High Hopes in the French Alps

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

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

Perfuming Flying! (you get it don’t you?!)

Gift wrapped perfume,,
reminds me of Strawberry Cream chocolate?!

ok… so I haven’t blogged for ages. We’ve been busy! Have got to say, it’s great when our reputation precedes us… as we have had two chaps from New Zealand learn with us a week or so ago, who flew all the way from New Zealand, to learn with us and then fly back again! That’s some compliment… We also had the pleasure of the company of Toby Columbe stay for a while which was great for me, because he relieved me of some work, so I could potter about in the house, but mostly in the kitchen! Toby has a hidden talent in the kitchen also which was revealed… great cook he is!

So time has ticked on as it usually does, and I’m pleased to report a new computer which has not glitched or crashed on me at all, can’t believe how smoothly it’s all running, don’t know if I’ve already rattled on about this?!

Temperatures have been soaring recently, and the landing field is starting to look like straw, all dried up, but thankfully we had a bit of a shower last night and this morning offering us all some very welcome refreshment.

We have another student with us now, who had his first flight today, so was really happy with that. Unfortunately, with all the heat and the moisture it was just far too hoofy to fly him again today, but it’s looking ok for tomorrow.

With all this heat, I’ve been getting a bit low on the old perfume, so was greeted with a box of my favourite today… wonder if Dennis is trying to tell me something?!

August 16, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Whacky Winds

Seb, after numerous attempts at top landing in dodgy windy conditions.

The flying taken a few days ago. It’s been a bit wet recently, this morning Dennis went out with Ian, where it was possible to scrape a couple of ploufs out of an early morning launch, although with all the rain we’ve been having, the conditions were all a bit bizarre! Strange winds up high, stranger winds mid level, and another contradiction on landing, so all a bit of a mess! Anyway soldiering on, a couple of flights before it all went completely beserk, was a good effort!

above launch, with some very slow forward motion

Some hang-glider pilots arrived from the south,  even though the conditions were far from perfect they managed to fly! Some people will fly in anything! Me, I like to keep a safe and healthy distance from such expressions of heroism! I’m quite happy being the observer.

The weather is the talk of the business, and at the moment it’s not looking like much is going our way until the weekend, then it’s looking ok!

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Couple of Nice Days

Plan d’Aguille launch

We have enjoyed a couple of nice days, but today it’s all turned in again…. 😦

Chamonix Valley

Dennis has been busy with Stewart, Luke and now Ian. They had a trip out to Annecy which turned out to be a really good day, and Dennis met Stefan there, the lovely chap who organises the Belgian Open, I’d like to meet up with him again, the Belgian Open is on next week, and we have a client who is based in Annecy at the same time, so me may well get to meet up.  It’ll be a heaving mass of busyness I should imagine! Unfortunately, we had to pull out from this years competition, due to having to make a living! so our competitive experiences this year are what we make up ourselves.

The other morning, Dennis and Luke went up to the Plan d’Aguille for a flight, which apparently turned out ok, although was not the best conditions. A bit slappy coming through the wind gradient…

Here, it’s been ok but the West wind has been a bit strong. The other evening we had some lovely flying but with the wind strength the forward movement was slow, the air was gorgeous though… like chenille silk, heavy but smooth. Everyone who flew were just inching along, so we were all hanging around almost motionless on occassion. It was lovely though.

By the time we’d all landed and driven back up to collect the other vehicle the front had moved in and completely changed the sky to a different animal all together.

Dennis had the camera so took some pics. makes a change!

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Flying, General, Tuition | Leave a comment

Stewart, and the Sigma Scene

The Sigma Scene!
Giles on his yellow Sigma 7,
and Stewart above on his Sigma 8.

We were flying with Stewart again this morning, the air was a bit unruly but fine. So it was good practice for Stewart to get familiar with his glider and the differing conditions.


For Dennis, and me we’re enjoying toying around with different harness settings, amazing what little changes can make to feel and comfort.

It’s flyable and great for Stewart to get some airtime and thermal practice in, so it’s working out really great for him just now!

May 30, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Bar-B-Q, at Super U!

the aftermath!

Who’d have thought it! A quiet sleepy town like Marlens where we’ve got one of our supermarkets! Well where we did have a supermarket, and a nice one at that!


But it was gutted overnight by some sort of explosion! What sort of explosion we don’t know… only that it went up in a blaze!

We’re flying with Stewart at the moment, and having some fun and lively conditions. Had some nice flying this morning as the air was smooth and bouyant so a bird’s eye view over the damage was in order. It looked ‘melted’ all the steel girders were sunken. No use keeping my carte de fidelitè then? Mind you they may decide to contruct a bigger and better version. The flying was good…



May 29, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Back to Blogging…

Dennis trying out the new school – Alpha 5, goes up easy enough!

So I’ve decided to have a go at reviving the blog… the reason I haven’t kept on it was mainly because I haven’t been carrying my camera around, and prefer to keep my phone as a phone and not a camera!

Paris Peter launching..

The other thing is if I don’t have the camera I don’t have to think about it… so it’s plain old lazyness on my part. Anyway, it seems folks may still like to know what’s happening in this neck of the woods so I’m going to have a go at reviving it to keep the updates going. So first off… this morning, it’s pouring down with rain… So our new pilot, sadly wont be able to complete some of his EP/CP tasks, we were hoping to get him through them in the given time but the weather has decided to put a delay on the proceedings… Still he will be completing them a little later on.

However, yesterday was a different matter. It was a holiday day here; I wasn’t actually aware of this fact, until I realised that there were loads of people about, later in the day and a group of Saga’s best turned up making my heart skip a couple of beats as some of them attempted some doddery launches! oooooo… phew!! glad he got away with that! A whole load of hangies were there too, and a few were up from Paris, and it’s always good to see them, even if I was a bit abrupt! Sorry Peter…. it’s ok I wasn’t up all night not sleeping and worrying about it…. :o) tee hee… Steve, got a couple of shots of your launch.

Ok so the weather, it was strange, bizarre. Early morning it was fine, lovely and smooth and just perfect for our beginner Steve, although we had a bit of all or nothing on launch. But all the launches were clean, bar one… Just a little sidestepping was all that was needed…

Dennis flew down, and did the landing whilst I stayed on launch and did the launching. Steve managed five flights so did really well, passed his EP exam paper with 99% very impressive! But then he is a bit of a skydiver! So he’s got a bit of a head start. I had a flight a little later on when the sky was turning black! Dennis always leaves the nice conditions for me!!!  But it turned out a nice enough day for us all, if not just a bit busy… but eveyone seemed happy enough!

Photos in Daily Pics.

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Bright and Just a Little Bit Breezy

More ploufing today, but great for Tom our new One to One client. He’ was the only one on launch this morning,  except Tizzy having a scratch on the launch area, where as the rest of us were having a scratch just below the launch area, a bit later on in the day as we gradually descended into the lower inversion. Tom had five really good flights, but then he does kite, ski, has a PPL licence and does most things so it all seems natural. He’s doing his own lovely landings already and only on his second day, which is excellent.

Tom, preparing for his first flight of the day

We’ve got flyable weather until next Tuesday, so we should be out ploufing ourselves whilst waiting for the snow. It wasn’t all ploufing today though, as there was a good face breeze, which certainly helped Tom, get some reverse launch practice in, he  did an independent reverse launch without a hitch, as well as four forwards launches, and completed most of his EP tasks, so he’s well on the way.

Whilst I was preparing to have my own plouf, another pilot landed after getting some reasonable height just above the Fiz, it was possible to climb out if taking off from a higher altitude. A couple of gliders managed a scrape out. It’s ok, if you can hike up there, but with full xc gear it can be a bit tough. Chamonix lifts are still closed for the time being so we don’t have that luxury for a number of weeks yet.

November 22, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment