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VFR France for Dummies (me in this case)

Hey there,

I’ve been reading the many threads and posts published in this forum over the years about flying to France.

I never passed Le Touquet, and now that I have my own plane, I’m feeling adventurous (sometimes) about exploring France.

But the truth is, when I read about France, airfields, language, and regulations, I quickly convince myself to keep flying in the UK only.

I wonder if there is an updated guide for beginners. Or maybe someone could be interested in organising a Zoom event to talk about flying in France. I would pay for proper advice.

EGSU, United Kingdom

We can certainly run a Zoom evening. We used to do them Tuesday evenings, 2000 UTC if I remember right. It’s all set up and ready.

France is not a problem. The main hassle there, for Brits, is that so many airports have gone to 24hr/48hr PN. Le T is one exception. One thread.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

For flying VFR in France, I strongly recommend installing SDVFR on a phone or tablet. It’s French only, but if you have some basic French that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Decoding the French VFR charts is a real puzzle, because there is so much restricted airspace, often overlapping vertically. SDVFR makes it much easier since you can tap on both the plan view and the side view of your course, and if necessary tweak your route and altitude accordingly. I think SykDemon does the same thing, though I’ve never used it – but you have to pay for it.

LFMD, France

If you can do Le Touquet you can do anywhere in France. The PN (or extra stop to avoid it) is probably the biggest problem. Once ‘in’ past immigration & customs, flying is vastly easier than in the UK. A lot of airfields are EN now, and the smaller FR-only ones won’t care if you’re speaking English or non-radio. Airfields are generally much closer to their towns and often walkable (my most time consuming planning task is checking google maps for how long it takes to drag a toddler to the centre-ville).

I’d be keen for a Zoom

EGHO-LFQF-KCLW, United Kingdom

the smaller FR-only ones won’t care if you’re speaking English or non-radio

Not always my experience, no smiley here…

Fernando, don’t overrate flying in France, difficultly wise, or any EU country as a matter of fact. Fly to a bigger field (Lille springs to my mind coming from your “island”), or get a PPR or PN, file a FPL and fly. Once airborne talk to the respective FIS, look at the bottom of the screen on the SD map for the frequency, and enjoy the ride

This of course being for a VFR flight… for an IFR flight the whole thing is, despite some opposition on this very forum, much more complicated, costly, and inefficient

Last Edited by Dan at 07 Feb 17:58
ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

France is OK for Brits, as mentioned. You just need to plan it properly. Check AIP, Notams, ATC normally allows you into CAS but you are normally on your own re the “prohibited” areas and mil airspace. ATC there is normally 99% militant on mil airspace; won’t even attempt to ask the military for coordination, so you need a good satnav app showing that stuff, but there is plenty of clear airspace, especially FL065-FL115 (VFR is banned in much of France above FL115).

We can do Zoom but people need to commit and not wait for others Otherwise, what happens is X logs in, finds it empty, logs out. Y logs in 2 mins later, finds it empty, logs out. Zoom thread (link above) has the details. That’s why we had the telegram group for it. I will be around after 2020UTC today.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Hi Fernando, congrats for your new toy, ping if you are coming to Paris or Normandie…it helps if you could land in 400m grass (you can speak any language) or we can catch up near some paved instrument runway !

Fly to a bigger field (Lille springs to my mind coming from your “island”)

That comes at 250€ tag these days

In that corner from UK, you have Ostend, Kortjik, LeTouquet, Calais, Merville and Picardie, that is it, nothing more and nothing less

The rest is complicated unless you are jobless or retired: to be able to send emails before Friday for flights on Sunday

Last Edited by Ibra at 07 Feb 18:38
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

We did a Zoom tonight but no Fernando

That comes at 250€ tag these days

Reference? Most recent is here

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Sunday and it’s 240€ (+75%)

Last Edited by Ibra at 07 Feb 21:30
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Sunday is just one day out of seven days…

It’s important to not be overly negative. There is enough of that already.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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