Importing Aircraft (East to West)
Importing a Russian aircraft from Lithuania to the United Kingdom can be a very pleasant and memorable experience. It is not as difficult as you might initially think but can be a little time consuming. Assuming you have found your aircraft and it has the necessary navigational equipment, the first thing to decide is whether you want to fly it back across Europe yourself or whether you want to hire an experienced ferry pilot to either do it for you or with you. Let's say that you haven't even got your PPL yet but from your first test flight in a Yak-18T, you knew you simply had to have one. You found your aircraft, paid for it, received 10hrs type training and flew 10hrs solo to gain some experience. You definitely need an experienced ferry pilot, one who can go when you want, not necessarily when he wants! Then you need mother nature to be on your side for some good weather. Assuming everything is ok, you might be able to go for the first leg of the journey today. Perhaps not, perhaps the weather keeps you grounded for 48hrs - be prepared.
The first leg is to fly from the local airfield where the aircraft is based to an international airfield for the registration of the aircraft exportation. Ensuring that all aircraft documentation is valid and stamped beforehand, otherwise you will be going nowhere and your aircraft could be impounded at the international airport until you present valid documentation. As expected, everything is in order and you are given clearance to leave. The flight plan was done by your ferry pilot beforehand, he has registered the trip in advance with Germany and England and he explains the route and the timings to you. He explains that you must land at international airfields during the respective legs of the journey and that upon arrival in the U.K. Customs & Excise will require you to pay VAT against the value of the aircraft. In this case, he also explains that because he does not hold a British passport, he will need to visit Immigration. Your ferry pilot will expect you to pay for his overnight accommodation and flight home the next day or as soon as possible after arrival.
Anyway, off you go, soon after take-off you are enjoying the views over Poland and you decide to do some of the flying before the first leg of your journey comes to an end after just over 4 hrs flying at an average ground speed of 115kts. Your aircraft has extended fuel tanks (6hrs duration), so only one stop is required. Your ferry pilot has opted to land at Schonefeld International airfield near Berlin, Germany for refuelling and rest. After registering the arrival, you stop for one night in a hotel, drink beer and contemplate the final leg home. you depart the next day for the U.K. and enter some unexpected IFR conditions for 2 hrs. As you regain VFR, both of you are very impressed with the views over Germany and the English Channel.
Everything is fine so far and even though you haven't got your PPL, you are doing a lot of the basic VFR flying, well, if you want to that is. You are paying your ferry pilot to fly so if you want, he/she can fly you all the way and you can simply sit back and relax if you want to - although that wouldn't be right would it! As you enter the U.K. FIR, you decide to make the necessary radio calls yourself and head for your International airfield for Customs and Immigration purposes. You land and if you are lucky, you will receive help filling out the Customs & Excise goods import form for VAT payment. If not, your aircraft will need to remain at the airfield until you have completed the necessary papers and made the payment. Unfortunately, you are not given the help you need and decide to take your ferry pilot to his hotel, thank him and bid him bon voyage back to Lithuania.
Over the next couple of days you fill out the necessary forms, make your VAT payment and then you are free to fly to the airfield where you will base your aircraft. By the way, if your ferry pilot had chose not to file a flight plan and avoid landing at an international airfield it is likely that his actions will have upset a few people along the way - not least to mention the airfield where he does land and of course Customs & Excise who will be chasing VAT payment with extreme vigilance, i.e. expect them to be waiting for you on the ground when you land!
If you choose an aircraft from Yak-Aviation.com, you will receive the necessary help at every step of the way. We can do all of the work to import the aircraft to wherever you are or you can engage in the process; which can be far more rewarding! We will also assist with the appropriate registration or re-registration of your aircraft should it be required.