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Can a pilot with a US FAA certificate and a proper rating legally fly a D-xxx German-registered aircraft within Germany? How about the rest of the EU? Does it matter which type of aircraft? I'm most interested in gliders, but the question is more general.

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No. A US licenced pilot can not fly a German registered aircraft in Germany.

Generally you must always have a pilot licence issued by the state that the aircraft is registered in.

Obtaining a licence for that country can be relatively easy based on the fact you already have a licence from another country, but you will need a new licence or some kind of documentation issued by the governing country.

There is an FAA rule that allows a US licenced pilot to fly a foreign registered aircraft the USA, but I think this is rather unique as I believe no other country allows this.

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  • $\begingroup$ The wording of your answer may be a little misleading. A US pilot can indeed fly foreign aircraft but only inside the US, which admittedly isn't the scenario here. And if country A validates a pilot's license from country B then that pilot can fly an aircraft from country A. But what "validation" means is up to each country, so the answer here depends on whether or not Germany will validate an FAA license and if so, how. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Sep 1 '16 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't aware of the FAA rule that allowed flying foreign aircraft. I edited my answer. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Mike Sowsun Sep 1 '16 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ I find this a bit illogical, because a German pilot can fly an N-registered aircraft in German airspace. Usually this things are covered by bilateral agreements. Validating a US license in Germany is a long, bureaucratic and painful process. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Sep 3 '16 at 13:02
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    $\begingroup$ The UK also allows this. Any ICAO license is automatically "rendered valid" for flying G-registered aircraft without the pilot having to take any action. I've used this to rent and fly many British aeroplanes on my FAA private certificate. $\endgroup$ – pericynthion Sep 28 '16 at 0:33

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