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29 July 2009

Comments

Thankyou so much for coming to visit, it was such a pleasure to have you all come and stay, the weather here is getting hotter and hotter, we were at 37 degrees this afternoon.
As Sue mentioned if any fellow franco flyers would like to visit the region, I am always happy to act as a guide to the local spots....and rose'
I am looking forward to the next stage of the training in Sept. see you then.

"flying on top is allowed in France"? Perhaps by Sue, but not if all you have is a UK PPL. And the UK IMC is not valid in France. So you must have a French PPL or a full instrument rating to "fly on top" in France. You must fly "in sight of the surface" with a UK PPL.

[I just thought I would point this out in case anyone gets the wrong idea. The general rule is that when mixing nationality of licence, plane registration and territory of flight you must obey *all* the rules of *all* the involved jurisdictions - you can't pick and choose.]

Do not worry Paul, we were always in sight of the surface, as the cloud was broken not overcast.

However, I have a licence endorsed by the french authorities to teach in France (under both sets of rules) and I was flying a French registered aircraft.

I was just trying to avoid the *possible* misperception by readers of your blog entry that the holder of a UK PPL would be allowed to fly "on top" in France, which is how it read. The "in sight of the surface" rule applies to UK-licensed pilots no matter the registration of the a/c. I wasn't intending to comment on the Cannes flight, which of course would have been legal at all times.

Wow. The photographs are amazing.

What a brilliant trip
Peter Cazalet the Envious from Soggy Ireland

It would be good to have some precise guidance on the issue of 'VFR on Top'.

It is to avoid such confusion that I set up Francoflyers in the first place as questions about what people with UK-issued licences could and couldn't do all seemed very much 'a matter of confused opinion'.

The fact that Sue has a French endorsement to teach is France is neither here nor there.

Firstly, my understanding of the posiition is that a pilot may do what the Aviation Authority of the country in which they are flying will allow them to do.

Hence, a JAR licence holder may exercise the full privileges of that licence, as defined by the JAR country in which they are flying.

As rightly pointed out, the IMC rating is not valid in France (or any other country) because it has alway been UK-only qualification unrelated to JAR or ICAO.

The position of a non-JAR licence holders is another matter which has already been discussed at length in previous posts.

The crucial issue is that the French allow the concept of 'VFR on top' which means that you can fly out of sight of the surface for hundreds of niles but you cannnot climb and descend through cloud.

I have certainly done that on several occasions under Sue's supervision.

This was allowed in the UK some years ago but the rules were changed.

However, I am neither an aviation lawyer nor a Qualified Flying Instructor so I think that an informed opinion should be obtained as soon as possible.

---------------------------------

PS: In April 2008, Sue Posted:

I believe that it is legal to fly on top in France subject to the criteria in the article.

I hold a JAR licence issued in Britain, I do not hold a French licence,however my licence has been validated by the DGAC.

If the rules of the air (France) allow Pilot's to fly VFR on top in their country then one imagines we are not breaking any laws.therefore I cannot see a problem.

I regret that I am not able to give a definitive answer to this type of question.I am currently trying to find someone suitably qualified to answer these Air Law questions.
-----------------------------------

Perhaps, after 16 months, a definitive answer is possible

Following your questions and comments on my trip over the mountains.
I asked Mike Grierson to read the the individual comments and answer the various queries.His reply is below:
...................................................

Firstly, my understanding of the position is that a pilot may do what the Aviation Authority of the country in which they are flying will allow them to do?.
NO! They must comply with the privileges of the licence held. A UK issued JAA Licence does not permit flight out of sight of the surface therefore VFR on top is illegal ANO Schedule 8

UK NATIONAL PPL

(c) unless his licence includes an instrument rating (aeroplane) or an instrument
meteorological conditions rating (aeroplanes), fly as pilot in command of such an
aeroplane:
(i) on a flight outside controlled airspace when the flight visibility is less than
3 km;
(ii) on a special VFR flight in a control zone in a flight visibility of less than 10
km except on a route or in an aerodrome traffic zone notified for the
purpose of this sub-paragraph; or
(iii) out of sight of the surface;
JAA PPL
(3) The holder shall not:
(a) unless his licence includes an instrument rating (aeroplane) or an instrument
meteorological conditions rating (aeroplanes), fly as pilot in command of such an
aeroplane:
(i) on a flight outside controlled airspace when the flight visibility is less than
3 km;
(ii) on a special VFR flight in a control zone in a flight visibility of less than 10
km except on a route or in an aerodrome traffic zone notified for the
purpose of this sub-paragraph; or
(iii) out of sight of the surface.

