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RENTING an Aircraft


You may decide to come first and rent here an aircraft to fly. Most aircrafts to rent in France without a pilot belong to sport associations. There are very few commercial companies renting light aircrafts without a pilot. The good news is that sport associations are usually cheaper. The bad one is that it is often difficult to get an ACFT for several days (for touring) because they fly almost every day, available to all members of the association. They are cheaper because they are not supposed to make benefits and don'thave to pay the VAT (19,6%) which commercial companies must include in their prices.

In both cases, your skills will be checked before you can fly on your own. You will pay what you fly, as usual, with a minimum requirement each day if you leave with the aircraft for a tour, making it unavailable to other pilots. This minimum, in some cases, depends on the day of the week: it is usually higher on saturdays and sundays in sport associations.



The sport associations renting planes are the "aero-club".They are 600 of them in France. You will find one on almost every airfield open to general aviation. Some of them have only one plane with 30 members.Others have more than 10 planes, with 400 members or more. Some little aeroclubs can't accept credit card payments.

The aircrafts you will find there are almost only SEP. MEP are VERY scarce.To find an IFR rated aircraft, you will have to look for the largest clubs,because at least 90% of the aircrafts are VFR only. Night VFR, however, should not be a problem, and you will find aircrafts enabling you to practise this kind of flight in most aeroclubs.

To enter an aeroclub, you will have to pay

  • a sport licence, which costs around 60 euros. Then you will be a member of the FNA, (Federation Nationale Aeronautique), the sport federation in which all aero clubs are grouped.
  • an annual fee depending on the aeroclub. Expect between 120 and 180 euros, sometimes more. You will, then, be a member of the aeroclub.
  • the hourly price of the flight(s) you will do with the plane(s). Depending on the aeroclubs, the time to pay may be : the actual flight time (starts when the aircraft begins to taxi and ends when it comes to a complete stop), the time when the engine is running, or a time measured by a recorder, balanced according to the engine rpm. Apart from that, prices vary much : the same aircraft costs 130 euros an hour (wet) in a Cannes aeroclub, and 86 euros (wet) in a little aeroclub located in the center of France. So compare before you come. Compare prices but also availability, the number of aircrafts in the club, in case one of them should be damaged or maintained. Compare the avionics, according to what you want to do.

Again, once you're in, you will have the right to book an aircraft, but no garantee that an aircraft will be available when you want it before you book. This is not a rental agency. Beside, some aeroclubs might not be willing to accept pilots coming for just a few days or a few weeks, who might not be as careful with the planes as pilots who fly them all year round. They might deny you the right to enter their association. Show you're a caring pilot when trying to enter and take actually care of the planes, so that next year, other foreign pilots from your country will be welcome.

To find the aeroclub(s) located near your destination, check the FNA web page.

If you choose a commercial company to rent your plane, you will only pay the hours you fly, including the check ride. The hourly price will be more expensive, but if you want to fly only a few hours, it may be a good solution. If you want a MEP and/or an IFR rated plane, this may even be the only one. Unfortunately, companies renting light aircrafts without a pilot are not many in France. There is one at least in CannesMandelieu. There are a few others around Paris : Toussus le Noble and le Bourget for sure, but check Lognes and even St Cyr l'ecole also. In Beauvais, Caen, Grenoble St Geoirs, Aix en Provence are others. (I try to get more information about this.)

Apart from Piper, Cessna and other planes you may know from your own country, we have in France "exotic" aircraft made here, such as the wood and fabric DR400. They are very common, especially among aeroclubs, and you are likely to fly one of them if you choose to enter an aeroclub. If you want to know a little more about the french planes you will meet in our sky and maybe pilot yourself, clickhere.



It is much more difficult to rent an helicopter than a plane, because they are much more scarce. There are very few helicopter aeroclubs. Several of them are around Paris, an other one is in Bourg en Bresse, not very far from Lyon and the northern Alps, other ones in Montpellier, Blois (in the middle of the "Chateaux de la Loire"), Nogaro (between Toulouse and the Ocean), Annecy. There must be others, but I'll have to find that out to give you more precise information. The rules are the same as for planes, but prices much higher. An Heliclub in Blois charges 200 euros an hour for a R22, 480 for a R44, and 734 for a EC-120. I don't know how these prices compare with other rental rates in France. I just give them so that you have an idea. Robinson R22 and R44 are now very common among these aeroclubs. To find other heliclubs near your destination, contact the Fédération Française de Giravion, phone +33 (0)1 60 04 23 16. They don't seem to have a web page.

There are also commercial companies renting helicopters in France without a pilot. In Avignon, Toussus le Noble, Cannes for exemple.



In France, there are several sport associations spread over the whole territory for ULMs. Like planes aeroclubs for planes pilots, they may be the solution for you if you want to fly here. The difference is that most ULM pilots own their ULM. Therefore, ULM clubs are not as numerous as planeclubs. To visit their federation (FFPLUM) homepage, click here.

As far as I know, there is no commercial company renting ULMs without a pilot in France.



France is a paradise for glider pilots. There are many "clubs de vol à voile", sport associations dedicated to gliders in France.The rules to enter one of them are similar to those used by planes aeroclubs. Prices differ, though. You can also consider improving your skills or learning mountain flying during one of the periods of instruction organized by the CNVV, Centre national devol à voile (National center of gliding planes), usually in summer. It is located near St Auban, in the southern Alps. A glider pilot's dream.

To find the "club de vol à voile" (gliding club) located near your destination, check the web page of the FFVV, (Federation Française de Vol àVoile) sport federation grouping all of them.



If you really want to fly a sea plane, you'd better go to Canada. In France, there is only one place where you will be able to rent and even to use a sea plane, and that is Biscarosse, along the Atlantic Ocean, not far from Bordeaux. Indeed, there are no places where floatplanes can land and be parked for a night, apart from Biscarosse and Marignane, near Marseille. Hence, unless you have an amphibian...

Hot air ballons

France is the country where the first successful manmade flight was realised. It was in a "Montgolfiere", the pilot was Pilatre du Rozier. In 1783, he took off in Paris, near La Muette, (nowadays near the Trocadero) and landed after a several kilometers flight in "la butte aux cailles", in the south east of Paris. Because the flight was dangerous, the king, Louis XVI wanted a prisonner sentenced to death to do it. But Pilatre answered that the first man to fly should be a free man and volunteered. The balloon was then made of paper, and they had to keep it wet to avoid its burning.

Ballon flying is now much safer. No way to rent a ballon without a pilot. But if you want to experience this kind of flight, so quiet and majestic, you can click here to see the "aerostation" federation page and find the nearest ballon club.

Here are several others URL to help you get in touch with a club or a pilot and organize your flight. They are provided by Isabelle Clusot.