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Experimental / homebuilt in Spain

I’m very happy to have found this forum and have been reading threads for hours. I am of course still very confused about IFR and cross-border flying in Europe with an experimental. I built and flew my Glasair Sportsman across the US and Bahamas but sold it when I moved to Europe 3 years ago. However, I have the itch again and would like to build once more. I’m not sure what yet but I like the Diesel Sportsman, Glasair II, the RV-10, and even the Lancair Evolution piston.

However, I’m completely blocked on whether it’s worth it in Europe given the lack of clarity. My mission would be to explore Europe and potentially Russia with my daughter as I have time and the funds to do so. I would like to get my instrument rating to add flexibility and skill but I don’t expect to ever fly deadlines requiring IMC. The issue is that with all these fly over permission rules and lack of IFR clarity, I’m not sure if I should do experimental for such a mission. But I love getting lost in building and maintaining my aircraft as much as flying it so it’s hard to leave behind.

I haven’t been able to find much information about Spain. Specifically the options for N-Reg experimental of local registration requirements and their implications on cross country flying and IFR. My alternative is to buy, say, a Diamond DA40 but that’s not where my heart is. If anyone has advice or information on Spain (I’m based in Madrid), it would be appreciated.


First of all welcome to Europe, and to this forum! In my experience, few people in Spain will speak foreign languages which may explain why you found little info. Beste would be to learn some Spanish (you’ll need to anyway!) and find some local builder(s).

There used to be a homebuilder from Spain around on this forum, I seem to remember his nick was @celtico and he was building a Dieselis. But I think it has been long since he posted.

The one thing I can say about your mission is that flying a private plane into Russia has universally been reported as difficult if not unfeasible.

If you like tinkering about the plane but are concerned about the paperwork – which is indeed a non-trivial matter – perhaps an “orphaned” type could be interesting, i.e. one for which the type approval is no longer in the hands of any company. I think the Gardan designs are in that status, and/or others more.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Welcome Milestogo

We many many Spanish pilots here… @celtico @coolhand @aart are just the ones I recall straight off.

Homebuilt aircraft regulations are usually hard to find in current form because they are buried in national laws. They also usually relate to other regulations, and the privileges are determinable only by looking at the full extent of what is prohibited (and the rest should be legal). Some may not even be online. We have had multiple threads here where various documents are referenced e.g. a search on

homebuilt privileges

will dig out a load. In there you will find some PDFs ( example ) which list the references to many national regs, but even local pilots can find it hard to find these regs in the full original form. So some homebuilt flying activity operates in a grey area. In southern Europe (and perhaps more notably in the former communist bloc) there tends to not be any enforcement of anything in aviation, but there is the ever-present issue of insurance being potentially invalid if the flight itself was illegal.

You probably already found this thread on IFR in homebuilts. One of the key points is that a homebuilt may not save you much money since you will need some certified (expensive) avionics to fly IFR in the Eurocontrol system.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
hello @milestogo

I am Enrique, from Spain,
I am in northwest Spain, in Galicia
In Spain fly IFR, it is not easy, VFR rules apply, outside of Spain, depends on each country
I am building a Gazaile, with a diesel engine.
I know LECU, I learned private pilot in LECU.

Regulations on aircraft construction:

In LECU you have the civil aviation agency,

Oficina de Seguridad en Vuelo nº 6
Director: Marcelino Pazos Lameiro
Tfno. 91 321 09 51 // 91 321 09 63
Fax: 91 321 09 46
Carretera de La Fortuna, s/n
Edificio de Servicios, Planta 2
28044 MADRID

pasion por volar

milestogo wrote:

My mission would be to explore Europe and potentially Russia with my daughter as I have time and the funds to do so

Then I’d say go certified. Period. MUCH less hassle and no country can deny you overflight on the simple subject of your plane type. Celtico sais it as it is:

celtico wrote:

In Spain fly IFR, it is not easy, VFR rules apply, outside of Spain, depends on each country

A good SR22, Mooney or maybe Columbia/Corvalis will give you speed, range and solid IFR capability you can not get in any homebuilt in Europe as still every country has different rules about them. IFR yes or no, overflight permits, e.t.c. Or if you are talking Evolution, then an older TB700 or Piper Jetprop will do the job nicely too.

