High Hopes in the French Alps

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

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

Day of Advancement…

The weather has been exceptionally accommodating of late, meaning that it has been consistently flyable for most of them!

The other day, we were fortunate enough  to try out a few of the recent Advance gliders.

We had the Omega X Alps, the Pi 2, and the Alpha 6 to fly. For Dennis he could fly all of them seeings he conveniently falls into the weight range of all the gliders, for me I was restricted to just the Pi 2. So I was more than happy to fly that for the day.

This time of year, the thermals are all but gone, so no real thermalling just a hint of the autumn passing, and the winter en route to settling in, but there was a minor amount of temperature difference to allow a taste of very weak thermals, which was very sweet in fact. Dennis managed to momentarily scrape above launch, which was better than the rest of us! He flew the Alpha 6, and was most impressed with it, the development, construction and additional extras to the wing, in comparison to the Alpha 5. I didn’t fly it so cannot comment. He also had the enviable opportunity to fly the Omega X Alps, which I coveted to fly, but my weight denied me access, dag nabbit!  My description, a beautiful swan of a wing, what more can I say!

And finally, I flew the Pi 2. As I already have the Pi and ‘Easiness’ combination for hike and fly, I am more than happy with that combination, but the Pi 1 does have it’s limitations. However, with the Pi 2, all of those limitations have been eradicated, and the Pi 2, has developed into a flying wing, and not just a descent wing. It thermals like an Alpha, so climbs lovely, has an instant connection to the pilot as soon as airborne, and is as sweet as a nut. Ok, so it doesn’t have a great glide as such, but the fun of flying it, the confidence offered in flying a lightweight rig, that handles like a ‘proper’ grown up, with workable risers and regular break handles, that are and not all string and flimsy, is just such great fun! It is not just a lightweight, it is a full-grown lightweight. Very cleaver construction within the cross band in that regular sections have been cut-out for lightness, which undoubtedly adds to the whole stability feeling of the wing. All in all, the best lightweight rig, I’ve flown!

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Dennis on Omega X-Alps

November 19, 2015 Posted by | Flying, General | Leave a comment


As the weather is most definitely on the change, and we have had some snow settling on the Fiz, the Aravis, and of course Brevant, it shouldn’t be too long before the snow finally arrives and settles, so we will be donning our winter kegs, and sharpening up the skis!

This year, we have decided to include some ski-flying in our winter season!  If you quite fancy having a go at this please feel free to check it out on our website. Ski-Fly Paragliding, it saves trying to run off, and launch in the deep stuff!

November 14, 2014 Posted by | Flying, Guiding, Skiing | Leave a comment

A Team of Distinction – X Pyr

Ok… Haven’t posted for a while, but generally things have reverted back to ‘normal’ in as much as we are back, and working!

My only complaint, is that I don’t get enough of my own flying in, and wish I was twenty years younger! Why…. because of things like this!!!

Fantastic X-Pyr a race based on the Red Bull X-Alps formula, a real endurance sport of hike and flying, simply brilliant. The X-Alps is one we love to watch here, because the scenery is familiar, but the X-Pyrenees, is different in a landscape that is not so familiar to us up here, but looks amazing… feel like a trip to the Pyrenees coming on!

Anyway, here’s the recent video of non other than “Mr X-Alps/Pyrenees” himself Mr Chrigal Maurer,  ‘finishing the race’… with his amazing support companion Thomas Theurillat who was with him (I should think!) every step and flight of the way! a team of distinction…

Here’s the link to the website, it you’d like to see it.  It is still continuing and if I understand the rules correctly, it will not be finished until 22:30 tonight…

July 18, 2014 Posted by | Competition, Flying | Leave a comment

3rd Day – Para-elite, but Weather Defective!

It was really quiet on launch this morning, really thought that the competition had relocated to Annecy, or somewhere… but later on pilots started to arrive little by little, until the field was pretty much full.

Yuko, progressed in leaps and bounds today, and managed four flights, each one with more progress than the last, so it was smiles all ’round. The weather, was quite bright to start with, then slowly cloud cover crept in unannounced, and it began to get darker.

On my last fly-down, on my new XS Carrera, which I am growing to really enjoy, I felt a few spots of rain, so decided now was a good time to land. It was the first time I had Forward or Alpine launched the Carrera, and it came up beautifully! without the slightest ‘peep!’

Personally, my thoughts were that the competition was not going to happen today, because to be honest, I left it to the last minute to launch after launching Yuko,  whilst noticing the rain cloud advancing into the valley.

