French Aviation terms and vocabulary

7 July 2014

"The worst day of flying still beats the best day of real work"

This is my vocabulary list that I created to better prepare myself for the airport environment in France.

Ground vocabulary
Accélération= take off roll
Aérodrome/aéroport= airport
Aérogare= terminal
Aéronef/avion= aircraft/airplane
Aire de trafic= ramp
Aviation d'affaires= business aviation
Balisage= lighting
Bande gazonnée= grass strip
Barre de traction= tow bar
Biréacteur= twin jet
Boucle= loop
Bretelle/taxiway= taxiway
Brevet= license
Cale= chock
Certificat de navigabilité= airworthiness certificate
Commandant de bord= captain
Co-pilote= co-pilot/first officer
Damier= touchdown marks
Éléments de vol= flight details
Élève pilote= student pilot
Embarquement= boarding
Entraînement= training
Essence= fuel
Hangar= hangar
Instructeur= instructor
Ligne axiale= centerline
Manche à air= windsock
Meeting aérien= air show
Phare d'aérodrome= aerodrome beacon
Piste= runway
Rassemblement= fly-in
Roulage= taxiing
Seuil de piste= rwy threshold
Sûreté= safety
Tour= tower
Visite pré-vol= preflight

Flight-specific vocabulary
Approche directe= straight-in approach
Atterrissage= landing
Base= base leg
Branche vent arrière= downwind leg
Courte finale= short final
Décollage= take off
Finale= final
Piste dégagée= cleared the runway
Point d'attente= holding point
Remise de gaz= go-around

Radio vocabulary
Affichez le code transpondeur= squawk (verb)
Indicatif d'appel= call sign
Poursuivez= go ahead
Rappelez (au point d'arret)= report (holding point)
Répétez= say again

So you want to fly in France...?

6 July 2014

"Everyone starts out in aviation with a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck."

What does it take to fly in France?
That's the question I asked myself as I started preparing for the HOP! Tour des Jeunes Pilotes (HTJP). I did some research to find out what the major differences are between flying in France vs the US. For those readers who aren't pilots, I apologize if some of the terminology is a bit foreign. I tried to be as informative as possible, and I even included a few websites at the end that are great resources if you have a desire to learn more about aviation.

-France has 5 types of airspace: A, C, D, E, G (so, basically, no bravo)
-Sometimes, with no obvious reason, the C or D airspace will temporarily become class A. This means that VFR flights won't get a clearance through the airspace. So, check your NOTAMs! (Notices to Airmen)
-Most VFR flying is contained beneath FL115 (yes, flight the US, FL's begin at 18,000' MSL but other countries have different designations for transition levels and altitudes. More on this later.)
-It is forbidden to fly below 500' AGL (above ground level) except during takeoff and landing. Above major cities, this minimum altitude is bumped up to 1600', 3300', or 5000' AGL. 
-It is recommended to fly higher than 1500' AGL to stay out of the way of military jets, who tend to leave their protected training zones. 
-The VFR code to squawk on the transponder is 7000 (as opposed to 1200 here). When you fly into controlled airspace, the controller gives you a new squawk, and you change it back to 7000 upon leaving.
-Prohibited airspace is labeled LF-P on charts, while dangerous and restricted areas are LF-D and LF-R, respectively.

-France has over 400 public airports.
-Although English is the official ICAO language, and all air traffic controllers are required to speak it, pilots talk in French over the radios for improved efficiency and safety, as well as situational awareness. (That's one of the reasons I'm flying with an instructor throughout the HTJP.)
-Radio freq 123.5 is used like a MULTICOM throughout France at untowered airports without a frequency, and 123.45 is used for aircraft-to-aircraft communications (sound familiar?).
-Night VFR requires a special rating. Like flying IFR, you are required to file a flight plan. Also, most airports are unusable at night.
-The French call high elevation airports 'altiports,' which range from 4500' to 8000' and require a mountain rating. Being from Colorado, I am pretty familiar with the dangers of mountain flying for pilots who aren't properly trained. The course for this air rally isn't going into any mountainous terrain FYI.


Aviation websites:

First post ever

5 July 2014

Bonjour tout le monde! (Hey everyone)
This blog is a compilation of everything interesting that I encountered as I traveled in France and participated in the HOP! Tour des Jeunes Pilotes (Air tour of young pilots). The HTJP is a 2 week long competition that takes place throughout France bringing young pilots together and showcasing aviation to flying enthusiasts all throughout the country. The rally has been around for a while, but this is the second year for AOPA to sponsor an American pilot..and this year it just happens to be me!

Before I go any further, I ask that you please excuse my poor excuse of a 'punny' title... '(En)route du jour' is a play on 'route du jour' (which is a play on 'soupe du jour'). It doesn't make sense in French, but this blog is primarily for English speakers and aviators, and since it makes me laugh, I think I'll keep it for now. 

It really is an honor to represent the U.S. in this competition, and I feel like the best way to share the knowledge and experience I'll gain is through some form of social media. SO, I'm going to do the best I can to document everything...with pictures, videos, text, etc. However, please keep in mind that I am a pilot, not a writer, so keep the expectations low and disregard my blatant grammatical errors.

The race starts in Toulouse, France, and we ultimately visit 8 airports, 2 of which are military bases, before ending up in Paris. See the images below for a better idea. 

France has a remarkably rich aviation history. In 1783, the first manned flight was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, who went up in a Montgolfière hot air balloon to a height around 50 feet and traveled 5 miles. (Originally, King Louis XVI had decreed that a prisoner sentenced to death was to go up, since flying was extremely dangerous). It's cool to think about how far we have come in terms of technological advancement. It is also extremely rewarding to fly in a country where it all originated...where dreams became reality.

As silly as it sounds, I like to think that I've been preparing for an opportunity like this for my whole life. I started teaching myself French in 5th grade, however, it wasn't until I graduated high school that I took my first flight in a light aircraft. So as to not ramble on about myself, I'll leave you with a couple articles that you can reference at your leisure: