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Flying in France (incl Permits, Private sites and Pictures)

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Flying in France (incl Permits, Private sites and Pictures)

Old 19th Mar 2009, 21:34
  #121 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: england
Posts: 199
flying in France

I share your experience Oogle, and have always enjoyed flying in France.

I'll be in Troyes some time this weekend en route to Italy.

If you've got your off airport permit, it is worth taking, just in case the weather goes bad.

I've never had issues with the Gendarmes, and like most places around the world, if you are courteous and pleasant, you'll be treated likewise.

Airfield refueling facilities do have a habit of closing for lunch, but you are on holiday, so go with the flow.

Travel light, wear comfortable clothes, take sensible shoes, hat and waterproof coat. Lugging everything from aircraft across apron to Control to taxi to hotel become a pain.

Take some snacks and some fluid, but don't drink too much, especially if you have a small bladder. Make sure you have snacks for when you cannot get any food. Avoid chocolate - it always gets on the seats and on your trousers.

Have an "aircraft bag" with all the documents, maps, stuff and keep it one place. Take it with you when you leave the aircraft - every time - since the one time you leave it in the aircraft you WILL need just one map, one phone, one bit of info that then involves a 20 minute hassle trek back to the aircraft.

Designate jobs between yourselves, and stick to them.Tasks like DI-ing the aircraft, flightplanning, booking the taxis, sourcing the hotels, chatting up the receptionists and so on. Otherwise the whole journey degenerates into committee rule, and you will take ages to get to/from the airport and back in the air.

Try to stick to a timetable, and in particular don't start winding each other up about the weather. Having said that, avoid AT ALL COSTS "get-there-itus". Remember that after 6 hours in the air, probably with a very early start, you will be tired and not neccessarily at your best.

On my trips, we always have a discussion first as to who is in charge (if you've ever flown a 4 -seat aircraft with 4 qualified pilots you'll know what I mean). Having established this, we also agree that if any one is uncomfortable with the conditions, they are to make this quite clear. We land as soon as safely possible if the Captain is unable to re-assure the person who is uncomfortable.

"French" info have always been really helpful.

There are a lot of military corridors to cross, -- most you can avoid by flying below them, but a quick call to "French" info will tell you if they are active or not (just like our Danger Zones).

Joel, try and get into the Alps for a bit of mountain flying if the weather is Cavok. It is truly stunning this time of year.


Big Ls

Last edited by biggles99; 19th Mar 2009 at 21:44.
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Old 20th Mar 2009, 12:17
  #122 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Age: 53
Posts: 587
Thanks again guys,

I'm going to make a list of all the advice and make sure I follow it.
I run a heli blog so I'll put a commentary on there if I can.

Thanks for all the advice and if there's any more, keep it coming as I've a week left before we go.

The heli is having a 50 hour early in readiness.

JTobias is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2009, 14:54
  #123 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Europe
Posts: 516
Lots of good advice here, but don't let it become a big deal - flying in France is pretty relaxed and straightforward most of the time.

Particularly if you're stretching fuel, do try and call to confirm the airfield does actually have it - don't rely on the books. A 12.00 - 14.00 lunch for airfield and fuellers is common.

Frankly a lot of French ATC is very casual compared with the UK, but they are usually helpful, partly because there is so little GA traffic compared with the UK. On trying to get a CTA transit clearance don't be surprised to be ignored for a while - and then dismissed with a "leave my frequency" as soon as you're clear of the area! Unlike the UK, the Flight Information Services eg Paris Info seem to have very good radar and will know exactly where you are.

Military zone crossing will keep you concentrating, though these tend to be very much 9-5 Mon-Fri only, with auto-info services out of hours.

I wouldn't worry too much about landing off-airport without a heli-surface permit. I did it for years with no problems before getting one - which is a bit of an epic, btw. Paperwork important though - there are plenty of Douane looking for something to do!

Oh and most importantly, try not to look too astonished when your landing fee is a fiver for landing at somewhere the size of Coventry!
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Old 20th Mar 2009, 16:10
  #124 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Thanks Rotorspeed
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Old 20th Mar 2009, 18:02
  #125 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: London
Posts: 2,917

Lots of information/advice and some excellent pictures in this thread



Thanks for the reminder! I've merged the threads now, so the link will lead back here

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Old 20th Mar 2009, 18:36
  #126 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Age: 53
Posts: 587
Flying Lawyer

Thanks for the link to the thread.
Loads of useful stuff.
Much appreciated

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Old 20th Mar 2009, 19:04
  #127 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 387
France tend to keep all their public holidays for May (Mai) .....
The other months are for strikes
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Old 31st Mar 2009, 11:40
  #128 (permalink)  

Crazy Scandihooligan
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Location: Damn, some mountain goat is nibbling my ear ;-)
Age: 48
Posts: 482
Habilitation a Utiliser les Helisurfaces

The regulations have changed in regards to this and is as follows.

Article 17 of the decree of 06 May 1995 concerning aerodromes and other locations used by helicopters has been modified by the decree of 27 May 2008.

