View Full Version : Italy to UK Trip!
27th Dec 2005, 14:39
Wondering if I could get some advice.
Planning a trip from Rome to Denham for a couple of weeks time. Any tips and advice would be welcome, as this is my first flying trip abroad.
Also, whats the best charts to use, Transair don't seem to sell 1:250,000 European charts.
27th Dec 2005, 14:48
Suggest you contact CP at Heli Air Denham Neil Jeffers or CE at Heli Air Wycombe John Michelakis.
Both have recent experience of that routing.
27th Dec 2005, 17:19
27th Dec 2005, 18:22
Biggest deal is usually getting round/through Alps. You need adequate weather to get through the passes.
Most direct route will probably be Lake Maggiore, Domodossola, Simplon pass, Sion, Montreaux. Swiss have great system - GAFOR - for pass wx info: find at www.meteoschweiz.ch. Be wary of the Jura mountains NW of Geneva though - no route through and up to 5000ft ish.
Unless Jura is clear prob best to route Aosta, Bourg St Maurice, Moutiers, Albertville. At least then you're enough to the west to go Chambery and up the west of the Jura, where the ground is low.
If weather poor only route is likely to be round coast to Marseille, but you've got to be really keen or on a schedule to flog round there!
Should be great trip if the weather is kind. Do watch the Alps though - it can change very quickly and I've never been able to get GAFOR info over the R/T.
Normal 1/2 mil charts are fine - you don't need 1/4s.
28th Dec 2005, 13:12
Beware Sion! The Swiss have a rip-off culture that even shames Britain's! If a kindly person offers you a ride for the 100m to the customs post or wherever its liable to be invoiced as "handling fees" at something like £150...Check requrements for mandatory handling in advance, and then avoid!
Pick a nice day, watch the wx behind you as well as in front, and don't be shy to turn back. The Alps are no place for pressonitis. Use smaller airfields where you can, call in advance etc and have fun, its a great trip!
28th Dec 2005, 17:54
Keep it simple this time of year!
You have not mentioned what type of heli you are bringing back.
I would take the coast route. (Carry life jacket if possible + raft!). As you will have to transit Nice airspace over the sea at or below 500ft amsl.
Route into either Nice (No avgas) or Cannes.
If weather permits and Nice air traffic, then plan to go to Lyon Bron, Troyes, Le Touquet then home. Nice and simple with enough spare fuel for diversion planning.
Unless you have the experience (then of course you would not be asking!) avoid the mountains.
Forgot to mention.
Charts I tend to use the Jepp 1/4 mill for the whole route. Handy as they have the Lat/Long of the vrp,s on them. Order them for Jepp of there web site or from the UK office 0044 1293 842454.
28th Dec 2005, 18:20
Going to be bring back a R44 Clipper II if all goes to plan!
Thanks for the help guys, been flying in the UK for several years, but this is my first time flying outwith UK airspace and appreciate all your tips and advice!
Herd the french can get shirty on a Sunday, is this true?
Also, any nice places to visit on the way home?
29th Dec 2005, 04:51
Having been thrown into the deep end of European airspace myself, all I can say is enjoy it!
Avoid the mountains this time of year (as already mentioned).
I agree with the Italian/French Riviera route. Alot less hills to contend with and the weather around the Nice/St Tropez/Marseille area is a little more subtle than the inland/mountain route.
I have never had any problems with Italian or French ATC. The only thing to remember is to try and plan your flight during the weekdays as some of the smaller airfields are closed on weekends.
For fuel, Nice (as green arrow mentioned), also along further west you have Le Castellet. You can head north from Le Castellet via Nevers (fuel on weekdays only) then either Dieppe or Le Havre then jump across the pond from there.
I agree with getting the 1:500000 Jepp charts. Transair or Pilot Warehouse can help.
Have fun and I hope the "Fun bags" on the Clipper don't drag you backwards.;)
29th Dec 2005, 18:45
Flew up from Pyrenees in an R22
Remember cash only at almost all french airfields except LFAT, unless you have a Total card and a lot of patience. in a 44 that may be a lot of cash.
Avoid landing at between 12 and 2, lunchtime no gas.
Found French ATC excellent, speak slowly.
French Military ATC good too, learn the basic french/Italian aviation phrases as this helps with your general awareness of what's going on around.
Ref mountains I did a course in the Pyrenees with a French veteran, I asked him if there was much of a problem with wind, he said "No problem, more than 10 knots and we don't go"
29th Dec 2005, 22:26
Plan a stop over in France as I guess unless you're really lucky with a strong tail wind, you'll be looking to take 9-10 hours to do the journey plus the time for refuelling and customs.
You could opt for Albenga in north west Italy if you're not planning to go over the alps. All you have to do is follow the coast from Rome.
Enjoy the flight.
30th Dec 2005, 14:35
The HCGB do member weekends in europe at various venues, it might be worthwhile contacting them for any info.
I flew back from the worlds in August with another member and we had no problems with the French atc at all, they were clearly understood and understood us perfectly. We crossed Bulogne to Folkestone. Don't forget your lifevest and keep a good awareness of the French Nuclear power station sites!!
Have a good trip...wish I was doing it:ok:
30th Dec 2005, 17:15
In January the mountains themselves are likely to be under a stable high pressure and beautiful to fly. The international hot air balloon festival is held at Chateau d'Oex in the Swiss Alps at the end of January every year for this reason.
The problem is likely to come with fog in the plains from the Po valley to the Rhone valley and beyond. It's that which may have you routing via the coast, but if the mountains and the plains look clear, go for it on the Simplon - Sion - Lausanne - Pontarlier route, as mentioned before. Winter flying in the Alps knocks the socks off summer flying.
Also, as mentioned, watch for the Jura. The Alps can be clear and the Jura socked in. They act as a barrier against which Atlantic weather rolls across France and sticks.
30th Dec 2005, 17:41
Fog in Italy during the winter...say it ain't so! Area around Lago Maggiore definitely has some fog...all day...can't see squat fog. The up side of that is it is a really friendly area...even Plod there has a sense of humour....or used to.
30th Dec 2005, 20:00
You'll probably need a stop between Rome and Albenga - try Massa Cinquale (LILQ), it's about 15 miles north of Pisa and they are very friendly. I would avoid stopping at Genoa as it's full of 'jobs-worths'.
After Albenga follow the low level route past Nice - staightforward with a GPS! Watch out if there is a strongish NW wind as it causes what can only be described as 'microbursts' down to the surface of the sea. At 500' it doesn't give you much leeway if you encounter one of this downdraughts.
I have found Cannes to be helpful and makes a good first stop in France to check the weather to see if you can cut the corner a bit.
I've found that Sunday in France is pretty laid back as far as ATC is concerned and most of the danger areas are not active (apart from the ZITs as previously mentioned).
I can vouch for the Jeppesen 1/2 mill VFR/GPS charts, just check the true scale as it does sometimes stray up to 5% which could be a bit tricky if you are on the limit for range.
As far as research is concerned, try www.flyingineurope.be, it's got a bit of everything.
Have fun and try not to forget the camera, my favourite trick!