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No transponder, will travel!

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No transponder, will travel!

Old 24th Jul 2020, 08:53
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No transponder, will travel!

I have a microlight to move from Romania to the UK.

I have/had two issues.

1. Covid - but this is solved.
2. No transponder.

I had assumed it would need a transponder fitting before departure, because that's the norm (indeed, with all the noise about mode S, not having one at all could be considered ridiculous). However, as I research a little more, I don't think it's mandated if I'm happy with a slightly tortuous (and low!) route. I'll need special permissions for "international" out of Romania and same into Hungary but from then on, little fields only (no CTR etc.).

So, I'm right or I've missed an elephant in the room?

Thanks, Sam.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 09:25
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You may be right, but it will need careful preparation.

From several years ago, I remember being told that Hungary basically requires a transponder for every crossing of the borders; however it was not impossible to get an exception with a couple of phone calls.

I do have flown transponderless over Germany, it limits your maximum altitude, though.

As a plan B, couldn't you rent (just for the trip) a little box containing just a transponder, an antenna, and perhaps a small battery? Powered from a lighter plug? Problem would be to get the transponder registered to the plane.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 09:27
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SERA 13001 requires you to operate it if you have one. Otherwise it"s only mandatory for TMZs per SERA 6005. National regulations can be superimposed. In Germany it would be mandatory in C and D(non CTR) and above 5000ft or 3500GND. To be found in AIP Gen 1.5.
​​​

Last edited by BDAttitude; 24th Jul 2020 at 09:46.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 10:23
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You would be well advised to check this out http://www.aero-hesbaye.be/pdf_doc/flying_in_Europe.pdf
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 11:16
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I have no knowledge of Hungarian regs for transiting aircrew landing in Hungary but the Hungarians are taking their Covid measures very seriously with severe penalties for transgressions. Specifically Romania is classified as a yellow Country with particular requirements for quarantine, etc. You may need to apply to the Chief of Police in Budapest for a permit of exemption.
​​​​​​
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 15:37
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A Transponder is expensive to buy, install and be certified.

Worth considering ADS-B, even a portable one with both an in and out capability. A portable example is the SkyEcho 2 which you can buy for £500 and it doesn't require installation. It's also approved for use within the UK. It can be used with most nav packages such as SkyDemon.

Perhaps someone with a lot more ADS-B knowledge than me will provide much more information than I can, including the various makers and models available.
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 18:59
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As it's a microlight, buying is likely your main cost. My experience is with UK LAA Permit aircraft. Fitting was done ourselves
Buy/borrow a Trig or similar and antenna. Fit it yourself. Register with relevant Country/Microlight Authority.
(You could remove and sell after trip.)
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Old 24th Jul 2020, 20:39
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As a microlight you will need special permits for each flown country anyways, so you will have the authorities interested in you and your flight anyways. No, the freedom of flight will not be applicable, as you are moving on ferry and are not free transit. As outside the certified world you can always tinker a mobile transponder.

Last edited by ChickenHouse; 25th Jul 2020 at 06:48.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 06:25
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Sam,

buy a second hand mode C there are dozens around. Fit a battery. Put in ice cream container. Place container on spare seat. Fit aerial with cable ties to fuz.

Switch on when you need it.

Of course totally illegal, just donít ask how I know this works.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 06:53
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Originally Posted by ChickenHouse View Post
As a microlight you will need special permits for each flown country anyways, so you will have the authorities interested in you and your flight anyways. No, the freedom of flight will not be applicable, as you are moving on ferry and are not free transit. As outside the certified world you can always tinker a mobile transponder.
Not true. That varies from country to country.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 08:15
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If this transponder problem is only an issue for a small part of the journey, setting up a formation flightplan with a transponder equipped mate for that leg could do the trick?
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 08:26
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Like others have suggested, don't bother to wire one into the aircraft, just power it from the fag socket or a decent battery. Nobody will any the wiser...
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 09:39
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The suggestion by BDAttitude could be a valid plan B. Perhaps plan C could be to bring her in on a trailer, at least for part of the route? My own pride and beauty came from Hungary that way, we rode the trip from Friday evening till Sunday evening. 't Was one hell of a ride, though. The advantage is that weather cannot spoil the game; the disadvantage is that one must keep driving: whenever one stops there will be all kinds of curious people circling the plane - not all limiting their curiosity to looking. So you need to be two drivers, at least ; better three.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 11:07
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The document that LOONRAT has provided a link is an excellent resource. Those countries that on the face of it demand a transponder, such as Hungary, may not be absolutely rigid on this. Its worth a phone call for an exemption. ADS-B may be acceptable in place of a transponder, you can only ask.

