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US pilot moving to London

Hello everyone!

I am moving from the US to the UK this summer. I have a PPL with IR from the FAA, and expect to be in the UK for at least a few years.

Of course, I’d love to keep up flying while here. Great to know this group exists and that GA is doable over there :)

Anyways, I’m hoping to get advice on the best way to get in the air. I think one option would be to find an N reg plane, but I can’t find many available for rent.

I assume the other option would be to get a UK license? The CAA’s website is not easy to follow, especially post Brexit. Does anyone have advice on what this would entail?

Finally, what are the best resources for learning how things work over there? Any good online resources/books that are used during ground training?

Thanks, and looking forward to sharing the skies with all of you!

United Kingdom

flyingmatt wrote:

hoping to get advice on the best way to get in the air

Rest assured, you’ll get plenty here…
There are plenty of N reg aircraft around, so renting/buying shouldn’t be a problem. I’d just stay on the US system, licence and aircraft, unless you need to fly one of em G aircraft.
Still, you need to study my beloved CAP413, and the quadrantal rules if flying VFR… some knowledge of ATC and the services to be asked for can’t hurt either.

Good luck, and enjoy the “island”

Last Edited by Dan at 16 Jan 15:13
Dan
- ain't the Destination, but the Jour...
LSZF, Switzerland

> There are plenty of N reg aircraft around, so renting/buying shouldn’t be a problem

Ah that’s good to know! Any advice how to find them? A Google just finds me a Cirrus for rent; ideally id love to find something a bit cheaper :)

United Kingdom

Welcome to EuroGA and to the UK

There aren’t many N-reg for straight rental, simply because most N-regs are flown by owner-pilots, and owners obviously don’t normally want to rent out their planes. Rental hardware is normally (not always) shagged out, but practically all of it is G-reg. There have been N-reg “groups” e.g. the zero-equity deals but awfully expensive. I don’t know the current situation but N147KA (sitting in the bottom of the channel now; a search here will find details) was costing in the region of £500/hr and that was years ago.

However, you can’t “quite legally” fly on N-reg in the UK, and in much of Europe, on purely FAA papers. See this UK specific thread for the explanation. The same regulation also exists in much of Europe; this is the EASA version is the more general thread. The whole thing hangs on whether you can be regarded as “resident”. There is no known enforcement so it has never been tested. Airport police certainly have zero interest in this; I have always just shown my FAA plastic card, never my UK PPL/IR etc papers. However the big bonus post-brexit is that as far as the mainland is concerned you are not affected by the EASA version and can fly to the mainland freely on FAA papers only. For the UK side of it you need just the minimum you want which can be just a PPL, and the UK Class 2 medical.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I THINK there is still a path to get a temporary UK license on the back of your FAA one. Once upon a time, when the Wright Brothers were still building bicycles, it was easy – no paperwork needed at all. But it has got progressively harder over the years. In the rest of Europe it will very soon no longer be possible, but I don’t know about the UK.

Anyway you will need some flights with instructors to get used to different radio and flying practices – for example the dreaded overhead join, unknown in the US.

Speaking as an FAA pilot who just moved to France and is figuring it all out.

LFMD, France

Peter wrote:

There aren’t many N-reg for straight rental, simply because most N-regs are flown by owner-pilots, and owners obviously don’t normally want to rent out their planes. Rental hardware is normally (not always) shagged out, but practically all of it is G-reg. There have been N-reg “groups” e.g. the zero-equity deals but awfully expensive.

I see, that makes sense. So it sounds like I should try to make some friends of N-reg owners :) Or plan on getting the CAA licenses for the easier-to-find G-regs… Do you have any idea what’s involved in that?

Peter wrote:

However, you can’t “quite legally” fly on N-reg in the UK, and in much of Europe, on purely FAA papers …

Wow, I read through those threads, and what a mess!

Peter wrote:
However the big bonus post-brexit is that as far as the mainland is concerned you are not affected by the EASA version and can fly to the mainland freely on FAA papers only. For the UK side of it you need just the minimum you want which can be just a PPL, and the UK Class 2 medical.

Ahhh that’s interesting. So with an N-reg and UK PPL, I could VFR to the border and then switch to IFR.

United Kingdom

johnh wrote:

Anyway you will need some flights with instructors to get used to different radio and flying practices – for example the dreaded overhead join, unknown in the US.

I’ve definitely realized that. I suppose I can also ask the school I go with their take on the whole FAA vs CAA, N-reg vs G-reg situation. Just trying to get a headstart because I am excited! Overhead joins, Class A to the ground, PPR at most fields, and this whole “hPa/meters” thing :)

johnh wrote:

Speaking as an FAA pilot who just moved to France and is figuring it all out.

Congrats on the move! Have you figured out what you’ll be doing to get in the air down there?

United Kingdom

How much do you want to pay, where do you want to fly, and do you think you will need to go IFR? Bear in mind that in UK Class G, you can do IFR non-radio; it is purely in your mind.

I could VFR to the border and then switch to IFR.

Exactly, and I think many will do just that. A full IR is a lot of work. Plus a few hundred a year to revalidate; you don’t get the FAA IR 6/6 rolling currency (I have an FAA CPL/IR). It just makes some high altitude intra-UK flying a bit tricky e.g. South East to Scotland, but you can do that one in Class G along the east coast, for example; much of the way at 5300ft or so.

the dreaded overhead join, unknown in the US.

The OHJ is found in specific places, notably where a place is run by a “little hitler” chief For best effect they do it with a RH circuit I haven’t flown an OHJ in at least 10 years.

I can also ask the school I go with their take on the whole FAA vs CAA, N-reg vs G-reg situation

They won’t have a clue about any of that.

I don’t think any Class A goes to SFC anymore; that ended some years ago (they converted those CTRs to Class D).

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I don’t have much in the way of expectations for flying in the UK. I just know that I want to keep it up, and of course my first question was “how can I fly legally”.

How much do you want to pay

I’m used to $150/hr (£110/hr) C-172s in the US. I know that’s unrealistic in the UK, but I certainly don’t need to fly a cirrus or anything like that. Not sure yet exactly what prices to expect (looking at flight schools, I see ~£170/hr as an average around London).

where do you want to fly, and do you think you will need to go IFR?

I’m not sure; I’ll need to ask around what the best destinations are within the UK. And being able to fly to France and the rest of Europe would be an amazing experience if it’s realistic. As for IFR, I’m sure I could live with just flying on nice days, but it’d be nice to stay proficient, and I hear that it can make international flying a lot easier!

I haven’t flown an OHJ in at least 10 years.

That’s good to know!

United Kingdom

Flying abroad is IMHO the great attraction, and the UK south east is very well located for that. In a C172 type of aircraft, most of France is accessible in one leg.

But there is much to see in the UK also. Different people like different things; I like to visit historic old towns and they tend to make a very nice day trip. Then there are the islands e.g. Channel Islands, Isle of Wight, Scilly Isles.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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