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Maiden channel crossing advice

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Maiden channel crossing advice

Old 21st Jul 2022, 07:51
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Originally Posted by UV View Post
If it’s a nice day (which it will be if you are going for the first time) and if a weekend expect a lot of traffic in the Le Touquet area and circuit ...mostly arriving from the UK from different directions with all sorts of “joins”.

They can appear from anywhere. Keep an extremely good lookout.

The standard of airmanship can be appalling!

Dont file the flight plan more than a day in advance as many are getting lost over there recently. You can file the return flight plan before you leave.

Allow plenty of extra time for your return as NW closes strictly at 7 pm and, if Le Touquet is busy, there is often a delay in getting away.
Thank you! I guess there's no point in asking about circuit patterns. I'll need to be prepared for anything. Are there any joins which are particularly more common than others when arriving from the North?
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Old 21st Jul 2022, 09:04
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Originally Posted by admuffin View Post
Can I fill this in upon arrival?
Needs to be sent at least two hours before arrival.
Sky Demon will do it for you.
However I have just been told that is for the Netherlands. Not needed for France.
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Old 21st Jul 2022, 14:16
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Don't overthink it, very easy and a lot of fun!
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Old 21st Jul 2022, 16:50
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Originally Posted by admuffin View Post
Thank you! I guess there's no point in asking about circuit patterns. I'll need to be prepared for anything. Are there any joins which are particularly more common than others when arriving from the North?
Runway 32 is a right hand circuit, so if joining from the North along the coast it is a downwind join. If it’s 14 then it’s the same, except the opposite direction. People try and barge into a base leg join screwing things up.

Aircraft form the UK can arrive form any direction. Some from the south west if coming from Bournemouth/Exeter etc. along the French coast. Others from the North west if arriving from Seaford or Lydd, which is what I would often do from North Weald as the whole flight is a straight line and you only need to talk to Lydd on the way! Then change direct to Le Touquet. Bit more sea though.

Before Covid you would often see a couple of hundred aircraft there on a nice day. Maybe not so many now.
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Old 21st Jul 2022, 20:10
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Weather

Be aware that the weather can suddenly change at Le Touquet.
I left a beautiful cloudless sky over London on Bastille day and by the time I was mid channel Le Touquet was closed VFR and was directed to Calais radar. Convinced them to let me do an instrument let down and broke out at 200ft.
A few years later I delivered a gin Palace into the canal network crossing from the Goodwins to Cape Gris Nez and was enveloped in thick fog mid channel although none forecast.
have fun
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 08:22
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I surprised that no one has recommended that you take a liferaft. Frankly without one you are really only wearing the lifejacket so that your relatives have someone to bury. The sea temperatures around the UK, even in midsummer are such that unless you are very quickly rescued, you stand little chance of survival.

The CAA have just updated their advice on ditching here, and it makes for essential reading.

CAA advice on Ditching
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 08:22
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Important to read the aeroport AIP for complete and accurate information on all things. below is an extract regarding the Douane;

0800 - 1800
E-mail : douane-
[email protected]
TEL : 03 21 06 46 13.
The customs request must include the following information:
- ACFT registration,
- Captain's name,
- PAX names with passport number or identity card number.

So the same as the UK GAR


Runway 32 is a right hand circuit, so if joining from the North along the coast it is a downwind join. If it’s 14 then it’s the same, except the opposite direction. People try and barge into a base leg join screwing things up.
Where does it say that? ATC at Le Touquet apply both left and right often simultaneously as do most airport ATC in the UK.
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 12:11
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Where does it say that? ATC at Le Touquet apply both left and right often simultaneously as do most airport ATC in the UK.
My experience. from many trips to LFAT approaching from the North, has been a right hand circuit for 32 and a left hand for 14.

Maybe they operate the other side too, but our friend will be arriving from the North.
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 16:27
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Based on the tragic crash of a light aircraft crossing the Channel on another thread: Do not fly over, through, or under any CBs. Only ever fly round them in the horizontal plane - and keep well away from them as you do so. Remember CBs might be embedded in other cloud so you may not know it is there without a good weather radar, and experience in using it.

French ATC is generally very good, helpful and clear, but I would always speak only English, and use slow CAP 413 phraseology - don't engage in any French or chatting. You want the controller's brain to switch to English straight away. If you start with French phrases and your accent is good, (mine is apparently), ATC might reply in French and/or it might take a moment for them to realise and switch. But by all means finish your final message with. "Merci beacoup, á le prochain", or whatever.

