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Learning on N reg in Europe (specifically, France)

Hi everyone. I was given your website address by a friend of mine, who said I may be able to get an answer here!

My G reg aircraft was recently written off by a friend and while looking to replace it I have found a similar one on the N reg. My son had started to learn to fly in our G reg and I want to know if it is possible for him to continue in an N reg or if it is no longer possible. Also, another potential option would be if he can have instruction in the N reg, but it not count towards his PPL hours. Sadly, I've not managed to find a straight answer to this yet !!

Thanks, John.

PS, we are located in France, not UK.

(EDIT: Of course, I meant "N Reg" and not 'N red' in the title !!!! )

It wasn't me!

There are a number of angles on this one.

There can be several reasons why ab initio PPL training in an N-reg can be difficult or impossible.

I don't know about the DGAC rules but as far as I know every country in Europe has rules restricting what sort of flying where money is changing hands can be done in a plane on a registry different to that country's own one.

This is to protect the income of the domestic CAA, otherwise every school would move its fleet to the N-registry!

In the UK, for example, there is an ANO article (don't recall the number of it, and the ANO has been renumbered several times recently) which requires DfT (Dept for Transport) permission for Aerial Work (basically anything where somebody is getting paid).

To find details of Aerial Work, search for the ANO (cap393.pdf) and you will find it in there - a permission from the Secretary of State is required. This permission is granted only to certain classes of users, and only for flight training (though I know they will do it for other stuff if you ask them nicely). It is free of charge. For background reading, also read this.

The UK CAA (acting on behalf of the DfT) have prosecuted some people for breaching that ANO article, so you need to get this right.

Legal workarounds are

  • Do not pay anybody anything for the flight training (can be difficult to make this credible)

  • Do the flight training outside UK airspace (but then the owner of the other airspace will hane his own regs...)

Over the years, a lot of this has gone on where the instructor was paid in cash. One problem with that is that if the student and the instructor cease to be friends (a commercial dispute for example) and the student screws the instructor in revenge, by reporting him to the CAA. This has happened in a well publicised case (an N-reg helicopter) in 2005.

France is known to be lax on training in N-regs and consequently a lot of this has gone on over there - obviously without advertising to ATC etc that the flight is a training flight. But you can't do this for ab initio PPL training because it would be pretty obvious...

Another obstacle is that all ab initio JAR-FCL (EASA) flight training in Europe has to be done via approved flying schools. The school has to put the N-reg plane onto its fleet so they can do it officially. This is not a difficult process in the UK... you can read this long tome for some background of doing the JAA IR in an N-reg (mine) in parts of Europe. Most schools don't want to do it, however (can't be bothered, etc).

Another issue is how do you legally carry out the solo portions of the PPL training. The paperwork which a pilot of a plane (or an instructor if an instructor needs to be PIC) needs to have are determined initially by the plane's State of Registry (the USA in this case). Since the instructor will in this case obviously need to be PIC, he will need to have FAA papers i.e. be an FAA CFI (Certified Flying Instructor - not to be confused with the UK "CFI" which is a self appointed honorary title given on a "Henry IV crowning himself" basis to anybody in nominal or actual charge of the school). And since he is training towards a JAR/EASA license he will also need to be a JAA FI. And since he will be getting paid for flight training in Euro airspace he will also need a JAA CPL (or following recent changes have at least passed the JAA CPL theory exams). It is possible but not easy to find an instructor who has all these papers...

But the instructor won't be aboard for the solo portions of the PPL! In an N-reg, the only license the student can be flying on is the FAA Student Pilot Certificate, which AFAIK is valid in US airspace only... That one thing alone will probably clobber your plan. There is no way I can see of doing the solo flights in an N-reg, outside the USA.

The few people who have done this did it by starting the PPL at a normal JAA school, doing the solo portions in the school's plane (G-reg or whatever), then walking out of the school as if they are dropping the whole thing (but collecting their training record and logbook entries all signed off on the way out) and then finishing off in their own N-reg plane, having found a suitably paperwork-loaded freelance instructor as described above and having obtained the DfT permission (or not paying the instructor for any flight training). But that was for the FAA PPL, not for the JAA/EASA PPL which you will be doing. In your case, the whole thing would need to be done via a school, but the solo flights will need to be done in a G-reg (or F-reg in France).

So there you are... no easy answer

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I believe that france could not care less wether ab initio training is done in n reg. Especially if it is your own.

However ... Looking at the date of april 8 2014 .. You could ask yourself the question wether or not it is smart. Because after that date your son would also need an easa ppl.

There are a few simple approaches to this issue. First of all .. If the plane is what you desire .. Do go ahead and buy it, if this is your intention.

Now you can either send your son to the US and let him do a fasttrack ppl. Once he has passed this, he must fly more than 100 hrs PIC ... (That is after passing). Before april 8, 2014. He can then do a conversion where he only does the written exams airlaw and human performance and the full ppl checkride ... If succesfull .. He has two licenses.

By the way technically this fasttrack can also be done in france but it does not happen that often .. Plus that our weather usually messes this up.

The other solution is to find an instructor who is certified under easa and under faa. They will be linked to an fto or ato. You can then register your n reg on that school and do the training. The training will count for both systems. Your son can then pass all the written exams for easa and faa and do both checkrides.

A good place to start is to contact They have two way qualified instructors.

One question you do have to ask yourself is .. Is it smart to do an ab initio in your own plane. The wear on the plane is more extensive .. Better to do this in an old piper or cessna 172.

Ps.. The solo part may indeed be an issue

OK - there are two ways this could be played, in Europe and in n N-reg.

One is to do an FAA PPL, log 100hrs and then convert.

The other is to do a JAA/EASA PPL, and that is what my reply above was basically about.

I don't think either is possible - due to the solo portions. I know it has been done. In fact I was issued with a Student Pilot Certificate in the UK, about 10 years ago, though I never flew on its privileges (I already had a JAA PPL) and back then I certainly had no idea that it was in fact useless.

If the solo bits were done at some normal school (in their own plane) then either method is possible.

I believe that france could not care less wether ab initio training is done in n reg. Especially if it is your own.

The French must care (along with every other European country) and their aviation law must contain its own version of the UK's "Aerial Work" restriction article otherwise every single French school would move its fleet to N-reg. There are no huge benefits (in planes used for paid activity) but there are enough little ones e.g. buying parts from the USA directly. What seems to happen in France is that nobody cares what you do until you piss off somebody big. But that is how much of the world runs! It works if you keep a low profile, which is clearly possible if there is an instructor in the RHS and nobody tells anybody outside that it is a training flight.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

and their aviation law must contain its own version of the UK's "Aerial Work" restriction article otherwise every single French school would move its fleet to N-reg.

Aerial Work was a unique UK definition which was never covered by JARs and EASA OPS 2 has not yet caught up with it, so it remains a UK thing! Apart from the solo, I can see no reason why training cannot be completed in an N reg if it is within an ATO/RF.

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