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Planning German Aerial Tour - History and Patrick Leigh Fermor

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As an Australian resident in Britain, one of the few places I can travel to freely now is Germany.

I am a huge fan of Patrick Leigh Fermor, an eccentric English author (and Cretan resistance fighter during WWII). In 1933, at the age of 18, he set off to walk the length of Europe, from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople with nothing but a few spare clothes, the Oxford Book of English Verse and Horace’s Odes. His astoundingly beautiful book, A Time of Gifts, describes the first part of this journey.

So, my wife and I are planning a late October aerial tribute to Paddy Fermor and Germany history and culture. General outline:

  • Start in Trier, earliest Roman city in Germany and a great place to drink some excellent Mosel riesling I expect
  • Aachen to pay homage to Charlemagne at his tomb in the cathedral
  • Pick up Fermor’s footsteps in Cologne/Koln
  • Along the Rhine and Neckar valleys with stops in places that Fermor loved like Koblenz, Bingen and Heidelberg (especially the Red Ox Inn)
  • A night in Schwabish Halle, as our recent stop there at EDTY was also part inspiration for this trip
  • And then Ulm (to see the stupendous Ulm minster) and Munich.

I have a couple of questions please:

  1. Is there an English language VFR airfield guide for Germany, similar to Pooleys in the UK, or Avioportolano for Italy, or a good online resource? I am finding it a bit difficult to get accurate information for German airfields. For example, the official website for Aachen-Merzbruck EDKA shows the runway length as 535m (no good for me), but on SkyDemon it is 1,160m!
  2. Is there a place I can find the most important German language airfield circuit lingo. I know it in French, but no idea in German.

Danke schon!

Last Edited by Buckerfan at 13 Oct 11:28
Upper Harford, United Kingdom

1. No. There is only the DFS-published AIP VFR, which isn’t available for free. Do you use Skydemon? If yes, you should get it via Skydemon. Essential if doing a lot of flying in Germany. It’s biligual. As an alternative, you can get some Jeppesen VFR terminal product for Germany. Same content, essentially.

EDKA is a special case; they have just changed runways, and there website still shows the old one (German airfields don’t tend to keep their website updated too well, since the information is usually taken from the AIP VFR by everybody). Anyway, the AIP VFR WILL be updated properly (possibly by SUP).

2. Don’t, if you don’t speak German fluently. Remember it’s not like France where you merely have to make a few blind calls. In Germany, you will have to engage in an exchange with the Flugleiter, and that won’t work with just a few words of German.

What you must therefore do is check if the Flugleiter is GE only or GE/EN. This is noted in the top right hand corner of each German visual operation chart. “Proper” airfields like Trier and Koblenz (and of course the even bigger ones) ARE GE/EN. But do check. A counterexample:

Last Edited by boscomantico at 13 Oct 12:34
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Thank you Bosmantico!

I will rely on the Skydemon plates then, along with calls ahead of time to check.

Looking on the Skydemon plates though, I cant see any language restrictions noted. Am I looking in the wrong place?

Upper Harford, United Kingdom

No. As I said, to get the full picture, you need to get the AIP VFR product, which you can buy THROUGH Skydemon.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 13 Oct 12:31
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Thanks v much guys.

I just purchased the add on subscription in Sky Demon for the German DFS VFR plates. Much better detail than the Sky Demon plates. Perfect. I see now that Aachen for example is noted as “Ge”, ie German only.

Does that mean that as a non German speaker I really can’t use this airfield? What do you think would be the best way of dealing with this 1) just turning up in the air and pleading ignorance, 2) calling ahead of time and asking for an exemption?

Upper Harford, United Kingdom

German AIP specific / Jeppesen VFR stuff moved here

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

In practice, I guess both 1) and 2) work. If you look at the Skydemon pireps, you see that a lot of non-German speaking pilots regularly land there, and non have reported any problems. I would prefer to do 2) though, to be sure one is dealing with people with a proper mindset, and not possibly someone who wants to make a point and cause you trouble.

But I am sure a lot of 1) is being done, too, by foreign pilots who arrive totally unaware of these restrictions. Not a bog problem usually. After all, the Flugleiter does not have to say much than “zero seven in use” or “two five in use”.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Buckerfan wrote:

Does that mean that as a non German speaker I really can’t use this airfield? What do you think would be the best way of dealing with this 1) just turning up in the air and pleading ignorance, 2) calling ahead of time and asking for an exemption?
Officially yes, but as bosco mentioned above, it will most likely work out somehow. I would also prefer doing practice 2, as not all Flugleiters can speak (broken) English or some just refuse to speak it, when they don’t have an English RTF.

There is a German saying: “Unwissenheit schützt vor Strafe nicht.”, which means “Ignorance doesn’t protect you for punishment.”. My both homebases are GE-only and have quite some visitors from abroad. Almost all Flugleiters at my base can use at least a few words of (broken) English and they are fine with non-German speakers, however, when the local CAA shows up in their blue VW Transporter, non-German speaking crews might get ramp checked. I never heard of any fines or real punishments though. Most of our local CAA guys from the “Bezirksregierung Münster” are quite relaxed and just want to chat a little bit, but that might be different in other German regions.
EDKM, EDLA, Germany

The following areas of England (in addition to all of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) will henceforth be considered risk areas by Germany:

Region East Midlands (seit 17. Oktober)
Region North East (seit 2. Oktober)
Region North West (seit 2. Oktober)
Region West Midlands (seit 17. Oktober)
Region Yorkshire and the Humber (seit 2. Oktober)

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Thank you Bosco. I am OK for now as I am in the South West (near Gloucester) and in reality really clean as we live on a farm (the plane included), very isolated from everyone!

Upper Harford, United Kingdom
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