Conversion of current UK PPL(G) to SA PPL(G)

Questions for the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

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Conversion of current UK PPL(G) to SA PPL(G)

Unread post by Blat » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:59 pm

I have a current helicopter PPL(H) licence for the Robinson R22 and R44 under the EASA European and UK rules. I added a Gyroplane PPL(G) licence in the UK last year and I wish to fly gyrocopters for my personal flying enjoyment from now on. I live in South Africa for part of the year and would like to hire and fly a Magni M16 gyrocopter while in South Africa for local flying.
What are the specific requirements to 'convert' or 'recognise' my UK gyro licence in order to obtain a South African gyro licence?
I believe a SA Air Law exam must be passed and a check flight to show ability is required. What is the nature of the check flight?
Is there a need for a separate radio licence (we don't have a separate physical licence in the UK, as passing the radio operators’ examination and practical is part of gaining the licence)?
And are the European medical certificates recognised here or will I need to take another medical locally in South Africa?
Thank you and kind regards,
Mark Dinning
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Location: Franschhoek

Re: Conversion of current UK PPL(G) to SA PPL(G)

Unread post by Blat » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:14 pm

Hi, I can now post a definitive answer to those foreign pilots wanting to fly gyros in South Africa.

I have a current UK PPL(G) (and also a PPL(H) but I'm not validating the helicopter licence in RSA). In order to fly with a European or other foreign Gyro licence in South Africa the foreign licence needs to be 'validated' by the South African authorities. I imagine a similar process is required in order to validate a foreign PPL(A) or PPL(H) licence with the South African CAA, but South Africa does not have a PPL(G). Instead you will need to obtain an NPL (National Pilot's Licence) which is managed by RAASA (Recreation Aviation Administration - South Africa). RAASA is the body responsible for microlight aircraft including gyrocopters.

Steps involved:
Register with RAASA in order to obtain a user id and password. This will be needed to take RAASA's South African Air Law exam.
Revise for and take the RAASA Air Law exam. Approximately 38 questions from memory and 75% is the pass mark.
Have a South African medical. You need a Class 4 Medical certificate to fly gyros but I still needed an ECG and pretty much everything was tested. This will also require you to have a chest x-ray prior to the medical if this is your first medical in SA.
Take a skills test with a gyro flying school.

I contacted Cape Recreational Flight Training at Morningstar Airfield which is north of Cape Town off the N7. Len Klopper is a gyrocopter instructor there and was very helpful in the whole process of my licence validation. Len conducted the skills test while his wife, Christine, took care of the administration side of things. For a fee, Christine organised my registration with RAASA and subsequent posting off of test results, medical certificate and skills test results to RAASA. (You can manage the administration yourself if preferred).
Ahead of my medical I contacted one of the many Radiology departments in the local hospitals for a chest x-ray (I went to Paarl but hospitals in Cape Town and Stellenbosch also offer this service). Len Klopper recommended a medical practice locally that conduct pilot's medicals. I had mine at Cape Town International airport.
I took my SA Air Law exam at the Morningstar Airfield training school. It's pretty strict - conducted on a computer while I was video'ed for the duration of the test.

On my side the process took three weeks plus three weeks waiting for the licence to be processed. Apparently it usually takes less than two weeks to receive the licence but the person dealing with my application went on holiday.
I now hold a RAASA 'Validation of Foreign Licence' for a Gyrocopter. The licence is valid for a year and needs to be kept current by taking a skills test annually. The Class 4 medical certificate is valid for 3 years.

I hope this helps other foreign pilots wishing to fly gyrocopters in South Africa. My understanding is that PPL(A) and PPL(H) foreign licence holders would complete a similar process but take the SA CAA Air Law exam and apply to the SA CAA for their 'Validation of a Foreign Licence'.
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Re: Conversion of current UK PPL(G) to SA PPL(G)

Unread post by ckayhuang » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:41 am

Hi Blat

This is very helpful, I am holding an American CPL(A) license and planning to get my license validated/ converted.
What I have completed:
1) Application for Foreign license conversion sent to CAA (Req to take three written exams, Air law, flight plan, Met)
for Validation (Req only Air Law and Flight plan)

2) Written exams (I passed air law and flight plan, failed Met a couple of times). That is why I am thinking whether to should re-apply for a validation instead.

3) Have my medical completed.

4) Flight test, this is where I am not sure about yet. Do I need to also get a radio license exam to be able to fly with an instructor?

From your process, did you use an agent to handle all your documentation and communication with the CAA? So far I have been doing the things bit by bit but not sure whether its in the right order of process.

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