In preparation for flights, particularly overseas, the following tips may be of general interest:
www.metoffice.co.uk – the good old UK Met Office site. Well worth registering for the free aviation service.
www.bbc.co.uk/weather/ukweather/ - good for forecasting weather five days ahead. Try selecting the rain/clouds option and then stepping through the forecast...
www.meteo.fr – A lot of weather info for France. Register to obtain an access code so you can also get to the aviation sections (it
is free). This requires you to send a scanned copy of your pilot's licence in an email to: email@example.com
www.theyr.net – Very useful for seeing the bigger picture but still able to focus down to specific countries. This is becoming a fee paying service but they are offering 14 day trials, so register a couple of days before your planned trip…
www.avweb.com – brings a number of aviation information together and also offers a useful weather service to your mobile (WAP) phone. Useful for checking that the flight planned for tomorrow is still on when you are at dinner.
www.ais.org.uk - Our NATS Aeronautical Information Service website. Here you should regularly get your NOTAM briefings. If you look around there is a wealth of other valuable data such as up-to-date airport information.
www.flightplanningonline.co.uk - The AFPEx webiste downloads a Java application onto your computer which allows you to file flight plans straight onto the ATC computers. You do need to apply for an account for this system which can take a few days to come through. The direct connection makes filing very rapid but expect to take a while to remember how to use the facility each time!
http://olivia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/ - very valuable when flying from or in France. Registration is free but to get full use you will need to specify your Meteo code, so have that in place first. Once registered, you can enter a simple route for a flight then look up the weather for this route and the Notams, finally you can submit it as a Flight Plan if you want or need to. An excellent tool.
www.skype.com - a rather different idea but if several of you are planning to go on a trip it is useful to chat together via the internet on the days leading up to departure. If you all have the Skype service (free) you can share instant messages or even talk together.
For some states, where you cannot get their AIP online through NATS AIS links, it is worth registering on EAD : www.ead.eurocontrol.int/publicuser/public/pu/login.jsp
Many airports in Europe will only accept cards for fuel payments, many do not like taking cash. Very often airports are pleased if you have a fuel card so apply for one before you set off. www.airbp.com, register and then apply for a FlightCard.