LFMT has approved my request!
I sent off the same email to Beziers LFMU just in case – the alternate.
Debatable. If, for a mere fuel stop, we all start booking a parking spot for overnight at two airports, then for sure we will receive lots of refusals in the future – all booked!
The root problem remains the micromanagement of GA parking areas, which has become the norm in many parts of Europe, at least at most airline airports.
In general I would agree but in this case it is the old debate whether you need to comply with PN for an alternate.
I am not booking an overnight spot. The email was:
This summer I planned an overnight stop in Avignon LFMV. I spotted the advance PN for parking too late. Called them a few hrs before arrival and asked politely if they could accommodate me. “Of course sir, you are welcome here, we’ll squeeze you in”. Maybe some airports are anal about this and others more practical?
These big airfield operations usually assume you NEED PPR for parking & permission even for 1h fuel stops (now some have similar NOTAMS that applies even for VFR touch-and-go and practice IFR approaches: I am not talking ATC requirements, I am talking OPS requirements)
Also when you need customs & immigration in big airports, this likely means any international flight, it seems you can’t park in some places like arranged aeroclub spots or friend hangars, you are may need to book in one of the reserved spots in front of big commercial terminal and you are likely to swallow mandatory handling…this gets ridiculous when one operation guy insists on following this rule to see police then another operation guy complains that you left 1.5T piston in one of the few spots in front of main terminal that are only reserved for 20T jets, this may happen on landing at your homebase before going to your own hangar !
You are likely to need a very high IQ to understand the very low IQ of some people working in these big airliners airports…
I’ve just done a police + avgas stop at LFMT and will never go there again. One of the worst experiences I have ever had across Europe.
The visit had been thoroughly arranged with the airport:
I am planning on stopping at LFMT for a refuel on the above date.
The aircraft is a TB20, 1400kg, and the flight would be IFR.
The inbound flight would be from LICP and it would continue to
Shoreham in UK (EGKA).
I would arrive at LFMT approximately 1200 UTC.
It is very important that:
- you have avgas and accept VISA or Mastercard or AIR BP
- you can do a fast turn-around (say 1hr max) regardless of airliner fuelling situation
- there will be someone to help with the fuel pump (I can’t speak French and the phone camera translate often fails to work)
- I will need Immigration and Customs for the outbound flight to the UK
Thank you in advance for your reply.
and I got replies sorting this all out, from these people:
After landing, I immediately asked for avgas and mentioned getting my passport stamped.
Around 10 radio calls to Ground to get avgas failed. The guy said “I will call them”. 5 mins later “I will call them”. Then a huge Jet-A1 wagon arrived. I said “avgas” and the guy said something about “cards” so I said I have Mastercard, Visa, and AIR BP. He laughed, gesticulated with his arms, and drove off. Didn’t come back. More radio calls, no result. Eventually I walked to the fuel station, waving my arms Italian-style (this is France but it seems to work) and some men there got into the avgas truck and came round.
Then I wanted the passport stamp. In retrospect I should not have bothered – nobody would have noticed – but you never know… I asked where you do that. One has to walk to the GA terminal. So I went there. The security policeman: “not my job”. Pointed to an Info office, where a very posh looking woman was totally uninterested in helping, pointing me in some direction. I walked there and opened the only door at the end and it was the passenger terminal, so it was obvious if I go there I will never get back to the plane (except via some passenger / airline queue). Anyway, I had no choice so went there, to the Info desk. 2 women there, no idea what to do, but eventually they got the message that I was not some lost airline passenger. After a while four 9mm armed Douanes officers turned up but while very friendly they didn’t know what to do either. They said Italy France and UK is “all Europe” so why do I need this? So I explained about Schengen etc… Eventually another woman arrived who seemed to know something and we all walked back to the GA terminal where they found the passport stamp and did it. It was suggested this should have been arranged by some handler but it seems I accidentally bypassed a hander, but anyway the handler was nowhere to be seen in the GA terminal. Another guy, apparently in a PC12, was also looking around…
Then, unrelated to the above, I got a CTOT due to another French ATC strike. Get these on most IFR flights in France. Only a short one, 10 mins. I had to delay the FP by 30 mins due to the above mess, and got another 10 min CTOT. Fair enough. But ATC said that you have to be airborne within 10 mins of the CTOT time. Is that real? It is hardly possible in the real world. Anyway my FP got suspended. They made some phone calls to reinstate it.
The Ground taxi instructions were done with the most appallingly bad ELP I have ever seen (heard). I also don’t think the woman was actually referring to the names of published points on the taxiways correctly. I have it all on the mp3 recorder. It was crazy. At one point, exasperated, I said to her “sorry I can’t speak French” which really p1ssed her off Then she got replaced by some man who was intelligible. Of course this cannot be fixed because the ELP examiners are native (French) and native people always understand even the worst accented English perfectly. So the world goes around while these people get their 200k or whatever.
I don’t know what went wrong with the system. The fuel guy(s) were not busy with airliners. They were just doing nothing. And the total cockup with the passport stuff. Maybe what happened was that the handler was out of the loop, and you simply aren’t supposed to be doing that, and if you manage it, lots of people there just hate you
Then I wanted to pay for the parking. No can do… But the woman who knew something said the airport will email me an invoice. So off I went.
In comparison, Beziers LFMU (used by a number of us in Oct 2021 for the Andorra fly-in) went fast and smooth. I booked them (as alternate too) and got an immediate “ACK” by email. Should not have bothered with LFMT but went there because others spoke of it well. It’s a total mess.
So Montpellier is off the list as well now. Pity. Was a real good GA airport.
PPR of all things are going to kill GA more efficiently than anything else. 3 days PPR for parking at an airport like this? Thanks but no thanks.
Use Beziers. Maybe speaking French helps (it often does) but why push against so much resistance?
I woke up this morning dreaming about notams Now off to write an email to airport admin…
Is it really the case that with a CTOT you have to be airborne no later than CTOT plus 10 mins? I was sort of aware you lose the “15 mins early” option, so that gives you just a 10 minute slot in which to complete the taxi+takeoff process.
CTOT means takeoff 5 mins before untill 10 mins after.
The funny thing is that the FP is filed with an EOBT, and the CTOT is a takeoff time. Say you file EOBT 1200 and the CTOT is 1210 (as mine was). High change of the FP getting chucked out.