Rent a Plane for Vacation

Hire an airplane for the holidays

Remember your family vacation in Disney? Concealed gems wait only with a small airplane for their discovery. Now I can go on vacation in California, get on a plane and explore the city.

American pilot in Europe

As I flew over the green hillocks of the landscape of Italy and circled the old hill town of Urbino (birthplace of the artist Raphael), I glanced at my Mrs. Corinna and recalled what it was that made me get this license at all. Each year, while tens of millions of licensed U.S. planes vacation abroad, few think of discovering the sky of Europe.

However, in large parts of Europe, US aircraft owners can rent an aircraft and fly VFRs during the day as In Command pilot. Aircraft hire rates per hour can be almost twice as high as in the USA. In Europe, the question of supremacy is a delicate one, but if you have a FAA PPL and a recent doctor's note, you are generally entitled to make VFR daily outings.

You can go to any flying schools or aero club (as they are known here ) in the UK and the Netherlands and rent a plane after a cash check and zooming into the setting sun (although you can change your zooming here. See tips below). Stricter laws in jurisdictions (such as Germany, France and Spain) have a bureaucracy fit for a Maastricht Treaty, but some preliminary work on your part can pave the way for your US PPL to be recognized with a minimal amount of effort.

The best part is that the tenant - usually a flying academy or an aeroclub that has previously been involved with this issue - often participates in the papers as part of the rent. You will lead you through the procurement procedure of a local accredited "holiday license". A few jurisdictions, such as Spain, also need a photograph, so make sure you don't need to ship it.

While we' re at it, think about it: most airplanes here are fitted with only two headsets, so if you need additional ones, please do so. When travelling to the UK, Holland or Germany you can begin check-in and reservation one working day before your arrival, but when travelling to other destinations you can begin about six working days in advance. Please note that if you are travelling to other destinations, you can begin check-in and reservation a few days in advance. 1.

Hiring a plane is almost as simple as in the USA, but there are variations. It is best to use the following web sites for your research: flyer ( uk) or flyer ( from Great Britain. On the back of these magazine there are advertisements for flight training courses, which almost always rent their aircraft.

A recent review of European airport rents showed that rents vary widely, even in the same city. I for example phoned the Wycombe Air Centre (tel. 011-44-149-444-3737), about 20 mile from Central London, and was told a rate of 126 lbs (US$196) for a C-152 with one trainer and 97 lbs (US$155) per 1 hr for just the plane, damp, timed from brake to brake, inclusive of value added tax (the infamous VAT).

There was about $10 for a C-172 with or without an instruction. £50 (US$143) with one trainer and 75 (US$120) without for a C-152, and 102 (US$163) with and 93 (US$149) without for a C-172, on the same conditions. Pesaro Aero Club in Fano, Italy (Tel. 011-3907-2180-3941), asked for the best I've ever done:

210 US dollars for one lesson and 40 flight time, 40 flight min. with the cash register trainer in a C-152. Chateauroux Villers airfield, in Saint Maur, France, (Tel. and Facsimile 011-33-2-5436-6813) wanted 900 Swiss Franc (US$138) with a (French speaking) teacher and 744 Swiss Franc (US$114) without one for a C-172.

For a C-172 with one trainer and DM 177 (US$95) without, inclusive petrol, DM240 (US$126) will be given to Munich Flyers at Augsburg Airport, 45 min before Munich (Tel. 011-49-89-69-6427-0761) for DM240 (US$126) from the bikes to the bikes. During my journey to Italy I followed the low level flyers I saw from the coast to the Pesaro Aero Club on a blade of grassy land just to the south of Rimini.

With my PPL and my Medical in the flying classroom, a instructor and I made our way to a 40-minute cash register (actually more of a refresher for smooth landing and a detailed explanation of the air space ) and then I was on my own for a one-hour trip through the whole area.

Tom, a trained teacher from Germany, said to me that he checked my staff in the same way, even though it is clear that they have been in flight for years or are relicensed. Enjoying the car hire checkkride for the flight trip I get locally, as well as for teaching the different flight methods that folks in different nations are teaching (e.g. Tom in Germany just wanted to see the bare evidence of an upcoming power-on stable, while my teacher in Italy asked for something from Snoopy and the Red Baron - and demonstrated!).

Here the rent check is so important, because the rules are determined by many more peculiarities and traditions than in the USA. In Germany, where take-offs and landings on private companies also need a permit, strict - also German - regulated entries and landings into the surrounding area are necessary, with chart points with Whiskey One and Echo One as well as regional convention, which are not even indicated on the charts (see box)!

Planning ahead, you can make the call on your arrival - get off the scheduled plane and go to the top for a half-hour interview with the inspectors. They will inform you about limitations, give you advice on flights, phone numbers for forecasting the best weathers, useful web links and tell you where to buy maps of the region from.

Many Americans are appalled to find out that virtually every individual European aerodrome requires some kind of tax. There is no need to take a domestic plane at most major cities, but if you are taking a daily excursion to another location, prepare to pay a $10 to $25 land charge at the final location.

"In comparison to the USA, the air space here is quite limited," said Carol Cooper, Chief Flying Instructor at Andrewsfield Aviation. "Obviously experiance is important, and radionavigators can help, but England is a small place, and you have to pay attention to its closeness to Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick," she went on, pointing to the fact that the air space of all these aerodromes is totally taboo for VFR pilot in singles powered aircraft without specific VFR clear.

Radiobroadcasting is also different, and Europeans seem to think that the US policy of replicating the last three numbers as recognition of an ATC guideline is just a little too much, well...American! Please be aware that your U.S. Air Licence grants you the same privileges throughout Europe that you have at home when you fly an N-registered (U.S. and registered) plane.

No matter which way you register, you don't need a vacation licence or any other documents other than your PPL, MPL, medical or pilots log book to travel as a PIC from Great Britain or the Netherlands (Holland) - even if you are landing in another state. Outside of these markets, you often need a vacation licence that recognizes your U.S. one.

In Europe the most uncomplicated office is the government of Oberbayern Luftamt Südbayern, Maximillianstraße 39, 80538 München (Tel. 011-4989-2176-2523). Sent them a cover note with the details of your trip in Europe, an application for a holiday licence and a photocopy of your PPL, a medical certificate and the last page of your log book, together with a copy of the details pages of your pass.

Certificates of General Recognition of Foreign Aircraft Driver Licenses (four week period for processing) are issued for six month and cost approximately US$30. Available anywhere in Western Europe, it allows you to rent aircraft with national registration.

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