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What is it that prevents private pilots from venturing abroad?

On this forum, several people have observed that very few private pilots venture very far away from their home base, and on even rarer occasion will fly outside of their country of origin (except if they happen to cross the border on extended downwind). That got me thinking about my own flying, which sure enough mostly takes place within the borders of France, except from the occasional flights into the UK, Belgium or Switzerland. When I lived in Norway I had no problems making trips into Sweden and Denmark, or even Finland (although that particular trip got cancelled). A trip to France however, required quite a bit of planning, ordering charts and a Jeppesen trip kit.

So what is it that prevents me from venturing abroad more than I do? In my case, the availability of charts, the convenience of obtaining them.

For IFR I use JeppFD (shared subscription) with a limited coverage area (France, Belgium, Switzerland). For VFR I used to have the VFR+GPS charts from Jeppesen, and would print the VAC from the national AIP/AIS wherever available, prior to departure. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, not all countries make their documentation readily available. And of course, if you decide to deviate from your planned itinerary you may need to print new charts during your trip, which requires access to computer and printer.

IFR approach plates are available on EAD provided you are willing to use Java 7u40… Or for 100 €/year I could get them from EuroFPL. When it comes to visual approach charts, availability differs from one country to another. The charts for France are all available on the very good SIA/AIP web site. Belgocontrol also publish their charts, although the interface is less user-friendly than the French. The UK also have A/D information on the NATS(?) site, but you need a to register to obtain credentials, and I have not logged in on that site for a while. For Norway you also need to register and obtain credentials. In Switzerland it seems like you have to buy the documentation. What about Germany and Italy?

On top of this, Jeppesen recently (last year I believe) announced that they would discontinue the VFR+GPS chart series. So we are left with the national VFR charts (which can be hard to come by), or electronic charts.

Now, although I am not thrilled about the prospect of flying with electronic VFR charts, I am seriously thinking about subscribing to Jeppesen VFR and IFR for Central Europe in order to lift what is to me a constraint. That would however represent an annual cost of almost 900 €!

I am therefore curious about the approach that others on this forum have to flight documentation across Europe.

  • what kind of VFR navigation charts (sectionals) do you use for navigation is various European countries, and where do you get them from?
  • where do you obtain the VACs?
LFPT, LFPN

That would however represent an annual cost of almost 900 €

One can buy a lot of paper charts for that kind of money

what kind of VFR navigation charts (sectionals) do you use for navigation is various European countries, and where do you get them from?

My own rudimentary GPS (which only shows aerodromes, planned route, and effective route). The route must be planned before flight to respect various kinds of airspace. Paper charts for that planning, and to be on the sure side of legality. I intend to make more and more use of the German ICAO editions (published by DFS?), even for my own country.

where do you obtain the VACs?

From the www. Even if some have claimed that a/d operators will put the Jeppesen chart on their website then not look at it again for several years, I have yet to come into trouble with this. Plus FIS are always available to help in case of doubt, some will even warn or inform without being asked.

Belgocontrol also publish their charts

only for a handful of “major” airports, I’m afraid. But I am quite happy with the way they publish NOTAMs.

And, fianlly, regarding the opening question

What is it that prevents private pilots from venturing abroad?

I am not prevented by anything, except the need for very fine flying weather. Whenever I can I’m off into Germany, or into France if it is really very very nice. It is one advantage of living in a smallish country.

Last Edited by at 15 Mar 16:35
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

By the way, the EAD has been available in HTML format for about 5 years now.

Now to answer your questions:

what kind of VFR navigation charts (sectionals) do you use for navigation is various European countries, and where do you get them from?

I have switched almost 100% to Skydemon for that. Not perfect, but overall a good, neat solution.

where do you obtain the VACs?

I still maintain a VFR subscription for JeppFD (all of Europe). Costs 320€ a year. Sure is expensive, but the most convenient solution.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 15 Mar 17:06
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

By the way, the EAD has been available in HTML format for about 5 years now.

I am unable to find it. Are you using EAD Basic or Pro? Could you provide the URL?

LFPT, LFPN

what kind of VFR navigation charts (sectionals) do you use for navigation is various European countries, and where do you get them from?

In the UK, I fly with the CAA 1:500k VFR charts, under Oziexplorer on a tablet

For France, I have a digital version of what I believe is their IGN one, also under Oziexplorer

For Germany and Switzerland there is a similar solution.

However, outside the UK, I almost never fly VFR for more than a few minutes (basically only if going to a non-IFR airfield like Lausanne). Then I use the 2013 Jepp 1:500k charts, again under Oziexplorer. The only time in years I did a long VFR leg outside the UK was on this trip where I did it for the benefit of a passenger. It’s way too much work otherwise – unless you want to get some low level photos etc.

where do you obtain the VACs?

I used to buy the Bottland VFR guides. Nowadays I use various sources. I think the AIP charts cover every place except Germany.

Jeppesen VFR and IFR for Central Europe in order to lift what is to me a constraint. That would however represent an annual cost of almost 900 €!

I seem to recall that €900, under their new single-installation option, should get you all of political Europe including all of Russia. So Central Europe should be less. The standard four-installation package for all of Europe is c. €2000.

The other more general point I would make is that while the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland seem to have good VFR charts, the rest of Europe generally doesn’t. For example Italy has nothing (the stuff in their AIP is rubbish and unusable in the cockpit). So there is an implicit drive towards electronic products (PocketFMS, Skydemon) and I suspect this will accelerate.

Jepp stopped producing their “VFR/GPS” printed charts (which was the only pan-European option for many years) in 2013 but to my surprise they also abandoned the electronic version (“Raster Charts” for Flitestar) at the same time, moving instead to a fairly pricey Ipad product (JeppFD-VFR) which runs very similar looking and very clear charts but currently has a much more limited coverage. I can see their printed chart sales took a dive (due presumably to the above two electronic products) but the JeppFD-VFR pricing is uncompetitive. I guess they were also motivated by copy protection…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Well, the link is this one. Once you are in, go the “My Profile/Settings” and under “Application Access”, select “Simple Mode – plain HTML”.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

I am unable to find it. Are you using EAD Basic or Pro? Could you provide the URL?

There is no special URL. Once logged in, you select “My Profile/Password” in the top row menu. The profile page has an option to switch between HTML and Java.

(This is for EAD Basic.)

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

JeppFD VFR for Europe (all available countries) is 349€
JeppFD IFR for Europe (25 countries) is 535,50 €

Last Edited by at 15 Mar 18:32
LFPT, LFPN

Can that price be obtained for the PC version (Jeppview 4)?

You cannot (practically) print from an Ipad, so no backup if the battery goes or the Ipad shuts down.

And if you buy the PC version, the extra cost of the Ipad product should be small.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

There is no special URL.

What a relief! Thanks.

LFPT, LFPN
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