Have a good flight, and above all do not be afraid or too proud to turn 180° and go home if you don't feel comfortable or anything is not right - don't press on regardless
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 16:57
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My experience. from many trips to LFAT approaching from the North, has been a right hand circuit for 32 and a left hand for 14.
OK. ATC will always seek to clear aircraft by the most direct route possible subject to traffic. You can of course request a preferred circuit join including via the overhead if you wish, a join most preferable when ATC is absent. Le Touquet regularly have traffic operating simultaneously left and right so don't be surprised by this. What can be disconcerting is the simultaneous use of both French and English.

Have a good flight, and above all do not be afraid or too proud to turn 180° and go home if you don't feel comfortable or anything is not right - don't press on regardless
Usually it is coasting out with a loss of horizon that is a shock; before coasting out ensure you are correctly trimmed and orientate to using your instruments as confirmation. The air is usually stable over the sea and necessary inputs from the pilot will be minimal.

Last edited by Fl1ingfrog; 22nd Jul 2022 at 17:20.
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Old 23rd Jul 2022, 18:33
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Take enough round trip fuel with you tomorrow.
Problems with fuel at Le Touquet and one of ours had to divert to Lydd on the way back today!

Last edited by UV; 23rd Jul 2022 at 19:19.
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Old 23rd Jul 2022, 19:16
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Two recent ditchings on the "Accidents" forum today, both survived. No liferaft.
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Old 28th Jul 2022, 17:37
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The Flying Reporter has just released a video on crossing the channel.
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Old 5th Aug 2022, 12:40
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Just a couple of things that i didnt see anyone else mention, (may be out of date because it is a while since i have done this!)

On London Information they will want to know when you leave the coast of England, so get your call "G-cd coasting out" (assuming you are already talking to them)
and they will probably respond with a change of frequency at mid channel to either Lille ot Le Touquet.

When talking to Le Touquet they will probably ask you to report at Cap Gris Nez (Cape Grey Nose), have a look in advance at the map to work out where this is so you can report when you are there and also it wont surprise you when they ask as they hate repeating this many times till it gets through! There is also Cap Blanc Nez (White Nose) but this is north of Calais so you probably wont be anywhere near that.

Be aware that the weather can change as quickly as it takes to walk through the terminal, we once were in lovely bright sunshine walking into the terminal and after just enough time to do formalities walked out into thick fog! We ended up getting a "SVFR" (!) clearence out in the minutes before they closed as they wanted us gone! 100' later and it was the same bright sunshine and clear all the way home!

Apart from that enjoy, and in the future look forward to getting further afield such as Deauville, or up to Ostende (great for a weekend). Overall once you have made it into France it becomes a lot more relaxing and easy flying but France is a big place and 4.5hr flights can be a bit boring!! :-)

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Old 24th Aug 2022, 19:17
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Thank you to everyone that has responded to this thread. You're advice has been invaluable!!

I've finally decided to pull the trigger this Sunday if all goes well, but I have one last question. I'm unsure whether LFAT requires PPR. I found this paragraph in the AIP:

https://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv...dex-fr-FR.html

SUM : 0700 - 1130, 1300 - 1700. WIN : 0800 - 1230, 1330-1800.
Possible extension for commercial flights only, from ETA- 30 min to ETD + 30 min. PPR from AD operator (SEMAT) PN 24HR before expected date of flight.
TEL : 03 21 06 62 86/71 - FAX : 03 21 05 16 06


It's unclear to me whether the PPR here refers to the aforementioned commercial flights or all flights. Nothing on their website.

If not, is an email to customs as mentioned on the page below, sufficient to notify them of my arrival?

https://www.aeroport-letouquet.com/d...e-vol/?lang=en
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Old 25th Aug 2022, 08:02
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I agree that PPR requirement is potentially ambiguous. However, I think it is PPR required for out of hours operations for commercial flights.
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Old 8th Sep 2022, 12:17
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Originally Posted by admuffin View Post
Thank you to everyone that has responded to this thread. You're advice has been invaluable!!

I've finally decided to pull the trigger this Sunday if all goes well,
How did it go?
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Old 8th Sep 2022, 21:14
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Originally Posted by dave_kent View Post
How did it go?
Pretty well thanks. I was easier than I thought. I did stuff up a bit because I saw the runway quite late which means I didn't have time for a base join so I had to extend downwind as instructed by ATC but they didn't get cranky about it. We rented bikes to get into town and had lunch. The town is really nice and has a pleasant sandy beach. Not quite what I expected.
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