Is someone who holds a current EASA PPL(A) allowed to operate an FAA "November" registered aircraft in Europe? Of course I'm talking about a type of aircraft and of operation he or she would be allowed to conduct with an, for example, German-registered aircraft.

  • $\begingroup$ Hehe, that's the reason why I'm asking :D $\endgroup$
    – Falk
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ You're specifically referring to Germany in your question. Is your question limited to Germany or anywhere in Europe? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your edit Philippe. I'm a German, but in this question Germany is only used as an example. I was not happy with replacing this last part with the word operation, but if you like we can use Europe instead of Germany. $\endgroup$
    – Falk
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


This is regulated by the FAA in FAR 61.3 and local regulations specific to each country

(a) Required pilot certificate for operating a civil aircraft of the United States. No person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of a civil aircraft of the United States, unless that person:

(1) Has in the person's physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of that pilot certificate or authorization—

(i) A pilot certificate issued under this part and in accordance with § 61.19; (ii) A special purpose pilot authorization issued under § 61.77;

(iii) A temporary certificate issued under § 61.17;

(iv) A document conveying temporary authority to exercise certificate privileges issued by the Airmen Certification Branch under § 61.29(e); or

(v) When operating an aircraft within a foreign country, a pilot license issued by that country may be used.

To operate a US-registered aircraft you either need an FAA license or a pilot license issued by the country where the aircraft is operated in. This also means that you are not allowed to fly into another country, unless you also have a license issued by that country. Even if individual countries allow foreign registered aircraft to be operated by a license holder of another (non-FAA) country, it would still be a violation of FAR 61.3.

Bottom line: if you want to fly a N-registered aircraft without an FAA pilot license in Europe, you need a pilot license issued by every country you're flying into. For example, if you plan a trip from The Netherlands to Portugal you would need 5 different EASA PPL licenses issued by The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal.

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    $\begingroup$ @SentryRaven Sadly, that's not how it works, whether it makes sense or not. The FAA regulations are pretty clear about that. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ This answer is not correct. As @Qantas94Heavy pointed out, the text of (a)(v) says "may." The FAA does not require a foreign license. FAA-certificated pilots routinely fly FAA-registered aircraft through, into, and back from (to name one particularly common example) Canada, and do not require a Canadian pilot's license. I'm not as familiar with EASA regulations, but I very much doubt that a license from each of the countries in your last paragraph is required in your example (and certainly would not be required by the FAA). $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ @dvnrrs The answer is correct. I said that you "either need an FAA license or a pilot license issued by the country". So if you don't hold an FAA license, you need a license of the country you're flying in. In your example about Canada: the pilot has an FAA license (as you specifically said), so there's no issue. I will clarify that again in the last paragraph. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ @jwentling Did you actually read the question and my answer? It's about flying an N-REGISTERED aircraft WITHOUT A US PILOT LICENSE in Europe. "WITHOUT". I specifically said that you need either an FAA license (U.S. license) or a license issued by the country you're flying in. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ @PhilippeLeybaert Just to follow up, I heard back from the FAA and they've confirmed that your interpretation is correct - 61.3 and the Chicago Convention render the EASA license invalid once you leave the issuing country (unless the state of registration of the aircraft & the state issuing the license are the same). That could mean collecting a lot of licenses in Europe if you're flying an N-registered aircraft :-) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 2:03

Regarding EASA regulation 216/2008 and 1178/2011 (EU). Since April 8, 2015, the EU laws also require pilots who live in Europe, and fly a foreign registered aircraft (for example an N-registered aircraft) that they also have to have the EASA license. There will be a postponement of this regulation by one year, i.e. until April 8, 2016, that the EU intends to publish in the coming weeks. Until 2016, there will be a bilateral agreement between the EU and the USA, providing a simple mutual recognition of licenses, stand-alone licenses. This will make it much easier to get a FAA stand-alone license.

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    $\begingroup$ do you have any links to the actual regulations you are mentioning? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ EU 1178/2011 easa.europa.eu/document-library/regulations/… EU216/2008 easa.europa.eu/document-library/regulations/… $\endgroup$
    – Waked
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ Can you please explain how it would change the process of getting a FAA license if you already have a valid European PPL license? As far as I know, the new EASA regulations won't make it any easier to get a standalone FAA license for European pilots. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 22:39

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