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16 March 2009


Hi John

Like yourself, I started flying in France a few years back and found it quite difficult to pin down the rules regarding the use of UK-issued licences—'opinion' seemed to outweigh fact by a considerable margin.

That's why we started Francoflyers—to learn from the actual experience of other English-speaking flyers.

Sue will hopefully offer the 'last word' on this, as she is the expert, but my understanding of the position is as follows:

There is an ICAO requirement for all pilots to demonstrate English Language proficiency as English is the international language of aviation.

This agreement came into effect on March 5th last year though, in practice, individual countries will have their own timetables for implementation.

As I understand it, the rule was implemented immediately for commercial pilots in France and will be implemented for private pilots at some unspecified time over the next several years.

In practice, all French Air Traffic Controllers speak good English but will respond in French if you address them in French—"Good Moaning" doesn't count!!

At uncontrolled airfields, the pilots speak among themselves in French though there is no specific rule requiring French language proficiency.

However, for reasons of safety, we published an article on French radio calls last year—look in the 'Radiotelephony' category on the sidebar of this blog.


I cannot really add anything more to the posting given by Les King, he has covered all of the points.
If you have any further questions regarding this issue please contact me again.
Happy landings.

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