Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A guide to VFR flight plan addressing for France

The VFR addressing changes for flights to, or from, France seem to have caused a bit of a stir. They've also been used by many as a reason not to use AFPEx, which in my opinion is a bit of a shame. Anyway, here's a short, simple guide to addressing French VFR flight plans.

The way it was...
When you filled in a flight plan online using AFPEx, the system auto-filled the addresses for the departure, destination and alternate airfields. You then right-clicked in an address box, clicked through to 'Add VFR Addresses' and added the collective* address for each of the FIRs through which you would be flying. For France, the pop-up box also told you to manually add the ICAO codes for the destination and alternate with the suffix ZPZX for each.

*A collective address is something created by the AFPEx people at NATS, so rather than having to know the addresses of each FIR in France for example, they have all been 'collected' under one, AFPEx-supplied address.

You will need to download or open this file

The way it is (for now)...
AFPEx will still auto-fill the departure, destination and alternate fields for you. As above, you will need to follow the 'Add VFR Addresses' for the FIRs that you will fly through, including France.
Open the document from the French AIP (linked to above) and go to the VFR addressing bit that starts on page 12 of the document.

At the top of the page you will see that they want the following
  1. Departure ICAO code + ZPZX
  2. Attaching BRIA code + ZFZX
  3. Destination ICAO + ZTZX
  4. Attaching BRIA + ZFZX
  5. FIR (In France) crossed + ZFZX
  6. SIV concerned + ZTZX
  7. Any additional addresses specified
The rest of the AIP document provides a useful table giving all of the necessary addresses's fairly simple to go through the table and dig out the correct addresses.

However, from the list above, AFPEx will auto-fill the departure or destination fields adding the suffix ZTZX. The sharp-eyed will notice that the French now have different addresses for the same airfield depending on if it's being used as a departure or destination! To be foolproof, the AFPEx team is suggesting that you manually add ZPZX to all departure, destination and alternate fields in France. You also will have entered the AFPEx-generated collective address when you used the pop-up 'Add VFR Addresses' to put in VFR France. This collective address now contains...
  • Every FIR in France
  • Every BRIA in France
...meaning that all you have to enter is the relevant SIV, and any additional addresses. These can be easily found in the AIP document. AFPEx is trying to make things easier by persuading the French BRIAs to forward the flight plans to the SIVs, and if they succeed I'll update these instructions.

Given the amount of addresses that could be required for some destinations, it's worth using the 'Store' function in order to create saved, correctly-addressed flight plans for your favourite destinations.

BRIA Bureau Regional d'Information Aeronautique - think FBUs of old
SIV Service Information Vols - think Flight Information Area

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