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22 February 2011

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Hi Will

The article you refer to was a round-trip from Limoges to Stapleford and back, with a few local trips in between.

In order to avoid Paris airspace and to backup the GPS, I took a beacon-hopping route via Amboise, Chartres and Rouen.

It was my intention to stop-off at Le Touquet for lunch but the runway was temporarily closed so I was diverted to Calais.

On the way back, I was intending to tour down the West Coast but I was delayed 24 hours by weather (with more incoming) so I flew straight to Rouen from Stapleford and then reversed my outbound route back to Limoges.

According to my log book, total flying time was 3 hours 45 minutes so I would probably have done it in 3.5 hours without the stop at Rouen which is a bit of a waste as there are never any Customs people there.

The DA40 (diesel version) cruises at about 125 knots and has the endurance to do this in a single leg―Shoreham is, of course, a bit closer.

When entering French airspace, you do need to report to an appropriate ATS unit which can be found using the ‘French Air Traffic Rules’ link on the sidebar of this site.

Liile or Deaville SIV would probably suit you but do check the up-to-date position.

You also need to clear Customs/Immigration both in and out but this could be done at Limoges.

You mentioned in correspondence that you might consider La Rochelle as an alternative stopover point.

Comparing the two, Limoges has an excellent airport restaurant with a handy hotel (also with a good restaurant) just yards from the terminal.

La Rochelle, on the other hand, is (in my opinion) a much nicer place to visit and it’s only a 10 minute taxi ride to the town centre/harbour which has an extensive choice of places to eat and stay.

Limoges is only about 60 minutes from La Rochelle, as the DA40 flies, so either should suit your purpose.

Finally, I would say that the low-level radar coverage in France is far superior to the UK and all of the controllers speak excellent English―but don’t address them in French unless you can cope with a response in French (I only speak the bits related to eating).

Will, I was interested in your proposed flight to Limoges. Last summer Sue Virr renewed my SEP at the Limoges AeroClub - nice place, good facilities, excellent instruction.

I'm based at Shoreham as well, so I'll make contact via Les, and perhaps I can offer some suggestions.

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