What are the differences between flying in Europe vs. the USA?

Vincent, the blogger behind the Plastic Pilot blog, is in middle of his Flying Across America project and already he has written a great post outlining some of the differences between flying in Europe verses the USA. Vincent began by noting that the stories about how easy it is to fly there are true and the differences between flying in Europe verses flying in the USA are huge.

Here are some of the differences that Vincent noted:

Airport operating times: In Europe, you must check on airport operating time while in the USA, airports are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

VFR procedures: In Europe, VFR pilots are requested to approach along certain routes while in the USA there are no VFR approach charts or VFR approach procedures.

Flight following: In Europe, flight following is not available 24/7 whereas it is available all the time in the USA. Moreover, Vincent noted that there are much more advisories from flight following in the USA than from FIC in Europe. In fact, Vincent noted that:

So far, in 16 hours of flight from Florida to Texas, we got the following kind of information:

  • Traffic information
  • Weather at our destination
  • Weather around our position, like the intensity and size of precipitation
  • Vectors around weather and restricted areas

Vincent then commented that the best part of this is that controller gives information spontaneously.

Vincent concluded his post by commenting that there are plenty of differences between flying in Europe and flying in the USA and he promised to post more about these differences in the near future.

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One Response to What are the differences between flying in Europe vs. the USA?

  1. David October 11, 2010 at 22:05 #

    Airport operating times: In Europe, you must check on airport operating time while in the USA, airports are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

    Not strictly true. many airports here in the have noise abatement practices in effect that may restrict 24 hour movements. Try to fly into or out of Santa Monica at midnight…

    VFR procedures: In Europe, VFR pilots are requested to approach along certain routes while in the USA there are no VFR approach charts or VFR approach procedures.

    Again not strictly accurate. Look at any terminal chart and you will find VFR reporting points marked. Look in the AF/D and you find approach procedures that VFR traffic are asked to follow for many airports.

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