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Video for people who don't know anything about aircraft, in this case microlights (Spain)

The video is recorded in Spanish, but you can choose your language subtitles.

I’m sorry by regular translations, has done with “Google Translator”, ;)

The title of video is “fly with microlight, more cheap and funny than PPL”

I hope all you like it.

Last Edited by salvavidal at 14 Oct 23:15
LELG, Spain

Thanks salvavidal, nice..

‘Google translate’ does a reasonable job here, but I’m afraid in this case it may scare some people. At 2:17 the concept of ‘speed of bone loss’ is introduced.

It’s becoming clear that in Spain UL flying is almost completely replacing the LA-scene, and video’s like this will stimulate that even more. It’s a good thing that aviation becomes available to many more people this way, but it’s of course a shame that private GA almost becomes extinct in this country.

To further develop UL flying I think it is essential that Spain latches on to the new rules pioneered by Germany, i.e. 600 kg MTOM. In addition Spain should start to change these silly rules of not allowing UL-flying above 1.000 ft AGL and in CAS (although one thing is the rule and the other is what happens in real life..). I’m hearing some promising sounds that the Spanish CAA is considering such changes. If you hear anything, please post or PM me.

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

This video is really good – many thanks for posting it.

Having flown to Spain many times, I have often wondered why Spain has seen a collapse in certified GA. The rotting piles of airframes at Barcelona, most of what was parked at Granada… Superficially, someone might think that this was linked to the construction boom, which for some years put a lot of cash into the hands of a section of the population. However, the guy in the video gives 60k as a reasonable price of an UL, which is around 2x the average price of a typical “school/club-class” certified plane here in N Europe. The 200k-1M pistons are only a small part of GA activity, which is dominated by PA28s and such.

So it isn’t money, because the difference, say 30k, would pay for much more (of the excess) avgas than the average pilot will burn in his flying career.

Is it that GA has moved off the larger airports and into the countryside, so short field capability is required? The larger airports have massively jacked up their costs in the last 10 years or so; mostly not to a level where flying to Spain is off the menu for visitors (in the way Fraport have killed off most of the bigger Greek airports, with €300+ charges) but certainly to a level where regular trips by locals are expensive. €80 is fine for a once a year trip but too much for regular operations.

Is there the ELP (English language proficiency) issue, same as there is in France, which largely removes the interest in flying to other countries?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I will add a few more reasons, other than Fraport like treats :

-ADs,SBs of the kind “I make the mistake,YOU pay for that”
-ADs concerning rotten wings,spars,etc.
-Overzealous CAMOs,Maintenance Co.‘s and obscure charges.
-Parking & Hangar.
-The Chakra’s one needs to tolerate some Security cretins.
-The continuing crisis,envy and overtaxation for some countries.
-Fuel cost affects in a lesser degree.


OK, sure, so let’s take a look at them:

-ADs,SBs of the kind “I make the mistake,YOU pay for that”

Avoided by doing DIY maintenance. Can everyone really do that? Also some ignoring of important stuff

-ADs concerning rotten wings,spars,etc.

I don’t think ULs are immune from structural issues; more like the opposite (loads of crashes involving in-flight structural failures)

-Overzealous CAMOs,Maintenance Co.‘s and obscure charges.

Avoided by doing DIY maintenance… Can everyone really do that?


Is this lower than certified GA, for the same hull value?

-Parking & Hangar.

Yes, lower for a smaller plane

-The Chakra’s one needs to tolerate some Security cretins.

Avoided by avoiding big airports

-The continuing crisis,envy and overtaxation for some countries.

Not sure Mr Average can tell the difference between e.g. a fully enclosed UL and a PA28

-Fuel cost affects in a lesser degree.

That’s true – a 2x saving (but you are going slower, but that doesn’t matter for local flying)

Actually this drift to UL is really similar to Italy which has also “gone UL” to a large degree. I bet the reasons are the same. @AfricanEagle will know.

I suspect France has not done so on quite such a percentage scale because of the large historical club fleet of Robins etc.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Great video but it brought great challenge to my Spanish too fast speaking.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Probably, others like @Antonio and @Coolhand are better qualified to comment on the demise of cert GA here, but from my point of view:

1. Wealth. The crisis of 2008 hit very hard. And while the current views on Spain are that the country’s economy is recovering well, the purchasing power of people is not. Salaries are stagnant and the cost of the basic neccesity of housing (buying or renting) has become ridiculous in many parts of the country, especially tourist areas like the Balearics and Barcelona.

2. Maintenance. The introduction of CAMO’s etc made things a lot more expensive and most Spanish aviators I know are not inclined to do maintenance themselves. Also, i’ve heard stories about the quirks of local Spanish CAA inspectors who don’t care about (EASA) regulations, but run their own set of standards, which often leads to hassle to get the annual done, even when the aircraft is under the regime of a CAMO. I did not have such problems being foreign registered.

3. Facilities. The larger airports have indeed jacked up their cost massively and continue to frustrate light GA by introducing meaningless burocracy. But the smaller state-owned ones follow that trend. I can speak for Son Bonet: Shortage of hangarage. Silly fees for based planes parking outside (plus rip-off parking fees in summer, but that’s only for the rich foreigners ‘who can afford that’..). No more cafeteria. No working vending machines. No public toilet on the whole airfield, one would have to go to a company based there, or find one in a hangar.. Bad opening times. Zealous security. While for Son Bonet the opening times battle seems a lost cause, there have been some improvements in some other state-owned airfields. But it comes late, too late.
The non state-owned fields are fine though, but there’s maybe just 10 of them? Some examples of the nicest ones I know: La Cerdanya, Seu de Urgell, Jaca, Ampuriabrava, Castellon, Menorca.

4. Fuel cost. The cost of Avgas, easily 3 euros per litre in many places.

5. Climate. Flying weather is very good here, so there is basically little utility for an IR. For travel, an UL is fine. Two weeks ago I joined another nice fly-in of 30+ UL’s from all across mainland Spain to Menorca.

So the above factors have pushed aviators towards UL with the attractiveness of its multitude of fields and welcoming atmosphere, so attuned to the Spanish culture.. A difference of day and night really.

Last Edited by aart at 15 Oct 13:11
Private field, Mallorca, Spain

In Ireland when the weather is hot during the summer you get tossed around alot in a light 500-600kg aeroplane. Nice in the mornings and evenings obviously.

How does it work in Spain or other hot countries during the summer in these size aircraft? Is the ride during the middle of the day a rough and tumble experience?

Buying, Selling, Flying
EISG, Ireland

@aart Spanish regulations will change in next months, will increase MTOW up to 600 kgs.

@WilliamF In Spain we have good weather all year, in summer perhaps you can find more turbulence in the middle of the day, but is not problem to travel, you can depart early morning and go back in the evening. or travle over sea, where you dont find turbulence.

LELG, Spain

The sucess of ULMs in south of France, has to do with less regulation and easy licencing, self maintenance, mogas×3, good weather and access to many private airstrips…

I don’t think it is “money” but rather “I am able to own, maintain and fly the thing day vfr with a lot of freedom by next quarter” (many new ULMs are 4 times the price of a SEP), you can’t beat that with an aeroclub aircraft (I know an old couple who did that after a trial flight gift, they have a lot of difficulties understanding why one would buy/fly a SEP…how many go for FI? IR? Multi? Night? After getting a PPL)

I think ULs in Spain will not be much different?

Last Edited by Ibra at 15 Oct 23:30
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom
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