High Hopes in the French Alps

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

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

Pi in the Sky!

Dennis just landed! Amazing how I managed to line up the cells with the barn roof!

So haven’t been blogging recently, why?  just busy is all….

Mick and Marian

But after having brought through another pilot, this time Simon, the Kenyan Cycling team’s coach… who is now fully fledged with wing and all, and all set to scale new heights in the Rift Valley, and some unexpected Aussie pilots popping by, the odd tandem, and various other commitments, we finally got to fly a couple of brand new demos! And they were lovely!

Dennis gave me a call and said, if I get out to the landing field by 3 o’clock, Gavin was bringing out a couple of Pi’s  for us to try! So I was out there ready and waiting at 2:45! And yep, we got to try out the all new, brand spanking crisp clean new Advance Pi’s!

Other than being a mathematical antiquarian symbol π which is apparently greater than 22/7! but as  I’m no mathematician, the sum of  this little gliders calculation fitted it’s components description perfectly.

The thing with maths, is that  the answer is generally always pure, it’s usually right or wrong, and there’s no inbetween, unless one chooses to embark along the routes of equations of infinity, that continually evolve… but now I don’t know what I’m talking about!

All said and done, the Pi was a real delight to fly. Gorgeous launch characteristics, beautifully light to handle, good solid feel in the air, good to thermal, excellent lightweight harness arrangement with excellent and unexpected back support. For a mountain rig, it held you in the perfect position, and one could fly comfortably for sometime in such a lightweight set-up. For me this little mountain glider, knows exactly what it is!! and the most comfortable one of this type I’ve ever had the pleasure to fly!

The whole rig weighed around 3.5-4 kgs, depending on size,  and it didn’t feel like I was carrying anything! – Maybe this is the way to go, healthy, happy hikes and flights!!

On another note, it was nice to see Mick and Marian, who doubled up enjoying a tandem, haven’t seen them all summer, and also Brad Nichols was out premiering his Gradient Nevada, straight out the factory, looks nice.  So it was a day of flying new gliders, always nice…

September 22, 2012 Posted by | Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Change on the Way

weather changing over the mountain…

A change coming…

No Mont Blanc attempts today, clouds don’t look favourable… Maybe that’s it now for another year?!

August 21, 2012 Posted by | One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

The Anticipation of the Parabrother’s!

Brother’s Preparing.

Brothers, ready and waiting!

So now after all the Mont Blanc excitement has calmed down, here’s the update of what’s been happening with our L platers, a couple of brothers who are coming on great, considering the heat they are having to work in!

The morning conditions have been excellent for practice for them though, and the whole riser, glider set up etc. has become established. We will be moving on to CP tasks of Big Ears and Speed Bar with them tomorrow and that’s on their third flying day, so it can’t be bad.

Dennis did a tandem a couple of days ago, and thankfully they managed to get off the hill! You’ll see why in the photo… of how not to be a tandem passenger! I’ve been sweltering up on the launch area for quite some time, and an beginning to feel the big melt! But it’s cooler up there than down at landing!

We’re going to have a change from ‘beginner’ work next week as we’ve got one of our regulars returning to us so some flying is in the offing… hope the weather holds out.

Whilst on launch and heard a helicopter arriving at the back, and my first thoughts were ‘O! no!’ but then I noticed it wasn’t a pompiers rescue helicopter but some sort of social one…

It seems Marie Antoinette turned up! I tried to get a picture of her, but couldn’t quite get one… although I did get the helicopter, never a dull moment eh?!


Couldn’t resist this picture… Lovely! Olivier and young passenger!

August 21, 2012 Posted by | One to One Tuition, Tandems | Leave a comment

Mont Blanc Start Gate!

Well we’ve never seen so many pilots swarming ’round Mont Blanc ever! It was the best and most incredible day for top landing the mountain. As usual we were grounded with students, but having said that next year the plan is to book out these few weeks in August and do some high Mont Blanc attempts ourselves… me, I was chomping at the bit, and on the verge of handing in my notice! It looked like a start gate gaggle up there!

As it happens there has been some controversy over the amount of pilots who totally disregarded  the ‘restricted airspace and areas’.  The helicopters at this time of the year are really busy keeping the huts replenished and fishing people off the mountain, doing their rescues. Apparently, they were winching someone off the side of the mountain and were having to contend with paragliders flying underneath and around and about them during a rescue. It seems there may be some slapped wrists over the total disregard of the rules.

There were some pilots who did respect the rules and approached the mountain from the correct side.  So that’s this years Mt. Blanc summit flying over… We wait to see if there is going to be a new ruling considering this in Chamonix now, if the pompiers and helicopter pilots put in official complaints we may be looking at a restriction or a ban…. hope not!

On the 20th August, there was another attempt and it was another free for all, with pilots who were not clued up on how to gaggle fly, jumbling up the sky in a mess! It’s a tough one to regulate!

As this weather seems to be hotting up even more these days, it seems that the Mont Blanc summit flight may become a bit of a regular thing now… so long as pilots respect the rules!

There were many more pilots up there than actually submitted their flights on the logs, maybe it was those that infringed on the restricted airspace that refrained from uploading.

Even so… it was a great day, and wish I could’ve been part of it… Enjoy the video pilfered from our local flying club!

August 21, 2012 Posted by | Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Pilot Training Season

It seems to be the height of the training season at the moment, most of the schools around here are busy, as well as ourselves…

The weather has been excellent for learners!

August 19, 2012 Posted by | One to One Tuition | Leave a comment