised medical standard, unless permission has been granted by the State of the airspace you are flying in.

As a PPL holder, it is actually possible to become a certified FI and get paid to instruct but the FI privilege is restricted to teaching only the LAPL course. To teach the full PPL flight training syllabus, the flight instructor must have a CPL because the PPL is an ICAO syllabus, whereas the LAPL falls outside the ICAO framework. So even though the two syllabi are almost identical and the FI course is to the same standard, the licence requirements for flight instructors holding a PPL/LAPL differ due to this technicality.

The validity and renewal requirements differ between the two licences. The LAPL is valid for life, providing the pilot fulfils certain requirements including logging 12 hours of flight time in the preceding 24 months (2 years) with 12 take-off and landings, along with one (1) hour with a flight instructor. While a PPL holder, in addition to the same recency requirements, must also revalidate their Single Engine Piston (SEP) rating every 2 years, which necessitates a recurrent flight with an instructor or examiner to ensure proficiency is maintained.

Summary - LAPL v PPL

All LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) and the vast majority of single engine training aircraft (Tecnam, Cessna, Piper, Cirrus, Diamond etc.) would all be accessible to a LAPL holder. For example, with a current LAPL, you can still fly yourself and three (3) passengers in a Cessna 172 to France and back.

However, if you plan to fly for remuneration (i.e. for hire or reward), if you want your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), or you want to fly a heavier aircraft, or fly in IMC in controlled airspace, or with more than 3 passengers, you will need to upgrade your licence to a PPL



Where validWorldwideEurope + UK
Minimum training requiredMinimum 45 hours 
Must include:
- 25 hours dual instruction
+ 10 hours supervised solo, of which 5 hours is solo cross country flying that includes 1 cross country flight of 150 NM+ with landings at 2 other airfields
Minimum 30 hours 
Must include:
- 15 hours dual instruction
+ 6 hours supervised solo, of which 3 hours is solo cross country flying that includes 1 cross country flight of 80 NM+ with landings at 1 other airfield
Aircraft WeightMTOW:  5,700 KgMTOW:  2,000 Kg 
Maximum Number of Passengers193
Additional ratingsInstrument Rating (IR), Night Rating, Aerobatics, Single (SEP) and Multi-Engine Piston (MEP)Only Night Rating, Aerobatics, Single-engine Piston (SEP)
Minimum age14 yrs (training), 16 yrs (solo), 17 yrs (licence)14 yrs (training), 16 yrs (solo), 17 yrs (licence)
Medical requirements
Part MED Class 2 Medical Certificate
i.e. Class 2 medical 
Part MED LAPL Medical Certificate
i.e. the LAPL medical
Meteorological conditionsVFR + IFR (if IR holder)VFR only

What do I need to do to convert my LAPL(A) to PPL(A)

The process to convert a LAPL to a PPL licence is called crediting. If you hold a LAPL(A) and you wish to upgrade your licence to a PPL(A) you must fly:

  1. An additional 15 hours of flight time on aeroplanes after the issue of the LAPL(A), of which at least 10 hours should be flight instruction at an ATO or DTO.
  2. Of the 10 hours of flight instruction, 4 hours of supervised solo flight must be included, of which at least 2 hours must be solo cross country, with at least 1 cross country flight of 270 km (150 NM) or more, plus full stop landings at two (2) aerodromes different from the departure aerodrome.

No exams required. If you already have a LAPL, you will receive full credit for the theory. The theoretical knowledge examinations passed for the LAPL will be carried over to PPL. There is no further academic study. 

The English Language Proficiency (ELP) endorsement on your LAPL, issued for your radiotelephony licence, will also be carried over to PPL.

You will need to upgrade your LAPL Medical Certificate to a Class two (2) Medical Certificate issued by an Aero-Medical Examiner (AME), if you have not already done so. 

After completion of the additional flight training, you will need to take a PPL(A) skill test with an Examiner. The LAPL/PPL skill test demands the same standard of flying ability. You must demonstrate that while acting as pilot in command (PIC) of the relevant aircraft type you can competently carry out the procedures and manoeuvres that you had been taught during your training course. 

LAPL Skill Test

For general guidance, the following limits apply during the LAPL skill test, which are identical for the PPL. The flight examiner should make allowances for turbulent conditions and the handling qualities and performance of the aeroplane used: -

  • Height:
    - normal flight ± 150 ft
  • Heading or tracking of radio aids:
    - normal flight ± 10°
  • Speed:
    - take-off and approach +15/–5 knots
    - all other flight regimes ± 15 knots

How to start LAPL(A) to PPL(A) licence conversion

If you would like to start your LAPL(A) to PPL(A) licence conversion course, complete this Pilot Registration Form

LAPL Flight Training Course

Fly EPT Spain deliver the EASA LAPL(A) course at Son Bonet Airport (LESB), Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Entry requirements

  • Minimum age: 17 years old for licence issue; Minimum 16 years of age to start the LAPL course. 
  • Must hold a LAPL Medical Certificate

LAPL Privileges

  • The holder can fly a light aircraft (<2,000 kg), up to 3 passengers
  • The holder can fly EASA light aircraft within the European Union (EU) member states.
  • Allows the holder to fly VFR (Visual Flight Rules) by day, and by night if a night rating is held.
  • Fly passengers after 10 further flying hours after licence issue

LAPL Training

  • Minimum of 30 hours flying training.
  • 6 hours of supervised solo flight time, including at least 3 hours of solo cross-country flight time.
  • At least 1 cross country flight of at least 148 km (80 NM) that includes full stop landings at 1 aerodrome different from the departure aerodrome.
  • Must hold a LAPL Medical Certificate
  • 9 written EASA exams
  • Practical radio examination

LAPL 'Online' Theoretical Knowledge Course

LAPL students need to complete a theoretical knowledge instruction course compromising 100 hours of theory, which we deliver online. 

More details here 

LAPL Theoretical Knowledge Examinations

As part of the application for a LAPL, you will need to sit and pass examinations in the following subject areas:

Common subjects

  • Air law
  • Human performance
  • Meteorology
  • Communications
  • Navigation

Exams specific to the light aircraft category

  • Principles of flight
  • Operational procedures
  • Flight performance and planning
  • Aircraft general knowledge

These nine (9) theory exams for the LAPL(A) are identical to the PPL(A) examinations.

LAPL holders who later choose to upgrade to PPL will therefore receive full credit towards the PPL(A) exams. No further exams are required for the LAPL to PPL conversion.


LAPL recency requirements

Pilot’s do not revalidate or renew a LAPL, its validity is maintained by recency requirements. The LAPL is valid for life.

To keep your LAPL valid, you need to fly in the last 24 months (2 years), as pilot of an aeroplane or TMG:

  • 12 hours of flight time as Pilot in Command (PIC), including 12 take-offs and landings;
  • refresher training of at least one (1) hour of total flight time with an instructor

EASA Part FCL, FCL.140.A LAPL(A) — Recency requirements

Note: To keep your PPL valid you need to revalidate your Single Engine Piston (SEP) rating every 2 years. You will need to fly 12 hours in the last 12 months (1 year) including 6 hours as Pilot in Command (PIC). The 12 hours should also include 12 take-offs and landings.

LAPL holders also require a medical validation every 5 years or less, depending on their age.

You do NOT need to involve the competent authority to revalidate/renew your LAPL. Proof of your flight log is sufficient.


EASA Subpart B of Annex I (Part-FCL) to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011


EASA General Licensing

Standards Document 19(A): LAPL and PPL Skill Test (Aeroplanes) Policy and Guidance for Applicants and Examiners