Flying abroad from EGLM is both easy and pleasant PROVIDED you comply with the procedures.
They are simple and become easier with practice.
A full list of all sites, forms and email addresses required are provided throughout this information.
- FILE A FLIGHTPLAN (and check NOTAMS) – for every flight that crosses an International border. (many find it easier to file both outbound and inbound for day trips). Extra NOTAMS for France low level military activity are here https://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/schedules
- FILE A GAR and comply with Customs and Immigration rules of the country or UK region you are flying to.
- FOR return to the UK you must file the GAR at least 4 HOURS before return.
- FOR Channel Islands, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland it is as much as 12 HOURS before arrival, and you must refer to each region, and submit your GAR accordingly.
- COMPLY with Air Law with respect to your licence and the aircraft documents and equipment. Carry the aircraft documents.
- ENTER AND EXIT Europe at an approved Port Of Entry (airport). Once in Schengen area (EU) – you can fly around without GAR’s, but you MUST leave for the UK from an approved Customs airport. ENSURE that all passengers have passports.
YOU SHOULD :
- Wear lifejackets, carry a liferaft, and carry a PLB if flying over water
- Check the website of your destination to see if the GAR is required there and note the lead time.
- Get PPR/briefing from your destination if required.
- Carry hard copies of the destination and alternate plates. They are available here https://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/dvd/eAIP_31_JAN_2019/Atlas-VAC/FR/VACProduitPartieframeset.htm or from the iVAC app. These plates, along with destination websites will give you fuel and customs information also.
MAKE SURE you know and use the VRP’s listed on the plates. The French are avid about VRP’s and get very upset if you do not know them.
- Carry your licence and passport when you go landside in Europe. Some airports will NOT let you airside again without these.
SkyDemon, RocketRoute, AirNav Pro, SkyVector, EuroFPL are all good online/app filing systems, some with NOTAMS (which are important). WLAC also has AFPeX (and a guide) in Flight Planning.
If in France, online planning is also available from Olivia for free http://olivia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/
As a last resort in France, if no other method is available you can telephone the regional centre (BRIA) at Bordeaux – provided your aircraft has landed in France in the last 5 days – and file on the phone +33 557 926 084 – but have all the answers to a normal flightplan ready (i.e. departure time, from/to, alternates, endurance, time to boundary, equipment etc.).
REMEMBER, when you take off in UK, note the time (UTC) and ask for the flightplan to be opened. This can be by WLAC, London Information, or a LARS unit (if they are not busy).
When you arrive at Port Of Entry ask them to close your flightplan. Where possible get a copy of your flightplan(s).
GAR forms and instructions are available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/general-aviation-operators-and-pilots-notification-of-flights and from Channel Islands, Irish sites etc.
GAR can also be done here www.onlinegar.com and SkyDemon also has an integrated service.
CARRY COPIES OF YOUR GAR. They are useful to show in any European country. Check that your destination does not require GAR at special times.
Read the airfield plates carefully regarding fuel, opening hours and customs requirements. They are constantly changing. If necessary ring and ask. Most speak English. Some smaller airfields may only supply fuel through Total cards, but if the Flying Club has one they may permit you to use it for cash.
CARRY the French air to air cribsheet. The plate will show if French only A/A – but do not be afraid to fly in French. They are accommodating.
Check the NOTAMS either on SkyDemon or https://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/documents/htmlshow?f=dvd/eAIP_06_DEC_2018/Atlas-VAC/home.htm or Olivia http://olivia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/
IF you change your return time, make sure the flightplan time is changed, also the GAR time.
Fuel drawback forms and information are available here to reclaim duty for overseas flights https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-claim-for-drawback-of-duty-paid-on-oils-used-as-fuel-on-foreign-going-aircraft-ho60GAR Form blank