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Important information about Le Touquet LFAT (FR-only at certain times)

Dear All,

The management of Le Touquet airport have asked me to work with them in helping to coordinate a slight change in their operations.

As of 1 July, the ATC service will be closed between 1130Z and 1330Z.

This is due to new European regulations governing the mandatory rest periods afforded to controllers.

In practice, this means that radio at Le Touquet will be blind calls in French only during that period.

Those with experience of flying further into France will be familiar with this, but those who only nip across the channel from time to time may be less so.

In essence, if you wish to land at Le Touquet during this period, you need to transmit your circuit joining messages in French, and follow a French overhead join, which differs slightly from that practised in the UK.

I must impress on all pilots the importance of “playing the game” here, as the initial plan was to close the runway completely during the rest periods, and the “FR Only” solution was very much a compromise.

To help the airport management, I am going to update some of the French radio information on my website to be a bit more specific to Le Touquet.

I am also going to organise (subject to Covid) a couple of free seminars at the airport to explain the procedures in a bit more detail. I would be delighted to put a few faces to names if you’d like to come along.

In the meantime, if anyone has any questions, please drop me an email to james(at)lingaero.com

Best

James

LFCS (Bordeaux Léognan Saucats)

Thanks for the notice.

That’s not a big issue because most visitors will arrive before then and depart afterwards.

I guess they have gone down to minimum staffing level and then they get caught by the ATC rest regulations.

How much French is one likely to need in practice, given the tower is going to be empty (will it be?)? A few calls in the right places? Does anyone know what those might be? We have a summary of French phrases here.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Hi James, great to hear from you, and thanks for the update and your input.

We regularly do ’zoom ’ meetups on here now.
Could you possibly consider a short, or long update for those interested via Zoom?

Kind regards Pete

Private strip, Essex (not mine), United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

How much French is one likely to need in practice, given the tower is going to be empty (will it be?)?

The tower will be officially unmanned as the ATC will be having their lunch in the room downstairs.

However, the “powers that be” are likely to listen to the recordings (always on whether manned or not) to make sure that the “FR Only” rule is being adhered to.

LFCS (Bordeaux Léognan Saucats)

I’ve just done a report on LFAT in our new airport database and put this info in there.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Out of curiosity is some rule that requires these periods to be in French only?" Our could the Airport allow them also to be in English if it so choose?

EIWT Weston

Bordeaux_Jim wrote:

However, the “powers that be” are likely to listen to the recordings (always on whether manned or not) to make sure that the “FR Only” rule is being adhered to.

Well that should just about put most people off

Is this the same for IFR Trafic, French only?

Rob wrote:

Is this the same for IFR Trafic, French only?

There will be no ATS at all, so the same blind calls for everyone, be it VFR or IFR.

IFR procedures at uncontrolled airfields are fairly common in France.

In fact, the “FR Only” restriction is generally applied with this in mind.

LFCS (Bordeaux Léognan Saucats)

dublinpilot wrote:

Out of curiosity is some rule that requires these periods to be in French only?" Our could the Airport allow them also to be in English if it so choose?

It applies automatically under French rules when an airport without ATS has published IFR procedures.

LFCS (Bordeaux Léognan Saucats)
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