Compared to other areas in Europe, the airspace over the Southern Alps is not overloaded, but in spite of this, there are still many breaches of rules every year ! Here are some examples :
- entering the R 71 military area without a clearance
- flying inside airways, risking a collision with airliners
- flying inside natural parks of the highest priority
- flying into zones of military maneuvers
- crossing zones allotted to parachute activities
If these breaches of rules continue, or worsen, due to a lack of knowledge, or willfully, there is a major risk of seeing our soaring activities being drastically restricted by the French aviation administration.
Due to this fact, we ask all pilots to inform and to prepare for their stay sufficiently thoroughly before coming to fly in the Alps.
The aim of this document is to help pilots just do that, and to explain what the most important airspaces are.
The daily briefing is compulsory at all clubs; there you will get information about weather, airspace, Notams, and all special events. But, in the end, there is no guaranty you will receive all information. So, finally, it is the pilot's personal duty and responsibility to be fully prepared for their flight.
Using the map named "carte vol à voile, Alpes du sud/nord" is tolerated, but having the official Zone map in the glider is compulsory.
In France, level "E" is FL 115. Only in the selected LTA, for example LTA Alpes or when in wave sectors R 130, it is possible to climb higher.
In all other cases, one needs to get a clearance from the control center south-east Marseille.
Beware ! The French Federation asks pilots to respect a maximum altitude of 5800 m (19314 ft) QNH, and not reach FL 195, in order to altimetric errors or erroneous calculations of the QNH.
Example: The Pic de Bure wave zone, is right under a very active airway where airliners might descend to FL 200. This represents a legal distance of 500 ft between a glider on FL 195 and an airliner. To provide more safety, all pilots are asked to end their climbs at 5800 m QNH (19314 ft).
Just a reminder, FL 195 is maximum level for VFR traffic. The whole airspace above, is reserved for IFR, totally forbidden to gliders, with no possible clearance.
Military area R 71
This area is activated as needed by the military bodies of Salon, Orange, the Patrouille de France, drones and so on, conducting training sessions in this area.
If active, then Fl 75 to FL 195 is closed and you are to remain below FL 75.
If not active, then class E allows you to fly up to FL 115.
To receive information about these activities, please call Salon Info on 135.150 or Marseille Info on 120.550
If you wish to penetrate into the activate R 71, you need a clearance from Salon.
Wave area R 130
This area was created to allow gliders to climb above FL 115 in wave conditions. The R 130 is not always available, it might be opened by agreement by Salon de Provence, or the control center in Marseille.
The area R 130 is divided in three areas:
- R 130 A (Jarbron) FL 115 up to FL 195
- R 130 B (Buëch) FL 115 up to FL 155
- R 130 C (Drôme) FL 125 up to FL 155
A great improvement, the situation of the R 130 is not anymore expressed as "active" or "not active", but much more clearly, as "opened" or "closed".
You can receive the information about the situation of R 130 from "starter St. Auban" or "starter Vinon" on 130.125 or from Marseille Info on 120.550.
When flying inside R 130, you have to stay on stand-by on the "starter" or "Marseille" frequencies, should the R 130 be closed. In this case you have to vacate/leave the R 130 as soon as possible.
One part of the R 130 is situated inside the R 71, so there are four different possible configurations :
R 71 not active
R 71 active
R 71 not active
R 130A, B ,C opened
R 71 active
R 130 B, C opened
Gliders equipped with a transponder are asked to switch them ON before flying inside the R 130.
These parks are situated as highest priority by the law of nature protection. Consequently there are regulations for aviation. It is useless to discuss about the sense of regulations for gliders, but we profit from the willingness by the responsible persons of the parks to facilitate things.
You find following parks in our area:
Ecrins minimum height 2800 m (9320 ft), 1000 m (3333 ft) above ground, corridors, where you are allowed to fly below 3333 ft ground
Mercantour1000 m (3333 ft) above ground
Vercors 300 m (1000 ft) ground, no corridor
Vanoise 1000 m (3333 ft) ground only from May 15th to October 20th
2 Sectors, where you can descend below 3333 ft ground
The French Federation is constantly in contact with the directors of the natural parks to receive more free space for gliders. The success depends strongly of the numbers of breach (or absence of) of these rules by glider pilots.
Gap Tallard, zone of parachutists
Gap Tallard is a national center for parachute activity. It is understandable that all aviation should respect this zone, which is so small, that there should be no problem to fly around it.
If you wish to cross this zone, please contact Tallard on 119.100 to require information about activity. They will answer in French or in English, and when there is a possibility, they will friendly let you cross the zone.
The most important informations you can find under EA.FFVV.org Checklist Espace Aérien.