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Which EASA reg is best

I’m trying to find out which of the EASA regs is best for a private pilot in terms of cost, hassle, freedom etc. It should be fairly easy to move an airplane e.g. from the French register to the Danish. If there is one that is superior to the rest, it could be worth moving to. The reason I am interested now is the looming danger of the Cessna SIDs and Germany’s position to mandate them which is a big no for me. Here’s what I know.

Germany
Good:

  • operation beyond TBO allowed without restrictions
  • relatively cheap administration fees
  • owner can do everything but annual, rather liberal on maintenance

Bad:

  • Cessna SIDs might become mandatory
  • expensive (bi-)annual avionics check
  • long list of mandatory IFR equipment (actually that is for all aircraft in the airspace but it is easiest to enforce during the annual check)

UK
Good:

  • No danger of Cessna SIDs
  • Appear to be more GA minded than the rest
  • They speak English :)

Bad:

  • 150h check
  • restrictive on operation post TBO

I would never move to a TBO enforcing reg so that rules out the UK. Any other candidates?

Last Edited by achimha at 21 Mar 18:35

The UK 150hr check is not a problem for most private owners. I am one of the higher-hour ones and I reached it only twice in 12 years, and even then only just. But yes; a huge financial issue for a busy syndicate.

AFAIK you can run the engine on-condition without a limit. But lifed components are still lifed under EASA Part M. Others will correct me on this, but I think there is a theoretical route to getting an alternative maintenance programme approved, but few if any owners have succeeded.

The UK CAA does speak English but most of it doesn’t make much sense anymore. Most people who knew what they were talking about have left in recent years. That much is evident from correspondence. I have just got a letter from their medical department asking for some document I “had” from a doctor who I never met. There is a small number of very good people in there, pro-GA, however. They are hampered by a silly financial requirement on the return on capital, which drives their fees up constantly.

The biggest problem with any registry move is that the plane gets completely taken apart and checked for any mods or installs which are less than perfectly certified. The CAA inspector (or the FAA DAR if going to N) is usually a character whose principal childhood hobby was pulling legs off spiders This article is for G to N but the issues apply to any registry move. I would thus not do a registry move unless the plane was absolutely “certification perfect” (and such a plane doesn’t exist – at any level in aviation) or (as was the case with mine) is fairly recent and has not had much done to it yet.

The risk is that you end up in a legal limbo, and the maintenance company doing the job has you over a barrel. I had that when I did it in 2005. The IA who was going to work with the DAR turned out to have been moonlighting from his day job and when he found out that some of the Socata paperwork wasn’t right he ran off and vanished because he didn’t want the FAA to be looking at him too closely (as they very much do with IAs). It took me about 5 weeks to sort out the mess.

If I were you, I would go N-reg, but you personally would need to get the FAA pilot papers which is a bit of a hassle.

Last Edited by Peter at 21 Mar 20:23
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I am not an expert, but I think that nowadays moving between EASA regs is usually quicker and more straightforward than going from EASA to FAA or vice versa.

I would still go N-reg. On balance, the pros outweigh the cons. A summary is here.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 21 Mar 20:38
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

I would be a little hesitant to change horses.
1. Should we not expect that EASA rules will apply everywhere over time? So some advantage that you may see now in a certain country’s may disappear.
2. Change to N. Isn’t the tendency to make life harder for planes/owners (especially European citizens) to go/stay on an N-reg?
Not an expert either, just a gut feel.

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

Isn’t the tendency to make life harder for planes/owners (especially European citizens) to go/stay on an N-reg?

Not really. Seems a licencing issue now. No pressure against the aircraft that I can see.

EGTK Oxford

I would thus not do a registry move unless the plane was absolutely “certification perfect” (and such a plane doesn’t exist – at any level in aviation) or (as was the case with mine) is fairly recent and has not had much done to it yet.

I’v owned an D-reg, HA-reg, shorty F-reg, No-reg and now an N- reg…. non of the EASA reg’s offer the flexibility as the FAA system to my understanding the German is the closest…

My bird is from 1966 (with some major avionics upgrades in it’s life cycle) and I did (Thank you dear IA.. ) it recently moved from F- to N-…There are some basics to take into account. It can be done without to much hassle..
- find a good IA who has experience with this and that you TRUST
-make sure you have as much as possible the history (lebenslauf, log-books etc…)
- Talk with him first and NOTE all the paperwork you need to have to assure it can be done
- make sure your basics engine, airframe, prop all have FAA STC’s or from origin US
- the most important is to have all the certificate for Export for your airframe, engine….
- Assure that the avionics are covered by US TSO’s and/or FAA STC AML approvals, Auto Pilot…
- be able to proof that the airframe had an original US Airworthiness at some time (mine was flown over the Atlantic in 1966 from Boston to Le Bourget based on a US A/C for export )
- Make sure you can proof the VAT has been paid
- don’t De-register until you are almost SURE you have covered all the requirements..
- There are limited DAR’s in Europe (with experience in this) and that can become the most difficult part ……..
- Some DAR’s are difficult on language used in the maintenance records when in English it surely helps…French, German not…
- we installed several FAA STC’s even before the official A/C was given, this worked fine as they all ha fresh FAA STC’’s..

Any EASA only STC without FAA approval is a no-go e.g MT prop with not FAA STC….e.g.

PS I am very happy with Hawker Beechcraft (Textron now) for there excellent service and record keeping)

Last Edited by Vref at 22 Mar 10:35
EBST

Good summary.

non of the EASA reg’s offer the flexibility as the FAA system to my understanding the German is the closest…

That is my understanding as well, so a move from D-reg. to a different EASA reg has to be well considered. Germany does however have the dreaded recurrent avionics check which costs 1000 Euros per year for an IFR aircraft. Plus now there is the SID problem…

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Plus now there is the SID problem…

Well I know some people in the business and it surely offers a incentive for lower cost CAMO’s in central Europe who over the last twenty years have gained a lot of experience with Pipers and Cessna’s..

EBST

As stated above, moving the registry within the EU is vulnerable to the new national CAA changing the way it works.

There is all kinds of politics going on in this area. Currently the EU is politically weak, which enables some CAAs to ignore some of the regulations (which according to EU law they absolutely must obey, but hey the EU is not going to ban somebody’s beef exports over some Part M noncompliance) but that may change, with new individuals, etc.

N-reg is the only real way to go, because Part 91 offers maintenance on condition, which is how by far the biggest GA community in the known universe has been doing it for decades. However, as has been written before many times, there are certain gotchas with that:

  • the pilot needs FAA papers, in addition to EASA papers if “operator” is EU resident
  • 337 Field Approvals are hard to do, so you need to limit yourself to STC-based mods (OK for all “fashionable” gear today)
  • some countries do not allow some “money related” ops in N-regs
  • you really do need to know good people – an A&P and an A&P/IA – and keep a good relationship with them (so N-reg is not for “fly land and forget” owners)
  • there is a vulnerability in the Trust system (to the death of the trustee) but it is effectively addressed by going for the more expensive 75%/25% trust
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

What about the new Guernsey 2- registry?

I am seriously considering this for my Commander, they recognise and back to back on FAA or CAA or in fact Canadian rules/Licences (once chosen you have to stick to the chosen maintenance regime) and importantly for me will enable me to use the FAA IR which I am doing at the moment

Being an EASA agency they shouldn’t have the N reg ‘uncertainty factor’ IMHO

Flying a Commander 114B
Sleap EGCV Hawarden EGNR
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