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Getting PPL and buying my first plane

Firstly, hello folks! I have been lurking here for a while as I’ve been getting my PPL here in the Czech Republic. I’m originally from the US, but have lived in CZ for work for about 4 years now. One of my longstanding goals has always been getting my PPL, so once I found out that CZ has a aviation-friendly culture, I started my PPL studies. So far it’s been going well, and I hope to finish soon.

I’d like to get a plane for when I finish. Given the price and availability of Avgas in Europe, I want to get a Mogas plane. I’d like to buy one new. So far I’ve test-flown a Pipistrel Virus SW, and a Dynamic WT-9. The unfortunately-named Virus was a wonderful plane to fly, and I liked it more than the Dynamic. Anyone here have experience flying it, and/or maintaining one?

Additionally, I’m considering buying a kit. I’ve got my eyes on the Sling 4 TSi, but I’ve heard flying a homebuilt around Europe is more complicated than in the USA. The thought of renting a little warehouse and building my plane from the ground-up seems like it would be a load of fun.

Woj
LKLT, Czech Republic

Buying your own plane right after getting a PPL is the very best thing you can do for your flying. It gets you out of the “rent a wreckage” scene and gives you a long list of advantages. I bought my TB20 a year after my PPL (various reason for the delay; one was getting the money together) and it has been really wonderful. You will never look back for a moment.

The first thing to consider, Woj, is your desired “mission profile” – starting with where you want to fly. To fly freely around Europe you need a certified aircraft. For non-certified issues, do a search on e.g.

homebuilt privileges

and you will find how it works. It may well be ok for what you want.

Also mogas is not available at the vast majority of European airfields.

Building your own can be fun, as many here will tell you, but don’t underestimate the time required, and the skills needed to do it well.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Hello! The Virus SW has very impressive performance, and I’ve been keeping an eye on it for a while.

I’ve never flown one, so this is all second hand from a Slovene instructor I was talking to. It’s very fast for its class at 140kt, and with airbrakes you can do point-the-nose-straight-down descents PC-6 style. He said he preferred the standard (long wing) version as he was a glider pilot, which he also implied was safer, but he didn’t elaborate on this.

There’s an option to carry 200 litres extra fuel (300l total), giving 16 hours endurance, so you can take cheap fuel with you anywhere in Europe, or back to the US

Are there many Pipistrels flying in CZ already? That might give you an idea of maintenance.

Good luck with the rest of the PPL.

EGHP-LFQF-KCLW, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

The first thing to consider, Woj, is your desired “mission profile” – starting with where you want to fly. To fly freely around Europe you need a certified aircraft. For non-certified issues, do a search on e.g.

I’d like to fly around Europe mostly. From here to Italy, Spain, and so forth. Ranging from long weekends to proper vacations. I’ve also got a bunch of camera equipment as part of my job, so I think it would be interesting to experiment with aerial photography (i.e. – in the Alps, for instance).

Capitaine wrote:

There’s an option to carry 200 litres extra fuel (300l total), giving 16 hours endurance, so you can take cheap fuel with you anywhere in Europe, or back to the US

That 300L tank is an extra €20K, IIRC. And according to the options list, you can add another 50 liter tank on top of that. :) Personally, I’d be fine with the 100 liter standard tank.

Capitaine wrote:

Are there many Pipistrels flying in CZ already? That might give you an idea of maintenance.

There aren’t many here, from what I gather. Though a reputable Pipistrel dealer is just across the border in Poland.

Woj
LKLT, Czech Republic

Dobry den Woje a vitejte!
I’ve just moved to the UK (yesterday) from LKTB where I was living for a number of years, and I finished my PPL there last year. If I had stayed in CZ in Brno I would have joined the aeroklub there, it’s about the cheapest flying I could have had. Buying an a/c there would have been an option, but for the cost of hangaring and airport fees at a somewhat busy ‘international’ airport. I am not sure how it is at Letnany, probably similar. You’re right about the aviation-friendly environment in CZ, especially if you are flying ultralights too (I am also a member of the UL union thingie but I dont hold a ULL licence. It gives me a right to land at UL only airfields, even in a non-UL a/c). The only gripe I had with flying in CZ is the rental price of a/c is out of proportion compared to the cost of everything else there. For example, I was paying more per hour for a C152 there than I would in the UK. Definitely if you can get hangar space at a good reasonable price, getting your own plane would be a great thing to do. Good luck.

LKTB->EGBJ, United Kingdom

I have done a ton of photography and videos.

If you want to get reasonable results, pick a plane which has a fairly flat portion of material on the side window. Some planes have an all-curved canopy and they are no good (except for sunsets ).

For videos of the outside, you want an externally mounted camera, to get anything even half ok. There are some solutions involving a camera behind high quality optical glass but they are quite specialised. External mounting is not normally a problem (can be illegal/provocative especially if the wrong person sees it) but I can imagine there are some airframes on which there isn’t a readily accessible rigid mounting point. On wooden types in particular you can’t screw something to a spar and you obviously can’t attach it to a fabric skin.

There are various previous threads here on these topics.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Coda wrote:

Dobry den Woje a vitejte!

Diky, @Coda :) What kind of UL were you flying in CZ? Were you using them to fly around Europe?

Peter wrote:

If you want to get reasonable results, pick a plane which has a fairly flat portion of material on the side window.

I was planning to get a plane that has side windows so I stick a lens out.

Peter wrote:

External mounting is not normally a problem (can be illegal/provocative especially if the wrong person sees it)

Is mounting cameras on the exterior illegal? Never heard about that.

Woj
LKLT, Czech Republic

I suggest a search for e.g.
camera mounting
One previous thread is here.

The legality depends on various factors.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Woj wrote:

What kind of UL were you flying in CZ? Were you using them to fly around Europe?

I started my training in the Tecnam P2002JF (the certified version of the p2002 sierra UL so its technically a ‘normal’ light aircraft ), then I transitioned to C150/C152 (took my skills test in the 152). I liked to fly the 2002, it has light responsive controls and you had to really use the rudders to stay in coordinated flight. The C152 is a slow heavy beast by comparison.
The low wing of the Tecnam doesn’t make it a great aircraft for aerial photog. If I was going to buy my own a/c for this, I’d probably get a Zenith with removable side windows.

LKTB->EGBJ, United Kingdom

For photography high wing are nice. The Cessna 150 with it’s 2CV Windows work very well. I remember doing a lot of this at the time. I think also the 172 has these windows.

The Virus should do nicely as well. Not sure if it has a openable window though.

LSZH, Switzerland
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