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Flying in Germany with BZF E

Many small non-towered airfields in Germany only use German for radio communication with the Flugleiter, the person in the tower giving basic aeronautical information. The German VFR AIP indicates for every airfield whether only German is used or also English.

My question is – if one holds a German (EASA) PPL and a BZF E (the German RT licence which permits communication in English) can s/he land or depart an airfield that only uses German? I’m assuming that the pilot speaks basic German and is competent in holding the very short and basic conversation with the Flugleiter.

Another way to put this (perhaps) – Is BZF E is only needed to communicate with ATC in controlled airspaces or with FIS or is it also needed for communication with the Flugleiter in airfields that has no ATC/CTR.

EDHE/LLHZ, Israel

A more basic question should be “why do you need a Flugleiter at all”…

I dont easily forget visiting a sleepy grass airfield in North Germany : following the rules I phoned for PPR 2 days before, then he asked if Id call just before departure with an ETA – sure, the Flugleiter when I arrived overhead said a grand total of 8 words as I self announced where I was and what I was doing (Roger, Roger, Roger, Wind Eighty degrees five knots) and then happily relieved me of 40 odd Euros – because I was the only aeroplane there…

And I have now landed at 2 aerodromes in Germany with nobody there and the world did not end … so it can happen.

Last Edited by skydriller at 11 Apr 06:45

Unless some operational rules for flying w/o Flugleiter are in place or you make it a “safety landing”, that it could become a pretty expensive happening ;-)
And many small airfields have neighbours waiting for something like that to act upon it.
Thus not recommended.

(Just to make sure: i find the Flugleiter obligation unnecessary and stupid, and consider myself lucky to fly from an airfield with such exception…)

...
EDM_, Germany

I (trained in Switzerland) understood the rules that the English profiency check does not allow for talking German on the radio. My instructor suggested finding airfields that have English listed (though I’m not a native German speaker)

Apparently in France it’s more flexible, if you know the various terms for downwind, final etc, so you at least know where other planes are, then it’s apparently fine, but Germany does not have such flexibility in the interpretation of rules.

LSZH, Switzerland

skydriller wrote:

A more basic question should be “why do you need a Flugleiter at all”…

It was initially introduced to hinter Jews flee the Third Reich. Part of justification for introduction of Flugleiter was safety – being able to inform rescue services in case of a crash. The latter justification is the reason Germany is slow in getting rid of it: It needs a politician / chirf officer with balls. Because if he would dispose the requirement, he would eventually be held accountable if something happened, someone died and a Flugleiter would have made a difference. Unlikely but not unthinkable. They son’t count the deaths induced by bad Flugleiter though. So Germany will stick with it as long as possible. In the mean time, German pilots are largely socialised with the “Flugleiter” and some of them defending this nonsense. Some Flugleiter like it because they can feel as “Controller light” or “Airport Manager light” and can run around with an important handheld.

mh
Aufwind GmbH
EKPB, Germany

@ophirmm

if one holds a German (EASA) PPL and a BZF E (the German RT licence which permits communication in English) can s/he land or depart an airfield that only uses German?

Bottom line: Unfortunately no. But calling the airfield could help; maybe they have someone who can do the radio communication in English…..

(and yes, the Flugleiter stuff is BS)

Last Edited by MikeWhiskey at 11 Apr 19:17
LFSB, LSPV, Switzerland

Don´t ask questions you don´t want to have answered and don´t worry too much. I´d fly into French airfields with no French language proficiency, but I´d make sure to be able to announce who and where I am and what I intend to do. I´ve never heard of anyone getting busted because of a missing language proficiency entry in a license. We got along without those for decades.
Likewise basic German will be enough, and you´ll usually be able to communicate in English regardless of what the AIP says. Especially on small grass strips you´ll be welcomed, we´re all aviators after all.
You´ll need some sort of BZF to have the German PPL, but no one has ever asked for it in my 30+ years of flying.

EDFZ

A more basic question should be “why do you need a Flugleiter at all”…

Besides historical stuff the current reason is search and rescue. In fact there is no need for a Flugleiter at all but for search and rescue on site depending on aircraft weight etc. So as they need that search and rescue anyway they make the person talk on the radio and provide some AFIS and German pilots will expect that. In the end they want to charge you landing fees and a big job of the Flugleiter on the radio is to list all the movements for the accounting.

MikeWhiskey wrote:

But calling the airfield could help; maybe they have someone who can do the radio communication in English…..

I did never do a systematic search but I would say most bigger airports can operate in English. Remember from Switzerland you need some airport with customs anyway and I guess nearly all of those will also do English radio.

radio.chrisn wrote:

that the English profiency check does not allow for talking German on the radio

That is a difficult question but many German pilots fly with English level 4 only and LBA seems to have no problem with that. I guess if you speak good enough not to cause a mess nobody will care. Probably calling them on the phone in advance is the way to go. Either they will speak English for you or hopefully tell you what downwind and crosswind are called in Germany and tell you to come.

www.ing-golze.de
EDAZ

Sebastian_G wrote:

Besides historical stuff the current -reason- justification is search and rescue. In fact there is no need for a Flugleiter at all -but for search and rescue on site depending on aircraft weight etc-.

There. Fixed it for you.

Biggin Hill

MikeWhiskey wrote:

Bottom line: Unfortunately no. But calling the airfield could help; maybe they have someone who can do the radio communication in English…..

A number of years ago, I wished to fly to an airfield that didn’t have English listed as a language. I contracted them, then they immediately replied that English was no problem at all, and I could communicated with the them in English.

EIKH Kilrush
81 Posts
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