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20 December 2007

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I found your blog surfing around - I'm hoping you may be able to offer some advice.

My wife and I are planning to move permanently to the Franche-Comté region during 2009. I am a flyer, and would like to change my "issuing authority" from the CAA to their french equivalent, so as to benefit from not having to return to the UK all the time for revalidations and medicals etc, and of course I am hoping the medical requirements will be a little more relaxed. (I am mid 50's). I realise of course that my IMC is not valid in France, and that there are differences of operation during the hours of darkness, but I do intend to keep flying for pleasure.

Can you shed any light on the best way to start the process, and how long it is likely to take ? I should think the local strips are likely to be La Thize or Veze if I have remembered the names correctly, both on the edge of Besançon. Also any tips on gotchas that might apply having made this change if then I want to visit back in the UK would be most welcome.

The issue of hire is probably too large ask you about in this context, but any guidance or contacts for aircraft hire, cost comparisons with the UK etc would be most welcome.

I know, from having asked all of the same questions myself, that one advantage of converting my old UK licence to a JAR version was that medicals and revalidations may be done by medical and flying examiners from any JAR country.

This was advised directly by the Civil Aviation Authority Personnel Licensing Department who may be contacted on +44(0)1293 567171.

As it happens, I still live in London and was not really concerned with the medical issue—I mainly converted to JAR in order to fly French-registered aircraft outside of France.

If the CAA's advice is correct, I can’t really see any pressing reason to change the licence issuing authority though it seems sensible to check with the relevant authorities on both sides of the water.

As to the 'flying costs' question, both aircraft-hire and subsididary costs such as landing charges are considerably cheaper in France—the recent 'Flying Prices' post on this blog seems to indicate flying costs equivalent to about 60% of UK charges.

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