NATS are very keen on ADS-B in and out and have sponsored and supported a lot of research into the low powered and economical benefits for light aircraft that are now available. NATS are responsible for achieving the rapid approvals achieved for these units in the UK. The advantages to ATC are enormous as well as benefiting the pilots spacial awareness. Transponders however on their own are a one way benefit.

The suggestion that you find an old unwanted cheap transponder and lash it together uncalibrated to me is unacceptable.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 11:21
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The suggestion that you find an old unwanted cheap transponder and lash it together uncalibrated to me is unacceptable.
But it isn't about your transfer flight What are your arguments? And what is to be calibrated about a transponder?

My main point would be that a mode C is nearly useless, at least for meeting legal obligations: wherever one is mandatory, it must be mode S.

The document that LOONRAT has provided a link is an excellent resource.
There is much good work behind it, indeed. Still it is a free unchecked unverified document, and has been known to lag on changes in ruling - which are far too numerous, these days.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 12:04
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But it isn't about your transfer flight What are your arguments? And what is to be calibrated about a transponder?
On the first point, I have no idea what you mean by that.
Regarding the second point, the arguments should be obvious to you. Laws and rules must be followed even if you don't like or agree with them.
The third point you make is way off the mark. There is, as with any radio equipment a necessity to ensure that what is transmitted is of the required standard: so not to cause interference with others and be readable by ATC, to ensure it is reliable and that the mode C transmission is accurate within the usable limits. Some of this is adjustable by a radio engineer.but as often as not the unit will require sending to a licenced radio workshop for repair.

Mode C is still accepted and approved for most of the lower levels of controlled airspace.

The document linked by MOONRAT makes it very clear that it relies on contributions to remain accurate. Anything to do with EASA is fluid and requires continuous research for uptodates. I gave up many years ago relaying accurately to my students information I knew yesterday still being true today let alone being true tomorrow.
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Old 25th Jul 2020, 21:35
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"There is, as with any radio equipment a necessity to ensure that what is transmitted is of the required standard: so not to cause interference with others and be readable by ATC, to ensure it is reliable and that the mode C transmission is accurate within the usable limits. ​​"
The requirement for UK LAA Permit aircraft to ensure accuracy is different from EASA Certified aircraft. I don't know about microlights. Check with the microlight certifying authority for its country of registration.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 00:16
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In the UK all radios installed in an aircraft whether it is on a C of A or Permit to fly must be of an approved type and be licenced by Ofcom. Although the installation and maintenance in the UK is overseen by the LAA for permit aircraft, the overall standards are no less. The procedures other than the UK may be different in detail but not, I'm certain, of a lower standard.

LAA document: AIRCRAFT AVIONICS INSTALLATIONS TL 3.03 Issue 17 October 2019

Last edited by Fl1ingfrog; 26th Jul 2020 at 00:42.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 00:22
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Things have changed for the worst these days. I flew a PA25 from Sudan to the UK., getting onto 40 years ago. Had a map, VHF and that was it. Oh and mark 1 eyeball, very inportant piece of kit that. Khartoum, Luxor (N/S), Hereklion (N/S), Corfu (N/S), Nice (N/S) UK.. VFR on airways. Those were the days.
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Old 5th Aug 2020, 00:18
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Hi Sam
There are portable transponder / coms rigs used in the ballooning sector, you may be able to borrow / rent one.
Christopher
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