High Hopes in the French Alps

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

Brimming Over!

Seems autumn may well be here… we haven’t had this much of the valley filled with so much dense cloud this late in the morning… the temperature had noticeably dropped, time to dig out the thermals.  It did clear however, and a nice afternoon followed! There were a few gliders about, so some nice flying going on, quite short lasting though.

Full to the Brim

Full to the Brim

September 29, 2015 Posted by | Day to Day, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Too Much, of a Windy Thing!

Local Pilot.. off and straight up!

Lovely sunshine this morning, although there was just one big problem…. the wind!

There were a couple of brave souls taking advantage of the air. Dennis had a fly down to landing, to assess the conditions for our students, unfortunately, it was just too windy, and unruly for them to fly in. We waited for a while, and watched some other pilots take off, and get pinned. Ok, if you have active flying experience, but not so good for the novice. The wind increased and later in the day, I took Tizzy walking, and noticed a handful of gliders trying to lose height in the valley. Turns out they were, the ‘joint services’ out here for the weekend.

Going up, wasn’t the problem!

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‘Joint Services’ – One Specker, Two Big Ears, and One Heading for Landing

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Tuition | Leave a comment

Summer, Giving Autumn a Look In

So the summer is slowly winding in, as there was a distinct feel of Autumn in the air today, showing a very slight hint of tree tip colour change. The flying amazingly has been really lovely… smooth air with thermic activity not disappointing at all! In fact the thermals have been accommodatingly serene, still taking us up to heights easily climb-out-able. Just a taste of what can be found during the autumn and winter months in the alps! Sometimes, the lapse rates work out so well, that it’s still possible to nuzzle out the unexpected cross-country!

This week we have two new fledglings, who are doing really well, and are already part way through their EPC training. Flying this morning was excellent, as we had the whole launch area all to ourselves!

We did have a bit of a wait, before first launch though, as we had heavy cloud blocking the sun, so the katabatic airflow hung around for a while before we could launch. Whilst waiting for the right moment.. I thought I’d take a couple of shots of the Plaine Joux info/tourist information boards that are here for all to see… includes the names of the mountains with altitudes.

Mont Blanc View

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Fiz View

Please click the images to expand for further detail.

September 10, 2015 Posted by | Tuition | 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

Magical Clouds!

The weather we are having in July, now August, has been very wet… but this morning we were up at launch with two newbies, and as Dennis was getting ready to fly down, I took a pic of the scene, from launch. This was Sylvain, flying off into the ether losing sight of him as he flew into the clouds, it really was quite beautiful. Dennis managed to fly down in the same cloudscape, although the clouds were low it was a very rare and almost unique experience, to pop in amongst the clouds like this. Eventually, it all cleared and a good day developed.

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Beautiful puffy, fluffy cotton wool balls of clouds! on the way to landing



August 1, 2014 Posted by | One to One Tuition, Working | 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.


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