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I bought a flying garden shed

This thread is the sequel to the PA28 (Cherokee 140) going far away
and to the planes to own and fly thread

With my co-owning buddy taking 100% ownership of the PA28 I was again plan(e)less. The Cherokee was a great ownership learning experience. It did pretty much all I thought it would flying wise, however, even for basic IR training around here, a little more power would make things easier. Probably a 180hp PA28 would yield similar costs overall, and make reaching those IFR levels less of an adventure. Lesson learned and experiences saved for future endeavours in the certified world.

Soon after I sold my 50% share in the Cherokee, the local airport called, and after years on the waiting list, I was offered a hangar spot. I immediately accepted and took the spot, knowing I wouldn’t be able to supply the required weight/dimensions of “my plane” :) right away. So I needed a plane, fast, to reserve the space. And I wanted to do this on a budget, which meant the quest for an affordable (CHEAP!) flying contraption was on.

I had been reading up and down on the internet about experimental, microlight/ultralight, amateur vs. factory built and tracked asking prices on all the usual classified websites. There was one particular model which always seemed to be on the less expensive side, and when researching and interviewing people supposedly in the know, the verdict was “you can’t get more airplane for less money”. It is the Savannah, a popular factory or kit built all metal high wing, produced by ICP in Italy and usually powered by a Rotax engine. My research shows Max Tedesco from (South?) America to be the original designer of this type. More history on the real origin of the Savannah can be found here.

Asking prices for Savannahs ranged from the lower €20k for italian based “basico UL” (probably impossible to register anywhere else) up to € 100k+ for the newest factory built UL and amateur built experimental versions (registered e.g. in Germany). The Savannah isn’t the prettiest, and not the fanciest planes (“flying garden shed”) however it does get a good rep for it’s simple and sturdy build and it is economical (cheap cheap cheap) to own and fly and it is renowned as a STOL type able to take off and land in less than 100m (depending on the pilot’s skills, of course).

It is slow, painfully slow that is, but my motto for this “next step” in my flying career was “having the time is the true luxury”.

The plan was/is
- to secure a hangar spot paying the lowest possible monthly fee (based on weight at my base). As you might know, a hangar isn’t just a place where you keep an airplane, it’s like a church for those of us fallen for the aviation religion..
- to have an airplane available whenever I want and have time to fly
- to utilize the off the beaten track “friendly, no fuss” and inexpensive infrastructure of grass fields nearby (Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Hungary..)
- to not break the bank in light of a young family and other commitments (at 15 liters of car gas per hour and hardware store parts prices, certainly possible)

A few months of paying for an empty hangar spot later, I found an early (year 2000) ICP Savannah (MXP-740) with a 80hp Rotax (apparently the original 912 with 80hp is quite robust = cheap, exactly what I need) for sale in northern Germany. Low asking price between 20-30k€, factory built by ICP, registered in Germany (D-M…) and therefore also equipped with BRS. A friendly seller, who even went through the trouble of taking and sending me 150 pictures the next day. We agreed on a price and I paid 50% deposit, with the rest due upon pickup sometime in spring of 2023. The seller also agreed to install a Mode-S transponder I would send him.

An avionics tech contact of mine quickly borrowed me a mode-s transponder and I ordered the required cable/antenna online and sent it to the seller for installation. Alongside this process the ownership transfer using one of Germany’s two microlight associations went underway. Without an involved seller, this process wouldn’t have worked as easily for sure.

I also needed to obtain the german microlight “sport pilot license”, which, for an EASA FCL license holder, required some theory review and flying with the head of training of a UL Flight School. I did this at EDME in a new Icarus C42 microlight, bimbling around for a day between all airfields nearby, including an actual instructor induced dead-stick landing (a first for me). It was fun and low hassle to fly a UL around southern Germany.

Two pictures of the Icarus. Note the fuel tank with markings and the plastic basket “luggage” case.

And come “Canyon” flying…

Finally, in May of last year everything came into place and I took an early Sunday morning flight on Lufthansa to EDMO, where my buddy picked me up in the trusted (and our formerly co-owned) Cherokee for the quick hop to the glider grass field where the Savannah was based. Quick hop by air, that was. By car it would have been 2 hours, and by public transport a day or two. It was quite an exciting approach and landing to say the least, and my buddy’s skills were put to the test.

On short final for “Savannah base” in the PA28

It was already mid afternoon when we arrived, and after a quick glance at my “new” plane I quickly flew three laps with the seller, after which we topped of fuel (first time I ever filled an airplane using a jerry can), said our goodbye’s and off I went heading south.

To be continued.

Last Edited by Snoopy at 24 Jan 22:46
always learning
LO__, Austria

Excellent! Congrats on your new airplane, wish you a lot of fun with it :)

If your path brings you to EDQN, let me know, beer’s on me! (or any non-alcoholic beverage)

EDQN, Germany

Snoopy wrote:

“you can’t get more airplane for less money”.

You probably know, that I need to contradict here Anyway, congrats to your new plane – looks really nice!


You probably know, that I need to contradict here Anyway, congrats to your new plane – looks really nice!

Agreed, and I looked at Europas too. Would have been a better plane (more efficient, faster) at slightly higher cost. Problem was the <500kg.

always learning
LO__, Austria

Ah, now I rememer that problem. Do you have to put the Savannah on the OE-reg or can it stay on D-reg? As you might know, basing foreign registered Microlights in Germany is a big issue in the meantime.



LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Do you have to put the Savannah on the OE-reg or can it stay on D-reg?

Thanks to this provision
it can stay D-reg (D-M… where … are my kids’ initials 😀).

always learning
LO__, Austria

As you might know, basing foreign registered Microlights in Germany is a big issue in the meantime.

No issue here, I am not aware of any austrian registered UL even.
There is a “club” here comprised of ~50 D-reg UL all based in AT. Membership is 40€/year which buys insurance (3rd party liability) for <200€.

always learning
LO__, Austria

Alternative for the hanger-problem with the Europa would have been…


Congrats Snoopy! A very nice and capable bush plane
The thing that struck me is that you approached “the project” exactly the way I would: first get a place in a hangar, than buy the aircraft

europaxs wrote:

Alternative for the hanger-problem with the Europa would have been

I’ve been disassembling gliders and putting them into a trailer since the age of 16, but somehow don’t see this as a viable method for powered aircraft. Europa is of course a special case. RV12 can be stored in a trailer, but I’m still looking for someone doing this on regular bases.

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