Revised 31.12.12 see note at end of text for the moment!
With the rapid approach of EASA licensing set to upset the status quo Kurt Frieden from Switzerland has taken a very long hard look of the requirements and how they may be applied according to the current legislation. Conveniently he has broken the legislation down into easy to understand headings and tabled the requirements accordingly.
As yet there is no way of actually training in the UK for an EASA licence as no Training Organisations (ATO) exist and in some countries where the EASA licence has started to be issued there are currently no ways of revalidating it. Whoops. The British Balloon and Airship Club are moving towards establishing an ATO but that may be a year or two away yet so in the meantime training in the UK is towards a UK PPL(B) and potential pilots, and those who are renewing, are strongly advised not to apply for an EASA licence until much closer the change-over date when the process should be in place.
The most noticeable difference between the existing system is the addition of another balloon group and the reduction of the minimum age to carry out a solo flight to 14 years. The currency and re-validation requirements of licences also sees some changes. Quite how onerous the new requirements will be in reality will remain to be seen but the changes in the training, especially the requirement for a minimum of 20 take-offs and landings in the same class and group of balloon as the check flight will certainly make training a lot more difficult for some.
We have run this past Dave Court, the BBAC Training Officer who reckons that at present this is about as accurate as it gets (at the moment) and you must be prepared for some more changes and revisions in the future, possibly at regional level. Please be aware that all information given here is a private summary. In case of any contradictions, the EASA regulations take precedence. Big thanks to Kurt.
Two small revisions. It is expected that there will be six written exams with the Balloon Systems being divided into four parts. The size for Group A balloons runs to 120,070 cu. ft. and the Group B from 120,071 cu.ft. It is assumed that the Group A & B sizes for Hot Air Airships will be the same as Hot Air Balloons. No figures are actually given for Hot Air Airships Groups C & D so bit tricky there.