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13 January 2013


Hi Philipp

The requirement for a specific French Language qualification is a new one on me though it’s a couple of years since my flying was based in France.

I notice that there is some inconclusive discussion of the matter on PRPUNE, arising from an incident where somebody was chastised for not speaking French at Marmande.

Actually, I had a similar experience at Marmande about 3 or 4 years ago when a local ‘back-seat driver’ accosted me in the car park and lectured me on the requirement to speak French in the circuit.

I rather thought that I had been speaking French but, In any event, there was hardly any traffic and nobody was speaking to me.

To be clear, I have never experienced anything but a friendly welcome at other French-only airfields.

I am sure that some our our readers will be able to provide a definitive answer on the matter.

Hi Philipp, I wonder where you heard this from. As far as I know there is no such thing as a french LP4, only english. Searching the DGAC website for various terms gave no results and looking at their webpage for pilots at: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/-Espace-pilotes,2473-.html I see a link to the page about ENGLISH language proficiency here: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/Grille-evaluation-OACI.html

I am a french licenced microlight pilot and I have heard some pretty interesting accents making joining and circuit calls in "french" and never heard a complaint. It's true that you're more likely to be criticised by a planespotter or back-seat-driver with a scanner, than a real pilot. If you're unsure, fly to one of the airports with an AFIS service as they (almost) always will speak to you in english if required.

You will find certain aerodromes specifically state that comms are in french (ex. LFEY) in which case the VAC plate shows something like AFIS: 118.9 FR seulement/only

Hope that helps.

I can confirm that as far as I know there are only a couple of French only airports in France and this is solely due to the fact that there aren't enough controllers who speak English at certain times of day throughout the shift pattern for those particular places.

Normally this is marked on the plates for the airport.

I have actually been to a few of the French only airports and they have actually spoken beautiful English to me when I used my French.

But the requirement of a specific qualification for non french speakers is not something I have come across in 500 hours of flying over here.

Kind regards



NB Stuart is, of course, referring to the few French-only airfields with an active ATC service—at French airfields with no ATC, the form is to announce your position/ intentions and speak to any other pilots in French (Les King)

No idea, but it will be interesting to find out, or just file that you are non radio!!


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