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What discourages European pilots from flying to the UK?

It seems to me that British pilots are much more likely to venture across the English Channel than our European counterparts do. I seem to see fewer European aircraft at British airfields than, say 10 years ago, but admit this is based on empirical evidence rather than hard facts.

Why is this, particularly for those of us who fly predominantly VFR? Can we have the views of European members of this forum?

The advantages of flying to the UK have got to be:
It’s certainly cheaper to fly here than in most European countries because of 1) the exchange rate (currently £1 =Euro 1.15) 2) Fuel cost, Avgas is Around £1.60/litre 3) You can reclaim the duty on fuel bought here and loaded for your return flight at about 36p/litre.
Customs/immigration is much easier, the UK require only 4 hours notice which is easily done on line and is valid for even the smallest airstrips anywhere in the country (except Northern Ireland), and it is only necessary for inbound flights.

So what are the disadvantages?

Over complicated airspace for VFR flying?
The food at most airfield cafes?
Language and dialect difficulties?

It would be Interesting to hear your views.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

While I was doing my PPL, I was taught that contrary to other countries, UK uses the quadrature rule. As a brand new pilot this was intimidating to me. However, my understanding is that UK has now moved to the semicircular rule. Anyway, now that I have gained some flying hours I don’t think the quadrature rule would be a deal breaker for me.

Another reason I can think of is the strict “punishments” UK has when one infringes controlled airspace, and the fact that it might not be easy for VFR to get clearance in controlled airspace. As a new PPL one might be scared of that. However, with some kind of GPS based navigation this “problem” can also be mitigated.

I’m not discouraged from flying to the UK any more, in fact it is one of the destinations in my bucket list.

Those are my 5 eurocents.

Last Edited by Dimme at 29 Mar 08:51

Non-Schengen. Complicates things needlessly.

EBST, Belgium

+1 What Bosco said

And somehow everytime I plan a trip to Duxford/Cambridge, I get sick, my wife and/or one of my kids or the plane. It’s true.


Food, non-Schengen, overhead join, weather, petty rules, generally poor hotels……

EHLE / Lelystad, Netherlands, Netherlands

There are better destinations to fly to. I do fly to the UK – but only for work, not for pleasure…

LFHN - Bellegarde - Vouvray France

I have done several flights to the UK, Biggin Hill. Gloucester and all the Channel islands. I love to be there. And I planned more flights to the UK which where not performed, always due to weather.

Berlin, Germany

Too much class A

I did Headcorn, Lydd, Shoreham, Duxford, Goodwood, Guernsey and had great experiences, would love to do more!

Water crossing (safety, weather,..) seems to frighten some new PPL guys I know

EBKT, Belgium
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