Today 8th April 2012 is not just a Christian feast day; it is a historic day in the calendar of euro-aerobureaucracy, EASA's regulations on crew licensing ("Part FCL") become effective today. Only, no they don't, as EASA member states have up to three years in which to implement these new rules, starting from today.
In the voluminous annals of crazy euro-initiatives the EASA Part FCL must rank fairly high. Aircraft are henceforth divided for regulatory purposes into "EASA" and "non-EASA" types. Permit aircraft otherwise referred to as "Annex II" types (as defined in Annex II to the "Basic Regulation" enacted by the EU that brought this monster into being) are not "EASA types" and so not regulated by EASA. ILAS members fly mainly Annex II types, those that do not have a CofA.
The fly in the ointment is that it may be that an EASA licence may not be used to fly an Annex II type - or so the IAA says.
There used to be a possible upside from EASA Part FCL, called the "Light Aircraft Pilot Licence" or LAPL. This qualification is supposed to have lower medical and other requirements, compared to a regular PPL. However Ireland's availailing of states' entitlement to extend the effective date of the new regime means it may be some considerable time before the LAPL is available in Ireland, and when this time comes it is possible you won't even be able to use the LAPL in an Annex II type.
The Part FCL mess is not the doing of the IAA, but by EASA where lawyer-dominated drafting seems to have generated regulations whose practical implications were poorly thought out. The IAA has to sort out how all this will be implemented here over the next few years.
Meantime across the Irish Sea the CAA is bringing all this into force from 1st July so Irish residents holding UK-issued JAR licences may have some tricky issues coming up.
See further details described in the IAA's document at :