Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.


Old 2nd Oct 2008, 14:40
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 578

Does anyone have any experience of this airfield? I'm going to be based in La Ciotat nearby for about a month; and have started my enquiries into aircraft rental at Aix-Les-Milles in the hope that I will find an english instructor for a club checkout. I don't speak much French (have the books, but struggling to learn) so obviously am a little nervous, and have never flown in France before. Is there anyone who regularly flies into or from here who would be able to offer me some advice?
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Old 2nd Oct 2008, 15:02
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Under the clag EGKA
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From experience, not there, you will find it hard without French but not impossible. ATC are great but the flying schools I have used for checkouts and hire have had very limited English. My French is pretty good but checkouts can be hard work. Listening to ATC and other aircraft is very difficult too. I have often had to talk to mil as well. They seem to refuse to speak english even when they can. I regularly use a field in Var. There is often a Gazelle on some ex in the next field. I can ask his intentions well enough but I rarely understand his response which is never the same. Flying is very rewarding though and the views stunning.

Last edited by effortless; 2nd Oct 2008 at 17:25.
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Old 2nd Oct 2008, 16:34
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cotswolds
Age: 63
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Agreed you should learn the basic french like VENT ARRIERE for downwind etc if only to understand the other planes.

Did a check out at Ex some years ago at a club there, the instructor was french ex military, spoke reasonable english.

In my case the club was helpful in providing me with the best english speaking instructor they had and a list of translations of air lingo.

So, just do it and learn to avoid the prison on final approach.... They dont like you overflying it

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 2nd Oct 2008, 17:27
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Under the clag EGKA
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Make sure that you fly up the Gorge du Verdon, quite spectacular oh and the Calanques at Cassis. Lord you are in for such a treat.
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Old 2nd Oct 2008, 18:14
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Abroad
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As already said, ideally you would need to speak French (it's compulsory on Air/Air freqs., including normally controlled aerodromes outside of ATS hours, and wherever else stated on the AIP).

As for finding an English speaking instructor... if it's just for a checkout I don't think that's that critical. Go to the flying club once you're there, see if you like them and, more importantly, if they like you, and tell them you would like a temporary membership, etc. I fly a lot in France, but as a French speaker I can't really comment much on the linguistic barrier aspect. In any event, it's an awesome country to fly in.
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Old 10th Oct 2008, 19:58
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Gods Chosen Country
Posts: 123

What licence do you have ?

If it is JAA then there should be no issue. But if it is CAA you need to get a validation from the DGAC (the forms are online)
If it is FAA and you are EU resident then it is no go.

The language is only a slight problem as you can quickly pick up the circuit speak but you lose some situational awareness if you can't keep up with everyone else in French.

As said elsewhere it is great in France, reasonable landing fees, edible food and great scenery, just don't try and get fuel at lunchtime
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Old 10th Oct 2008, 20:58
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 578
Thanks for the replies so far. Currently hold a JAA PPL.
Hoping to visit the club next weekend; but ideally looking for anyone who flies from here or nearby airfields who would be happy to sit RHS for a few hours while I get to know the situation.

Last edited by L'aviateur; 10th Oct 2008 at 21:12.
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