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French Strikes - impact on GA IFR

Lol Wonderful do you know if that is available in French?


I have been trying to file an IFR flight plane from Gloucester UK EGBJ to Sion Switzerland LSGS. This is a flight I have made dozens and dozens of times and never had any problems getting an efficient route directly across France, at FL250 usually.

Today I could not get any route across French airspace to validate and the only route that finally came up on Rocketroute involves a big arc across Belgium and Germany (+36%) and when I test filed it for this afternoon I immediately got a Slot delay of nearly 3 hours.

Is this what is to be expected during the current French strikes – ie that it will not be possible to cross French controlled airspace, and big slot delays wherever I go??

Upper Harford private strip UK, near EGBJ, United Kingdom

I don’t think going FL340 helps neither, this was from last week

Is planning VFR an option?

Last Edited by Ibra at 03 Apr 10:51
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Posts moved to existing thread

I have encountered French strikes on roughly 1/3 of flights across France. Somewhere, someone, is on strike…

The normal way is to suppress Eurocontrol validation over the region on strike. This is not trivial. You need to find that Eurocontrol map which shows French strikes regions with long delays and relate that to the waypoints on your route, and insert VFR … IFR into the route to cancel IFR across the relevant portion. Then, as normal with VFR, you have to get enroute notams for that portion, because ATC won’t look after you when you are VFR. In France, ATC tends to clear you through CAS easily but avoiding military and other prohibited airspace is your job. Good luck doing all this with just a phone. I had a horrid day a few years ago, stuck in Cannes, but in those days Achim had not yet vanished and re-filed it for me. Today, without a laptop, no chance.

We have been here before.

I wonder if @gallois is still out there? He might be able to contribute some amusing angle on this

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Does “file VFR trick” work at FL250 in General Charlie airspace? or above FL120 in General Delta? all I know is swapping flight rules works between FL60-FL120 if one is careful with restricted zones

Last Edited by Ibra at 03 Apr 11:19
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

In France you can do VFR low down but in roughly the NE quarter not above FL120.

However in general when actually airborne they tend to not care and let you carry on IFR. I once did that right across Switzerland when that whole country’s ATC was on strike (link above).

ATC tend to not enforce Eurocontrol non-validation if the filed route is normally OK.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Ibra wrote:

Is planning VFR an option?

Sadly, no. I need to be at FL190 or above for fuel efficiency.

On a related note, could someone please explain how to “freeze” a slot time. I have seen it said on this forum that it is possible to freeze a slot time. On the FLP I flied for this afternoon, Eurocontrol have been changing my slot time back and forth literally every ten minutes, forwards half and hour, back 40 minutes, forward 25 minutes etc etc, for the last two hours. If I could Freeze one of these allocated slots then I could at least manage around the problems. So how does one do this freezing, and can I do it through Rocket Route, which is what I use for flight planning.

Thanks for the help.

Upper Harford private strip UK, near EGBJ, United Kingdom

On autorouter, once a CTOT has been issued, you find a button for this on your flightplans page. You can also trigger the command via the Telegram bot.

Technically speaking, this freeze command equals sending a SWM (“slot improvement proposal wanted message”). After that, CFMU merely proposes improvements and it is up to you to accept or not. Autorouter automatically declines these and doesn’t even pass them on to you. Clever. I don’t think Rocketroute allows that, and Foreflight neither.

It is worth mentioning that this command only protects against improvements, not against further worsening. It is not actually a “freezing” though. Eurocontrol would never implement a total freeze possibility as that would obviously make them unable to delay you further should they “need” to after issuance of the first CTOT.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 03 Apr 12:33
Mainz (EDFZ) & Egelsbach (EDFE), Germany

I have just received an email saying I have been mentioned in relation to the French national sport. ie going on strike.
The first thing I should point out is that not everyone goes on strike. There is usually a limited service of some kind.
The way French pilots whether GA or even commercial deal with these strikes is to simply go VFR. There may be no one to talk to but that means that there is no one to say whether ypu have infringed airspace or not. However, of course we all avoid doing so. It does help that much airspace is downgraded/upgraded to Golf during these times. So in effect most club/ga pilots carry on exactly as they would if there was no strike.
With regards to P xx airspace. This is always prohibited except when it isn’t. When and to whom it isn’t can be found in the ‘VFR Complimentaire book that is in a pack with 1:1m charts it also gives the details and frequencies to contact to transit " Rxx " airspace. (For some reason I can never remember this documents proper name and I can’t lay my hands on one right now @Johnh has one. Its all very simple really.
Forget IFR during strikes unless your area and the areas you want to transit have decided to go into work. I wouldn’t know how you would check that out from outside France. Inside France you just telephone the tower at the local large airfield and ask them.

Whilst writing can I remind everyone that might possibly fly into LFFK (we have an open day this weekend and are planning an oyster day in September) that we now have our own frequency. In action but not yet shown on the VAC/IACs.
Also that all ULM fields now share a common frequency not 123.5 which is to be used below 3000ft and within 5nm of the field you are flying to/from.
Sorry can’t give this frequency at the moment, I am not on the picket line or marching, I simply do not have it to hand.

Finally, can I direct you to the youtube video below. It is a bit dated and occasionally not politically correct but you might find it amusing as it touches on many of the topics covered in euroga as well as the French national sport.


gallois wrote:

With regards to P xx airspace. This is always prohibited except when it isn’t. When and to whom it isn’t can be found in the ‘VFR Complimentaire book that is in a pack with 1:1m charts it also gives the details and frequencies to contact to transit " Rxx " airspace.

Is this info not also in the AIP?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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