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 06 Jan 17:36
LSZH(work) LSZF (GA base), Switzerland

Saludos Enrique. I would like to hangar at LECU as it is nearby but I don’t know the environment or hangar availability as I am just learning. I gifted my girlfriend two lessons in Florida so she is addicted and wants to learn as well. We will choose a school at LECU if you have recomendations. The Gazaile looks really cool. Are you using the Peugeot diesel? My first choice is to build the Glasair Sportsman in the US and fly it here on N-Reg. It will be very IFR capable with a G3X touch, GTN 750, GTX 345R, GNC 255, GMC 307, etc. It would be a shame to bring that kind of equipment and never fly in the IFR system.

Peter, Thanks for the documents. They just serve to confuse me more as has my reading of the threads. The permission to fly mandate for experimental seems to be loosely regulated and ambiguos for N-Reg experimental with C of A and IFR capabilities. I’m willing to test the rules if they’re ambiguous and deal with the consequences as I will just head back to the US if I lose flying privileges here. I’m not willing to be unsafe however. Maybe I’ll just fly like a certified until I get slapped. As long as it’s not jail, I don’t mind as I’m not sure two aviation lawyers could agree on what is legal or not here. The only unfortunately thing is my dream build would be a Lancair Evolution Piston but I’m not willing to risk a 1M plane in this system.

Jan, Gracias. Estoy aprendiendo espanol per estoy muy malo :) I understand the aviation community in Russia is advancing quickly. The Sportsman has rough field capability and a certified diesel engine option which is ideal for Russia. Also my daughter is Russian She spends summers with me, the rest in Sochi. So I am going to take some baby steps into aviation there with her as my translator. I got into this for the challenge so we’ll see.


Mooney Driver,

For all my enthusiasm to build again, sadly I think you are right. I’m addicted to diesel for whatever reason so I’m somewhat restricted. The DA40 tundra is my current certified choice. It’s a good choice for Russia as it was designed and certified for that market. A DA42-VI would be nice but more than I want to spend currently. The Evolution is just a dream :)


The only unfortunately thing is my dream build would be a Lancair Evolution Piston but I’m not willing to risk a 1M plane in this system.

That’s exactly one bottom line, whenever there is a grey area as regards basic legality. The Evolution TP is $1.5M and to risk that you really need to be able to be very solvent, especially as most of the flight will necessarily be IFR and thus very visible. Not coincidentally the 2 or 3 of them that are seen flying around Europe are owned by extremely wealthy individuals, based at discreet locations, and flown mostly in areas of Europe where nobody really cares.

Regarding an N-reg experimental, forget it for Europe. The long and short of all the discussions here seems to be that Germany is the only place where it can be based and you are allowed to base it for 180 days a year. There are differing views whether the 180 days is the elapsed time, or the number of days of actual operations (which would be a non-issue obviously). But IIRC Germany prohibits IFR flight in homebuilts so…

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Hola Milestogo

Sorry for my sincerity
Your ideas are too complicated. Build in usa, live in madrid, fly to russia ….
Where do you plan to live the next 10-20 years? USA, Madrid, Rusia?
Do you want a plane to fly to russia?
Buy a second-hand plane now, and fly tomorrow
Build a plane 2-6 years minimum.
You do not know Spanish how will you pass the theoretical exam? It is only in Spanish,

This can help you

pasion por volar

No worries. I plan to live in Spain permanently and my Spanish is improving. My understanding is I can get an EASA license using English. There is a school in Jerez that specializes in this.

It seems I can attempt to import a N-Reg and fly it or buy here and obtain my EASA conversion. My current path is to convert to EASA in Jerez and buy a certified plane here. I would prefer an experimental but it seems the difficulties are prohibitive :(

I love that blog! I want to do exactly what Itzy did now that I have the time and finds. I’m surprised he’s able to do it in an experimental particularly in Japan. There another person who tried recently and got stuck there due to regulations.

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