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Switzerland requires permit on all foreign ultralights (and other countries doing similar stuff)

boscomantico wrote:

Sure, with Switzerland, you never know what ideas they come up with to satisfy their desire for law and order…
Maybe I’m a bit too suspicious about governmental powers for correction and prosecution in general, as I’m used that those things in the Netherlands are very much digital automated. At least, this kind of superstition might be useful for my time in Switzerland. Fortunately, ramp checks seem to be not so common in Switzerland after all.

Apropos automated prosecution of breaking laws… Countries like Georgia do it even more hardcore. As soon as you’re speeding, the car owner gets a live SMS with a link to pay the fine online, including pictures from traffic cameras. Same in Azerbaijan, where you get the fine real-live by e-mail. After experiencing such “big brother” systems, I was definitely in the assumption that western countries run some more checks on GA-traffic.
Last Edited by Frans at 14 Jan 17:47

Peter wrote:

You probably would not if coming from the UK

From UK going to Belgium: the advice was to get ModeS I think everyone who done it in PtF, Micro or TMG got that from ATC and was dully inspected on arrival, I recall they decided to do that Ostend & Kortrijk spring cleaning in 2015, probably, after someone from UK landed at Koksijde with wood & fabric instead of Kortrijk, anyway looking at SkyDemon reviews people still confuse them in 2017…

Last Edited by Ibra at 14 Jan 17:52
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom

The one thin I don’t quite understand here is – are these permits ever denied?

If not – why on earth are they required?
If so – why not have simple criteria what can go in and what not?

Biggin Hill

Another interesting twist of France setting the max weight of ultralights 525 kgs is: assuming one applies for and obtains a permit for say a D-reg. 600kg-ultralight…

  • is the aircraft subject to ultralight rules in France, or subject to the rules for “other” experimentals maybe? As examples, there are some airfields and airports banning ultralight operations. Does this ban apply then?
  • And to put it the other way around: are these ultralights still allowed to operate from microlight strips, or not?

In the European context (where the most countries simply seem to go for 600 kgs), what France did is becoming a mess for sure. But the basis for this was laid when EASA made this an opt-out thing.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

The reason France haven’t gone for the 600kg has very little to do with the DGAC. It has been the FFPULM, the ULM version of the FFA whose members (ULM) pilots didn’t really want a rise from the 450/475 kg limit. But the fact that many were going to the 600kg sort of pushed their hand into reluctantly adding the extra 50kg.
The DGAC tend to leave all the regulation of this nature to the FFPULM and its members.

Last Edited by gallois at 14 Jan 21:46

gallois wrote:

The DGAC tend to leave all the regulation of this nature to the FFPULM and its members.

So let me get this straight – a membership driven pilot’s organisation is against giving their members more freedom with no downside??? Just goes to show that while we all moan about regulators, we should be grateful we are not regulated by other pilots.

Biggin Hill

we should be grateful we are not regulated by other pilots.

One needs to read GA social media for about 5 mins to realise that would be a really bad idea.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Cobalt wrote:

The one thin I don’t quite understand here is – are these permits ever denied? If not – why on earth are they required?
If so – why not have simple criteria what can go in and what not?

In Spain, a foreign-reg UL may not stay longer than 6 months in the country, so the permit serves as a starting date.

As an aside, Spain is finally making some serious moves towards making life better for UL-pilots. Main points:

1) Flying higher than 1.000 ft AGL and in CAS will be allowed.
2) Self-declared maintenance.
3) MTOM upto 600 kg, and EC-reg possible based on a foreign “ certification” of the type.

The latter would be really helpful for foreigners who live here with a foreign-reg aircraft who are illegal for 6 months of the year. And item 2 is actually more liberal than for instance Germany, where an annual inspection by a certified UL- inspector is required.

So Spain is going from being a very restricted country towards one of the more liberal ones. Kudos to AOPA Spain and AEPAL (local UL org) for their decade-long persistence!

Like Gallois indicated for France, Spain is a big country and the vast majority of UL flying is within the country. The weather is usually marvelous and so the ‘200 k€ UL’ makes a lot of sense for traveling. And most Spanish UL pilots don’t venture into Europe because of another obstacle; language proficiency.

Last Edited by aart at 15 Jan 06:55
Private field, Mallorca, Spain

The French are usually happier with the status quo than they are with change. This is equally so for French pilots. Change, always brings consequences, which usually means tighter regulation or more restrictions. For instance the change to 500/525kg seems to have coincidentally also aligned with the need to record flights in a log book. There have been other changes such as the need to take an online theory test to get your licence (a very simple one admittedly). This was once done by the instructor informally giving you a couple of sheets of paper with some questions on it and marked immediately.
ULM was all about just getting yourself something to fly and go flying. As long as it was light enough that if it fell out of the sky it didn’t cause serious damage to third parties or their property. And as long as the Vs was kept so low that you could stop within a small field when landing. And who built the aircraft, and how it was maintained was left to the individual. No need for radios or transponders, you didn’t fly in controlled airspace. Hence hundreds of tiny strips springing up on farms all over the country. Medical wise, if your doctor said you were okay that was enough, still is I think, and that was mainly for insurance purposes. Any PPL could automatically without further training fly a ULM, now they need training and a licence.
Most French ULM pilots are happy with their lot and don’t want change in case it infringes on their happiness.


I know in UK, some SEP/SSEA regulations from FCL/LASORS did creep into Microlights in the band 500kg-600kg, like difference training and variants being formal, it was one of the reason why many people from the “pilot organisation” objected to this but they have to take it from CAA with a sour taste

Most people with NPPL due to medical declaration but have superior skills on flying these can’t have FI or CRI, ​the other option is to ask the typical FI/CRI from ATO with DA40 fleet to teach RG gear variant in grass strips

In the bigger scheme of things still better to go for 600kg even if you are happy with 500kg, it’s an option what the “pilot organisation” wanted is to keep their chairs not their pilot happiness

Last Edited by Ibra at 15 Jan 09:08
Paris/Essex, United Kingdom
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