Sure enough, when I landed it seemed the competition had been cancelled! As after we folded our gliders, there were just a few taking off, but nothing major. When we got home and checking on the webcam, it looked like the launch area was empty, so that was it. There is still tomorrow, but the weather forecast was not looking good to start with, but now it seems to be improving, we will have to see…

So far, here are the results and tasks of the competitions from the FFVL competitions page. It is not over, there is still tomorrow, weather permitting!


May 10, 2014 Posted by | Competition, Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

‘Elite’ – Plaine Joux Comp – Day 2

Task 1 - Results

Task 1 – Results

Second day of the ‘Elite’ competition held here today, 9th May, I’m writing this a day late…

They managed a decent enough task given the fickle weather conditions. It was one of those Plaine Joux days, when it all appears like it’s going to be working, and just when it’s all happening, it decides to ‘switch off’, calling everyone’s bluff, and almost everyone ends up scratching around, to claw something out of nothing!

I had a sweet end of the day, fly around on the school Alpha 5, most enjoyable! after a good day with Yuko, who progressed a little more today.

The competition, second task, was a ‘cats cradle’ within the valley,  with an optimised route of  39.424 km.  only five pilots made goal.  Yesterdays task was again, a ‘cats cradle’ within the valley, but the route was 47.430 km so a little further.

The results of the first task, that were pinned up on the board. I think a lot of pilots were caught out. Had a bit of a laugh with one of the pilots, joking about the conditions being perfect for the beginners! Haven’t got a clue who he was though!

Last Minute - Task 2 adjustments.

Last Minute – Task 2 adjustments.

May 10, 2014 Posted by | Competition, Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Plaine Joux ‘A’ Comp

Not exactly just ‘A’ comp, the ‘A’ list French Pilots competition was held here in Plaine Joux today.

The conditions d2014-05-08 15.04.14id not lend themselves to a particularly easy task, in fact it was so stable and overcast, ‘challenging’ would be an understatement! It was very heavily overcast, with a threat of rain, so there was barely anything heating up the valley floor today, and we had quite a downpour yesterday, so they did well to do any distance at all!

We were working with our  ‘One to One’ client, a young Japanese girl named Yuko, and she was going to be flying her very first flight, in amongst some of the top paragliding brass in the world!

Admittedly, we had to wait until a suitable gap arose so she could take her launch, and most of  t2014-05-08 15.04.21he hot-ships were up and gone, although many of them didn’t actually make it that far… some did but only a handful.

We were for a moment caught in amongst the frenzy, as they decided to call the task just at that moment. So we stood aside, until the rush was over.

Yuko, enjoyed her first flight and one that she says she will ‘never forget!’

On the way back to the ranch, we saw Denis Cortella, landed at the road side, Luc Armant, landed in a favourite land out field next to Super U, and another glider landed in the field next to Intermarché. Nice to know the top brass picked good land out fields, ones, I would have picked myself, although not to sure about Denis’ choice of the narrow strip of roadside!

Not sure, how they did but it was fun to watch! They may all be back again tomorrow, as it’s a four day competition, but they may well choose another venue, not too sure.

Here are a couple of pics on launch, and a couple of the task board.


2014-05-08 15.06.54 2014-05-08 15.07.00

May 8, 2014 Posted by | Competition, Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Careering into Rubbish Weather!

The rain in Spain falls mainly in the Alps!!

Well it certainly seems so…. I’m hacked off with this weather to be honest! –  We had some great weather for our clients, (which is great!) but, this week we had some time off, to hopefully do some of our own flying, but nothing doing!!

It’s been rain, rain, wind, blah de blah… crap weather! and there’s nowhere really within a decent days drive that would have been worth it. Apparently, the weather is set to improve tomorrow, but these post-pre fronts, have been quite messy, and not particularly pleasant, we seem to be trapped between fronts at the moment, which does not make for pleasant air. We may however get out to fly tomorrow, but will have to see… meanwhile, we’ve been working on the garden instead, with new plantings, etc.

Anyway, all that said, it was good to bump into Natalie, on launch a couple of weeks back, and she took a couple of pictures of me, flying my newly acquired Gin Carrera, xs which I am still taking time to tune in to, so would have really appreciated these few days. It was just a late in the day flight, after work, and I was the only one on launch. I quite like it when it’s like that… Alex was still flying, but we never got to see him.

Hope you had a good flight Alex, I’m sure it was the right thing to be over here and not in Annecy on that day!

Thanks again, Natalie for the great pics!


It’s such a good shot, I had to put it up as a ‘large’ size, but you can click on the pick for a close up of the glider!

May 3, 2014 Posted by | Flying, Working | Leave a comment