Lamenting General Aviation in Europe

Well Kim and I just returned from a fabulous driving holiday around mainland Europe…2,500 miles in an Enterprise Rent-A-Car Ford Mondeo Station Waggon. We landed at Frankfurt Intl., and drove to Nuremburg, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Kraków, Wroclaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, The Hague, Bruges, Waterloo, then back to Frankfurt.

As the Australians might say: “a bonzer trip.”

One thing that struck me, other than the splendor, kindness of the people, and what a great time we had, was the lack of General Aviation activity overhead. We were gone 16 days, 14 of which was on holiday, and not sitting in a passenger seat of a B777.

I saw (I counted), a total of 11 GA aircraft in the skies all throughout our trip: a Powered Parachute in Southern Austria, a Cessna 172 over Budapest, a Piper Pawnee tow plane near the Slovakian Southern Border, along with three Sailplanes starting their thermal riding journey over the Southern rises of the Tatra Mountains, a Parasail over Northern Slovakia, an MD Explorer over Wroclaw, a Piper Malibu over Southern Poland, an R44 Raven over the old East Germany countryside, and a Colibri helicopter in the skies of the Southern Netherlands.

So my experience can’t be that unique; I’ve seen plenty of GA aircraft in the skies over the UK, France, Switzerland, and Western Germany, on previous trips. Where were the GA aircraft during the first two plus weeks of July, 2016? Fuel prices are at an all-time low? European OEMs are producing numerous modern GA aircraft, especially targeting Sport Aviation, some of them ‘Electric.’

Why isn’t Europe flying?

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