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2016 opinions wanted, keep N-reg or go EASAland-reg?

I have been offered to fly an aircraft (certified < 2to MTOM) for little money from within the greater family. It is situated in the US now and therefore N registered. I would get it across the Atlantic and then continue flying in EASAland. I do hold an EASA Part.FCL and FAA/FCC PPL, so license wise not a problem. We also have a shop doing N-reg not far away. Upon playing with the idea, we are now at the point what to do with the register?

Do we let the aircraft stay on N register, keep it owned and registered to the US relative?
Do we let the aircraft stay on N register and go for US trust ownership?
Do we transfer to EASAland register, maybe PH, OY, OE or D-reg (what about German LBA experience)?

Does it make sense to transfer register and do Part M operations?
Is it wiser to keep N and follow maintenance/8130/337 FAA route?
If we sell in the far future, will N or EASA sell better?

I assume we have to pay some local tax, if it stays longer in the EU?
What about travelling with N-reg in Europe and surrounding countries, hazzles?

What are your opinions and experience?
(Yes, I did read Peters comments on N-reg, but would like to collect a greater opinion picture.)

Last Edited by at 16 Dec 16:46

If it is on N-reg no reason to move it. You will have to pay VAT if it is more than a short term visit but that has nothing to do with registry. No particular hassles flying an N reg around Europe for more than 1000 hours now.

EGTK Oxford

I just heard a horror story about a Saratoga that was PH registered and the owner for some reason decided to move it to the F register. Both are EASA mind you. The transfer ended up costing 15.000€ because the OSAC required that some equipment which they deemed was not approved by European regulations was removed.

Any older aircraft that has undergone a series of mods throughout its lifetime are likely to pose issues during transfer to another registry.

LFPT, LFPN

I would stay on the N-reg. There are no known EASA plans to hit non-EASA-reg airframes.

There is “just” the licensing attack, requiring dual pilot papers, once the delays run out. The date is urrently due April 2017 but likely to be delayed again to April 2018, and there are rumours it may just die altogether, not least because the number of people moving to N now (and getting FAA papers) seems to have dropped off massively in the last year or two (according to some figures I saw somewhere).

I just heard a horror story about a Saratoga that was PH registered and the owner for some reason decided to move it to the F register. Both are EASA mind you. The transfer ended up costing 15.000€ because the OSAC required that some equipment which they deemed was not approved by European regulations was removed.

Yes this is not unknown… a good number of these I hear about in email etc. I recall one case (also an intra-EASA-reg transfer) where the rectification cost would have been close to the value of the aircraft. You can also end up over a barrel if the issue exists due to a previous error which was overlooked for years – because you are no longer legal on the existing register either People in that situation have to remain with their maintenance company for ever

But any register/registry transfer is a can of worms and must not be started until a really good inspection of all papers has been done, otherwise you can end up in a legal no-mans-land and a worthless plane. Incidentally this is easily done by botched “maintenance” too; in the early days of EuroGA one pilot posted a glowing report of a shop in Lithuania which re-did all the seats and repainted the plane, and about a year later the plane was for sale as a “project” (i.e. worth scrap).

The only thing I would add is to think hard whether a ferry from the USA is worth doing. It will cost of the order of 10k and isn’t worth doing unless the plane is say $100k+. OTOH, there is a lot of extra value in a plane with known ownership, maintenance and operation history.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

The only thing I would add is to think hard whether a ferry from the USA is worth doing. It will cost of the order of 10k and isn’t worth doing unless the plane is say $100k+. OTOH, there is a lot of extra value in a plane with known ownership, maintenance and operation history.

If you bring it across yourself it doesn’t cost 10k.

EGTK Oxford

I would also vote to stay on the N-reg in line with JasonC’s comments. I’ve operated my a/c on the N-reg for over 20 years without any hassles. I can’t comment on resale value because that has never been a criteria for me.

Although there is a sea change underway in EASA-land with the new PartNCO, N-reg benefits still include:
- the large number of STC’s available for really useful stuff
- Part 91 ops means TBO is a theoretical number and any maintenance is on-condition and operator decision (other than AD’s or eventual discrepancies identified during Annual Inspection). I would even claim that this gives N-reg a safety advantage over EASA TBO rules that enforce risky invasive maintenance.
- SIDs are always operator discretion

One consideration, which I find positive rather than negative, is that the end authority on maintenance and airworthiness for any given flight is the operator/PIC. This is 180° from the EASA motherhood approach that has resulted in many pilots in Europe over-relying on the regulator and not getting involved enough in their aircraft condition and upkeep, even to the point of abdicating responsibility. Operating an aircraft is expensive regardless of the register, but at least on the N-reg the pilot/operator is able to make decisions about what is safety-relevant and what isn’t rather than having that authority usurped by the regulator. You’ll know your aircraft better if you use that to your advantage. One key here is to have a good relationship and role understanding with your A&P/IA so you can discuss maintenance on an equal level.

For countries within EASA jurisdiction but that don’t fall under the Dublin accord (customs union, not to be confused with Schengen which is only free movement of people), there is a discussion about whether it is worthwhile to pay VAT within the Dublin region to obtain “free circulation” EU VAT status. But this also applies to any non-Dublin EU states and is not specific to N-reg. Otherwise, VAT is a question of country of aircraft “residence” and not one of country of registration.

Finally, I also know one horror story of a personal acquaintance related to transferring a single-engine aircraft from G-reg to F-reg.

Last Edited by chflyer at 16 Dec 21:32
LSZK, Switzerland

JasonC wrote:

If you bring it across yourself it doesn’t cost 10k.

Depends on how long bad weather or technical issues hold you in places like Narssarssuaq or Reykjavik. Ten days in either of them plus the loss of income due to absence from the job can get you close to those 10k….

EDDS - Stuttgart

Re ferrying, probably the best justification is the adventure/experience rather than the cost, if you’ve got/take the time to properly and seriously prepare.

LSZK, Switzerland

what_next wrote:


Depends on how long bad weather or technical issues hold you in places like Narssarssuaq or Reykjavik. Ten days in either of them plus the loss of income due to absence from the job can get you close to those 10k….

OK yes but I have done eight now and never come near that number in spite of much higher direct costs. Tech issues will stuff you wherever you are and sensible planning will mean you aren’t stranded in Greenland.

But assuming significant tech problems a flight to Jersey can cost you 10k.

Last Edited by JasonC at 17 Dec 00:29
EGTK Oxford

chflyer wrote:

Finally, I also know one horror story of a personal acquaintance related to transferring a single-engine aircraft from G-reg to F-reg.

Could you elaborate? I fly/own a G-ref plane and live in France where the plane is ha geared, have been thinking about what to do once this Brexit nonsense happens?

LFHN - Bellegarde - Vouvray France
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