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Experimental / homebuilt in Spain

you can’t really draw any conclusions by monitoring FR24

I am not drawing any conclusions from FR24. I just take issue with “advice” repeatedly given here by LeSving that homebuilt IFR is legal everywhere / almost everywhere / most of Europe / in Norway and Sweden / every other combination which varies according to the month. Or even that homebuilt VFR can be done freely all over Europe / [sub-classes of Europe, usually reducing to Norway when pushed ]

Sure you can get permissions, for just about everything. But the repeated assertions are that you don’t need these and can just do it freely.

If you stick to that, then no insurance company can legally create problems for you

No, sorry but that is bullshi*it. Total bullsh*it.

There are airspace requirements for the certification class, and separately by equipment carriage, and separately by equipment carriage for the flight rules (the last one incidentally devalues the IFR-homebuilt option because you need certified avionics for it – as discussed here before loads of times).

and been sometimes asked by ATC, if I wish an IFR pickup…

That is a really bad example because ATC police precisely nothing. I could turn up anywhere with just a PPL and be offered a bit of Class A transit (and have had these), and accept it. Or accept a transit of London City in a SE plane (have had these too), or any other flight which is illegal but ATC don’t police it.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

My point was, that it is often, not always of course, no problem to fly freely in ECAC-reg. Experimentals VFR abroad without any problems legally based on several bilateral agreements and that nobody (not ATC, nor anybody else) checks, what permissions you have. ATC is no indicator, what you can do legally, nor is FR24. IFR is a different story and the limitations issued in the PTF ally in any case. Oh wait, didn’t we have related threads here already ;-)


Yes; the matrix of permissions and the various long term basing stuff has been amply discussed.

Anybody can find them with a search on e.g.


But again I come back to the same old mix-up:

Experimentals VFR abroad without any problems legally based on several bilateral agreements

True – between certain countries

and that nobody (not ATC, nor anybody else) checks, what permissions you have

That is just saying that there is little or no enforcement, which is a completely different thing.

The more you go south in Europe, the more things run on the basis of “keep your head down and don’t p*iss off anybody big or self-important”. But that doesn’t mean it’s legal.

And you can do even more in the former communist bloc – some great stuff is done there, and actually some of those countries simply have no laws on the subject, which is great.

For example I am sure that at least 99% of national-reg homebuilts based inside their country of reg country are 100% legal. The problem is that often this is difficult or impossible. Plenty has been posted on this already and this is one example, where IIRC you have to dismantle the ex-USA homebuilt to 51% to get it onto the national reg.

I simply hate people spending 5 or 6 figures on a plane, only to learn about this stuff later. And this happens – I know. You can so easily end up owning a plane which has no value other than

  • scrap (parting out… the engine might be worth 10k in the homebuilt market)
  • selling it back to its country of reg (which is going to be a very small market becoming an extremely small market when you want to sell)
  • keeping it in a hangar and taking it out for a quick local and then straight back in the hangar (an OK “mission profile” for many, admittedly, so long as you are happy with that)

and you better not have any accidents, after the 6 month period.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I have no pity for people who spend much money for an airplane without at least checking the legal limitations of its operations.

For example I own a PH-reg. aircraft and can fly legally abroad in most adjacend countries of Germany without a seperate permission. and I can base it here also. I was absolutely aware, that I have no posibility to register it here, so I had to make sure, that I am allowed to base it in Germany with a foreign registration.

Last Edited by europaxs at 14 Jan 13:55

I have no pity for people who spend much money for an airplane without at least checking the legal limitations of its operations.

They well might if they read most pilot forums, or no pilot forums, or some of LeSving’s posts here.

The legal situation is often very hard to verify. The UK has possibly one of the most transparent regimes (LAA) but even the LAA writes a lot of bull on occassions e.g. their opaque stance on G-regs based abroad which forces those owners to either fly back to the UK or get Annuals done under the table by a freelance LAA inspector. A “nice” LAA letter was posted here but was then removed on request due to possible repercussions for the owner.

As just one example, I know a syndicate of several who paid about 80k for a new kit and didn’t know. They will probably be OK because I doubt they will ever leave the UK and if they do it will be France which is OK.

