Flying in Iceland


Shanna and I recently took a week-long trip to Iceland, where I was lucky enough to get some flying in. When we'd stopped over in Reykjavik for a couple days during a previous trip to Europe, I noticed how many light aircraft were in the air. The landscape is so weird and compelling that getting up in the air became a mandatory part of our return to Iceland.

Unfortunately, there's not a ton of information about flying in Iceland on an FAA certificate. I found a 2004 thread on the PPRuNe forum that didn't offer much, and another article that had some useful info on where to fly, but prices & recommendations from 1998. Eventually, I just scraped around the English-language version of the ICAA website (the Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority) and emailed them directly, asking what I needed to do to fly there. I got a response within 24 hours:

Foreign visitors in Iceland can use their valid and current ICAO pilot licence for three months for private VFR flights in Icelandic airspace in aeroplanes registered in Iceland. So as long you as licence is current and valid and you have sufficient privileges to fly the aeroplane in question. You can fly private VFR for three months in Icelandic airspace without having to validate your licence.

Great news - no need for lengthy and costly process of validation. At this point, things got simpler, as the only task left was finding a place to rent an aircraft.

I contacted Flugskóli Íslands and Iceland Airclub to check prices and restrictions. There are other flight schools and rental FBOs, but the ones I saw didn't offer english websites, or were outside of Reykjavik, which excluded them right off the bat. Flugskóli Íslands has a fairly large fleet of Cessnas (C-152, C-172N, C-172S), allows solo rental with no minimum block time, and requires potential renters do a one-hour checkout with instructor. Iceland Airclub has a few PA-28s, but allows dual flights only – unless you pay dearly to become a member.

It wasn't really a difficult decision, once I had the information, and I scheduled a couple of flights with Flugskóli Íslands well in advance. They're the busiest flight school in Iceland, so this might not be a terrible idea. They're friendly and very responsive to emails, so don't hesitate to contact them.

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