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EASA has adopted sailplane as the term to cover the area. It is defined in 1178/2011 as "a heavier-than-air aircraft which is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against its fixed lifting surfaces, the free flight of which does not depend on an engine."
The term 'Glider' is often used to refer to this area of flying and refers to various categories of aircraft including touring motor gliders, hang-gliders, paragliders and gyrogliders.
Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe where a licence has not been required for flying gliders. The introduction of the Aircrew Regulation (1178/2011) introduced a licence. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has filed a derogation with EASA, valid until April 2020, to permit the existing national requirement to continue while new rules in the area are developed by published by EASA. Pilots of touring motor gliders are required to hold a pilot licence in accordance with the requirements set out for a PPL(A).
Gliding in Ireland has been self-regulated since it started. While there are no "Official" licenses, standards similar to those used for PPLs and Gliding Licenses in other countries are applied. However, the IAA strongly recommends that no person should fly or attempt to fly these aircraft without receiving an appropriate course of training provided or approved by the relevant sport aviation association covering these aircraft.
Failure to receive such training may result in serious injury or loss of life, as well as damage to aircraft and/or property.
The Irish Gliding & Soaring Association (IGSA) currently oversees all aspects of gliding operations conducted in Ireland.