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Are there pilots here that travel around Europe with an ultralight ?

Hi

Not sure if i put the post at the right place.

I’m interested in buying a plane to travel with my wife around Europe and the advantage of the ultralight category ability to go to many airfields.
I plan to travel a lot in Italy, France, Spain, and i see that ultralight give access to much more fields.Not talking about cost.

I’m a pilot based in Cannes, France with PPL and the travels i did in Europe were with Cessna 177RG, TB21, so heavy certified planes, and i was thinking if it is possible to do the same ( more slowly ) with ultralight.

Here is my concerns:
- leaving them on the field, need good tie down for wind as they are ultralight :-)
taking some tie down with us and something to fix on the ground ( increasing weight )
- solution for fuel, but we still could make stops to find avgas in certified airfields
- security to leave them on an empty field
- need to have a light weight, we are 135kg me+wife so little left for bags including a liferaft for some flights

I’m more on some slow plane like:
https://www.icpaviazione.it/flotta/ventura/ultralight-600-kg-ready/?lang=en

Thanks
Mickael

LFMD, France

When I lived in Spain (about 10-15 years ago), I met quite a few, mostly French, pilots who did exactly what you are planning to do. The main problem for them was the lack of ground infrastructure at the small fields they flew to. There simply are no rental cars (and often no taxis) at the UL fields. The other issue, IIRC, was that at the time ULs were not allowed to fly to any of the bigger airports. That may have changed and I’m sure you’ll get more up-to-date info here.

You should certainly compare notes with greg_mp, on here, who has been looking into buying a homebuilt to base at Mandelieu. He has been looking at all of the problems you describe.

LFMD, France

It is absolutely possible. Some countries have more restrictions than others though.

ESSZ, Sweden

Its very possible. Today I flew to a 290m x 20m field..There is the possibility of hangarage for overnight stops with a ULM. The walk to the nearest town (admittedly a small one) is about 1km. From most small fields it is possible to get a taxi or something can be arranged. But its always best to plan ahead.
The ULM scene in France is very helpful and friendly as is Spain ( read some of aarts posts on here) and Italy is also great for ULMs.
I know a lot of ULM pilots, they all fly all over France, and many fly to other countries, especially Italy and Spain. All of them just have a good time. Good phrase books come in handy unless you are a linguist but apparently that just adds to the fun.
Personally I put one foot into the Ultra light recently and I am finding it fun and also adds to my flying experience.

France

Welcome to the dark side @gallois

Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Ultralight privileges for international flight is the main “hassle” factor. As you can see, it varies according to where you want to go, and whether you want to comply, or “just fly”

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The permissions needed for crossing borders these days are getting a lot easier. As written on another thread permissions granted for 6 months in Spain and I believe it is the same in Italy. The difference from France is that Spain requires a class 2 medical I believe.
AIUI Germany doesn’t have a problem with 3 axis ULMs and neither do many other European countries. You may have to avoid the large expensive airfields, many still don’t like ULM, but many of those same airfields don’t like GA of any kind except business jets.
But that leads to another and probably the biggest problem. You will more than likely be welcomed at a huge number of small airfields around Europe, but you may need to have a few words of the local language. Many of these fields in France, Italy, Spain have no one around who speaks your language or English.
But often, where there’s a will there’s a way, and with a bit of perserverance and patience landing at the small fields will not only be interesting but also fun and rewarding, the opportunity of making many new friends. And the costs of landing fees and parking are zero to insignificant. You are using the same fuel as you would in a car and you get to see interesting places away from the normal tourist spots.
Yes there are some obstacles that might make things a little difficult on occasions but like your heavier bretheren they can usually be overcome and according to many I know, with a lot less stress and cost.

Last Edited by gallois at 10 Aug 08:13
France

Yes there are some obstacles that might make things a little difficult on occasions but like your heavier bretheren they can usually be overcome and according to many I know, with a lot less stress and cost.

I will put it this way. There are some bureaucratic nonsense here and there (Norway being one of the worst in fact, in this regard). The thing is, it doesn’t seem to stop anyone, because the bureaucracy itself works just fine nuisance – yes, showstopper – no. There are less to it than filing a flight plan.

Last Edited by LeSving at 10 Aug 11:49
ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

There are many ULM owners that fly across Europe, in particular Germans. And even beyond, to Northern Africa.

I recently did a little tour involving my home country Spain, France, Germany, Czech Republic and The Netherlands with my certified aircraft and just replayed in my mind what if it would have been an ULM, with the range of the Savannah you refer to. It would have been exactly the same trip and no added permits, disregarding the Spanish permit for a second. Note that I have only once refueled just 50 liters of AVGAS and could have avoided it. Mogas/UL91 available in many places, just needs a bit of planning. The nicest place? Viladamat, near Ampuriabrava, LEAP. “Hello Aart, I assume you know how to drive. Here’s the keys. Two cans in the back, fuel station 2 mins up the road”. No landing fees of course, and don’t insult them with a voluntary contribution.

Good idea to have some means to anchor your aircraft to the ground, but these need not to be that heavy. Especially if you take into consideration that you may end up in ‘posh’ places like Avignon Caumont (LEMV) and can get blown away not only by the Mistral but also by bizjets.. UL91 on that field too btw.

Like Gallois said, the ULM scene is quite something in France alone. The only drawback is that France did not follow the ‘opt-out’ rules for mass limitations like in many other European countries, so your MTOM is limited to 525kg (assuming a chute). You can make your own sums as to what payload the Savannah would give you. I’m talking about legal payload of course. I know various Savannah owners. Great design, easy to fly and get into short fields, sturdy enough, not very fast though, cruising at about 80-90KIAS. But who cares if you are just touring and enjoying the trip. EDIT: the max cruise speeds mentioned in the brochure you posted need to be taken with a grain of salt, like so often..

Last Edited by aart at 10 Aug 14:01
Private field, Mallorca, Spain
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