« Reader's Question - Fying School in Nantes Area | Main | Reader's Question - Flying in France Post-Brexit »

03 September 2018


Hi Greg, i completed my PPL in the Czech Republic due to issues with the flying schools in Ireland not having the time or in my opinion interest in having a fellow pilot, also the weather played a major role. Although i had started to regain my licence in Switzerland, just before the GST the Authorities decided that my CAA exams were not good enough and wanted me to tke them again (money making scam) if you ask me. I would look towards the Cz Rep. Not only are they half the cost but very good instructors. Most speak english (only the very small fields uses Czech), Roger

Good Morning Gregory

It is possible to obtain a PPL in France with English Language are you doing the paper exams in English? this can understand the PPL exams are more comprehensive in English

But if you are flying in France many of the AFIS are French only.

This is not rocket Science, it is a basic level in French and contains only a few phrases you should make a point of learning them for your own safety, being a pilot is not for everyone you should consider this if your not prepared to make the effort to learn a few simple things, especially if your going to be flying regularly VFR in France level 4 on your licence is sufficient to pass with a French PPL.

I can point you in the right direction what is your email address.

Regards And happy Landings


Dear Gregory,

As I understand it the answer is Yes! But it would be worth chatting to the English chap that runs a school at Limoges, he will know the answer to that.

If I can be of any help give us a ring, 01243 820367 www.sportair.co.uk



For all the replies to my question thus far, thank you.

Though I am getting slightly conflicting answers.

Just for clarification. I have now been learning for over 18 months and nearly all my flights thus far have been based only at my main airfield with an English speaking ATC. I have made the occasional foray to nearby airfields with my instructor onboard and he has handled the French side of the comms.

Theory - I understand the French PPL has the option of completing the examination in English.

Flying Examination - Again if an English speaking examiner can be sourced, this can be carried out in English.

So my only main hurdle is the comms with the smaller French only speaking airfields and actually even larger ones when they go to automated French mode after say 19:00 which has happened on occasions.

Rich - Can you clarify how you believe I could manage in English only? What about the requirement for cross country flight landing at 2 airfileds for example?

George - I agree I should be able to converse in basic French but for some reason since schooldays (a long time ago) I have really struggled my French, horrible French teachers who did little to help me.... I am a mechanical/technical minded person and it just is bl..dy hard.

Comms whilst flying is not easy at the best of times for beginners so I just want to try to make it easier for myself.

Once I have my PPL I will try to work on the French basics for flying and enjoying it!

I would just like to remove the burden in the meantime.

Roger - I have considered the Czech possibility amongst other nearby countries and think that this might be the only way to finish. It is a shame as I gone so far in France.

Any more ideas and advice would still be welcome.



Firstly, all French airfields with formal Air Traffic Control will communicate in English.

As English is the 'international' ATC language, the French Controllers are required to maintain a high standard.

Some smaller airfields do revert to 'French-Only' during important periods like lunchtime, though the English ATIS broadcast is usually available.

There are plenty of 'controlled' airfield choices for your cross-country flights.

Uncontrolled airfields always work on the basis of the pilots communicating with each other and that is where you need some French language.

See the link 'French Radio Calls' above for help on this.

There is no requirement for French language in order to qualify for the PPL, though there is now a requirement for proficient English - or, to be more-accurate, a requirement for competent communication in the current environment which, internationally, means English though a French pilot could get-away with no English when flying in France.

I believe that some formal rules have crept in since I flew regularly in France so perhaps a reader could provide the precise language requirements for operating out of uncontrolled French airfields.

Whatever these might be, they are separate from the PPL qualification and also affect current PPL holders.

Hi Gregory,

I’m an English FI teaching airline cadets in Spain. We work exclusively in English. Our examiners are mainly English nationals and they all work in English and our students get licenses from all over Europe and beyond.

Are you aiming to achieve an EASA PPL or à French national PPL. EASA licenses are valid in umpteen states including France. A French national licence is almost certainly French only.

Final thought - I have had a love affaire with France for 25 years and find the French very welcoming of Brits who have a go with the French language. If you are bright enough to master the PPL are you sure you can’t master the French

Bon courage !

James Carrie
M: 07411 111152

Hi Gregory,

I would strongly suggest that you contact Roger Sprague at Limoges (LFBL) who currently runs an English Language flying school there, in association with the Aeroclub du Limousin. He specialises in teaching both UK and French based students and can certainly give you all the details you require.

I gained my PPL there just over 4 years ago and have been back regularly for other ratings and general refrsher training - so can vouch for the quality of the training. There are numerous airfields in the area that have English ATC for cross country trips - and there is certainly no need whatsoever to visit 'FR only' airfields - although I'd suggest it's worth making the effort to undersand french radio calls, for general situation awareness.

Roger's contact details are - email: roger@flyinginfrance.com, mobile: +44 (0) 7779 333289



I am a British person that did my PPL(A) in France as part of a French aeroclub. I did all the written exams in french and all my lessons in french. I used English with the ATC on my flight exam and french at uncontrolled airfields. The examiner gave me a level 4 in French because of this. This has now expired as level 4 and 5 have a time limit and I am required to show a minimum of 4 again through a language test at a main centre like Paris or Grenoble.It is my understanding that as a holder of a French issued licence I must have French endorsed on the licence at level 4 or above.

Regards, Graham

I fly mainly out of "fench only "airfields, when i make the calls, i speak slowly so that other pilots that may be in the vicinity can understand someone else is there. Never had a problem. Like Barry said, there are loads of airfields with english speaking ATC, but i owuld certainly try and learn the basic phaseology like "overhead" "downwind and Final.9 out of 10 times they wont answer back unless there is an organised flyin.And even then i have experienced english speaking ATC. Igo over and congratulate them and they are chuffed as rocks. Yeah i know "brown nosing" it opens doors.

Hi Greg,

Where is your home airfield?

I know that it doesn't answer the original question, but the smaller airfields that speak French only are lovely, and usually quiet. So if you miss them out because of the language then you are missing out on a lot of the best flying in France.

I'm sure that there will be other English pilots near by that can go out with you and help you learn the basic French words and phrases needed. It's a bit daunting at first, but one you have done it a few times its surprisingly easy to pick up.

So let us know where you fly from and hopefully someone near by can meet up and help.

Hello Greg,
I'm wondering if you found out a confirmation that you can get your PPL not speaking French.
I'm in a similar situation and asked in a couple of clubs. In one of them they say there is no way, the other one they were a bit more positive and considered that it can be done but I should learn enough French.
I'm afraid that at some point the instructor could refuse to sign if he considers my French is not good enough.
I think learning the French radio calls should not be a problem for me but once you get level 4, it expires and you need to do a language level check again, then I'm afraid about that test since if you need to show conversation level it won't be that easy.
I know about Limoges, but I live in Zurich and is too far. I'm looking for a place near to Mulhouse.
Great forum this one...

Hello guys, do you manage with your PPL? I'm just starting near Bordeaux (LFCH). I have English instructor, but about theorical exam part in English and also practical examinar... we don't know where near I can pass.... I don't know France language at all... I just here for work (English company) and my native language is Russian....
Is it possible to build flying hours here? (45 hours) and then go to another place or country to pass the exam? Thanks for answer.

Hi All

i apreciate that this topis is a few years old now, i fly out of cholet, i have managed to transfer my UK PPL and so i now have my french licence and last summer i did my French ULM licence. both state my permission to fly SEP speaking in english only.
so my club have been very helpful but before they sign me off to fly solo they seem to be worried about the "legalities" of me not speaking in french. Yes i know the restrictions, i cant fly into non AFRS or ATC airfieds...but does anyone have anything in writing that clarifies the situation? I am alos speaking with DSAC in Paris to ask about the FCL055 (french) exam but there seems to be very little information..not that im ready to do it but if i can get a clear vision of whats required then at least i can work towards it... i can speak french in the circuit but thats only half the job so to speak.. i need to fully understand other pilots and ATC..so work in progress.... any thoughts and comments welcome. thanks


The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Become a Fan