Visiting Gyro Pilots

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Visiting Gyro Pilots

Unread post by OLLIE » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:21 pm

Can anybody confirm legal requirements for a visiting gyro pilot to fly solo in RSA/
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Re: Visiting Gyro Pilots

Unread post by Learjet » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:37 pm

Ollie - hopefully some of the better informed chaps will chime in, but my understanding is that a foreign pilot will have to write the Air Law exam and a check ride with an instructor in order for an overseas gyro license to be validated for flying SA registered aircraft.
Above not required if temporarily importing / flying in SA in a foreign registered gyro.
The other reality is that visiting / overseas gyro pilots with aspirations of doing some "hire & fly safari flying" in SA may struggle to find a school willing to rent out their gyros.
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Re: Visiting Gyro Pilots

Unread post by maun16 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:07 pm


yes they will have to write an airlaw exam,and do a check ride with an instructor,to get there foreign license validation.
Had some friends come over earlier this year from europe,and it turned out to be very difficult in order for them to be able to fly,with all the caa complications etc
so in the end they gave up.
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Re: Visiting Gyro Pilots

Unread post by Blat » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:30 pm

Hi, I'm re-opening this topic for some more specifics.

I have a helicopter PPL(H) licence for the Robinson R22 and R44 under the EASA European and UK rules. I added a Gyrocopter PPL(G) licence in the UK last year as flying helicopters privately is pretty expensive. I've also discovered that flying gyros is more fun and I intend to stick to gyros for my personal flying from now on.

I now live in South Africa during the SA summer and want to hire an M16 for local flying. Does anyone know the specific requirements to 'convert' or 'recognise' my UK gyro licence in order to obtain a South African gyro licence?
I understand a SA Air Law exam must be passed and a check flight to show ability is required. Is it really a check flight or a full blown flight test? What about a separate radio licence (we don't have a separate physical licence in the UK, it's part of the EASA PPL(H))? And are the medical certificates in the UK recognised here or will I need to take another medical?

Maun16 referred to all the 'CAA complications' that caused European friends to give up. Do you know what those complications are?
After all the time, effort and expense of completing my PPL(H) and then PPL(G) I'd rather not start all over again.

If anyone has a contact who may know the answers to help resolve this problem and or can flesh out some specifics I'd really appreciate your thoughts.
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Re: Visiting Gyro Pilots

Unread post by Blat » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:13 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: Visiting Gyro Pilots

Unread post by gyronaut » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:52 pm

Quite right in South Africa at present and nicely put Blat.

In Costa Rica they allow a CFI to do a skills test and award a 3 month validation of the foreign licence for tourism in his logbook. It is acceptable for their own insurance purposes as it is a valid rating allowing pilots to fly solo outside of controlled airspace.

Perhaps we can ask RAASA/CAA if this wouldn't be possible in SA? 6 weeks from arrival is far too long for most visitors and as a result we are losing many tourist/flyers to our beautiful country

Another item for the 'Adventure flying' workgroup to look at perhaps? :)

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