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Best aircraft for European trips

Be very careful! Flying in Europe is nothing like flying in the US. After 2 years I am still getting to grips with it.

I agree it could be less cumbersome and bureaucratic, however flying in Europe, especially within the EU, ain’t as bad as it is often made out to be. If you get a headstart of intel and/or fly a few days with someone in the know it’ll make things much easier.

Unfortunately flying from the UK now requires customs and immigration which is a substantial impediment.

The distances in Europe are shorter and hence even a typical single will allow for a major change of scenery in a reasonable short timeframe. I’d aim for a 150kt KTAS or more and TKS equipped plane. An earlier model SR22 NA with TKS is probably the best solution for the money. Fast, comfortable, enough power to reach the flightlevels & for short grass fields. If the latter isn’t required, a DA42 is ideal due to Jet-A availability.

always learning
LO__, Austria

xavierde wrote:

I do not want an old twin and my budget won’t be enough for a recent one e.g. DA62 so I’m sticking with a single engine.

I’d suggest to revisit this statement. At current prices (at least here in the US), the delta between a SEP and MEP pays for a hell of a lot of Avgas and maintenance. As most light twins are also deiced / have anti-ice, icing – which is a real issue in European winter – becomes more manageable.

For SEPs I’d second @boscomantico, a T182RG is a great traveling machine. If you need more space and speed, a T210 or, of course, a P210 would fit the bill.

Antonio wrote:

-2/4+ POB
-grass/paved runways
-short/med/long fields
-short/med/long flights
and I would add availability of support: some good types are not easy to support

@xavierde, I’d add to Antonio’s list:
-SEP vs SEP with parachute vs MEP (risk appetite for flights or long stretches of open water, at night, over mountains, etc).
-dispatch rate in general in terms of in flight weather (no Nexrad in Europe, while you can use Golze ADL for strategic avoidance, you might need a radar for tactical).
-pressurisation (he has got one in his Cessna 210, I think :) ).

Last Edited by arj1 at 22 Aug 21:48

Perhaps this N reg, deiced 182RG would fit the bill:

Cessna is much more suited to grass field operations than a TB20, which has considerably less wing area. The TB20 is very comfortable for longer distances however and the airframe is more modern/simpler than a Cessna, especially an RG variant. Cessna is probably easier to hand fly due to lighter ailerons – a consideration if the plane in question doesn’t have a decent AP.

Also remember that the youngest of the interesting Cessna singles, including all the RG models, are now nearly 40 years old.

Last Edited by IO390 at 22 Aug 22:01
United Kingdom

Perhaps this N reg, deiced 182RG would fit the bill:

The avionics are seriously ancient. If I’m not mistaken, there’s KNS80 in there. The price is reasonable but you’d want to count $50K+ to get some modern avionics.

LFMD, France

xavierde wrote:

Moving back to the UK (London) area in about 6 months and I’m looking at what aircraft to purchase for my European flying. Most flights will be to South of France, Italy and the UK but looking to other European countries as well.

Many questions. For serious travel IFR with FIKI or at least TKS de icing to the same standard are pretty much a must if you want any reasonable despatch rate. For VFR or light IFR (being able to be flexible and wait out weather), there is a whole bunch of airplanes which fulfill that.

xavierde wrote:

Owned a turbo Mooney in the US and loved the ability to travel far and fast but some of the shortest runways were out of my comfort zone (or grass).

From the latter statement I guess you will fly mostly alone or 2 people. In that case, Mooneys are still a good variant, if you don’t go for long bodies like the Ovation or Acclaim but ideally for a 201 or 252, both of I know to operate quite regularly from short strips (500 m/1500 ft concrete and 600 m / 1800 ft grass without too many problems. They still are the quintessential travellers for 1-2 people with bags. There are FIKI 252’s around, those should do nicely. If your flying is purely VFR, from a grass/shortfield performance C and E models with 3 blade props do some pretty impressive short field stuff too. But neither of those are de-iced. I’ve taken my C model into 500 m runway very regularly without any problem whatsoever.

If you seriously go short field, as others have said Cessna 182’s can hardly be beaten, even though some early 4 seat Bonanzas also have pretty decent short field performance.

And I would second the statement about twins: Current prices of twins vs comparable singles may well buy a lot of gas and maintenance. If i was in the market for a serious IFR tourer, there is very little which outdoes a Seneca, starting with the 2 upwards. Remember however that in Europe, being larger than 2 tons costs a lot of money in ATC fees, so a 1999 kg airplane would be preferrable.

Cirri are great travellers too but they are not really short field or grass airplanes.

LSZH(work) LSZF (GA base), Switzerland

johnh wrote:

The avionics are seriously ancient. If I’m not mistaken, there’s KNS80 in there.

They are more than enough for IFR if the GNS430 is a WAAS unit. If not, replace it with a GTN series and maybe the 430 and the KNS80 with a 750 and you are done for the most part. I’d say it’s a rather nice exemplar for the price, particularly as it’s de-iced.

LSZH(work) LSZF (GA base), Switzerland

Unfortunately flying from the UK now requires customs and immigration which is a substantial impediment.

Almost nothing has changed, because the UK was never in schengen, and most European airports have either no C+I, or both. So I can do this just as before.

It’s funny how many recommendations are for a plane which will cost so much to maintain it will financially cripple the owner (who has not been back anyway), or make Biggin Hill hangarage look like a great deal

What is the budget here – was my original question!

Also remember the OP quite probably works in the financial or some other “high flying” business (otherwise, why on earth would anybody want to live anywhere near London?) so, yeah, he really wants a plane which will be a nightmare to keep running. Especially given the extreme scarcity of half decent maintenance companies in the area. He prob99 wants something which works “out of the box”.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Well as far as I know @xavierde asked for assistance and, although he may be reading us, has not come back to answer any of the gracious offers for advise.

He may have whatever job, source of income or motivation to come and live in London, a place with rather difficult GA access, but that is not the question.

I for one would like to assist in increasing the GA numbers by assisting any interested persons in making informative decisions. What they do with the advise is again up to them, but avoiding bad decisions that end up driving people away from GA forever is something EuroGA can help a lot with, so @xavierde you came to the right place. A significant chunk of your GA expenditure will come as a consequence of your choice of location so worthwhile factoring it too.

As a baseline I would budget double the annual GA expenditure vs a similar US GA arrangement. There are ways to mitigate that significantly, the main ones being choice of maintenance arrangement but also operating base, since we are talking London.

LESB, Spain

For a start @xavierde could read here and here but probably he already did

LESB, Spain
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