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03 May 2011

Comments

Hi Paul

To take your last point first, I think that the so-called ‘freaky’ British weather is much exaggerated and the overall conditions in Southern England are similar to those of Northern France―the weather tends to be a bit more reliable as you go south but I experienced plenty of non-flying days when I used to fly from Limoges.

Language, particularly for en-route navigation, is not really a problem in France as all Air Traffic Controllers speak perfect English and the low-level radar service is pretty impressive.

There may be a requirement to announce your presence in French at uncontrolled airfields so you should read our article on the subject at http://www.francoflyers.org/2008/01/uncontrolled-ai.html

We also have an article on French Radio Calls at http://www.francoflyers.org/2008/02/french-radio-ca.html

In my experience, English is widely spoken in France as a second language and JAR licence holders are now required to demonstrate a minimum standard of English language proficiency so you should find somebody to communicate with at most French flying clubs.

Hopefully, some readers with have specific recommendations but you can search (by location) for around 600 French Flying clubs on the Fédération Française Aéronautique web site at http://www.ff-aero.fr

Les/Paul
There are a few nice clubs in the south of France, where I have lived and flown for a while, the aero club at Antibes which fly from Cannes airport is really nice, they do a lot with their members, I have heard similarly with the club at Aix en Provence further down the coast, one of my favorite cities in France.
Both clubs being in the south speak a lot of English and are very welcoming to new members. They have a lovely passion for flying in the south and the mixture of coast and then mountain flying within an hour of each other really is a pleasure.
I will be in the south of France and around the area during July and August as I am doing some hour building before doing my commercial license in the Autumn, so if you ever need someone to show you around I would be more than happy to .
regards
Stuart

Hi Paul,


I’m a French private pilot flying in St-Cyr l’Ecole (LFPZ) which is the closest airfield to Paris open to GA. ATC is available there either in French or English and so is the radar service.

There are a lot of other places (Pontoise, Toussus le Noble, Lognes…) as such but I do not recommend airfields without ATC because French is the only language allowed in the circuit as stated in the header of approach charts available here : http://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/html/frameset_aip_fr.htm

To summarize :

ATC serviced airports : French AND English are always spoken.

ATIS serviced airports : French and sometime English (see approach chart) spoken.

A/A airports : French ONLY.

A few members of my club hold CAA (UK) issued license and don’t speak fluent French. The written exam for the French-issued PPL license is obviously in French only.

A short comment on the previous comment regarding a long lasting misunderstanding with the FCL 1.028 language requirement: the English language proficiency requirement does only apply to holders of French JAR license who wish to travel out of the French borders. It is therefore possible to be a private pilot in France without speaking a single word of English.

However I agree on the fact that English is still widely spoken in France.

To be a member of a flying club, an annual fee is required, most of the time between 150 to 300 euros + membership to the French Flying Federation (around 100 euros including insurance and subscription to the monthly issued magazine).

Some flying clubs especially in touristic areas propose short period membership. Take a lot at this thread on the private pilot’s forum for further information: http://www.pilotes-prives.fr/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8085&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=cotisation

If you are in the Paris area, I’ll be glad to share tips regarding flying in France
or introduce you to my flying club. Contact me by email at eurothan(at)gmx.net

Emmanual Rothan wrote:

A short comment on the previous comment regarding a long lasting misunderstanding with the FCL 1.028 language requirement: the English language proficiency requirement does only apply to holders of French JAR license who wish to travel out of the French borders. It is therefore possible to be a private pilot in France without speaking a single word of English.
-----------------------------------

A very good point on the English language requirement which I, for one, didn't fully appreciate though I do know that French speakers generally use their own language for ATC communication in France - thanks for the clarification.

Regards

Les

To all who replied to my question about French flying clubs:

I very much appreciate your comments and helpful advice re French flying clubs. I will visit a few clubs this summer.
Thanks again.

Paul Madden (in Boston)

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