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Differences in aviation culture around Europe

From here

Peter wrote:

Unless that is yet another swipe at the UK over brexit

I’m pretty sure there was agreement here on EuroGA long before Brexit that there are many differences in aviation culture between the UK and the rest of Europe.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

IMO there are several different aviation cultures also within countries. Things aren’t always as they seem on this board either. If you look at the statistics, you will find that the LAA alone (UK homebuilt scene) produce more aircraft each year than the entire European certified SEP aircraft factory production. Including the European microlight production, and things are of course very different. Those who speak loudest are seldom a good representation of the majority. Legislative weirdness is hardly a measure of the culture, but it will affect the culture to some extent. However, mostly it affect the ways people create and act to circumvent the weirdness.

Besides, private aviators are a bunch of individuals, much more so than the average population. So, all types of pilots are found all over the place IMO.

I’m pretty sure there was agreement here on EuroGA long before Brexit that there are many differences in aviation culture between the UK and the rest of Europe.

I really don’t think so. I’ve done a fair number of trips around Europe, a selection is here, ~2400hrs, ~160 different airports, and I think there can be as great differences between any random pair of countries as there are between the UK and another randomly picked country.

Almost everything negative about some UK airport can be found elsewhere in Europe – if you actually fly to the airport in question, which very few do, because most of the GA community does not deviate much from the standard runs, which go to “easy” destinations. This is the case in the UK and in every other country. But if you do a longer (international) trip, you end up going to different airports to what the locals go to – because you chose it for some services which the locals don’t need. I have had hi-vis hassle in Spain, France, Germany… PNR PPR etc potentially everywhere (got refused a landing clearance in Italy due to an alleged lack of PNR). But the local-flying community (most of GA) almost never goes to the airports in question. One of the “best” recent ones was Bastia (Corsica i.e. France) in 2016 where the security people went into a frenzy. It can and does happen anywhere. Much mainland airspace is horrid. Look at Belgium, or southern France, with their almost incomprehensible charts which “work” only because ATC (in France) usually clears you through it all. Or the vast Italian Class A. Or the vast Swiss Class C which almost touches the peaks of the Alps.

The UK gets picked on on EuroGA regularly for various reasons e.g.

  • while we have a huge UK readership, relatively few Brits post here so the UK is under-represented; I believe this is because the Brits mainly hang out on a local “pub-style” site (lots of one-liners and chit-chat) and over there you get ostracised for supporting EuroGA (at one point any mention of it would get deleted immediately)… they come here in large numbers to read the quality content but we need more of them participating
  • relatively few pilots from the mainland visit the UK for various reasons (I believe the extra hassle due to Schengen, and lack of formal English proficiency are the biggest real ones) so they don’t become familiar with the charts, the (mostly very simple, mostly Class G) airspace structure, ATC services (or lack of), etc
  • due to brexit, the UK is a fashionable target of hate on the mainland, and it is a fashionable form of virtue signalling to push this on social media everywhere
  • the mod/admin lives in the UK and a certain (fortunately very small – about 2% of the regulars) subset regards the mod as a legitimate target so they like to take swipes at him, believing that it will appear clever to do so; the relatively democratic way EuroGA is run means these people are not removed instantly as they would be elsewhere

Anybody who actually flies long distance around Europe will know there are big differences between countries. Not all (some are similar) but most. Especially if you do it under VFR because you then get a much bigger exposure to local hassles. But few people do that, due to

  • budgetary limits
  • lack of access to a plane with enough range
  • rental (daily billing) restrictions
  • lack of formal ELP

etc

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

Almost everything negative about some UK airport can be found elsewhere in Europe [….]

The UK gets picked on on EuroGA regularly for various reasons e.g.

Fair enough, but this picking certainly did not start with Brexit and I have no feeling it has become more intense after Brexit. So I don’t feel it is appropriate to dismiss criticism (deserved or not) of things British as simply a “swipe over Brexit”.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Sure; but I gave 4 reasons in that list and only one of them is brexit related. I reckon the 1st one is the biggest one i.e. most mainland pilots get their view of the UK from sources which take the p1ss out of the UK without going there much (or at all) like this piece of satire where the guy in the video pretends to be really thick by not understanding “pass your message”, the meaning of which is blindingly obvious to anybody who speaks any English.

And taking the wider view, as I wrote, I don’t see the UK as some island of weirdness while mainland Europe is a paradise of consistency and uniformity. There are so many differences between mainland countries that one could spend days just listing them, and linking to posts here from the 6 years EuroGA has been going, etc. And one would get into occassional trouble doing even that, because so much gets turned around (by a very few people, fortunately) to become a criticism of a specific (mainland) country, so that only pilots from that country are “allowed” to write it without getting jumped on Some of it would get quite funny, but there are plenty of books out there on national caricatures, and yes this does get reflected pretty well in aviation when you fly to these places, especially VFR

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Take the random untowered field :
France – no PPR, open SR-SS, no service either (exception a Total pump sometimes), nobody usually
Germany – no PPR, open 9-5 when Flugleiter is there, fuel, restaurant, pretty active
UK – strictly PPR, open 9-5 with a guy giving you the QFE, decent café, active sometimes
Spain and Italy – no comment (go to unlicensed strips)
US – no PPR, open 24/7, courtesy car to go the the nearby diner, active randomly

Yes every country has its own ways of doing things. EASA has a hard jod to harmonize everything. To make compromises, they allow exemptions which allows things not to change but with standard denominations :)
Then of course, a Brit is less afraid to cross water than a French/German, they are a people of seamen …

As Lesving noted, several cultures coexistent in each country. A Brit IFR tourer can feel closer to a Polish one than to a Brit UL guy. Every year in France, some mini-oshkosh fly ins of UL and home builds happen, very well organised, you just don’t hear about them as a basic PPL.
If UL pilots were all free to travel across Europe, it could create a HUGE community which would be very powerful.

Take the random untowered field :

I would emphasise the word “random” Many counter-examples in each said country.

EASA has a hard jod to harmonize everything.

EASA will never touch the sort of ground practices discussed.

If UL pilots were all free to travel across Europe, it could create a HUGE community which would be very powerful.

That is probably true, but I think that community is more constrained by (generally) limited budgets and short range. You can do touring in non-certs already, if you follow the permit procedures and have a Class 2 medical at least. Pick any two countries, say UK and France, you have a huge area to fly around in and you need to get only one permit (or none in that case, IIRC). Most UL pilots go into it for low cost flying; the €200k machines are not really selling.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

UK gets picked on on EuroGA regularly

I never really noticed and it surprises me. Probably because I have never seen any reason to do so. To me, the UK has always delivered massive valuable input to aviation and especially GA, both within EASA and elsewhere in the GA community. If UK leaves EASA, it will be a significant loss to European GA.

Quote the mod/admin lives in the UK and a certain (fortunately very small – about 2% of the regulars) subset regards the mod as a legitimate target so they like to take swipes at him, believing that it will appear clever to do so; the relatively democratic way EuroGA is run means these people are not removed instantly as they would be elsewhere

Face it Peter: mod and target are synonym words in forumland…

Last Edited by Antonio at 12 Jun 21:48
Antonio
LESB, Spain

Actually I thought one could have an interesting and funny thread about aviation-cultural differences around Europe!

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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