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13 April 2010


Hi Alan

I have done some flying in Ireland and appreciate that the weather, especially low cloud, is a particular issue over there.

In my experience, even the UK flying environment generally provides more days suitable for training but France tends to be better as you progress in a southerly direction.

In principle, the JAR PPL Licence awarded in France carries exactly the same privileges as one issued in Ireland, the UK or any other JAA country.

Of course, nothing is quite that simple and there are some irritating variances which are discussed elsewhere on this site.

If training in France, you should qualify for the young-person's training grants made by the FFA (Fédération Française Aéronautique).

I know of UK nationals who have managed this.

Most French flying clubs are affiliated to the FFA and you become a member by simply joining the club.

Latest information on student grants will be on the FFA web site at: http://www.ff-aero.fr

There is also a list of French flying clubs on this site.

Flying costs are an area which I will leave to other contributors as there are wide variations throughout France.

Certainly, the costs have recently escalated for UK-based pilots due to the deterioration of the UK Pound against the Euro.

One thing that I would say is to check that any quoted prices include the cost of instruction.

In France, many club instructors are ‘bénévole’ (voluntary) but some clubs who claim that instruction is free rather overlook the fact that some instructors are charging directly which may, of course, have serious implications for their insurance cover.

I had the same problem as you have encountered with the weather having started my lessons in Scotland and after having about 15 hours in the book changed my mind and decided to do my training in France and found the instruction to be a high quality and there were some great places to visit all over France.
The schools in the main have been very friendly although the clubs are often run on a far more informal way than we are used to in the UK in that a 2 o' clock lesson can end up starting at 3pm.
In the whole I had a good experience and gained my PPL in France after having my skills test with an English speaking French examiner and did my test in Limoges after doing most of my training there where there were many English students also doing their PPL at the same time so was able to get advice from other students.
There is some great countryside and landscapes to see in France and a really nice ambiance within the flying community combined with a variety of airfields to get experience in all sorts of environments,
My email address is stupix@yahoo.com if you need any direct questions from a former student.
hope you enjoy France.
stu morton

I can only second Stuart's comments. As Les said too, seems no reason not to try and obtain one of the FFA burseries if you fall within their scope too.

I've just seen the posts regarding French JAR PPL's.
The french licence does not comply with JAR-FCL3(medical) regs. so it is not the same. Does this mean that to validate the licence for use in most other JAA states a JAR FCL3 class 2 medical would be required?


As I understand it, the medical relates directly to the individual licence so, if the medical is acceptable to the state of issue, the licence itself is acceptable in other JAA states.

Until a couple of years back, the French didn't issue JAR medical certificates at all but their licences were still acceptable abroad (as are FAA licences, etc, within certain limits).

As far as I am aware, only the UK CAA object to the French-issued medical certificates though I got a somewhat non-commital answer when I tried to establish the position of the Irish Civil Aviation Authority.

They simply said that they didn't see it as a problem as no Irish pilots ever submitted non-Irish certificates in support of their licence application―they seemed unwilling to give a view on whether it would be a problem if they did.

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