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08 July 2013


"Do I need to obtain some sort of clearance by telephone before take-off or do I simply take off and speak initially to Nantes Info by radio?"

In my limited experience if departing from unmanned French towers for a Eurocontrol/IFR flight, you get take off and then call up the nearest IFR controller on the radio.

You need to sort out the frequency before departing, and preferably more than one option (e.g. the local FIS frequency as well) because if you cannot raise anybody on the radio you are stuck in limbo, on an effectively VFR flight and unable to enter controlled airspace. You also need to maintain VMC to be legal, etc... this can be a difficult phase of flight.

"Is it normal to file an ‘I’ plan or ‘Z’ (for VFR into IFR). We would normally file ‘I’ in the UK in these circumstances but I am not sure of procedures in France?"

You file "I". There are very few countries in Europe which ban IFR outside CAS and get Eurocontrol to enforce a Z or Y. Germany is the only one I know of.

BTW, and I hope it's OK to mention this here, but a useful site for European flying is www.euroga.org

I hope this helps.

TB20 N113AC

Hi David, I don't know about IFR procedures as I only fly microlights, but I do fly in south Vendee and know LFOO very well.

If you have the VMC minima to takeoff VFR then you should be able to contact La Rochelle approach on 124.200 or LR Tower on 118.000 from overhead LFOO. There is also a telephone number for the tower published on the VAC chart (05 46 00 13 80).

Hope that helps,

You take off and call up the nearest IFR controller for the IFR clearance. Until you have that IFR clearance you have to remain VMC and clear of controlled airspace.

So it is important to have not just one but several frequencies sorted out, before departure, in case one of them has gone to lunch!

In France, you file "I" in all cases; Z or Y is not necessary.

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