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Flying high in VFR in European countries

I would like to know based on your experience or knowledge, how easy is to make cross country flights in the 105 to 195 FL region in the various European countries. CAS and not CAS.
I like very much to fly high due to the better gliding range and for the higher TAS and better fuel economy.

Thanks

Portugal

There is weather, oxygen for you and the engine. Only CAS above FL135 or so, much lower most places. But you can fly VFR all the way up to FL295 AFAIK.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

LeSving wrote:

There is weather, oxygen for you and the engine. Only CAS above FL135 or so, much lower most places. But you can fly VFR all the way up to FL295 AFAIK.

@LeSving, did you mean in Norway?
And is it FL295 or FL195?

EGTR

It might be FL600 in Norway

Actually, you know, it’s a good point because FL600+ is Class G, which is fine for VFR

AFAIK all of Europe has Class C at FL200+ and a VFR ban in there (in contravention of ICAO which obviously allows VFR in Class C).

The answer to the OP is not trivial. Very country dependent, ATC unit policy dependent (one of many examples – watch the video), and region dependent (e.g. France prohibits VFR in ‘Paris zone’ above FL120 and this isn’t just near Paris). And of course airspace class kills VFR if Class A, which is much of the UK, Italy, and bits of other countries.

That said, oxygen makes European VFR “touring” much easier. See my longer VFR trips here. All used oxygen. And crossing the Alps safely and easily needs oxygen.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

AFAIK all of Europe has Class C at FL200+ and a VFR ban in there (in contravention of ICAO which obviously allows VFR in Class C).

There is no actual ban for VFR at FL200+ and no contravention. There is a general rule – both ICAO and EASA – that VFR traffic above FL195 requires special authorisation from the competent authority. (ICAO says FL200, but that makes very little practical difference.) If a VFR flight above FL195 has been authorised, then normal class C rules apply.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 12 Sep 09:48
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

LeSving wrote:

But you can fly VFR all the way up to FL295 AFAIK

Peter wrote:

at FL200+ and a VFR ban in there (in contravention of ICAO which obviously allows VFR in Class C)

In the ICAO definition (Annex 2, §4), flying VFR above FL200 is dependent on ATS authorization. Said authorization will not be granted into RVSM airspace (FL290+).

So even if the CTA is one big chunk (upper-side at FL600, under-side varrying between countries and above terrain) of class C airspace, for VFR it has layers.

ESMK, Sweden

Norway. Upper limit for VFR is FL290 according to the AIP (not 295 as I wrote). The airspace goes up to FL660. Above FL660 there is no classification, so in that sense VFR is allowed from 0 to FL290 and from FL660 to the moon and more

This is for Polaris (mainland). There are only C, D and G airspaces. It is C all the way from top of G/TMA/TIA to FL660. Still VFR is not allowed above FL290 due to 1000 ft separation according to the AIP.

For Bodø OCA (international waters) there is G all the way up to FL195. From there on it is A to “infinity”, thus VFR only to FL195 in the North Atlantic

Edit: (I’m just to sloppy). What the AIP say is actually:

ENR 1.2 VISUAL FLIGHT RULES
As prescribed in BSL F 1-1, authorisation for VFR flights to operate above FL 290 will not be granted in areas where a vertical separation minimum of
300 M (1000 FT) is applied above FL 290.

Hence, VFR flights above FL 290 will not be authorised within Polaris FIR. REF ENR 2.1

So VFR is technically allowed all the way to FL660 (and beyond), but will not be authorized above FL290 in Polaris FIR.

Last Edited by LeSving at 12 Sep 12:36
ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

LeSving wrote:

What the AIP say is actually:

I’m pretty sure that VFR flight requires authorisation above FL195 in Polaris FIR as this is in accordance with both EASA and ICAO rules. So what the AIP says is that you can’t get such authorisation above FL290.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

I much appreciate your answers.
I did this question because my next airplane will have turbo engine and oxygen but a friend of mine, that has much more flying experience than me, told me that I won’t be allowed to fly that high so easily (in the 105-195 range).
I’m trying to understand how much true this statement can be especially depending on the country, because it’s true that we have SERA but it’s also true that in the end there are internal differences.
For example what if I plan to go from north Italy to one of the most far Greek islands?
What about other European countries?
How many traffic in general is concentrated in that range of levels? I think only few turbo A/C with oxygen, the majority stays below 10000ft.
Thanks

Portugal

Well, very few people do. VFR much above FL100. But generally, there is no problem getting VFR clearances for that level band, as there is no traffic there. The excpetion will be the northeastern quarter of France.

Just be sure you have some solid IMC flying capabilities, because anyone flying VFR at these altitudes a lot will very quickly find himself over a solid overcast when approaching the destination.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany
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