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Flying in France - what are the rules


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Yo Rocco, where you going?

Dont think I know them inside out but am beginning to get a grip on them (so if anyone knows better ..... i think that:-)

Officially? you need an FAI airsports license which you get from your country's recognised aviation association. So in Italy it would be the Federazione Italiana Volo Ultraleggero FIVU and in france the PULMA Associacion de Planeur Ultra leger motorises or some such http://www.appulma.asso.fr/ because they all classify paramotor as a ULM (ultra legero Motorisez) (sub class 1A in France) not a glider like in the UK (SPHG). The above address sets out most of the legislation you need to comply with (click the reglamentation tag with a french speaker).

In the UK who is the "recognised association?"

Basically to do it totally legally you need a BHPA or BMAA "license" and ask them for an FAI license equivalence. (or an Irish exemption certificate!!!!)

In practise you need the permission of the local land owner and the blessing of the local club and you need third party liability insurance. This is the major difference that you could fall foul of. In the UK insurance is not a legal requirement, in France and most of the continent it MOST DEFINITELY IS. 2 million at least against third party claims. If you produce a certificate of competence (that you made on powerpoint the day before) no gendarme will know the difference! They probably would not even ask but they would want to see your insurance and they probably would check it out and if found wanting they probably would prosecute you and confiscate your kit. All that being in the unlikely event that you caused a problem.

As in the Uk the best way is to make contact with local people in the sport and fly on their briefing. The local club will want to see your insurance cover. In France they like you if you at least try to speak French;-)

If you want to fly in the Pyrenees Orientale (Eastern) or around Satillieu (near Lyons) I can give you contacts, or if you want a guided trip and others are up for it I can put something together.

Francis :P

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Hi Francis, I am going on a diving expedition in Sept to dive on unknown Normandy wrecks and wondered if I could fly the coast for some R&R. I am currntly under training for PPG so hope to be OK by then but won't have a PPG qualification so don't know how or if the FAI accreditation thing wil work for me. I do have a brisitsh PPL and CPL though, but probably doesn't help.

Is this going to be doable or should I bin it?

Cheers, Rocco.

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Defnitly doable. If it is coastal and not near airspace and you have a PPL then just make sure you are fully insured. You will probly only have to come up with paperwork if you break something. Then its the insurance document you need. wave the PPL as if you fully beleive it to cover a paramotor (why wouldnt it?) Make sure you keep air law (duh) If you want to bone up on french air law look on the http://www.appulma.asso.fr/ website look there also for a local club and if there isnt one JFDI. If there is get in contact and meet the guys and have a blast. The Normandy beaches at 500 feet sound like a treat!!!Show us the pictures.


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  • 8 years later...

A while back I tried to find a definitive answer for visiting UK pilots and couldn't.

As stated you definitely need 3rd party insurance, plus land owners permission as in the UK.

As a visitor you can fly for up to 90 days without the necessity to become French registered. As a resident, and because the paramotor comes under the ULM (microlight) classification, I had to register my kit with the DGAC (French CAA) and affix a registration number to my wing. I also had to get a ULM license.

The best approach is to contact a local microlight club, you will receive a good welcome. Aviation is warmly regarded in France, I still get the occasional motorist stopping or slowing down to observe me flying.

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Legally you should also carry an up-to-date air map and have a minimum of 20mins fuel in your tank.  My experience echos Alan's, I have found the French very positive towards flying.

As for flying in the mountains it would be smart to hook up with a local club who will be familiar with the meteorology.  It can quickly turn ugly in the mountains. 

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