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Experimental / homebuilt in Spain

Everybody I have spoken to says they do exactly that with Spain. For most other countries it is apparently normal to apply for the permit and then just fly anyway.

I have never heard of anybody or any report that there has ever been any enforcement. It is just the insurance position… which comes back to the earlier comment re the value of the aircraft. If you are doing this with a €50k plane which you could afford to replace, that’s one thing (IF you fly alone i.e. no passenger liability!) but doing it with a $1.5M Evolution is something else. Not coincidentally all the people I know of who do it could indeed afford to just replace them.

Also not everybody has hull cover, anyway. One UK pilot said that not having hull cover serves as an extra reminder to not forget to lower the gear

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

milestogo wrote:

It seems you can or can’t fly IFR on an N-Reg experimental aircraft and might or might not be able to base permanently depending where you are based and how hidden you remain

N-reg is different. The USA is not a member of ECAC. An N-reg experimental needs explicit permission to cross a border each time no matter what.

The elephant is the circulation

I’m surprised people do it. There are several N-Reg Glasair imports operating in the EU, one Sportsman I know of operating in a small country. I am going to contact him to see under what scheme he expects to operate since a Sportsman is a traveling airplane. I would have brought over a Glasair Diesel Sportsman but all this has scared me away. My mission is cross-border travel and getting (or not getting) permission for my trips is not something I’m willing to risk or accommodate.


Probably, the lack of a permission is not what might bite you. There are almost no national-CAA ramp checks here in Europe (but there are some, notably in France and Germany, sometimes done by people with a briefing pack) and the typical airport policeman knows almost nothing.

It is the implicit lack of insurance.

In Europe, most (all?) aviation insurance policies simply state that the flight must be legal. I posted what I know here and I would speculate that a flight which for whatever reason was similarly illegal before departure would also not be covered.

Whether the insurer (the loss adjuster, as they are called in the UK) realises, is a different matter, but the one who told me the above (confirmed since by the head of UK’s biggest GA insurer) was pretty smart because he does this all day. I had a prop strike (pothole) and the first thing which was looked at were the licenses, medicals, etc.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

milestogo wrote:

I’m surprised people do it

Well, to send an application with copies of documents does not imply a denial is even a possibility. The only reason they will say “no” is if some of your documents are not up to date, or you forgot something. The main hassle, I would think, is that some national AAs will request a fee for the “work”. Hence, one of the background reasons for the ECAC recommendations.

For instance, I can fly to Sweden in my homebuilt, no questions asked, no fees payed. If I do the same in a vintage Auster (or some other Annex II (a) (i) ) I would have to pay SEK 6200 in fees.

It’s this kind of silliness we have to get rid of. It came after EASA. Before EASA they (Annex II (a) (i) ) were simply aircraft like all other aircraft, flying according to ICAO.

The elephant is the circulation

In principal, a Glasair Sportsman could be registered and approved in most EU states as an imported amateur built aircraft. It would be legal, insurable and able to move as freely as any other amateur built aircraft.

But one issue that would need to be resolved is that most are built under their “Two week to taxy” programme. The FAA have sanctioned that under their 51% rule. But that has been pushed to the limit to allow the ‘builder’ to spend just two weeks doing representative tasks in the factory and then the factory completes the rest.
I could see some authorities not being as generous in their interpretation of ‘amateur built’.

I believe all diesel Sportsmans are TWTT products.

My impression is that the FAA are compliant as generally the build quality is good and less opportunity for individual builder innovations. The Part 23 companies don’t seem to see this as a threat to their own businesses.

KHWD- Hayward California; EGTN Enstone Oxfordshire, United States

You might have difficulty in getting a TWTT Sportsman registered in Spain as there is no precedent. However, there is a French registered GlaStar at Casarrubios del Monte. I have flown my GlaStar all over Europe with no difficulties for 17 years. I was asked to show my insurance certificate once in Spain when my plane rolled into another in my absence. I could see no damage, but the airport manager wanted reassurance in case there was a claim.
If you have a EASA PPL, I suspect you will be free to fly what your license entitles you to anywhere in Europe. The insurance for my Experimental excludes the USA, Algeria, most of the Middle East and a number of countries you are not likely to want to visit. You should be aware that many Spanish airports levy handling charges and that the ultralight scene is active with strips all over Spain.

Peter wrote:

In Europe, most (all?) aviation insurance policies simply state that the flight must be legal.

My AXA policy had no such explicit wording…

YPJT, United Arab Emirates

Someone once told me that for insurance companies to refuse paying there needs to be proof that the ‘illegal act’ caused or contributed to the damage. So, yes, ending up in a fence on take-off because you were out of Mass/Balance makes a good case for them.
But overshooting a 1500 m runway because you land long and ending in a fence on a field in a country where you did not have a permit to fly to? I’d be OK to pay a fine to the authorities, but I’d put up a good fight with my insurer if he refuses to pay for damages.

Last Edited by aart at 11 Jan 20:20
Private field, Mallorca, Spain

Someone once told me that for insurance companies to refuse paying there needs to be proof that the ‘illegal act’ caused or contributed to the damage

Clearly it cannot be like that otherwise why have a license and a medical. Why not just get somebody to teach you to fly privately? And the CofA is just a bit of paper. If you run out of fuel then certification is not related to the cause so why do any maintenance? Etc.

In the UK, the principle applies to some insurance nowadays, in the retail marketplace, in the sense that they can’t refuse a payout on some irrelevant technicality. But otherwise the business runs on utmost good faith and anything which might have caused the insurer to take a different view of the risk, if undisclosed, voids the policy. I was in business for 13 years with a commercial insurance guy… In reality, aviation insurers do pay out in cases where one might expect them not to, but their policy (no pun intended) varies, with some cheaper ones being less likely to pay out.

I am sure every country has some similar principle (whether in the Policy or not) otherwise insurance would never work. Everybody would just take the pi*ss – well even more than retail customers do currently on stuff like “lost” jewellery

Crashes due to W&B are not a problem because it is usually hard to prove the pilot knew before the flight, especially if everybody gets killed.

My AXA policy had no such explicit wording…

Same comments as above.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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