La Côte d'Azur Antibes

 

I'm sure you know the French Riviera. However, I'm sure also that what you know is not what it deserves. Beaches are not nice, and are overcrowded. Tourists are too often considered as walking wallets, and not really welcome by the population. Food is too often bad and expensive... However, there is a lot to see : ancient "nest" villages, the Mercantour National Park, with mountains over 10,000ft and much hiking to do.... Nature is really beautiful here, with wild mountains and the sea.

Therefore, a lot to see from a plane :

  • the coast itself
  • villages built on top of rocks
  • mountains

Aeronautically speaking, the area is rather complicated.

Nice airport is the largest in France apart from Paris. Private planes are not welcome at all. Landing fees were decided accordingly : more than 110 euros for a light aircraft. I advise you to choose Cannes-Mandelieu. Actually, this is the only airport in the area available for general aviation. You willl find there all the facilities you may dream of. Note that if your aircraft is equipped with a silencer, you will get a discount on your gas bill. (10% as far as I remember). Be careful if you have an old chart, the Nice CTR and TMA were completely changed in November 2002, with new borders, you should get an up to date chart before coming here. It is sometimes very difficult to get a transit authorization in the Nice CTR. Two routes are available : one above the sea, an other above the ground. You can't be sure which one you will be assigned, even if you request the sea one.

The NIZ VOR is located on the top of a little mountain, at an elevation of 3000ft. If you fly UNDER this altitude, you should not use it, because it is not reliable if you are under it.

In the north of the Riviera is the "Parc national du Mercantour". You must overfly it at least at 3300ft AGL! If you keep in mind that many mountains there top over 9000 ft, it is quite a problem. For many airplanes, this park will be like a wall impossible to overfly.

Near St Tropez is a small airfield which you might consider as an alternative (La Mole). I would not advise you to do it : the approach is tricky, with downdraughts. It seems to me, though I'm not sure, that to land there, you must even have been trained and checked out before.

Beware, I remind you that Cannes is one of six airports requiring a flight plan even for domestic VFR flights. Since 5/25/2003, this has changed a little. A simple "flight intention" faxed to the military center in charge of this area seems to be enough. Check the NOTAMS.

The weather today in Nice :

To get information about Cannes airfield via Nav 3000 click here:

When you're on the ground you'll probably find this site Nice Azur useful. Lots of advices and informations about Nice and the Riviera.


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