As a pilot, before you take off, you need some information. Here is how to get it.
You may also need a little gas.
offers many useful features for pilots. There, you can discover
which airfield to use to go where you want to go (say, Chambord,
for exemple, where there are no airfields), get practical and
aeronautical information about this airfield (provided by pilots)
with a link to the offical SIA chart if available for this place,
get Notams (provided by the official service : SIA), wheather
forecast, plan your route, calculate drift or horizon, know when
the VFR day ends.... Try it.
In France, the metorological office in charge of predicting weather is Meteo France, a state owned company. It provides a quite comprehensive set of predictions for pilots : METAR (actually not a prediction, as you must know) TAF, SIGMET, SPECI, TEMSI and wind maps.
If you don't know what a TEMSI map is,(it may have a different name in your country), click here.
To get this information, you have several ways :
We have a few meteorological special phenomenons which you shoud be aware of, since you might encounter them in our sky.
French notams are available on internet. OLIVIA is your friend, and there, Notams are provided by the official source : the SIA. Olivia is available in english.
By Phone: call your destination airport or the BRIA, aeronautical information regional office.
This information is available in English on the official SIA web page.
Don't forget to call the phone numbers indicated on your 1/1000000 charts if you have to cross dangerous or restricted zone to know whether they're active or not. Click here for more details.
Air Force high speed low height zones (RTBA)
France has a large network of military zones where very high speed, low height flights are conducted. This network was changed on october the 17th 2013 so make sure your chart is up to date. You can download the 2013 chart here. Check also that the network was not changed again after this page was last updated.
When active, these zones are forbidden to all non air force aircraft beacuse the air force pilots do not enforce the "see and avoid" rule.
To know which of these Air Force zones are active, you should use the SIA website and then click on the "carte AZBA" link (you will find it under "préparation de vol" in the left hand column. You will get a page with several links, each corresponding to a chart of the active zones for the considered slot. (For the same day and the next day only). These charts are downloadable pdf files and they also include a written list of the active zones. Much more convenient if you don't speak French than calling an answering machine.
But this is valid only for the zones belonging to the RTBA. Other zones may be active (civil, Army, Navy ones...) so you have to check the Notams as well. (RTBA stands for Réseau très basse altitude meaning very low altitude network. They are operated by the Air Force only.)
In France, you must file a FPL in several cases:
The flight plan must be filed at least 20 minutes before you take off, and 30 minutes for night VFR or border crossing. Don't forget to cancel your FPL if you cancel your flight.
To fill and send a flight plan you can use
Of course, you can also go to the "bureau de piste" of your airport, if it exists, or to the tower, to fill manually your FPL.
Minitel is not available any longer.
To close your PLN, if it was not possible to close it on the radio, call the CIV (in flight information center) related to your your arrival airport.
Beside these numbers, a unique phone number to close your flight plan H24 from everywhere in France is now available: 0810 IFR VFR. (0810 437 837). Good news : calls to this number are charged at the local rate, no matter how far you are from the CIV.
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