Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

Europe Trip in July - Spain, France, Lux.

Is there a reliable trustworthy source of information on which fields can be used for customs purposes? If the AIP can't be used... what can?

That's an old problem

I prefer to contact the airport directly and ask for opening hours, avgas, etc.

I am not aware of anybody having hot busted (or pursued, upon return to the UK) for departing France from a non Customs airport, but it is technically illegal, and is a bit "obvious" to anybody who sees your flight plan. I recall reading of a recent case where somebody filed e.g. St Yan to Caen and then wanted to divert to the UK and was told by ATC he can't because St Yan has no Customs. Fairly obviously he could have claimed "bad weather" at Caen, etc... but one needs to be able to back that up.

It's too hard pasting information into this forum - especially with the weird line break removal

If you want stuff to come through unchanged, you can use the "preformatted" attribute - put

< p r e >

before your text (without the spaces within the pointed brackets) and put

< /p r e >

after it.

Normally, this works in your favour, because it results in a nicer text flow, but lists like this are a bit difficult.

La Rochelle airport isn't much good as a lunch stop but the city is wonderful and there is a huge amount of choice there. We had a fly-in there a few weeks ago. It's worth an overnight stay.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Just some general things to consider.

I too think that trying to fly nearly every day is too much. Even just an hour's flight can take most of the day. It involves:

Checking weather & NOTMAMs (and if appropriate filing the flight plan) Checking out of hotel Organising (and waiting on) transport to the airport Sorting out payment of landing parking fees Getting access back to airside (often resulting in delays while the appropriate person can be found). Pre-flighting the aircraft & setting up your gear and getting bags back in.

Do your flight

Organising parking and sorting officials at destination (eg arranging fuel and confirming parking is ok over night and confirming arrangements for payment of fees) Organising and waiting on transport to your destination Checking in to hotel.

The flying is probably the fastest part ;)

This gets even longer if you don't have accommodation pre-booked.

I generally discount any but the most trivial of tourist activity on the day of flight.

If you're happy that this is just about flying and not about seeing any of the places that you are going to, then fine. However if you actually want to see the places, then you should leave a least a day without flying at the destination. This can also work as a buffer for weather delays.

It would seem a shame to have gone to so many lovely places and to have seen nothing more than the airport terminal or briefest of visits to the city centre.

As you are going VFR, if you are pre-booking accommodation I'd suggest that you look at the Accor brands. They have different brands to suit different budgets but one thing that they do which is very useful for VFR pilots it the ability to cancel until 4pm (or 6pm in some cases) on the day of arrival without penalty. (These cancellable rates are a little more expensive but not too much).

This really takes the pressure off if you have weather concerns but also allows you to pre-book accommodation to save delays on arrival.

I know you've changed it, but in your initial plans I see that you had allowed for just 30 minutes of ground time. Personally I've always left 1 hour as minimum ground time for even the most basic of stops. By the time you do the joining procedures, taxi in, pay landing fees etc, restart and power checks, taxi back out, you'll be doing extremely well to do that in 30 minutes. I think 1 hour is more realistic if you have everything well planned. Longer if you need fuel and don't have a person capable of either organising the fuel or sorting the landing fees while you are doing the other.

Many UK pilots are used to flying really low because of airspace restrictions. In France this is not necessary. Get up high quickly; it makes life a lot easier ;)

I hope this is of some use to you. Enjoy the trip!


EIWT Weston, Ireland
Ah... i thought the PRE tag made it all in courier font too?  Oh... it does!  Not too pretty.

I will contact the airports ahead of a visit and see if i can get some sense out of them :)

I agree about La Rochelle - visited a few weeks back and did a trip report for the Flyer forum: Flyer Forum Post

EGKL, United Kingdom

Just looking at your replanned google doc.

You say after flight 1 that 1:45 of fuel remains and the next leg is possible. But the next leg is 1:50 ;)

EIWT Weston, Ireland

Ah! You spotted the 5 missing minutes! I figured that seeing as i'm allowing a 1:00 reserve, i can get away with 5 mins :)

EGKL, United Kingdom

No problem with AVGAS in Pamplona. It is available. But check NOTAMs. Currently there is one NOTAM active that modifies the 'fuel hours of operation' published in the AIP.

Contrary to what has been said, it is really easy to know landing fees. They're published by AENA. Search "AENA fares guide 2013" with Google. Once you have the document you only have to go to page 7 of the PDF and look for the 'minimum per operation' corresponding to 'landing' and 'aerodrome service' concepts for each airport. You have to sum up both, add 21% VAT, and you have it. It's true that on some airports you're forced to pay for handling, but they are only a few. You can check if handling is mandatory or not in Spanish AIP. In the case of Pamplona, it is not mandatory. So, total landing fees are 12€. Not bad.

Landing fees for Sabadell are identical, and again, handling it is not required. AVGAS is also available.

LECU - Madrid, Spain

Thanks coolhand - that's really handy.

EGKL, United Kingdom

Sometimes, however, handling is worth the money.

For example, at Barcelona Sabadell (LELL) you have 100ALAS Handling which charges €80 but that includes aircraft door to hotel door and back again. Transport to the city centre, your hotel, whatever. It is the slickest operation I have ever seen. You would easily spend the €80 on taxi fares. More here.

As a further general note on long trips, make each stop somewhere where you actually want to spend a bit of time. And as Dublinpilot says, try to maybe spend a clear day at the nicer ones i.e. not fly every day. There is a significant amount of stress involved in long trips due to the worry about what weather is coming. In reality, especially in VFR (but equally in IFR if carrying sensitive passengers) one has to juggle the dates to be on the ground while bad wx is passing by. But it is really crap to be stuck in some dump (where you planned to just do a 1 night stop) for 3 days.

Last summer was especially difficult for long trips, but was OK if one picked the stops for being good to stay in anyway. For example, on this trip, it sounds very smooth if you read it but actually we were juggling the dates the whole time, e.g. getting out of Croatia the same day the rain moved in.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

One thing - have you checked if you are in fact allowed into the Spanish airports you want to fly to? If I'm not wrong, your a/c is classed as 'Ultralight'. NO UL flying in most (if not all) Spanish terminal areas. There are exceptions to this rule, usually for people based at airfields that sit within a TMA (e.g. LEAX), but not usually for visiting a/c.

Other than that, after 15 years of flying in Spain, I have never come across a PPR field, certainly none of the AENA ones. Also never had an issue with Avgas. Landing fees in Spain used to be wonderfully low - EUR 11.- and some cents. Now, they are anything up to EUR 400.- Flightplan is mandatory for all flights starting, ending or crossing controlled airspace, which, for practical purposes, means all flights. No big deal, just file the thing and don't forget to cancel after landing (or from the air with field in sight - at bigger airports the tower normally does it automatically, but I'd ask after landing regardless).

I second Peter about the weather, especially over the Alps. In summer you are much more likely to face thunderstorms over them than anywhere else, in the afternoon. Maybe you should consider doing at least your Aix-Chambery or Aix-Annecy leg in the morning. To choose between Chambery and Annecy, try to gather information about the cities. Annecy is really a beautiful city whereas Chambery's approach is more scenic. Pick up your favorite.

For you return flight why not Reims? The main city of Champagne is also the place where all French kings were crowned in the cathedral. A large part of the city was destroyed during WWI, but not the cathedral, and there are several michelin starry restaurants around.

SE France
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top