But actually people still do it even knowing the limitations. I know they do. They take a financial view on it, and/or they are the “you need to live sometime” personality type. I have no issue with that, so long as nobody says it is legal (in the cases when it isn’t). I hope they don’t crash it and face a passenger claim, which is a virtual certainty from an injured or killed passenger not named on the policy. It’s “OK” if you have no assets apart from the plane, of course

But then having been in business since 1978 and in GA since 2000 I probably have a different view of risk management from some others… we all have our opinions. I fully accept mine are occassionally irritating But as you have seen, I get certain people lynch me for saying negative things about EASA v. FAA, maintenance firms and their practices etc etc etc. A different bunch of people would (I hope!) lynch me if I was posting stuff saying such and such is legal and this is how you get away with it.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

No, sorry but that is bullshi*it. Total bullsh*it.

Not so much as one might think just on the face of it. In the law (the Norwegian Aviation Law, not some regulation, EASA or other) §1-2, it clearly say that Norwegian air law apply (for me and my aircraft) also outside Norway. It’s the same with boats, and the legal system has been like this for ever. For instance IFR in a homebuilt, if there are no local laws and regulations that explicitly prohibit me and my aircraft to do it, then I have to follow Norwegian law, and this makes it legal (or not, if my aircraft is limited to VFR only). It works both ways of course. The thing is, the local foreign regulations governing homebuilts in that country are completely irrelevant for me and my aircraft. I can only be held responsible for things that specifically targets me, if there are none, well… This is the only way it can be of course, and legally when flying a LN reg homebuilt aircraft, I have to follow Norwegian Law first. This means to fly within the restrictions of the C of A for most parts. An insurance company will never question things like this. This should be obvious for you flying a foreign N-reg in EASA land.

Airspace requirements have to be followed, but in these GPS times, I don’t see how that can be problematic. There is no way without at least a couple of certified aviation GPS’es, and probably also DME. Its the same also in the US. There simply is no way today to built an IFR homebuilt without certified avionics any place on earth (to my knowledge). I’m not sure how the G900x works in this respect.

When the UK LAA people starts exploring Europe, flying IFR in their RV, writing about it in forums afterward, then I think things will very soon normalize. ECAC will become the big hero, also in the UK, much more than now

Peter wrote:

They well might if they read most pilot forums, or no pilot forums, or some of LeSving’s posts here.

I’m with europaxs on this. I have no pity for people spending money without thinking. Why should I ? People buy the strangest things, and most often nothing anyone can say or do, will prevent them from doing it. It’s just the way it is. You can analyze and do research day after day, all day long, in the end what decides is the heart. For lots of things that is much better also, it’s just more “risky” or the result becomes more arbitrary, but so what?

The elephant is the circulation

I expect we all know folk who have the building urge, but don’t think so much about flying. A local pilot built a Compair and fitted a new Lycoming engine and Hartzell propeller. Since it was not an approved model in France we all told him that if he wanted to fly it he should start the paperwork early. As far as I know the finished plane has been sitting in the hangar since the turn of the century, although he may have sold the engine.
This Skybolt has been languishing for more than 10 years behind me. It received approval in France and flew a few hours before the pilot died. I am told it cannot be re approved with the present engine and is thus unsaleable.

As far as legality is concerned there are some oddities. I believe Holland is the only country in Europe that requires aircraft to be fitted with an ELT. This seems bizarre as Holland is both flat and the most densely populated country in Europe. If you crashed I doubt you would be far from someone with a cell phone. France seems a benign country, but aircraft have not been found for years after a crash. A glider crashed in the Pyrenees a year or so ago and the pilot was injured. He spent three nights on the mountain before he was found by a Spanish forester despite an intense aerial search by both French and Spanish S&R. When you file a flight plan, ATC do ask if you have a locator beacon and a PLB is noted, although Experimentals are not required to have an ELT.

Hi, I have an Alpi Pioneer 300 homebuilt, registered in Ireland with an Irish flying permit. In the future I’ll intend to spend most of my time in Spain near Málaga. Therefore I would love to fly and register the plane in Spain and let do the annuals there.

Does anyone know if this is possible? And how the procedures for this would be?

I appreciate any help.


I have seen what I think is an AP300 being stationed on one of the fields here since a few weeks. Let me try and find out this weekend how it got its EC marks.

Edit: in general, AESA is not easy to deal with when it comes to reregistering ULs or Experimentals, so don’t get your hopes up too high. You may be stuck with the ‘6-months a year’ rule and keep it on Irish registry. But if you do get it on EC, the annuals are really straight forward now: a self-declaration.

Last Edited by aart at 18 Sep 14:24
Private field, Mallorca, Spain

The only comment I would make is be very, very careful. The Spanish system is not straightforward (AESA). I have a contact in Barcelona who looks after my affairs. Happy to give you his detail on PM if you get stuck.

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow
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