Here are some more shots that I took of my friend’s X-air that he wants to get rid of because it will take quite a bit of time, effort and money to get it re-permitted to fly again in the UK and he’s lost interest in it.
After having thought about it for a day or so I’ve already told him that I’ll buy it off him and I hope that I haven’t bitten off a bit more than I can chew. My idea is to register the aircraft in my name in the UK with my French address and then to cancel the registration by reason of permanent export. Once I have all of the aircraft’s paperwork with serial number etc it should then be a relatively simple matter to register it in France. Then when I have the new French registration I’ll be able to add it to my French insurance, fly Ryanair, say, to the UK, remove the UK G-reg, apply the new French letters and numbers and spend a few days getting it into shape for the flight over.
There are a couple of question marks over this plan, principally to do with having a radio for the flight. As I will be acquiring the aircraft for a relatively small sum, I could splash out and buy a new 8.33 kHz hand-held for the flight which would be legal in both the UK and France. However, I think that that would be only as a final resort.
I still have the 25 kHz radio kit that I used in the UK in MYRO, in France in my French X-air that I’ve now sold and that I’m still using in my French Weedhopper even though strictly speaking it’s not approved for use in France. It’s fully transferrable from one aircraft to another and although I couldn’t now use it legally in the UK, I doubt that anyone would know or care if I used it to contact London Information on 124.6 for the Channel crossing. At a pinch I could even file to do the crossing from the UK non-radio.
25 kHz radios remain legal in France until the end of 2020 so although it’s a Vertex VXA-220 that isn’t approved for France, I reckon I could get away with using it for just the one flight even if queried to contact Lille Approach for the entry into France from the Channel crossing and to land at Calais. The best thing would be to just do it without asking anyone beforehand because it would be over and done with before anyone could raise an objection.
I’d need two days of good weather to fly the X-air down to the Dordogne and to plan for the required fuel stops every 2½ hours or so and the planning will be quite demanding as I know from when I flew MYRO down over two days back in April 2012.
So taken all round it will be something of a challenge to get the X-air out of the UK and into France but it will be worth it, if only to cock a snook at the ridiculously restrictive and expensive UK microlight permitting regime which would more or less otherwise be consigning this pretty little aircraft to the scrap-heap. That I could not possibly allow to become a reality.
My French Weedhopper is up for sale and as a possible bonus, a young pilot who saw it last year when I flew it into a fly-in at Ste-Foy-La-Grande has spotted the advertisement and contacted me expressing an interest in it. How nice it would be if he purchased it off me and as it left the barn at Malbec the UK X-air arrived to take its place. That’s the vision that I’ll have to work towards 😉