This states that for the initial application of a Habilitation a Utiliser les Helisurfaces the pilot must prove s/he has a minimum of 70hrs as a helicopter pilot as well as a declaration of post-licence training in a "Zone Exigue" (Controlled Zone.. i am thinking) issued by a flying instructor, indicating that said pilot has undertaken said training.

The following are exempt from the additional training in the "Zone Exigue" if:-

- Holders of a professional helicopter pilots licence
- Holders of a private pilots licence who can prove they have a minimum of 300 hours.

Can any one of you please clarify to me what the term "Zone Exigue" means please, because i am translating this as a cramped zone.... could this mean "confined area" or "CTR"


MD900 Explorer is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2009, 12:03
  #129 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: north and south
Posts: 20
"Zone exigue" means a small confined area. This new article to the decree is a result of a tragic accident which took place in January 07 near Arles, when a PPL with an Alouette 2 missed his take-off from a restaurant helipad and killed 3 or 4 people on the ground. The pilot had less than 100 hours and media coverage of this accident lead to a reflexion about permits to land on non-airfields/privates places. So now, if you want to land near your friends' house ie. you have to be a PPL with more than 300 hours or be a PPL with a special confined area training (5 hours) issued by an approved DGAC examiner. If you have a CPL, no changes. But I don't know what's about a foreign PPL, but being a french pilot an knowing how our administration is helping us, I would certainly take this 5 hours course if you don't have the 300 hours on your PPL, just in case of...
Hope it helps, cheers,
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Old 31st Mar 2009, 12:25
  #130 (permalink)  

Crazy Scandihooligan
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Damn, some mountain goat is nibbling my ear ;-)
Age: 48
Posts: 482

Thanks for the translation, that was all i was after here, my French fails me. here, but i wanted to post this to just update fellow rotorheads on the regs regarding the helisurfaces permit.


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Old 31st Mar 2009, 12:29
  #131 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Age: 53
Posts: 587
Boys and Girls

Just got back from my expedition over the water.
I had a fantastic experience and your hints and tips were particularly useful/
We had no issues whatsoever with red tape etc.

You can read all about it here if you want. http://www.jetbox.wordpress.com
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Old 31st Mar 2009, 14:37
  #132 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 192
Excellent read. During my summer vacation last year i did visit Biarritz via Freiburg (EDTF), Dolé, crossed Lyon Bron, down the Rhone valley to Avignon, heading south to the coast passing Montpellier, Pezenás, Beziers, Narbonne to Carcassone where we stayed for the night (planned stop) and next morning via Lourdes to Biarritz.

Just one week later back via south of Bordeaux to Limogés straight north to the Loire river heading east to Versailles and to Issy for another stop. Next morning then via Reims to Spa in Belgium and after a coffee at Manoir de Lésbioles back home.

(The places where we did refuel are underlined - besides the last link of course...)

All in a B206 III (~17 hours of total flight time) and it was really fun and quite helpful to learn about the handling of the helicopter as we were five POB with little extra weight besides fuel.

I always felt comfortable and welcome at every single place and at no times i had any difficulties whatsoever.

Actually, talking about it brings back some really good memories
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Old 31st Mar 2009, 17:45
  #133 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: England
Age: 53
Posts: 587
Glad you enjoyed it.
I have done plenty of flying over the years, but the trip was one of the best things I've ever done.

I guess you have to be a pilot to understand why though.
My wife thinks I'm bonkers.

She always says "Wouldn't it be simpler and cheaper to go sleazy jet?"

I think she's bonkers!!!
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Old 24th Apr 2009, 22:57
  #134 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 4
Off airport landing permits in France

Please could somebody advise me where I can get the off airport landing permit for France, that I have seen from this, and previous threads is needed if wanting to land a private sites?
Nimco82 is offline  
Old 24th Apr 2009, 23:15
  #135 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 99

Check your PMs
Barndweller is offline  
Old 25th Apr 2009, 01:07
  #136 (permalink)  

Crazy Scandihooligan
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Damn, some mountain goat is nibbling my ear ;-)
Age: 48
Posts: 482

Perhaps you should read back through the whole thread....

Also make sure you don't fall into the requirements of needing to prove 5hrs of confined area training, should you have less than 300hrs and be a PPL!


Last edited by MD900 Explorer; 25th Apr 2009 at 08:37.
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Old 25th Apr 2009, 02:53
  #137 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: England
Age: 30
Posts: 27
Everyone on this thread keeps mentioning the Heli-Surfaces Permit, but no one has mentioned from where one can get the necessary form. Please can someone tell me where to get the form so I can fill it in?
Thank you!
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Old 25th Apr 2009, 08:32
  #138 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Posts: 1,338
look at post 16 on this thread...
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Old 25th Apr 2009, 17:48
  #139 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: England
Age: 30
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Thanks toptobottom, I see them now. My skype was hiding the numbers last time!
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 19:04
  #140 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: UK
Age: 58
Posts: 58
FIS/Basic Service?

I'm heading off to France for a week's touring this weekend. Have done the trip before a few years ago and have my helisurface permit tucked away safely in the flight bag. But I was wondering if there has been any change in ATC services as we have seen in the UK this year? I'm likely only to want a basic service or maybe a traffic service, but what are these known as in France today? To be clear, I will be requesting these in English, not French as all the en route controllers speak perfectly good English.
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