Hence, a JAR licence holder may exercise the full privileges of that licence, as defined by the JAR country in which they are flying.
NO NO NO! If you want the privileges, you must convert to a JAA licence issued in that State.
As rightly pointed out, the IMC rating is not valid in France (or any other country) because it has always been UK-only qualification unrelated to JAR or ICAO.
The UK IMC rating is not valid for IFR Flight in France, but the IMC rating also removes the restriction "not to fly out of sight of the surface" and reduces the "3k visibility to 1800" metres therefore, parts of it are valid in France and if you want to fly VFR on top you must have a valid IMC rating
Instrument meteorological conditions rating (aeroplanes)
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), within the United Kingdom an instrument meteorological
conditions rating (aeroplanes) rating entitles:
(a) the holder of a United Kingdom Private Pilot's Licence (Aeroplanes) or a United
Kingdom Basic Commercial Pilot's Licence (Aeroplanes) to fly as pilot in
command of an aeroplane without being subject to the restrictions contained
respectively in paragraph (2)(c) or (f) of the privileges of the United Kingdom
Private Pilot's Licence (Aeroplanes) or paragraph (3)(g) or (i) of the privileges of
the United Kingdom Basic Commercial Pilot's Licence (Aeroplanes); and
(b) the holder of a JAR-FCL Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) to fly as pilot in
command of an aeroplane in Class D or E airspace in circumstances which
require compliance with the Instrument Flight Rules.
(2) The rating does not entitle the holder of the licence to fly:
(a) on a special VFR flight in a control zone in a flight visibility of less than 3 km; or
(b) when the aeroplane is taking off or landing at any place if the flight visibility below
cloud is less than 1800 metres.
The position of non-JAR licence holders is another matter which has already been discussed at length in previous posts.
JAA licences do not all confer the same privileges, they are still licences issued nationally albeit, in accordance with JAA Standards but subject to National Law. All they do that applies to all JAA States is to entitle the holder to fly an aircraft registered in another JAA State. Rules of the Air and ATC rules that apply are those of the Country in which the flight takes place.

Hope that answers the question.
regards
Mike

The french rules of the air can be found in English on the SIA website:

http://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/default_uk.htm

To avoid further confusion I have removed the "offending sentence from the article.

Sue,

to add to the above, if you hold a commercial license other than a BCPL, then the out of sight of the surface does not apply and you can fly VFR on top. I addressed my answer to the PPL holder.

Thanks Mike, for some clear guidance on this subject.

The IMC 'wrinkle' is interesting to know about.

I don't think that anybody was 'offended' by the sentence in the original article and the most important issue here is that we all have a full understanding of the rules.

What a fabulous trip,an inspiration for me to continue with my training and complete my PPL here in France!

Hi Mike

Thank you for the information,yes I hold a CPL.

I was not trying to make a statement about rules merely writing a lighthearted article to show pilots how wonderful it is to fly in France.

And wonderful it is, flying in France.

I didn't mean to detract from Sue's article but, nevertheless, responses to my note on the VFR-on-top-in-France comment show that most people do not have a full and complete understanding of the rules re VFR-on-top-in-France. Me too: I think (but i am unsure) someone has said authoritatively that VFR-on-top in France is allowed by the holder of a UK IMC. That was not my understanding but I am happy to be corrected, if I have been.

I note that the contention by some here that VFR-on-top in France is allowed by holders of UK-issued PPL (either JAR or old-style) without an instrument rating (or, possibly, IMC) has been soundly re-buffed.

It seems to me that someone who knows how could usefully separate out this discussion from the Cool Cannes article to a separate one on this particular issue.

Sue:"I was not trying to make a statement about rules merely writing a lighthearted article to show pilots how wonderful it is to fly in France".
Seems to me this was abundantly clear from the article, pity so much comment focussed on the VFR bit, making Cool Cannes more like a Cannes of worms. Good to know the legal position but I suggest there is always room for pragmatic common sense in interpreting regulations, they may not always be black and white. So a respectful "Amen" to the regulations and a vibrant "Affirm" to flying in la belle France!

Paul Beardsell wrote:

It seems to me that someone who knows how could usefully separate out this discussion from the Cool Cannes article to a separate one on this particular issue

------

Thanks Paul—that's an excellent suggestion.

Over the next couple of days, I will dig out and amend the original article on the differences between French and UK rules as it's really useful to read that article as a whole.

As I mentioned, the principal purpose of this site was (and is) to provide English-speaking pilots with accurate information to keep them safe and legal.

Very much the sort of stuff that I learned in 'dribs and drabs' over the first year of flying in France—the information was 'kind of' available but not in any organised form.

Even in the UK, I have found that the finer points of Aviation Law are often a matter of debate and speculation among those whom you would expect to have a precise interpretation.

Thanks for sharing

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