Departing Nice (LFMN)

Sunday’s Expert Server ATC schedule this week includes LFMN / Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, so I thought it might be helpful to post some hints on how to depart from that airport, assuming the 04 runways are in use as normal. It is rare for the 22s to be in use, as it leads to a Madeira-esque approach compared to the straight-in routing that is possible for landing aircraft from the southwest.

Just to the northeast of the airport there is some high terrain, and at the base of that squeezed into a small plain is most of the city of Nice. You can see that area right out from the 04 runways across the bay in this image:

For both terrain avoidance and noise abatement reasons, aircraft departing from the 04s at LFMN therefore instigate a right turn to heading 140 once they have reached an altitude of only 420 feet. This is a fairly sharp turn, and done at no more than 210kts. They then fly for a few miles out to sea, before turning again as they need to as part of their standard departure routing.

Those that like to bring as much realism as possible into the game are probably used to flying SIDs (Standard Instrument Departures), and some can be found here:

Scroll down a few pages for the SIDs.

For those who aren’t used to flying SIDs and might struggle to understand them, here are three simplified first stages of flight plans for departure, assuming takeoff from 04L (SID purists, please look away now). You may wish to set up these waypoints, before completing your flight plan to your destination:

Flying towards the east, via waypoint BASIP:

Flying towards the northwest, via waypoint BARSO:

Flying towards the southwest, via waypoint LIRMA:

How to Fly

  • Announce the direction you will be departing to Tower based on how you will exit the airspace - East for BASIP, North for BARSO and South for LIRMA.
  • Keep your speed under control (see below).
  • Do not just engage the NAV function and hope for the best. You can fly these on NAV if you must, but be mindful that some of the turns are tighter than that function is designed to handle so you may need to activate waypoints manually to begin a turn earlier than the autopilot will do itself. You should not engage for any sector before the one to PIGOS.

See further tips below.

Speed and Altitude
For the initial turn, and indeed on some of these plans the subsequent turns too, you are going to need to be going slower than 250kts. I recommend 210kts as a max, until you are on a more direct routing to the final waypoint of the plan.

In terms of altitude, the important one to note is a turn towards PIGOS once you have climbed through 420ft.

For the northwest departure towards BARSO, make sure you have sufficiently climbed before heading back inland over the high terrain.

Other Traffic
Depending on how busy the airport is, there may be a need to be aware of parallel departing traffic. Make sure you do not turn in the path of another aircraft until they have started turning too.

Also be aware of any approach patterns that may be set up, and if needs be discard these flight plans and follow a common-sense approach to ensure you do not come into conflict with any other aircraft.

If you are put in contact with Approach or Departure by Tower after takeoff, make sure you follow any vectors, altitudes and speed instructions given by the controller, even if that means you do not end up following these flight plans.


Bookmarked. Great tutorial!


Very well explained. Thanks a lot for this!

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Great tutorial. Thankyou.

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Definitely an airport that requires some research before flying there, also an airport that @TheInitialVirus and I know very well :)


Do you know what the largest aircraft is that the airport can accommodate ?

MD-11, really. It will be down to controllers’ discretion whether to allow 747s, A380s etc.

Okay, but just asking, an A380 would technically fit there, right ? Emirates flies there from DXB with the A380 if I am not mistaken

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Yes, Emirates A380 flies there, so any aircraft is allowed then.

Very good tutorial. What about approach?

I would like to bump this. Controlling @ LFMN on Expert has shown me that people need to read this. This is a really good tutorial, and a must read.

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@2003iggy Why are we landing on 22L? Have you read this?

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