High Hopes in the French Alps

Facebook Page!

Would just like to say that the Alpine Flying Centre, now has a Facebook page, yes; we’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into the hive mind forerunner, commonly known as Facebook.

It’s actually been a lot easier just updating facebook, than trying to find my way around the all new WordPress site, not only that, it’s been difficult trying to make more space for the updates. It’ll be easier to visit the Facebook page for a while, although we are working on new blog pages…

Will keep you posted

January 15, 2017 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

Hike & Fly II

Still got high pressure sitting over us, it’s been here for ages and doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere in a hurry, consequently, we’ve been stuck in a perpetual groundhog day scenario, weather wise. The lifts only opened yesterday, so today we did a St.Gervais, mini-hike & fly, it was another glorious day. The snow isn’t up to much though, so skiing doesn’t seem that appealing at the moment. They are doing their best to make pistes work, and they do… but more fun to fly when ski conditions are poor.  We’ve decided to wait for a decent snowfall before we don our skis again, that said, some snow is forecast for early next week “possibly…”  We tried the St. Gervais flight yesterday but the wind was too strong, so today we decided earlier might be better and it was, we flew! It was a lovely flight, tomorrow I may give the Epsilon a bit of an airing, it hasn’t been out for a while!

Incidentally, we did have a more demanding 3½ hour hike up to Plancerts, Les Houches, the other day, it was perishing cold to start with, with some very steep sections, on ice/packed snow, bit disconcerting, and finally at the top treacherous ice, then after a very civilised coffee and snack, we hiked over pisted artificial snow and precariously picked our way on the downhill on more uneven frosted snow/ice to finally finding somewhere to launch!

The flight over the valley back home was gorgeous, on both counts, cold but gorgeous! Sorry no pics of the Plancerts flight, but a couple from St.Gervais, thought the camera was, on, wrong! It was off… I’ll get used to it eventually. Some pics of the hike though.

December 18, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

AFC Paragliding Season 2016

A condensed review of our Summer season 2016! There were quite a few more pics I could have used, but had to try to keep it to a reasonable length!


December 11, 2016 Posted by | Flying, General | Leave a comment

A Bit of Spice!

Last week turned out to be a great week! We flew in Annecy, Chamonix and of course our favourite. and convenient home site of Plaine Joux!


Theo (our apprentice) on Epsilon 8

As well as XC flying, we threw in some task flying, to add another dimension for our flying clients. Also last week, I got to fly the Skywalk Spice glider XXS size, and I have to say, it was a real delight!

Couldn’t believe how easy it was to launch, like the Advance Pi, lightweight! Couldn’t believe it, such a light wing. I had a great flight settling into it, and after a while, I realised that it is what I would call a ‘silent’ glider. It’s not ‘chatty’ at all… doesn’t have much to say, I would say it is a ‘quietly confident’ wing. I really liked it!

It felt solid, and had a refined and dignified turn. On bar was nice, but perhaps it was the only area that was somewhat mediocre, but other than that a lovely glider. If I was considering a new EN-C glider, for next season this one would be a very high contender!

It’s presentation was excellent, with a substantial strap, and break handles that were very comfortable. I’ve never flown a Skywalk before, but was most impressed with this one!


Skywalk Spice – XC Mag pic




July 13, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day, Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment

Piste Basher Trax?

Freshly fallen snow? with piste basher tracks?!… at this time of year..?? Never!…20160708_065423

Not really…SKyTrax, more like.  Just an early morning sky just before the dawning of a new day! taken some days ago now, haven’t had time to blog for a while… been busy.


July 13, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

The Italian Job!


Dennis just launched

So the weather this side of the mountain was pretty poor, and had been the day before, with loads of precipitation and snowfall! Yes, more snow… so much so, that it had even settled on Plaine Joux launch! so Monday was all but written off …however…  it was all looking so much better through the tunnel on the Italian side, so we decided to venture into the Aosta valley in Italy for the day, and what a day it turned out!

Absolutely gorgeous! Lovely soft wind, and complimentary thermals, gentle grassy launch areas, and a neat little bar, where Italian hospitality, pizza and gelato were very much welcomed! It almost felt like a holiday day!

There will be no doubt to where we’ll be going next time the weather is disagreeable this side of Mont Blanc and that would be Monte Bianco!!


late afternoon/early evening flying Italian style!



Dave, deciding to give up chasing the con/chem-trails, and head for the bar landing field!


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Theo… our new apprentice in preparation mode.


May 25, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

2016 Flying Season Commences!


Andrew in flight on new glider! 🙂

So it’s finally arrived, the flying season that is. Already there have been some spectacular spring flights being achieved in and around the valley, so time to get focused on flying!

We’ve got a few days ahead of somewhat dodgy weather, but then thereafter improvement,  and the flying should begin to become established. So all the local instructors are back on site now, and it’s great to meet and greet them all again!

We had more tandemonium capers suddenly turn up on launch, taking over the place, it seems they were doing a tandem pilot’s assessment test. Apparently, some of their landings left a lot to be desired though.. but hey, we all have to learn!

Unfortunately, the farmer had left his cows in the field so some of the landings may have been a tad smelly!


Tandemonium – Apparently, much more entertaining at landing! – Nice flying going on too.



May 1, 2016 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Snow Brainer!

2016-04-17T13-30-13+02-00This is the final week of eeking out what’s left of the snow, even though we’ve had a further covering! We’ve had more snow in April, than we had in December! So we battled through the rain lower down, and were transported into the snow higher up!

Ok, so the conditions were pretty appalling really, but we wanted to try out some new skis. Well, sadly they didn’t have my size, but Dennis managed to try a new pair. Unfortunately the visibility was virtually zilch, and the snow condition was ski-able,  but not really of any decent enough quality to form a valid opinion of the skis. Shame really, however all was not lost, as we managed to squeeze out a further day, where the conditions were somewhat better, and at least I managed to try a pair of skis in my size, and well… I’m sold! So even though the skiing is just about well and truly over, a couple of new pairs of skis is definitely soon to be on order!

Just a little additional note… today is the last day of Les Grands Montets opening, regardless of the excellent snow fall we’ve had! Very frustrating to see the inviting snow condition up at Le Tour, and all the chair lifts parked!

It appears that there is quite a gathering up at Les Grands Montets for  the final farewell to the winter ski season.. Sad to think that it’s time to finally put away the ski boots, makes me sad…

So that’s pretty much wrapped up our winter ski season… so here’s to the flying! And flying! yes it’s all starting to kick off!

We’ve already had some flying, and EP/CPC training, but it should start in earnest next week.. given the forecast. Midweek onward is not looking to bad, and anyway by then the alternative distraction should have all but been removed.





May 1, 2016 Posted by | Skiing | Leave a comment

Skiing Over? Not Quite!

14-04-2016 Grands Montets 1 So just when we were about to stow our ski boots, and hang up our skis for the season, lo and behold… more snow! Yea! (my preferred spelling)… extended skiing!  We ventured up to Les Grands Montets where there was no snow shortage! It was a glorious day, beautiful blue sky, a fresh covering of pure snow, and areas just waiting to be skied! As Les Grands Montets is located at the top end of the Chamonix Valley, it is considerably higher than other areas so the snow condition is maintained for much longer.

What a fantastic ski! Absolutely loved it! Most of my/our skiing has been around Les Contamines, St. Gervais, Megeve, Les Houches, and Courmayeur but skiing in Les Grands Montets just upped my game a whole gear! After having tackled the well skied tight moguls and attempting deep crud, with one face plant! (ha ha :-D) and some untouched powder areas, I’d felt like I’d done a full workout phew!

It was just an unexpected bonus ski day… so we haven’t quite put our skis away just yet.

The flying? – Isn’t far away, we’ve already started with our first fledgling EP/CPC pilot, so we’re already underway, the snow doesn’t usually stretch out this far, and it’s a shame to waste it, it will all be closed probably by the end of next week, so I’m in no hurry to fly (personally), when the snow is so darn good!!!

The flying is going well, and many are clocking up some good distances, in turbulent spring thermals, but we have been bothered somewhat by strong winds, and the foehn adding to the mix, so the flying although exciting, is not smooth by any means, which is usual for this time of year.




April 15, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

Spring is Settling In :)

2016-04-10 13.35.21Yesterday, we were skiing, or making a lame excuse for skiing, today the sun is shining and the blossoms are flowering on the trees!

Today, there are people flying! It’s a lovely spring flyable day, and we have our first EPC client.

Tomorrow, it looks like winter may yet be returning, but who knows?! Flying is on the verge now, time to sort out equipment and stuff!

April 10, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment