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Good countries to fly to in Europe

Being a EuroGA forum we may want to share experiences of flying in the different countries.

Personally, flying VFR sep based in Italy, I find the following:

Malta - easy
France - easy
Germany - easy
UK - easy
Austria - easy
Spain - easy
Sweden - easy
Finland - easy
Norway - easy
Croatia - easy
Greece - check airport opening hours and fuel
Romania - difficult
Bulgaria - complicated
Ukraine - complicated and expensive
Turkey - very complicated and expensive

(edited to restore the table)

Happy only when flying
Sabaudia airstrip

I've been to most of those countries and concur.

I would add

Switzerland - easy
Albania - complicated permissions - but only 1 airport
Slovenia - easy
Italy - the big airports are easy

Turkey is OK if you know some Turkish pilots who can organise it all for you. Then it is very smooth. N-regs need a special entry code which goes on the flight plan, or is read out to ATC.

However I would have said the same about Greece when I first went there in 2004; without Kyp and his friends I would not have done it. Today, Greece is easy, due to notams carrying opening hours etc permanently, and anyway you can just phone up the airports (they speak good English, IME). If they say they have fuel then they have it.

There is however a "second order effect" in how different countries might behave if something gets screwed up. One could have a different table for that

For example if you try to fly to Corfu LGKR without the PPR, they will simply refuse a landing clearance, just for the hell of it. And they are not the only airport or country where this can happen.

p.s. To get tables like this to come out right, put TWO spaces at the end of each line. This is in the Posting Tips.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Czech Republic -- easy
Poland -- easy
Belgium -- easy

Leaving aside the weather, I think Ireland is a pretty easy country to fly in.

Outside the Dublin area you've got one frequency for FIS, which will give you a radar service over most of the country.

There is relatively little controlled airspace and what is there is easily accessible (except around Dublin).

Airports are generally easy going.

EIWT Weston

I originate from the Czech Rep and have been back (GA) a few times. It's good to see that some former Iron Curtain countries have done a good job (e.g. Czech Rep, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia) but it looks like others (e.g. Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia) have sunk into a hole, probably by appointing some failed N. European airport managers who told them that "jets" is the way to go and GA is best avoided.

However, Prague LGPR is going up in price all the time - a 4x increase since 2005. Most people seem to fly to Vodochody LKVO.

On my last trip to Greece (9/2012) I planned stops at Skopje (Macedonia) and Belgrade (Serbia). Due to replanning due to weather, I avoided both stops. Both would have been straightforward to fly into, especially IFR as I do almost universally when outside the UK, but they both took one hell of emailing (initially faxing) to sort out the CAA etc permissions.

In Greece, only Hania / Souda Bay (LGSA) was comparably complicated (trip in 2007) and that is a semi-military airport with constant F16 flying.

What always worries me with such anally retentive permissions is that you can never be quite 100.00% sure that nobody has screwed up and that the person in the tower has your aircraft reg on his "approved" list for the particular date or dates for which you got the permission.

One approach, suggested for the "screw up" scenario is to arrange for your oil pressure to be too low when you are inbound In practice few will have the balls for that and one needs an alternate (and be ready to declare a fuel emergency there) but then one usually ends up in some dump where one didn't want to be. I like to plan my trips so they "just work" and this is easier in some places than others.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

former Iron Curtain countries ... Croatia ...

Oh Peter, we've never been behind Iron Curtain :) Ex Yu was pretty much open after late 50's last century: foreign tourists were able to freely visit it (mainly no visa was required) and we could travel whereever we wanted for any reason (tourism, work or emigration).

Back to the topic, Bosnia is easy to fly in but you can't get 100LL. The airports have very low intensity of traffic and transfer from airport to the city can be a problem (except Sarajevo) if not pre-arranged. However, we're talking about 4 airports (Sarajevo LQSA, Banjaluka LQBK, Mostar LQMO, and Tuzla LQTZ). And of course, there's mandatory slot requirement 24 hours in advance.

I find Belgrade, Serbia (LYBE) also easy - 100LL is available, fees are low (especialy if you fly alone or with another "crew member") and it's only required to announce arrival 12 hours in advance.

Anybody has any experience with Poland?

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

BTW one warining for Croatia: avoid extended parking at Split airport (LDSP) during summer because they have new special pricing - if you stay up to 4 days you'll pay 8€ per ton per day and if you stay more it'll cost you 12€ per ton per day (plus VAT which is 25%).

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Hungary - easy.

However I didn't fly to Budapest, instead I settled on Budaors, which was around 10 miles to the west of Budapest, spent 2 days viewing the delights of the city, the airfield is a grass strip and seems to be ex military - indeed the tower building is massive.

EDL*, Germany

Oh Peter, we've never been behind Iron Curtain

I knew that, really

Us Czechs were never allowed to travel to Yugoslavia because from there they would escape to the decadent / imperialist West.

if you stay up to 4 days you'll pay 8€ per ton per day and if you stay more it'll cost you 12€ per ton per day

One could make an interesting calculation of the relative cost of parking a plane at LDSP and getting Easyjet there once a week, versus parking a plane at EGHH. I think the former would be cheaper The scenery in Croatia also beats Bournemouth.

I tend to file Split as the alternate to the nearby islands.

You are very fortunate to live in such a place, Emir!

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Bosnia > mandatory slot requirement 24 hours in advance.

I forgot to mention Bosnia in my initial post, great destination, just a pity the unavailability of avgas. I believe the 24 hour slot requirement is no longer necessary.

Happy only when flying
Sabaudia airstrip
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