High Hopes in the French Alps

Air of September


Another flyable day… although having said that it didn’t look like it was going to be first thing. We had a fair bit of cloud clover with low level clagg, so we had to wait for the cloud to lift before we could venture out to fly. As it turned out, the weather was fine, in fact a bit warm for the time of year.

It started off a quiet day.. . As it’s such a spectacular view of Mont Blanc from our launch area, the Shearings coaches stop by on there Annecy and the French Alps tours so all the old folks pop in and have an ice cream whilst watching all the paraglider pilots impersonating lemmings! For me, I find it endearing to hear them speaking in that English tone that only the pensioners can speak, about having indigestion and asking if ‘anyone’s got a Rennie?. I suppose not hearing English spoken in that manner for years makes it sound quite warm to my hearing….

There were a group of school children having a lesson on the launch area..  not learning to fly, I might add, more of a geography lesson or something, so it was all a bit busy but not with pilots! First off a couple of tandems  flew and managed to get a climb out above launch, later… Lucas Bernardin, one of the top French Pilots on his R11, as well as Mathieu also on his R11, were whizzing around all over the valley. Watching the glide that these guys have on those gliders is incredible.. I can certainly appreciate the sense of ‘loss’ they must feel in not being able to fly them in comps anymore, but on the other hand I can also appreciate the ‘loss’ families have felt from those who flew them and never made it home….

Not wanting to get too poignant, it turned out to be a nice days flying. Alistair and me had a nice flight and Dennis flew afterwards, so we were all happy.


September 12, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Guiding, Tuition | Leave a comment

Another Morning in Chamonix

Brevant Lift and Station

that was about as high as most got...

We’ve had a couple of busy days, we’ve two Canadian pilots staying, and we’ve also had the pleasure of the company of some friends from Australia stay the last couple of days… needless to say, the wine was in full flow last night, a first for a long time! We had a day in Chamonix where it was another one of the über stable variety, so no xc’s. It was a stuggle to get anywhere. Dennis topped out just 100 meters above, but that was all, and I was scratching about in search of something that would take me a bit higher than I was, but all I got was the odd ‘beep’ and some good honest sink all the way to landing! So it was a great day for tourists and cameras! Plan Praz was it’s usual busy tandem covered launch, with all the solo pilots waiting around for ‘better’ conditions which never came…

We then returned to Plaine Joux, where I had a lovely late afternoon flight, very autumnal now with smooth air, and rapidly changing treetops. It was enjoyable, and stay-up-able and I landed happy after a couple of nice climbs. There were a couple of gliders that made it out of Chamonix, one being an R11, and the other a U3 I think, but that was about it. There haven’t been any league flights listed from our neck of the woods since the 1st September, although the weather is improving…

Have just got to add this little extra on…. I’ve just been fishing around on the net, for more info on the Moon oops! Mont Blanc landings this year and came across this photo link site of Damien de Baenst’s fabulous docuphoto of the whole flight, with his tracklog to boot!! Some great ‘calender’ shots in there I’m sure.

September 8, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment