I have never seen another plane in France on any IFR flight, other than ones way below (probably 500-2000ft) or of course airliners.
It is true you can have VFR traffic (even non-radio) in Class E but the demographic habits are such that in reality there is virtually none at your altitude. And almost same elsewhere in Europe actually.
I’m a pit puzzled. Why don’t you just go “all in” and get the CPL asap? Why do you think with a commercial job as a pilot you can fly whenever you like, wherever you like? Sounds to me what you really want is PPL-H. It’s the only flying machine that will get you wherever you like, whenever you like.
You can’t be serious… Even if you spend millions, you are still looking at a “slow SEP” sort of speed and if you are lucky half the range. And the hourly cost is huge compared to piston GA.
And (with a few famous exceptions) no IFR unless it is a twin turbine. That is probably OK where you are (Norway) because up there IFR is hard-IFR, with moderate to severe icing. But in the rest of Europe not having IFR wipes out a lot of flights which are in actually very benign conditions.
Many people get killed in helis trying to push into low level cloud etc – because “you can” and “everybody does” stuff in them which only a fool would do in FW GA like scud running in OVC003, among hills.
Though I agree they are versatile if you throw enough money at it. A friend of mine flew from Czech all the way to Brac for our Sept fly-in, in a turbine heli.
I would suggest doing trips which are chosen for something really good.
That is really important in order to maintain the motivation to go flying. Having a spouse who sees the aiprlane as a tool to go places and experience the world in a new way, also helps. My wife loved our trip to Vienna last Christmas, our trip to Avignon, to the Balkans and Braç last summer and those small hops to Le Touquet on a nice Sunday.
In terms of gaining flying experience, I see no value in spending more than one hour in cruise initially. I think that the more segments you do, the more you will learn and gain in confidence in the most labour-intensive portions of the flight, i.e. departure and arrival/approach.
Congrats on getting your IR.
After I got my IR I did some trips to neighbour countries often to larger airports. Did even go to Frankfurt once in a TB20 for a meeting.
Expensive “mistake” but good training at a very busy airport. When returning to go back home the guy at the handling desk looked at me and pointed at the TB20 an laughed “Yours? It is going to be expensive”.
Some years ago I went to Luton for an FAA seminar… by train because I can get a direct one from Brighton. A couple of guys turned up in a PA28 without checking first, and ended up with white faces at the sight of the bill – around £400. Gatwick was about £600 back then and I know someone who did it just for a laugh and the logbook entry.
Got to watch that. Always phone them up.
But the experience of a big airport is nothing special. You fly an IAP, land, follow the follow-me car, exactly the same as Ostend yesterday and anywhere else really. “Everybody” gets lost at big airports however and you don’t get a follow-me car when you depart, however…
Actually it was really busy at Le Touquet a few months ago, with being put in the hold for ages by Lille. Plenty of practice there, and at least you get decent food
Re getting lost:
If you already have Garmin Pilot, you probably should consider paying the ~20 Euros SafeTaxi costs. Tested it for the 1st time last week, and it’s great how it switches on automatically after landing, and has all the airport detail (and your position)
@guillaume: You probably have the answer to this anyway!
Otherwise the general idea is to keep IFR flights in CAS (class E,D or A).
As you know, ATC won’t clear you in class G.
But then you can request to leave CAS and ATC will provide you a cleareance to join CAS later on the route. Unlike in the UK, you cannot be “dropped”.
Even in class G, ATC will continue to provide valuable flight information service :
Last week, I was flying in the midlle of France at FL90 OCAS and ATC suggested me to adjust my heading in order to avoid overflying an airfield with parachute activity. Later on ATC also suggested me to anticipate my descend to FL80 due to unknown VFR traffic ahead.
So there is (a bit) of VFR traffic flying high in France .
I think that’s because in D VFR require a clearance while not in E.
I thought that VFR flights do require a clearance to fly in class E airspace at night.
Thanks for all the replies. I’m looking forward to getting out there and using the IR “in anger”.
I’m a pit puzzled. Why don’t you just go “all in” and get the CPL asap?
I’ve taken so much time off work this year to get the IR done that I can’t take any more. In April, I will have the opportunity to take more time off. I could do the CPL part-time I guess. I’ll give that some thought actually.