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How many homebuilts fly "high"?

As an experiment on the use of CAS in Europe, I have set up FR24 alerts on my phone for various ICAO codes.

A subgroup of these were codes for all RVs and all Lancairs, Europe, above 7000ft, and have seen no alerts in many weeks except the two known Evolution turboprops.

One explanation could be that they never fly above 7000ft and if they do they squawk 7000 (not shown on FR24), but that is nonsense because there are plenty of alerts below 7000ft and those are not squawking 7000 so why should they set 7000 above 7000ft?

Note the 7000ft is just a number picked out of a hat.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I’ve flown > 7000 ft in Germany several times (VFR) with my Europa and since I’m almost always with FIS/RADAR get another squawk.


A friend of mine has taken his lancair legacy to FL220 and apparently could still climb. We are set to go an try to get to the limit of RVSM one of these days.
It is an amazingly performing airplane. Here is one radar log

Not a homebuilt but an orphaned antique type – I fly mine >7000 feet from time to time on longer trips if it keeps me above the cumulus clouds. However, typically I settle at about FL55/FL65.

Scottish Info once laughed when I checked in at FL95…

Andreas IOM

Do VFR flights appear on FR24?

I’ve rarely seen any that would seem likely VFR. Almost all of my VFR flights would have a squwak code other than 7000.

EIKH Kilrush

FL 270 is one answer, link below to friends latest project. Another friend did the electrical work for the panel update. Note altitude on flat panel photo. Calculated range is 1960 nm.

The underside skin of the new ‘high altitude’ wingtips is Kevlar to allow the antennas to be buried in the layup. The top and internal structures are carbon fiber.

PS Just noticed they had it to 300 kts TAS at cruising altitude. That’s not bad either!

Last Edited by Silvaire at 08 Oct 14:51

Do VFR flights appear on FR24?

Yes – it cannot know. It merely filters out 7000 squawks.

The only way to tell if it’s Eurocontrol IFR is from the squawk, which FR24 does show. Or from the altitude if “obviously” IFR e.g. FL250. I have not yet seen any homebuilt flying IFR like that.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Does FR24 pick up non-ADS-B out transponders, i.e. plain old Mode-C set to a discrete squawk given out by some ATSU? (I presume they also filter out 1177 and the other conspicuity codes)

Andreas IOM

No, only Mode S. A very good point, but Mode S is pretty well mandatory for “touring” in N Europe.

I don’t know about 1177 etc.

Curiously, about 2/3 of traffic I saw on today’s flight, east of Shoreham, was non-TXP or Mode A. Including one officially flying the IAP. So there is a lot of it around, at low level. But not above a few thousand feet.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

But mode S has no position information. In that respect, it’s no different than mode C.

So the only way that they could be plotted is by triangulation. I understand that they do try that, but in practice, you rarely see much GA of any sort on it.

If we don’t tend to see the south east of the UK covered in various squwaks, or every GA being worked by a French FIS (which all get unique squwaks) then there is some reason why. I don’t proclaim to know what the reason is, but it’s there.

If we don’t see lots of C182/172/PA28/TB’s on non-eurocontrol flights on FR24, then I’m not surprised that there aren’t many homebuilds showing up either.

EIKH Kilrush
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