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Flying in Europe and where to base N-Reg experimental / homebuilt in Europe?

Peter wrote:

Spain, as mentioned above, limits you to 6 months. France and UK 28 days.

As I said, there are several unrelated things that has to be considered. For me (Norway), haveing any N-reg (certified or not) is out of the question. I can have it for 6 months, then another 6 months, and that’s it. The aircraft then becomes an illegal possession. With EASA reg (EASA aircraft), this is a bit easier now. I can have it here, but the authorities will keep additional oversight, and who wants more bureaucracy?

What I can do, is to import N-regs, any N-reg whatsoever (or other “regs” for that matter), and put it on LN-reg. For experimental homebuilts this is a good option, since the experimental regime here is good, with few practical limitations. It cannot be used commercially is the only one, the same as N-reg.

Then there are practical considerations when flying, crossing borders. ECAC makes this simple for ECAC member states. Another issue is what happens if your aircraft is grounded somewhere due to snag, or due to elapsed maintenance. If you can maintain it yourself, no problem, but if you are dependent on someone else, then this can be a real headache. Also here, LN-reg is good. It can be maintained at any foreign facility or by any foreign certified mechanic (or the builder ++).

For a Norwegian, an LN-reg experimental is a good choice, whether it is built in Norway or not (it’s also the ONLY choice if you want to base it in Norway). The builder will be able to maintain it himself (meaning, signing the books), if you are not the builder, then you can use any certified facility/mechanic. Operating it in Europe, there is no better choice. But I think Portugal/Spain got something similar (not sure where I got it from, probably talked to someone).

If you can base a foreign experimental aircraft in your country, then LN-reg is by far the best choice in Europe as far as I can see (N-reg being the worst). The main problem is, you cannot do that in general. There are limitations (30 days, 3 months 6 months etc). This is a different matter however.

One should also keep in mind that the basic principle for all homebuilt planes by their respective authorities, was to allow for individuals to build and fly their own aircraft. I don’t think any authority meant or wanted, or anticipated homebuilt aircraft to be a replacement for certified aircraft. What has happened though, in the last 30-40 years is that GA has changed. The only sustainable certified GA left is biz-jets and helicopters (high end and “state like” exclusively (ambulance, police etc)). Then there is a certain training industry, seemingly GA, but irrelevant all things considered.

The rest of GA has become recreational (flying because you want to, not because you need to). There is only one thing to say about the regulations we have today. They are not fit for purpose. This has happened due to incompetence by the authorities and people (private pilots) living rather stuck in the past. A digressional rant perhaps, but the fact remain. Private GA today IS homebuilt aircraft, it IS microlight/UL, it IS all about recreation (certified aircraft or not), and it IS international. The authorities are still stuck with heads far up their xxxes, continuously making new incompatible “national” regulations that we have to live with. An RV-4 in the UK is something completely different than an RV-4 in Denmark as a result.

Last Edited by LeSving at 16 Feb 10:31
ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

Many, many thanks to everyone. A lot of food for thought for me.
I’m actually thinking along the lines now of building the aircraft myself in the USA and then doing the unthinkable: ferrying or having it ferried to Europe.

I like the sound of getting it on to the Norwegian register. Would that mean I could the fly around Europe pretty much unrestricted?

What are the financial rules regarding importing into Norway? Is there something like sales tax, import duty or VAT or something? I presume there would be! I’m

EGKA, United Kingdom

Would that mean I could the fly around Europe pretty much unrestricted?

Only some parts. See here.

There is a matrix of which countries need to issue a permit.

Also the threads listed below under “Threads possibly related to this one” are worth a look.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Euroavion wrote:

What are the financial rules regarding importing into Norway? Is there something like sales tax, import duty or VAT or something? I presume there would be! I’m

There is. 25% import VAT. Then it is Norwegian, and Norway is not EU, so you probably would need to import it again to EU ? Sounds like a complicated and/or expensive thing to actually do it. There is also Sweden and Finland (both EU).

You can fly it, free as a bird in most of Europe, see here

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

LeSving wrote:

There is. 25% import VAT. Then it is Norwegian, and Norway is not EU, so you probably would need to import it again to EU ?

That is an excellent point! If you intend for the plane to have extensive stays in the EU (or you will reside in the EU while you use it), you’ll have to import it into the EU, and pay EU VAT. You can, to some degree, choose which VAT (the VAT of which country), by making the first landing from outside the EU, in that country (if you can reach Luxembourg… will save you 2% or 3%, may not be worth the effort), or by making the intermediate landings with some kind of “temporary transit” paperwork to the final destination.

Last Edited by lionel at 19 Feb 16:11
ELLX

ploucandco wrote:

Indeed, UK and France are limiting you to 28 days.

Yet there are N-Reg “experimental” living permanently in France, I know off at least 3…

skydriller wrote:

Yet there are N-Reg “experimental” living permanently in France, I know off at least 3…

I would challenge the practical legality of this one. My N-reg Europa was some 4 years ago based in Switzerland and I was often flying to Belgium. So, after 5 e-mails and 3 phone calls, I got once an overfly for 3 months for France. That was the maximum that the DGAC could “offer” without having the plane checked by their inspector (can of worm for a N-registered experimental). All the other countries around is 1 e-mail with standard set of documents for getting 1 year permit. Worst case is max 2 e-mails and a phone call if a document is missing.

Ukraine

Yet there are N-Reg “experimental” living permanently in France, I know off at least 3

Sure; France has a large community of non F-reg homebuilts, due to historical difficulties of putting some types on the F-reg, after c. 1998. If you know how the system works, it doesn’t take a PhD to work out how to stay under the radar:

  • avoid Mode S
  • keep a low profile when flying (preferably not land away too much, and land in discreet locations)
  • fly non radio whenever possible
  • not have an accident
  • not make enemies, especially at the local aeroclub
  • probably, running a pilot forum is not a good idea
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

So I have a similar question: I would like to base a Glasair III in Switzerland, operate in Eurpe (preferrable with IFR as an option), but it is currently in USA on N-Reg. I gather from this and the other threads on EuroGA the following:

- N-Reg experimental is a bad idea
- I should either try to get it on LN or SE-reg (IFR) or on HB-reg (where homebase will be)

Problems/considerations:
- LN reg is good in theory, but it seems I would need to pay import duty/taxes in Norway AND in Switzerland? (Probably not in EU, because I will be only in EU countries for 2 weeks at a time maximum)
- so from a financial perspective, Swiss HB-reg is probably best. This will cost me IFR and night VFR privileges

The financial question I have to answer for myself, but what I don’t understand is the tradeoff in paperwork:

What kind of effort/issues can I expect moving it on a HB-reg? I guess I have to get a noise certificate? What other boxes do i need to tick, for example avionics conforming to EASA standards? Knowing Switzerland, I would expect it all has to be “proper” which is different from N-reg “proper”…

Insurance-wise probably HB-reg is also better compared to LN/SE reg but not basing the plane in Norway or Sweden.

Switzerland

There is a difference in France between an experimental and a kit built aircraft. They are 2 different categories with slightly different regulations.IIRC to keep either kit built (CNSK) or experimental (can’t remember the category but its F‐W) here as @ploucandco wrote you would probably have to get OSAC to inspect the aircraft and/or paperwork.
Btw you can get permission to fly kit built aircraft at night but IFR is only very exceptionally (so more likely, not).

Last Edited by gallois at 19 Feb 08:10
France
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