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16 August 2009


When I filed a (Stapleford-Le Touquet) flight plan with the UK Flight Planning Unit earlier in the year, I was surprised to find that they still rely on FAX and good-old voice.

In fact, they telephoned me to acknowledge receipt and FAXed back confirmation of the filed plan—all very efficient though it was about 6 am.

As I left shortly before the opening hours of Stapleford Radio, I was able to activate the flight plan with Farnborough Radar though I could have also used London FIS.

I can't say that I have ever sent a flight plan directly to Le Touquet (as they would get a copy anyway) and wonder if you did this to obtain customs/immigration clearance.

They used to have a full-time customs/immigration officer but now request the relevant pilot/passenger information in writing.

Le Touquet do actually have an email address now and you can get the current information from the 'French Charts & NOTAMS' link on the sidebar of this site.

With OLIVIA, you get NOTAMS, weather and the filing of the flight plan all in one place so, on the face of it, OLIVIA would be a lot more-efficient.

However, we really need to hear from somebody who has used it for a UK-France trip, to see if there were any operational difficulties.



PS See also our article on flight plans at http://www.francoflyers.org/2008/01/flight-plans.html

Hi Paddy

You will find further details with reference to flight plans in English on the French VFR rules hyperlink.
A single telephone number is available 0810 437 837 (this number corresponds to 08 10 IFR VFR which are familiar terms) which covers the whole of the French metropolitan territory,this enables an easy access to the civil aviation facilities (they speak English) the principle of this telephone number being to automatically direct the call to the adequate representative irrespective of location.
This number can also be used to close a flight plan.
I usually telephone the relevant authorities for confirmation of their receipt of my flight plan. You can also file the flight plan directly by telephone.
There is a further list of BRIA/Aeronautical Infomation Regional Offices on the link above.

I have always found these representatives very helpful and friendly.

I have done that (filed a flight plan from UK to France using Olivia) but it was an unhappy experience.

It was 21 August this year. The plan for the flight, from a private strip in Hertfordshire to Le Touquet, had been filed the day before. It was properly accepted on-line by Olivia and I had the French reference numbers to prove it. When airborne I called both Southend Radar and London Information to activate the plan. They knew nothing of it. As I knew the plan was correctly filed I decided to proceed. We had already coasted out when I heeded Lydd Approach's gently worded advice to turn back before crossing the FIR boundary.

This was good advice. A flight plan must be activated as well as correctly filed. As the UK authorities could not find it, it had not been activated.

I paid the Lydd landing fee and uploaded some cheap fuel. All at Lydd did everything they could to help and we were airborne again in record time.

Filing a flight plan from the UK to France using Olivia ought to work. Returning from Germany to France in July I filed my plan using Olivia and the Germans had no problem finding it in their system. But in future I will always file with the local authority, just in case.

Thanks Paul

It's always useful to know what happens 'in practice'


when you use Olivia, there is a fax behind the system that send your request to a french technician ; then, this man fills your FP into the system linked to the CFMU...

So if the fax issued from Olivia is not well handled, no way your FP could be known by ATC.


Olivia can be used from anywhere, but from UK the AFPEX system is good, just need to register for Online Flight Plan sending.

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