UPDATED October 3, 2004




Author takes no accountability for accuracy of this document


1) Aircraft documentation required to be carried.

2) Original aircraft paperwork and insurance certificate (With Spanish translation if going to Spain). Pilots licence. 

2) Special requirements/permissions for permit aircraft.


Reported as requiring prior permission for Homebuilt aircraft (Pilot June 2004)


Difficult, requiring prior permission to be obtained before flight through their airspace and a fee to be paid on each application (About 50 Euro).

The notice period is thought to be 28 days. This is sometimes ignored by a number of people on over flights, seemingly without problems;

technically the flight then becomes illegal with the attendant possible insurance problems. Some have overcome the problem by routing the long way across

the Southern North Sea to the Netherlands, with the decrease in flight safety associated with long over water flights.


No special permission. Insurance must include Third Party Bodily injury DKr 60,000,000 and Property Damage DKr 5,000,000

Most UK policies include this though you must check (also see Germany)


No special permission (Pilot June 2004)

France and Monaco

Has a reciprocal arrangement and so allow trips into/through their airspace by British home builds operating on a Permit to Fly without further administration formalities.


No special permission BUT owner must fly the visiting PFA aircraft.

Liability insurance Euro 3,834,689.11 As with Denmark insurers are used to the liability requirements and generally add at no cost


Reported as requiring prior permission for Homebuilt aircraft (Pilot June 2004)


No special permission


AIP indicates that flight of foreign home builds in their airspace is permitted. Reported as requiring prior permission for Homebuilt aircraft (Pilot June 2004)

The relevant section of the Italian AIP is AIC A6/2000 and can be downloaded from the on-line Italian AIP at www.enav.it/maps/AIC_06-00.pdf If the link gives trouble

      then try www.enav.it/opsdoc You will then have to register by name but no company seems to be required. Then go to the AIC section and select A6/2000.


Reported as requiring prior permission for Homebuilt aircraft (Pilot June 2004)


No special permission


No known problems. Permission may be required for Norway.


Generally, Portugal does not require G reg permit planes, flown by CAA/JAR licenced pilots, to apply for an approval if arriving from Schengen country.

From time to time approval is required, e.g. during 2004 football championship and is always required if arriving from non- Schengen countries, like Morocco etc.

Contact: Fernanda Maria Bandarra da Silva Ferreira [fernanda.bandarra@inac.pt] FAA PPL position is to be advised later.



Approval is required to fly permit plane in Spain. FAA licences are accepted.

One of our group has reported the following in respect of an approval request in June 2004:-


First contact by Fax sending copies of docs with dates for period in Spain

Snr J A Atienza, El Jefe de Servicio

Direccion General de Aviacion Civil

Ministerio de Fomento

Pa de la Castellana 67

28071 Madrid

Fax 0034 91 5978665

Ph 0034 915978701/02/30 (There is no point in phoning unless you speak Spanish)


Reply by Fax Translated from Spanish

Below is a translation of the Spanish reply to a first contact fax. It explains what one must do to get approval.

"Further to your letter of January, in order to have temporary approval for a private flight in our country, in a Permit aircraft, it is necessary to send copies of the following documents:

1. Copies of aircraft papers, specifically:
a) Registration and ownership papers.
b) Certificate of airworthiness.
c) Third party insurance which covers flights in Spain. This insurance is for the aircraft separate from any personal insurance covering the pilot.

2. Current pilot's licence with endorsements and medical certificate.
The pilot's licence and aircraft registration should be the same nationality. However, licences which comply with JAA norms for aircraft operating in the EU are also acceptable.

You should indicate the dates for the period during which temporary approval is required. This may not exceed six months."

3. Specific Aircraft Approval

The faxed approval is at the end of this document. It mentions the aircraft and dates.


No special permission


No special permission though note it is a Non-EU country.

3) Flight plans direct from, and return direct to UK strips.

File a flight plan by fax or telephone before leaving home and activate this with London Information when airborne. Ideally use a flight-planning package like NavBox and take a printed copy with in case any questions arise later. London Heathrow fax 0208 745 3491 or Tel 0208 745 3163. Flight planning is 0161-499-5500/2 fax 5504. Manchester fax: 0161 499 5505 Tel: 0161 499 5502/5500. Scottish: fax 0129 267 1048. Tel: 0129 247 9800 ext. 3636/2679


Generally permit aircraft do not have a designator, You can search for type designtators on the ICAO web site: http://www.icao.int/anb/ais/8643/index.cfm If one is not listed you have to put ZZZZ in box 9 (Type of aircraft), and in box 18 (other information) write for example ZZZZ –  aircraft type. Note RV3, RV4, RV6, RV7, RV8, RV9 and RV10 are now all official ICAO type designators to put in box 9 (note: without the hyphen). ICAO don't seem to care if you have a nose or tail wheel, so a RV-6A should go in as RV6 etc


If there is no IACO indicator for departure or destination (as will be the case for a strip)  put ZZZZ in box 13 or 16 and in box 18 put your departure or destination prceeded by DEP/….  Or   DEST/…


On arrival at a French airfield the operator usually closes the flight plan but if he is not there MAKE SURE YOU CLOSE THE FLIGHT PLAN with someone like Lille or Paris information on the free phone telephone number. If appropriate find the airfield operator then book customs for your return journey. The phone number to close flight plans in France is 08 10 43 78 37. French customs do not very often come out to small airfields (but be prepared if they do) and at the allotted time you may depart. Outside France the nearest “large” airfield should be contacted to close your plan. Failure to close a plan should initiate overdue procedures – could be costly and embarrassing.

When returning home, file flight plan (same format as English flight plan) at least 1 hour before intended departure (in ZULU time).

When returning into a private strip, Heathrow will not alert SARS for overdue A/C. The correct procedure is: "Inform a responsible person of your intended arrival time" they are then responsible for alerting the authorities’

Whilst not required some pilots do phone the Heathrow Flight plan office and CLOSE the flight plan (London Heathrow Tel 0208 745 3163). It is good practice to give UK customs 1 hour grace after arrival time.

4) Customs position

Leaving for a EU destination there is no requirement to inform UK customs prior to departure. If your destination is non-EU then 24 hours prior notice is required. (Except the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and NI, which require 12 hours prior notice and also 12 hours notice to Special Branch of your local police. If going to the channel islands notify Special Branch 12 hours before and get a flight authorisation number in addition to Customs) If you are going to/from a non-EU destination direct from a strip then it would be worth contacting customs well in advance to make sure you play it by the current rules.

You are required to notify UK customs of your return direct to a strip at least 4 hours prior to arrival from an EU country and at least 24 hours prior to arrival from non-EU country. Again the Channel Island etc. are non-EU but require 12 hours notice to both Customs and Special Branch.

Notification to customs is now dealt with by a centralized reporting office, the Customs Control Unit (or CCU) on a national rate number. The numbers are Telephone: 0870 7853600 Fax: 0870 2403738. Email:  ncu@hmce.gsi.gov.uk (Ref is on page 76 of 2004 Pooleys).


In practical terms, fax the customs details of pilot and passenger (DOB, passport numbers, nationality) and aircraft before leaving home for the strip. Inform them of the departure details (despite not being required for EU trips) importantly notify them of intended return details, including the strip details, intended last foreign airfield of departure and date / estimated time of arrival back at the strip. This return ETA may be later that day or may be a week or two in advance. On longer trips there will be some uncertainty concerning the ETA back at the strip, so before starting the homeward journey make a phone call to the CCU at least four hours before arrival back at the strip, inform them that they have all details from the previous fax sent on such and such a date and give them the revised ETA. This saves lengthy international calls on the mobile to give full details of the intended return. (Or it used to when the customs had local area offices, the new CCU has a real 'call centre' feel about it and some operators don't seem too sharp at getting the details down)

Foreign customs do not seem to be a problem in general, providing you observe the rules for the destination country. See notes on France below. Flights between countries who are signatories of the Schennegen agreement only need a flight plan. Customs are not required.


5) Guides/charts/information 

Jepessen half mil charts for Europe laminated versions last longer. They are relatively inexpensive and provide consistent (if not always totally accurate) coverage of the whole area.

Worth checking flight guides (e.g. European Bottlang Guide or Jeppesen VFR Flight Planning 1:1.000.000 or VFR+ GPS). Some countries require flight plans to be filed for all flights including internal VFR. These include Italy, Spain and Czech republic.


There are new airspace restrictions over France. The links are:




French AIP and NOTAMS including approach plates for licenced airfields can be found at:-

      http://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/default_uk.htm and also on www.nav2000.com (no more available)(see notes below)

     French airport charts are available on the internet (called: carte VAC) in alphabetic order:-


Most of the military airfields are closed over the weekends and during public holidays making the

military airspace open to VFR traffic. The SIV (Service Information Vol) the Flight Information Service can confirm if the  zones are open to VFR traffic.


Ensure all fees are paid before you leave a French Airport the cost of settling an invoice in Euro's can be difficult

The French nav2000 web site is back on line.  The person who set it up was unable to attract sponsors asks anyone who is a regular user of it to consider sending a small donation. The web site http://nav2000.com is one of the best web sites for general aviation (no more available). All the instructions are in French, though are understandable. You get on line weather info, information on all the airports in France including photos of the airfields and some information on other airports throughout Europe.  Also there is a handy flight-planning feature, which calculates distances between airports and shows the route on a map etc. etc. There are many features even if you don't plan to fly across to France worth a look at this web site as it gives METARS etc for UK airports.

The Service de l'Information Aeronautique SIA are official government VFR charts (1:1 000 000).  They come in a plastic folder with one chart each for the North and South of France and one for the region around Paris.  Also included is a Guide VFR which explains in French and English information on flying VFR in France.  A separate small book called "Complement aux Cartes Aeronautiques" gives detailed information on each of the controlled civil and military air space zones ( R restricted, P prohibited, D dangerous) plus detailed information on the various TMA zones, VFR night flying routes etc. These charts and booklets are published each year.   If you can not buy them in the UK they can be ordered from Bayo in Paris http://www.bayo.com/. The SIA also has a web site from which they can be ordered http://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr click on "cartes" and you will see the information.  The cost of a set of charts is 25 Euro.Also consider in France the Delage binder which has all the airport giving runways landing patterns etc.  This is more compact and cheaper than the VAC documents, which are the official ones.  Again this can be ordered over the phone and with a credit card from Bayo.

The French charts produced by IGN are superb, better than most seen around the world and much better than Jeppesen. The IGN charts only having airspace up to 5000ft AMSL/2000ft above surface (whichever is higher) and avoid higher level clutter. Fortunately in France they do not have class A airways as in the UK.  Hence on X country flights you can often fly between 7000 to 9000 feet, though for that the higher level charts are required. Talk to center which is often the SIV (Service Information Vol) the Flight Information Service. In that way you should not have a problem and you can demonstrate you have tried your best to comply with the flight rules etc.


In France some GA friendly airports do not require prior notice for Customs e.g. Le Touquet. Many others can be used as a port of entry but requires a period of prior notice. This is not a problem and the flight guide will give details. If an airport needs advance hour’s notice then fax them accordingly, allowing the requisite advance hours including en-route time. It is not a problem to give too much notice, but on the rare occasion that a journey is abandoned fax details of the cancellation as a matter of courtesy. Often, when you have given the required notice there will not be any customs official present and the booking in procedure will cover the customs requirements as well. It is not permitted to fly directly to a non-customs airfield in France. Be aware that some obvious airfields (e.g. Calais) require 24 hours notice for customs so check the flight guides.

A website allowing integrated Briefing is also available on the following link:




this is an official French website, English and French, and slowly replacing the MiniTel, although not at Rennes yet, there is access at Le Touquet. The website is affectionately known as 'Olivia' This allows access to NOTAM, Wx and for Flight Plan filing, although you'll need a code No from Meteo France for access to the Wx by sending a photcopy of your licence to the authorities and a letter asking for a meteo code to be allocated.


The public Wx site  www.meteo.fr Wx site has been re-vamped and you'll need to explore the site to get the Wx, don't seem to be able to get the 4-5 day forcasts other than by subscription! The english language option also seems to have disappeared.


If your having trouble filing flight plan for your return trip a central number: 0810 437 837 which you can dial on your mobile while in France, allows you to speak to a person to file your plan. French have announced that you can now dial 0820IFRVFR to open and close flight plans in France. This number works throughout France and one only pays for a local call. This is known as a numero Azur .


Deauville, Cherburg and Le Havre have been fitted with Auto Wx sites and are providing AUTO METAR, one or two other sites are also doing the same, DINARD for example, and so the shortage of Wx from the channel coast is being addressed. They don't appear on the standard MET Office bulletins you need to use the freeformat request though the Met Office Aviation site, Avbrief or Olivia. The Le Touquet ATIS can also be accessed on: Tel No: +33 32 10 55 126



Germany reported as very easy to operate within.
A noise certificate is required at the bigger airports. You simply pay more if you don’t have one.

In Germany the general VFR Transponder setting is 4401, 4402 or 4403 depending on level and you are generally tracked on radar by FIR services so important to talk to them. Excellent service.


Experience is that they are less used to home builds and think most flights are IFR requesting appropriate reporting points. You may need to remind ATC you are VFR


A friendly bunch, and Sweden certainly worth a visit.

Spain & Portugal

Flight plans for internal flights are required. The other complication with Spain is that refuellers seem to want an inordinate amount of information including some numbers for something, I don’t know what, but I just made up the numbers and they seemed happy. Note photography at Spanish airports is reported as being illegal


Flying in Switzerland is reported as easy with no problems. Need to be aware of your position in relation to the mountains and the controlled airspace. Quite a bit of military airspace too that you might need to call Landing fees generally based on MTOW .The local Swiss chart is good

6) Fuel Drawback

Duty, currently 28.1p per litre on Avgas in tanks when you leave UK is reclaimable. Claim using form HO 60 which can be backdated. Must attach UK fuel receipts to validate claim. The rate has remained constant for many years (only 4 changes since 1997). Form HO 60 not available online. Telephone 0845 010 9000. Where you can also be advised of current drawback rate.Web site http://www.hmce.gov.uk/business/othertaxes/roadfuels.htm is place to look for drawback rate. Yes it is under ‘Road Fuels’ as in Customs parlance is ‘light Oil’


Danish Notam site at : http://flyveplan.naviair.dk/map.asp?lan=UK


This English language site gives access for notams for UK, Belgium, Netherland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden (plus a few). No data filtering so you get the lot. (suprising how many firework parties there are in Holland).

For those who keep old mags there is a usefull (though obviously old) article in March/April 2000 Popular Flying

Fax Cover Sheet


123 High Street

Flying own



Date:          XX.XX.XXXX                        Time:           XXXX

To:              C C U                                  Phone:        0870 7853600
Customs & Excise               
Fax:            0870 2403738

From:          A.N.Other                             Phone:        XXXXXXX (Day)

                                                                                                      XXXXXXXX (Eve)

                                                                                                      XXXXXXXXX (Mbl)

                                                              Fax:            XXXXXXXXX                                                               email:    an.other@aaaa.co.uk

RE:           Intended outbound departure and inbound arrival by light aircraft

Number of pages including cover sheet:  1


We are intending to fly by light aircraft registration G-AAAA to Europe as follows:-


Airfield xxxxxxxx IACO Code if available

Date and Time xxxxx

Destination xxxxxxxxx IACO Code  Final Destination xxxxxxxxxxx IACO code if available


From airfield xxxxxxxxxx IACO Code

Arriving Date And Time xxxxxxxxxxx

 To airfield/airstrip xxxxxxxx IACO Code if available

Personal details are as follows :

A.N. Other, DOB xxxxxxxxxx, British passport number xxxxxxxxx

B.N Other, DOB xxxxxxxxxxx, British passport number xxxxxxxxx

I trust that these details will fulfil your requirements, if you need any further information then please do not hesitate to contact me.

A.N Other

The exact meaning of the letter has been the subject of discussion with Spanish-speaking friends, and unsuccessful attempts to obtain further details in writing, but Sr Atienza has clarified (though not in writing) that this is our permission to fly in Spain.  You will note that it does not refer to any particular aircraft, although it refers to my January fax which was about G-RVIB.  Nor does it refer to any year.

The last paragraph requests notification of the period in question, we will fax our intended dates to Sr Atienza.  I wouldn't expect any reply.

Point 2 arose because we fly on FAA licences, and it has been clarified by email that this is OK.




1 Spain & Portugal July 2004-08-06

Troyes, LFQB, Landing fee 4.85 euro , one night parking 6.17 euros. Avgas 100LL 1.31 euro/litre.

Hotel 1 night, room only 85 euros for double room. (This is at the Relais Saint Jean, a pleasant family run hotel in the heart of the pedestrianised old city and includes limo pick up and return to the airfield. A good deal ).

Perpignan, LFMP, Landing fee 5.5 euro , Avgas 100LL 1.3924 euro / litre

Reus, LERS, Landing fee 4.85 euro , 1 nights parking 1.30 euro

Hotel in Salou (nearest) 131 euro per night half board for double room (plus 25 euro taxi each way ) Reus is a good airport but the remoteness from accommodation makes it an expensive stop-over. Excellent re-fuelling and 'comfort break' stop though.

Murcia San Javier, LELC, Landing fee 4.85 euro, 7 nights parking 9.06 euro ( yes, that is for all 7 nights !!) Avgas 100LL, 1.401 euro/litre ( but cash or carnet only, no credit cards )

Hire car, 121 euro for one week. (This was an economy 5 door with A/C pre-booked using carjet.com It is worth considering this internet site for Spain and Portugal, the prices seem low, the car we had was almost new and all insurances except glass and tyres are included. Better still they do not ask for credit card insurance deposits and have a no charge cancellation policy up to 24 hours in sdvance, which is good for VFR trips of course !! (An alternative for other countries is www.holidayautos.co.uk , which links to carjet.com if you select Spain )Portimao, LPPM, single charge for landing fee, 2 nights parking, meto and filling of flight plan was 12.67 euro. Avgas 100LL, 1.09 euro/litre.Taxi to Alvor 6 euro each way. Plenty of hotels to choose from, apartment with kitchenette was 95 euro/night.Burgos, LEBG, landing was free, Avgas 100LL , 1.29 euro/litre cash or carnet only. (This was the only Spanish airfield we visited which insisted that the tanks have Avgas stickers on them. They would not re-fuel until I had stuck the stickers, which they gave me, on the tanks. (I have AVGAS 100LL engraved in the filler caps )). A friendly ex-military airfield, elevation 3000 feet and runway 1500 meters.San Sebastian, LESO, landing fee 4.04 euro, 2 nights parking 2.59 euro, Avgas 1.42 euro/litre. A beautiful town but pretty expensive to stay there. Hotel was 111 euro per night, room only plus 7 euro each for breakfast. Parking for the hire car at the hotel was 9 euro/night ( pretty high when the aeroplane was parked up on acres of concrete with armed police looking after it for only 1.30 euro/night ! ) Eating out was expensive. Car hire for 2 days was 114 euros, but only after a bit of determined haggling and horse trading at the airport car hire desks.Poitier Biard, LFBI, landing fee 8.69 euro, Avgas 100LL 1.3842 euro/litre.I used information given to me by Karl Martin ( G-RVIB ) for obtaining permissions for Spain and Portugal, which is included in Rogers latest foreign touring guide. It did take the Spanish 10 days to reply to my original request with a list of documents to send to them, but when I explained in my response with these documents that we were leaving the following morning the permission arrived by fax within 18 hours. Didn't have any problems with the authorities in either country ( mind you, no one asked for any paperwork in any case ! ). The Portuguese lady speaks good English. The Spanish do not speak English. I used the Google translation site at http://translate.google.com/translate_t to automatically translate the text of my fax into Spanish and then cut and pasted this into the fax, sending both English and Spanish versions of the text. (It is worth using the site to translate the Spanish back to English as well, just to make sure you don't inadvertently send gobble-de-gook ! ).





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