Private Flying in Greece – BALKAN NEWS MAGAZINE

Cessna.182j.g-atpt.arp

Cessna

With so many airports in and around Greece, and so many opportunities for island hopping, I have never read anything about foreign Private Pilots visiting Greece. On the other hand, Greece is very touchy when it comes to its next door neighbour Turkey. More-so since President Erdogan has started to reel in any military  dissenters, since eight Turkish  army officers recently did a runner, and flew to Greece to escape from the Turkish authorities. But especially due to 500 years of historical Turkish dominion and invasion, that is always there!

The NATO connection, although still in place, looks increasingly fragile, but from the following announcement made by the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association of Greece, maybe it is time for a new mindset. So, welcome to the “Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association of Greece,” and this is what they have to say –

West Greece Airclub

West Greece Air Club

“This information has been compiled by AOPA Hellas especially for you, our international friends, in order to provide some helpful information about General Aviation (GA) operations in our country. Greece is full of airports and airfields, with an 85% of them being mostly available in winter time. There are several international public airports with hard surface runways, but only some of them utilise a 24 hour customs availability.

“Air clubs mostly operate with Cessnas 150-172-182, Piper Cherokees and TB’s. If you plan to fly to our country, you are more than welcome to do that. You will have no problems with communication in English and we are pretty sure that you´ll love the sun, the mountains and the clear blue skies.  Frequently Asked are as follows –

piper_meridian_m500_aircraft_1

Piper Cherokee

“Do I need to file a flight plan? On any international VFR flight to, from or within Greece (Athens LGGG FIR), you are required to file a flight plan. You may plan to cross the FIR boundary at any point you wish, as long as it is an identified reporting point (i.e. Airway Fix at FIR border). Even for domestic & local (airport area) VFR flights, a flight plan is required.

“If you are departing from an airport without an AIS office, you may file your flight plan to Athens Central AIS either by fax to +30 210 3532635 or by phone to +30 210 3533691. These numbers are attended 24 hours a day. Alternatively, you can try some of the internet flight planning portals here and here, but, for ZZZZ destination or departure airfields, make sure you copy the appropriate AFTN codes of the airports & airport zones affected. Also, a passenger manifest, or “General Declaration”, may be requested to be submitted at this time.

“What frequency shall I call when crossing the boundary and where can I land? All around the country you will be within the reach of “Athens Information” (if you fly VFR) on frequency 130,925 MHz (North Sector) or 119,750 (Southern Sector). Those stations will provide you with a non radar Flight Information Service and give you all information about active military and restricted airspaces. While flying VFR at low altitude, you may lose contact with FIS station. In that case, just continue to fly according to your flight plan, VFR VMC, and wait for a contact later on. Contact must be made at least every 30 minutes.

“It is, however, advisable to contact the Approach or Tower frequency of any military unit whose airspace you will be transiting. Military airports usually have associated TMA’s and you should contact the published frequency. You can also contact TUGRIT military radar on 129,80 MHz for advisories. There is a new FIS service specifically for the Athens TMA area, while above mentioned FIS frequencies remain in effect for the rest of Greece. Athens Approach now offers FIS service dedicated to the Athens TMA area on frequency 124,025 MHz (refer to LGGG FIR NOTAM A0319/10 for details).

Capture.GR1

“At what altitude should I fly? VFR altitude on an easterly course (0°-179°) is odd thousands plus 500 ft (3500, 5500, 7500, etc.) and on a westerly course (180°-359°) even thousands plus 500 ft (4500, 6500, 8500, etc.). This rule applies above 3000 feet AGL. On IFR flights, the same semicircular rule applies, but without the +500. Transition Altitude is specified in each airport’s approach plate. If you plan to fly above the usual airways’ base (6~7000 ft), inform FIS so that they coordinate with Athens Control in case they have any low flying IFR traffic in the airways.

Capture.GR2

“What is the VFR transponder code? At any chosen VFR altitude, you should squawk 7000 unless you are assigned an individual code. A transponder is mandatory for all flights and mode C is mandatory within/below controlled airspace (TMA’s, CTR’s, Airways, etc.), even if VFR. Flights entering ATHINAI FIR should squawk 7000 unless otherwise advised by ATC. All technical and official information – http://www.serresairclub.gr/Flying_in_Greece.pdf

So it can be done, the invitation is there, and right now – due to the present economic conditions  in Greece – foreign Private Pilots and their families, would be made very welcome.