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Old 17.08.2020, 09:35
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Questions for the Pilots here

So I was talking to a colleague, who recently bought a small plane... and it revived the younger me who (many years ago) flew over the doughnut in Cheltenham during the few lessons I took. Which got me thinking about restarting my PPL journey.


That said, I do have a few questions -

. I saw some "intensive" courses in the UK for £6000 all in, where I would take 3-4 weeks off and do nothing but the PPL. Seems not just more cost effective, but also, based on what I read online, a better way to retain the knowledge between lessons. There are similar ones in South Africa... The advantages I see are: cost, time and language. Has anyone done one of these? Thoughts? (I'm thinking of a similar approach to how I teach diving, do the PPL in the UK, and then take 4-5 hours of lessons in CH as an intro to local conditions)
. I understand that a UK PPL (EASA) would allow me to fly in CH, right? Does brexit affect this? Can I then do my night add-on in CH, or would I need to do that in the UK after I get the minimum hours?
. Part of me thinks that I could do the lessons in CH, but by buying the plane first... then that would cut the hiring costs to fuel and maintenance. Something like a Cessna 152 or 172 seems like the right approach, and adding 50-60 hours on the engine wouldn't devalue the plane too much to resell after the lessons for something a bit faster/rangier (is that a world? I'm thinking a Piper PA32, or something on those lines 4-6 seats, but with 600+ mile range).. (or to keep it for a while). Thoughts?
. For those with a PPL - how often do you fly? Does the weather over the alps in winter stay consistent enough to fly VFR?
. Is there something like IFR(Restricted) in CH? The full IFR seems quite... heavy for someone that just wants to have a 300-400 mile range mid-life crisis toy...
. Looking at planes, I see anything from 1000-10,000 hour engines in my budget range, how long does an engine go normally between rebuilds?
. Looking at my local airstrip, landing fees are very reasonable (9CHF) and storage depends on space... but also doesn't appear to be more than a garage in Zurich... add landing fees wherever I go, insurance, fuel, maintenance, annual-checkup... what else should I be budgeting for?
. How do taxes/importing work? Assuming I buy something in Germany, I note there is 25% EU VAT. I assume that I can deduct that, and then add the Swiss 7%?
. For those with a plane, is it "normal" for a newbie to ask an instructor to come along for a viewing of a potential purchase? Or better yet, a mechanic? (paid of course). I wouldn't know what to look out for...
. On the tax front, how does flying across borders work? Say I buy the plane in Germany, register it in CH (so minus the EU vat and add the Swiss VAT). I assume I can then fly to Italy for a weekend, and not pay EU VAT again, right? How do customs work when landing in another country? Do airstrips normally hae opening hours? Can I land at night at any airstrip once I have a night license? So many questions!

M.

Last edited by Spinal; 17.08.2020 at 11:04.
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Old 17.08.2020, 11:39
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

ohh man... Without having any aircraft ownership experience and not flying regularly in Switzerland just some thoughts from the side:

Training: usually you get what you paid for, no big surprises. If there is a huge price difference, there must be a reason.
You can fly in Switzerland with any EASA licence, no problem. As soon as you need an exam or check ride with authorities you must do it with an approved instructor of the licencing country. Meaning UK licence = UK instructor/examiner. Doesn't mean though UK airport Anyway, switching any EASA licence to a Swiss licence is no problem, it has only administrative costs.

I strongly recommend learning (especially if you want such 'intensive') on what you want to fly later. I only have a chance to fly a few hours every 2-3 months and it's tough (I'm around 100 hours). Even missing a few weeks means a lot. I wouldn't dare to go to the Alps without a proper, specific training.

IFR restricted: I'm only aware the possibility to do IFR day only. Anyway: if you don't plan to fly a lot (like a lot!), single pilot IFR will be definitely a challenge. And for what? You will not win a lot with a C150/172, at least you would need something FIKI rated, otherwise you only loose freedom of your flights.

How much would you fly after completing your training? The aircraft maintenance cost might be a bit higher than you expect. It's not just a car what you take for oil change once a year and done deal. All the instruments regularly need to be calibrated, every parts must be certified for the type, etc, etc. Below 100s of yearly hours probably not worth it.
Also note, most of the flight schools charge extra if the training is not done on their aircraft.

Flying across the border: nothing special to be done if you don't land
If you do, you need an airport with customs (there are some with on-call possibilities) on both ends.

Night flights: not many lighted GA airports in Switzerland, then as you say: opening hours, noise limitations. And again: with small experience flying NVFR with a C152 is not the secret of long life.

Don't want to scare you, but you need to know what you want. Flying a Cessna along the Swiss mountains on the sunny weekends is beautiful and I can only recommend. If you rather want to use it for travelling to Italy/Germany, etc, probably you want something faster from a bigger airport. Let's clear that up first so we could advise better.
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Old 17.08.2020, 12:20
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

I pretty much agree with erchegyia, and i'd never fly NVFR over the alps in any aircraft. I've flown the C172 both VFR during daylight, and IFR both night and day over the Alps and with proper care, as in any flight, it's not a problem. Can be a bit bumpy at times though!!
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Old 17.08.2020, 13:39
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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ohh man... Without having any aircraft ownership experience and not flying regularly in Switzerland just some thoughts from the side:

Training: usually you get what you paid for, no big surprises. If there is a huge price difference, there must be a reason.
You can fly in Switzerland with any EASA licence, no problem. As soon as you need an exam or check ride with authorities you must do it with an approved instructor of the licencing country. Meaning UK licence = UK instructor/examiner. Doesn't mean though UK airport Anyway, switching any EASA licence to a Swiss licence is no problem, it has only administrative costs.

I strongly recommend learning (especially if you want such 'intensive') on what you want to fly later. I only have a chance to fly a few hours every 2-3 months and it's tough (I'm around 100 hours). Even missing a few weeks means a lot. I wouldn't dare to go to the Alps without a proper, specific training.

IFR restricted: I'm only aware the possibility to do IFR day only. Anyway: if you don't plan to fly a lot (like a lot!), single pilot IFR will be definitely a challenge. And for what? You will not win a lot with a C150/172, at least you would need something FIKI rated, otherwise you only loose freedom of your flights.

How much would you fly after completing your training? The aircraft maintenance cost might be a bit higher than you expect. It's not just a car what you take for oil change once a year and done deal. All the instruments regularly need to be calibrated, every parts must be certified for the type, etc, etc. Below 100s of yearly hours probably not worth it.
Also note, most of the flight schools charge extra if the training is not done on their aircraft.

Flying across the border: nothing special to be done if you don't land
If you do, you need an airport with customs (there are some with on-call possibilities) on both ends.

Night flights: not many lighted GA airports in Switzerland, then as you say: opening hours, noise limitations. And again: with small experience flying NVFR with a C152 is not the secret of long life.

Don't want to scare you, but you need to know what you want. Flying a Cessna along the Swiss mountains on the sunny weekends is beautiful and I can only recommend. If you rather want to use it for travelling to Italy/Germany, etc, probably you want something faster from a bigger airport. Let's clear that up first so we could advise better.
The aim to move away from the C172, and onto something with a bit more range, allowing me to do weekend trips. Rental didn't seem cost effective (as I would need to rent the plane for 2-3 days, of which most of that time it would be on the ground ).

The c152/c172 would be to learn, it didn't seem to make much sense to go for a PA32 from the start (is it even possible to go from zero (welll X11 sims ) to a 5-6 seat plane?). I noted that the school in Italy uses a PA28, which would also be an interesting option...

In terms of costs, I need to make sure I know what I'm getting into, which is why I'm looking at those quite closely. My back of a napkin calcs so far seem to make it "reasonable" to spend 500CHF/month or so (excluding costs of the license and buying the plane), for maintance and fuel. At ~30 liters per hour, or 60CHF/hr of flight (fuel), that would fit with 3-4 hours of flight time per month, and 3000ish CHF/year for the annual service. Is that underestimating things? From what I saw (admittedly, based on maintenance costs I saw in Italy), the servicing seems to be in the 2000euro range /100 hours... i think...

Last edited by Spinal; 17.08.2020 at 13:51.
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Old 17.08.2020, 13:51
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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. I understand that a UK PPL (EASA) would allow me to fly in CH,

When I went looked into it, the instructor told me my UK PPL only covered me to fly a British registered plane in CH, ie: if you flew it here on holiday or were just passing through.
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Old 17.08.2020, 16:07
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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Is that underestimating things? From what I saw (admittedly, based on maintenance costs I saw in Italy), the servicing seems to be in the 2000euro range /100 hours... i think...
My gut feeling says it's not even in the range.
Counting with US prices: https://aerospace.honeywell.com/en/l...ng-an-airplane

btw, old classic:
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Old 17.08.2020, 16:37
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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The aim to move away from the C172, and onto something with a bit more range, allowing me to do weekend trips. Rental didn't seem cost effective (as I would need to rent the plane for 2-3 days, of which most of that time it would be on the ground ).
From the use you expect, I think you're better off renting. What mainly counts is the actual logged flying time. From when we operated aircraft (a C172 and a PA 34) we charged per flying hour + a nominal amount if sitting on the ground for a few days away from base. From memory, and converted to Euro's we charged for the PA34 eur 230 / flight hour (from engines on to engines off) + eur 23 for each day it was away and not flying. This was a few years ago and the aircraft was on the Dutch register.
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Old 17.08.2020, 16:51
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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My gut feeling says it's not even in the range.
Counting with US prices: https://aerospace.honeywell.com/en/l...ng-an-airplane
That article is pretty in line with my calcs

Engine Reserves: $1,700 ($17x100 Hours) (I'm estimating 3000CHF, as I assume that I can get maintenance work done at the airstrip in Italy)

The "rest" is higher here, but still in line:

Fuel: $40/hour x 100 Hours= $4,000 (8 gallons/hour X $5.00 per gallon
(except that fuel here is about twice as much...)
Oil: $2/hour x 100 Hours= $200 (this seems incredibly cheap)
Landings fees= 50 (I woudl estimate closer to 200CHF or so, as 9chf/landing, say 24 landings)
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Old 17.08.2020, 16:54
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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When I went looked into it, the instructor told me my UK PPL only covered me to fly a British registered plane in CH, ie: if you flew it here on holiday or were just passing through.
From this thread:
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Hi All,

A quick update to yesterday's post... there were two options of getting the Swiss PPL.
1. Convert the license
2. Get a new Swiss license

I got an answer today: for option 1 you need to have an ICAO license (e.g UK, USA, Australia would be recognised as such). You need to be "current" (flown recently, up-to-date medical etc.). Then you can sit the theory exams, show that you are language proficient (this might mean German, French or Italian) - then you get a Swiss license.

If you are not current (as is my case, I have not flown in the last year and I do not have an up-to-date medical) you are left with eithr going home and become current or doing a new license (minimum 35h with instructor + theory +++).

Regards,
Peter
https://www.englishforum.ch/897328-post20.html
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Old 17.08.2020, 17:27
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

Sounds like JAR times before Part-FCL.
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Old 17.08.2020, 17:33
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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Sounds like JAR times before Part-FCL.
Possibly, but this also seems to support the view that you can convert it:
https://www.bazl.admin.ch/bazl/en/ho...ces/pilot.html

One question for those flying in Switzerland - radio comms... are they all in English? I ask as I would be flying in the German speaking part... but only speak English, Italian and French...
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Old 17.08.2020, 18:32
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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Possibly, but this also seems to support the view that you can convert it:
https://www.bazl.admin.ch/bazl/en/ho...ces/pilot.html

One question for those flying in Switzerland - radio comms... are they all in English? I ask as I would be flying in the German speaking part... but only speak English, Italian and French...
Radio comms are in English.
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Old 17.08.2020, 19:55
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

To quote a friend: if it flies, floats or f**ks, it's cheaper to rent.

My father could have afforded a new plane at most points of his almost 50 years of flying but always chose to be a member of a flying club instead, which granted him access to planes at a preferential rate. All you have to worry about is to clean it, refuel, fill in the logbook and put it back in the right spot after use. If there is any issue, you report it and someone sorts it out (obviously, if you caused damage, you pay for the repair but for the usual gremlins that can appear, it's sorted). The main downside is that you can't always have a plane if you want it, especially at short notice on a weekend.

Radio comms is in English and you have to prove that you are proficient in English anyway.
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Old 17.08.2020, 22:34
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here


So the UK PPL does not allow you to fly in CH.
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Old 17.08.2020, 22:46
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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To quote a friend: if it flies, floats or f**ks, it's cheaper to rent.
There are dozens of great sayings, this one being my favourite.
"The 2 happiest days in a man's life are the day he buys a boat, and the day he sells it."
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Old 18.08.2020, 11:16
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

For the definitive answer, I suggest you contact the Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA,

Section Flight Personnel - licence administration

Tel: +41 58 463 54 56

https://www.bazl.admin.ch/bazl/en/ho...ces/pilot.html

I'm sure they can answer your question.
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Old 18.08.2020, 11:42
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

I've already emailed them with the question on whether I can fly with a UK PPL here

On the conversion, this is the form to convert a UK PPL to a Swiss one:
https://www.bazl.admin.ch/dam/bazl/e...20licence).pdf
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Old 18.08.2020, 13:37
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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So the UK PPL does not allow you to fly in CH.
I bet the same principles and rules apply as those on driving a car (not counting details such as license conversion).
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Old 18.08.2020, 14:25
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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There are dozens of great sayings, this one being my favourite.
"The 2 happiest days in a man's life are the day he buys a boat, and the day he sells it."
Just bought a new boat with center console and 30hp Yamaha. Just love this thing.Living in Locarno I secured a docking place , not a easy task. Wait list can go on for years. Lago Maggiore is very nice place to cruise all the way into Italy.
Will keep it for a long time .
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Old 18.08.2020, 17:17
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Re: Questions for the Pilots here

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To quote a friend: if it flies, floats or f**ks, it's cheaper to rent.
haha, made me laugh, thanks. I'll be sure to remember that the next time someone asks me advice on whether to buy a plane or not
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