The year 2000 has seen the publication of two different new VFR flight guides to France which are aimed at English speaking pilots.
The year 2000 has seen the publication of two different new VFR flight guides to France which are aimed at English speaking pilots. This Guide VFR—VFR Guide has been brought out with the help of the editorial teams of the magazines Aviation et Pilote in France and Flyer in the UK. In its format and layout, it is strongly reminiscent of the UK VFR Flight Guide published by AFE and is none the worse for that.
The editors of this guide have chosen to make it accessible to both French speaking and English speaking pilots by publishing an English version alongside the French text on each aerodrome page. The Calais page shown here shows the layout but, if closely scrutinised, also indicates the dubious quality of translation that appears on many pages. Runway surface dur is inevitably translated as ‘concrete’, though many of these are in fact asphalt. What does Open to CAP mean to the average English speaking pilot? Phrases and spelling like real activity know by Calais TWR and runway lenght (sic) 3000 m’ show up poor proof-reading. And hands up all UK pilots who know what RSFTA: Oui/yes in the last line of the Calais page really means. (Look up the Abbreviations table and it tells you RSFTA means ‘Aeronautical fixed telecommunication network’. So now you know exactly what this special equipment that is available at Calais is… Or do you?).
Awkward English apart, this guide is very comprehensive. In some publicity it is claimed that it covers 560 aerodromes, but my tally came to just 459 separate entries. These range from major airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon Satolas and Nice to little grass fields like Gaillac, Condom and Morestel. It does of course include all the UK pilot’s favourites, from the Pas de Calais to Brittany and along the Côte d’Azur. All essential aeronautical information is given; frequencies, runway data, elevation, lat and long, ICAO location indicators and any special local procedures. The printing is clear, diagrams sharp, and the spiral binding lies conveniently flat for use on a pilot’s knee board. It would certainly be a useful guide to have along on any aerial jaunt into France, especially if you know enough of the language to read the French text, where necessary, to work out exactly what the English means. James Allan.