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SERA requires flight plans for all controlled aerodromes

Actually, dear Peter, not only could I, but I actually did. };-)

Still, in an area that I know and love well, but until recently never had seen from above, it would be sad to look at a colored line on a screen rather than at the scenery, wouldn't it?

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Still, in an area that I know and love well, but until recently never had seen from above, it would be sad to look at a colored line on a screen rather than at the scenery, wouldn't it?

True, but unless the powers to be start marking controlled airspace boundaries properly i.e. by painting 50m wide white lines on the ground below, I don't see any way to reconcile your objectives

The great thing about a GPS is that one hardly ever needs to look at it. Just fly the heading, and every once in a while you take a quick look to see if you are not too far off track.

But surely you know that Jan?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Well, the one time i DID dare to fly the corridor just North of Mechelen, I had marked my VRP's at either side, quite a handfull of them, and took many quick glances to make sure I always was on the right side of those... Much more enjoyable than checking the homebrew netbook gps.

"Just fly the heading" sounds too simple in my ears, I am afraid I am from a different school of training. At the very low altitudes discussed here, winds are anything but stable, even in this very flat country. Also microlights are light by their very nature and thus more subject to said winds. Add to that the limited precision of low-cost instruments as required by the basic low-cost concept of microlight flying, and you could imagine that although I do carry a compass, it is only there for legal reasons, and as a last resource when all else fails...

Will post a picture next time I do it - at the mentioned first experience, the netbook gave up somewhere near NICKY!

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Night VFR in Spain at the moment requires written permission some time (days at least) in advance - I did my NQ out in Jerez and you had to put the authorisation code received from the Spanish CAA on every flight plan.

This stuff is just another incentive to get an IR and file airways everywhere if you possibly can. It also removes the night currency worry for carrying passengers (unless that's about to disappear into EASA-thin air).

Whilst being forced to file a flight plan is a massive OTT nause, actually doing so in practice takes about 2 minutes from your computer/smartphone/internet device of choice. The 1 hour/2 hour before restriction was only there to make sure the paper plan got transmitted to everyone. These days it is instantaneous - I had an excellent example of this in Jersey the other day. Jersey Aero Club have a departures screen which shows filed flight plans and times; I needed to put a delay in, so did so using the EuroFPL app, and about 20 seconds later, the new time appeared on the screen in the Aero Club.

London area

Whilst being forced to file a flight plan is a massive OTT nause, actually doing so in practice takes about 2 minutes from your computer/smartphone/internet device of choice.

Sure; the underlying issues are the same ones which keep pilot forum bandwidth up and advertising click-throughs healthy

IMHO:

  • A lot of pilots are not on the internet
  • Of those who are, most don't know how to set up mobile internet
  • Whereas UK pilots who wish to go abroad (only a small %) have been pretty well forced to adopt online FP filing (closure of the FBUs and the intro of AFPEX, a few years ago), in the rest of Europe it has remained normal to hand in the handwritten format, so online filing is a new step for many

(Obviously anybody reading this is likely to disagree with the 1st one)

I often bang on about mobile internet making life so much easier when using GA to go places, but it does require some IT competence to get it going, and if it stops working you can just tear your hair out.

The mobile companies go to incredible lengths to dig a hole for you. If you want a laugh, this is for getting non-roaming data in Croatia. Obviously, roaming is simpler but you pay €€€

When I do one of my long trips, I make damn sure I have not 1 not 2 but 3+ ways of doing it, and have at least 2 ways to file flight plans (EuroFPL and AFPEX) and often do have to use the backup method.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I had expected filing flight plans here to be a pain compared to the US. I have to say that using RocketRoute it is just as easy as fltplan.com in the US. While you can't just file DCT, the apps work out a route for you and it really is fine.

Peter, I don't think your first two points are really a big deal now - mobile Internet is quite ubiquitous. But if pilots are used to and want to use paper plans then having to file will be a complete pain.

EGTK Oxford

I think you're too pessimistic Peter. Mobile phones with data service are ubiquitous, I just read that 75% of the German population got it and Germany has always been behind in mobile data so I guess it's even more in the other countries. I don't see how you need "IT competence" to use data roaming with your phone, unless it's about turning it off so you won't be broke.

RocketRoute can create a flight plan from iPhone/Android in minutes. Should this fail, I can still call the RocketRoute hotline to do it for me. Should this fail, I can even call AIS Germany on the phone. They will moan (if the flight does not start/terminate in Germany) but they will do it. And if I'm still out of luck, I would start calling pilot friends, one of them will certainly do it.

This reminds me of Krakow International with mandatory handling. The handling agent took a flight plan form and filled it out for me, asking me just a couple of questions. I could have done it in 1/5the time with my mobile phone but she was nice looking...

Roaming is expensive but a flight plan will not cost you more than a few €s. Our beloved EU has just capped the maximum roaming fee in EU countries.

Oddly the thought of EU wide roaming has not worried me. There are a few solutions that I looked into a whole ago, more for work than anything... but a Europe wide 3rd party plan, shoved in a laptop, or iPad works well. I know this is not a advertising forum, so I shall not name the one that I use for occasional use, unless Peter allows me. But you only pay for the days that you use, so long term is quite cheap.

The thought on my mind about all of this, is the myriad of different ways to close a flight plan across Europe. I actually think, despite the oddities sometimes, Germany has the best solution for it, as I have done and heard many people close the flight plans before landing. Albeit the controllers have wanted to make sure that the destination field is definitely in sight before they will close... I've had more issues in the UK and France, where you land somewhere and then spend an hour trying to find a mobile signal to call ATSU to close it. I wish they both would allow closure of plans before landing.

Feel free to name it Italianjon. Fine to name a product if it might help somebody. I do it all the time

The only "advert ban" that we operate is a posting by somebody who appears to work for the company, but is posting privately. Like most sites, that kind of post would be initially deleted, especially if the poster has not posted anything before. We've had just one case of that so far.

Historically there have been a number of "Euro-wide" or even "worldwide" roaming SIM deals, but none have been particularly cheap i.e. not cheap enough to just use the whole time including back home.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Ok, thanks Peter. It's this one, http://www.europasim.com/

You have to top up €5 per year to keep the sim, and it's €2 per day for 100Mb, which has always been enough. Plus you only pay for the days you use it. I mainly use it for work travel and flying as I have another local network provider in Germany, as this is where I spend most of my time, but when I have flown to France a few times it has proved great with an iPad/SkyDemon solution; and a simple SIM switch.

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