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Peter wrote:

For a start, the uncertified regime has virtually no benefit unless the owner is a full time tinkerer and is happy to get his hands dirty, and values his time at zero. Also he needs to be fairly competent, otherwise the whole thing is a waste of time at best and will probably turn into a disaster (a financial disaster if you are lucky). And he needs the facilities (hangarage etc where work is permitted).

I have a non-cerified aircraft. I’m no big tinkerer. I’m not competent – well at least not in this regard

I pay 204 EUR each year for the permit renewal and frequency usage. Every second year I pay my mechanic for the instrument and static check – not much either. For simple maintenance I have my plane at home in my trailer/garage, no time to waste for driving to the airport, discussing which work I’m allowed to do there in the hangar. My plane is capable of 130 KTAS on 20 l/h for 1,30 EUR/l, hangerage 0 EUR, when something is broken I fix it on condition, not because it is written down somewhere, that it has to be replaced due to it’s TBO.

How about you?
Okay, you can fly IFR


Well, our planes are very different, with very different capabilities, as are our parking and maintenance management options, so there is where the differences lie, not whether one is certified or not.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

not whether one is certified or not

And that is where I disagree. Your comment, which I already quoted is simply not true in my opinion and my experience. Let’s leave it at that…..


I really don’t get this debate.

For an aircraft otherwise identical and used in an identical way, there are only three things that make a difference to the operating cost:

- The work you do to maintain it
- Who does the work
- Which components are you allowed to use.

So, a non-certified aircraft is cheaper IF and ONLY IF

- there is mandatory work that makes no sense to do, and you omit it (a huge factor under some CAA regimes, less so nowadays). This includes useless paperwork that adds no value – it is not just about mandatory maintenance intervals

- a non-certified aircraft is cheaper IF and ONLY IF you do it yourself (obvious)

- a non-certified aircraft is cheaper IF and ONLY IF you get equipment that does the same job at a lower cost.

It is clear that in reality, all three factors count, so both sides of the argument are right: If you don’t do your own work, leave the thing as is, and maintain in a sensible way, there is very little difference.

In reality, however, most owners of uncertified aircraft either do the work, or install non-certified equipment, and so in practice there IS a difference. And they are happy to accept the limitations that come with it. In a pilot/owner population where <5% have an IR, IFR capability is a specialist requirement, and in countries with ample internal travel opportunities, so is crossing borders.

Biggin Hill

Cobalt wrote:

For an aircraft otherwise identical

Well, that would be the first challenge


Peter wrote:

and values his time at zero

I really, really dislike this argument because it’s so incredibly bean-counterish: it’s exactly how our “knows the price of everything but the value of nothing” former financial director would see it. If we took this attitude to everything we’d work every waking hour and never have any fun at all.

I get tremendous value from working on my own aircraft. It’s not money I get, but enjoyment. It makes as much sense to put a price on my time spent working on the plane as it makes to put a price on my time for going hill soaring in a glider, in other words zero sense at all.

It’s a bit like all those people who always discourage ownership because it’s cheaper to rent. Sure, it may be cheaper to rent but aircraft ownership has a great number of benefits on which it’s really hard to put a monetary value (such as the huge increase in enjoyment of flying many owners gain from owning an aircraft, the lack of people telling you that you can’t fly today, the lack of trying to get onto a schedule, the lack of silly rules on places you can fly to, the restrictions on how long you can go away for etc.)

Last Edited by alioth at 30 Sep 12:52
Andreas IOM

Peter wrote:

But that is difficult on the EASA certified regime. Almost impossible

Hence a perverse incentive is set up to do things off the books, and an awful lot of stuff is getting done off-the-books on certified aircraft, especially by people who live on islands with little or no choice of maintenance org on that island.

Andreas IOM

I agree 1000% @alioth and I too hugely enjoy working on my plane (with an A&P/IA for assistance and to legalise things).

I was making the point that those who say their Annual costs them £200 versus say £5000 omit to state the circumstances e.g. they spent 40 hours of their time on it, whereas if they used a company they would be billed for the £2500 standard Annual fee and then added remedial work of another £2500 etc etc etc. The list of differences has been posted so many times.

And that’s before you take account of the two aircraft types being probably very different. If you had say a TB20 on a Permit and a TB20 with a CofA there would be almost no difference in the operating costs if the latter was N-reg, and a few hundred a year if it was G-reg. But if you take the said TB20 to a normal company the whole comparison falls apart.

I know too much from behind the scenes… It gets a bit more controversial if you start disregarding ADs, for example.

Also most (not all, actually) owners are smart enough to pick their battles i.e. somebody who can barely pick up a spanner isn’t going to buy a Lancair IVP turboprop. Those who get this wrong tend to have fun (not) whereas of they took the plane to a company they would have a reasonable chance of having a usable plane for a while at least.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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