Experiences in international flying in an Experimental airplane?

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nickmatic

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I've been away from aviation for a number of years due to life's ups and downs but getting back in the left seat very soon. I've always loved to travel, and I've been fantasizing about buying a high performance kitplane (looking at Velocity, Glasair, Lancair, and others) and taking it across the Atlantic via Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland, with the overall goal of spending some time flying around Europe and possibly further, even to Asia and/or Australia. Would be a grand adventure!

I've been looking around and found a ton of good info on getting across the ocean, and some on flying in Europe, but almost nothing about whether having an experimental aircraft is going to pose challenges in other countries. I hear some countries are fine with it, others are not, but no details.

Anyone have any experience flying around outside of the US in an Experimental airplane? I'd love to hear some stories.

I have a US PPL.

Cheers,
Nicholas

PS Here is the limit of what I've found on this topic: International Flying Overview
Another very detailed resource I found about flying to Europe from the US: General Aviation Flying to Europe
 

nickmatic

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Gracias, Enrique! Me encantaría volar en España. I love Spain, and it would be a great way to see more of it.

Those are all great links. There are some great adventures there. I'll be busy reading them for a while :)

But what do you mean by "hot aereas"???
 

Dana

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Also check out Global Flyer by Brian Milton, an account of a round the world flight in a weightshift trike. Not a homebuilt, but an unorthodox aircraft and it's a illustrative of the problems to be had with local bureaucrats.

Dana

"The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." -- Will Rogers
 

PTAirco

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I would not advertise the fact that it is a homebuilt. In some countries it would not even be questioned, in others you would need special permission. I know you do in Britain, but I have known many US registered homebuilts that have visited. It's usually a straightforward matter there to get a permit - maybe not so easy in other places.

I often thought the best way to do a trip like that is to use a flying boat! That way you enter the country through marinas and ports and get dealt with as yacht rather than an airplane. Just taxi up to a mooring buoy, make fast and wait for the local custom man, who is unlikely to know or care who built your airplane.

And carry lots of impressive looking documents - I hear it's a must in many places. Preferably with lots of official looking seals and letterheads and flowery signatures.
 

nickmatic

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Great advice. The seaplane idea would be great! I think the best course of action is to try to learn as much as possible about the rules of a particular country/airport ahead of time and assess the scenario. If it seems like they'll be strict, get the papers, stamps, and permits in order. If not, hopefully nobody will care.
 

Dana

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I often thought the best way to do a trip like that is to use a flying boat! That way you enter the country through marinas and ports and get dealt with as yacht rather than an airplane. Just taxi up to a mooring buoy, make fast and wait for the local custom man, who is unlikely to know or care who built your airplane.
Might be harder than it sounds... When Jimmy Buffett had his Albatross amphibian, his plan was to fly it all over the Carribean, landing in the water, trying to recapture the glory days of the big passenger flying boats. Many if not most countries there wouldn't allow him to land on the water, they required him to land only at official airports. The idea if a plane that can land anywhere scares lots of ignorant bureaucrats (of course most small planes can land anywhere but they don't know that).

Dana

Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
 

PTAirco

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True - it may be harder than it looks. Bureaucracy will be the death of all adventure one day. If you'd built a pure flying boat that cannot land at an airport though...? I know, I know - I am crediting bureaucrats with a sense of logic here, that most don't possess.

And then there would be the difficulty of fuel, if you're engine required Avgas as opposed to regular fuel - something to think about too. Another point for the diesel, which available anywhere.
 

autoreply

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And then there would be the difficulty of fuel, if you're engine required Avgas as opposed to regular fuel - something to think about too. Another point for the diesel, which available anywhere.
Excellent point. Once you get below the Rhône, finding Avgas is something downright impossible (2.5 hours lunch, they're closed as well). Flying a foreign experimental in EASA-territory normally shouldn't be such a problem, except for Belgium, AFAIK, admission isn't a problem.
Canada apparantly has pretty strict rules for Atlantic flights (IFR required), so unless you can avoid their airspace (Azores), make sure you know the regulations. There's a reason I'm planning for transatlantic range ;-)
 

bmcj

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Might be harder than it sounds... When Jimmy Buffett had his Albatross amphibian, his plan was to fly it all over the Carribean, landing in the water, trying to recapture the glory days of the big passenger flying boats. Many if not most countries there wouldn't allow him to land on the water, they required him to land only at official airports. The idea if a plane that can land anywhere scares lots of ignorant bureaucrats (of course most small planes can land anywhere but they don't know that).
True - it may be harder than it looks. Bureaucracy will be the death of all adventure one day. If you'd built a pure flying boat that cannot land at an airport though...? I know, I know - I am crediting bureaucrats with a sense of logic here, that most don't possess.
Now with people like Rutan pushing the edge of space, imagine the tizzy you would create with the bureaucrats by landing a manned lawn dart, falling from space, on their front lawn or public park. :gig:
 

nickmatic

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Excellent point. Once you get below the Rhône, finding Avgas is something downright impossible (2.5 hours lunch, they're closed as well). Flying a foreign experimental in EASA-territory normally shouldn't be such a problem, except for Belgium, AFAIK, admission isn't a problem.
Canada apparantly has pretty strict rules for Atlantic flights (IFR required), so unless you can avoid their airspace (Azores), make sure you know the regulations. There's a reason I'm planning for transatlantic range ;-)
Hmm, diesel would indeed be great. Going to look into this in case I decide to build my own.

I'll definitely be IFR, so no problem there. But what about Belgium? They have rules about experimentals?

And no 100LL below France? Say it isn't so!
 

autoreply

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I'll definitely be IFR, so no problem there. But what about Belgium? They have rules about experimentals?
A certain "pilot" managed to crash two consecutive homebuilts that were foreign-registered. You need to get a permit which isn't too expensive to legally fly in there with a homebuilt. Not a big deal.
And no 100LL below France? Say it isn't so!
They usually do. At least, that's what they tell you. But once arrived, often it's empty, it's contaminated, or the guy with the keys is on leave, or just disappeared.

Italy has a hefty tax for people that fly in for more than a few days. France has a pretty steep penalty for flying into forbidden zones (25+K euro's). That's why local connections are ESSENTIAL. Nothing unsurmountable or problematic, as long as you talk to locals. (and stay west of Israel, St Petersburg and north of the Atlas)
 
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