Can anyone provide any insight please into how difficult it would be to switch the country of registration of an aircraft from an EU country registration to the N Reg. And what the general process is. The plane would be moving from an EU country at the same time to be based in the UK in the future.
@Buckerfan I looked into this but have not actually carried a transfer out.
The process starts with an Export CofA from the regulator of the country of current registration. As you might imagine this process depends on which EU state the aircraft is currently registered to. I got the impression Belgium is quite straightforward, other EU states less so, in some cases possibly opening up a can of worms. This Export CofA is carried out in the relevant jurisdiction and is in effect a 100 hour type inspection. All logs are checked for AD compliance, STC type approvals, and naturally airworthiness condition. It is carried out by an approved local engineer.
Ideally, simultaneously, an FAA AI and A&P performs a 100 hour annual and checks the documents. ADs and time-in-service compliance may be subtly different between the two jurisdictions, but if the type has a USA type certificate and has a good following in Europe, the exercise should consist in ensuring local logs are intelligible to the USA DAR inspector.
At this point enters the FAA DAR and checks the documentation and Export CofA, inspects the aircraft and blesses the transfer. Note some DAR work mainly on heavy iron, and using them may be like bringing a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. You need to pick the DAR who has a reputation of understanding how to inspect a light GA aircraft.
As you can see from the above, the process, assuming there are no airworthiness items, is probably a double digit plus AMU vent, with the DAR being a significant proportion of the cost. It requires good coordination and pragmatic engineers who speak EASA and FAA. If the FAA inspector requires rectification of items these could be quite expensive, and presumably further fees to check the work has been carried out correctly. On some types EASA ADs may be less onerous than the USA version.
I consider the cost and hassle is around the same as ferrying an N reg from the USA! A lot of EU shops will try and steer you to a conversion to G-reg which is probably easier and cheaper.
Your newly registered N reg will be viewed as an N reg manqué, while a USA based N reg will retain it’s maintenance history and hopefully it’s time in Europe will be viewed just as an extended holiday trip.
Some types are probably worth 25-50% more if they have a settled, well documented history of FAA rules maintenance, or conversely a discount if they are on an International registry, even for short periods.
It depends very much on the individual condition of the plane and its documents.
Information can be found in the EU USA BASA agreement TIP (technical implementation procedures).
My feeling. Unless your plane is >2730kg or you intend to sell it in the US, it’s probably not worth it.
What sort of plane: Piston, turboprop, jet, old, new, an old wreck? Original or heavily modded?
One previous thread is here. The link in that post has more detail.
You need to be careful because if the process goes wrong after the Export CofA has been done, and the owner of the hangar where it is sitting is not playing ball, it is possible to end up in limbo, with a plane which is worth just the scrap metal.
I think currently the main challenge is finding the DAR, and before that making sure the plane is in good order to be acceptable to him. It’s gonna cost a few k+ I recently asked someone who the DAR was they used but got no reply…
In 2005, I paid about 4k IIRC. Of that about 50% went to the DAR. I avoided an Export CofA using this route.
I am very glad to be N-reg. With a friendly local A&P/IA/CFI/CFII this has transformed my entire “ground situation” by avoiding reliance on “companies” which alone immediately halves the maintenance cost while ensuring everything gets done. I also did my standalone FAA CPL/IR back in the old days before the “European cartels” were tightened up. But not everyone is able to arrange this. The FAA IR rolling currency is wonderful.
I don’t think the FAA-EASA BASA changes anything. Maybe helps with approvals of mods which are found and which would otherwise need some appropriate process for acceptance. But any such items are going to complicate the transfer… When I went N-reg (long article in the link above) the DAR was working under supervision of an FAA inspector from Frankfurt. Some issues were found and were certified there and then; the inspector has the authority of an FSDO so can issue a Field Approval himself. Not sure if a DAR can do that.
Many years (say 30+) ago you could move any old wreck to N-reg but that has not been possible for a very long time.
In addition to what has already been said: Some more recent FAA decisions have not made the process easier for some types.
If the plane in question e.g. is a PA-28, it is extremely unlikely that there exists an (EASA) documentation that can be used to check if/when the plane is subject to the wing spar AD. Therefore it is completely unclear how a DAR would evaluate if your plane needs to comply with this AD or not. As there is no European version of the AD so far (right?), you also can’t show that you already complied.
Therefore I would assume that currently it would be extremely hard (and costly) to move a PA-28 to the US.
As there is no European version of the AD so far (right?), you also can’t show that you already complied.
There is. (Here.)
In any case, you can voluntarily carry out the FAA AD if you want. My club did.
Btw: Complying with the AD is not “Extremely costly”.
In any case, you can voluntary carry out the FAA AD if you want
Yes, given the substantial differences in the formula I would assume that you just have to do the inspection if you want to export the plane.
A more interesting example might be the wing bolts SB on the Bonanza. Many owners treat this as on condition when operated under Part 91, but on an export CofA process, if the wing bolts have not been inspected and replaced in the last 15 years, the inspector might require it. (or might not)
What is the catch? Textron hasn’t manufactured new wing bolts for a couple of years. You guessed it, while not magnesium unobtanium, they are unobtainium.
Indeed, there is a club at Kemble that I think have done 6 PA28 spar inspections.
Just to give a rough estimate, on my 1972 Grumman Traveler, I just spent about 9k Euro to get it from the Belgian to N registry. No physical work on the plane was necessary. Actually getting a DAR was difficult, presumably due to Covid, the whole process took 5 months. Without Covid it would have been closer to a month I imagine (although the price would have been the same).