High Hopes in the French Alps

Preparing to Plouf

Lots of Prepping for Ploufing

Well the weather’s been well, boring! I know dreadful thing to say, but apparently the Meteo forcaster in Chamonix has been saying the same thing, just emply blue skies with nothing happening. I can really appreciate the clouds and know exactly where Gavin Pretor-Pinney is coming from! Well all that’s happening on the flying front is ‘ploufs’ be they ‘bon’ or otherwise, “That’s all we’re getting and be satisfied!”, say’s mother nature! Well we’ve had a late in the season beginner pilot learning with us, and he had his first flight today. It was a bit touch and go whether to launch him to be honest as it was a nil wind situation, anyway I need’nt have worried, as he’s got a natural touch and a good run, so all was well.

There were a couple of tandems working unusally this time of the year, but maybe the seasons are on the change and we could be entering a new age?! Who knows?!


November 19, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Mild Mannered October

It’s been flyable.. but there’s not really any strength in the thermals now. We had our last one to one client of the season, Harry,  finish his EP and is now partway through his CP, all done in five days with four good days of flying! Needless to say the weather provision has been perfect for the job.

Harry, Clouddodging

We’ve enjoyed some tandem and solo flying, and will hopefully be out again tomorrow. This good weather just seems to be hanging on! There’s a short, sharp, bit of an occluded front destined to arrive on Tuesday, and depart again late Thursday opening up for more good weather come Friday, so maybe a few blips will sound in the minor pre-frontal conditions tomorrow (17th).

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Tandems Mostly

Yesterday was a wash out, but the rain did clear Plaine Joux launch from all the snow, and a timely visit of late afternoon sunshine did an excellent job of drying the area, that, with an added touch of Northerly wind; Plaine Joux launch was left with a blow dried finish even Vidal Sassoon would be proud of!

This is the Ozone 'small' Magnum Tandem - 'I like it a lot!'....

Tandem Assessments

It was mainly tandem day today,  meaning, a number of tandem pilots were going through their assessments. It was a beautiful October day, maybe a tad warm for the time of year but lovely all the same. There was really only light flying to be had.

We have a beginner with us as the moment, and the conditions have been just perfect for him, so he’s progressing in leaps and bounds.

Tomorrow the weather is looking good again, so perhaps more of the same, but not so many tandems about.

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Weather Update

a glimpse of Varan, and fresh snow through the cloud

Weather update… after all the fabulous but still air. We’ve had a couple of days being swamped in grey cloud with almost constant precipitation.

...and a similar glimpse of Col d'Anterne though pretty much the same cloud!

The weather isn’t all bad though, managed to catch a glimpse of the fresh fallen snow on the Fiz, it’s all starting to look quite wintry. Dennis went to Bois du Bouchet to do some ground handling with our client as Plaine Joux launch is covered in snow.

We’ve made fires for the first time this week, as we have been feeling the chill. Improvement is said to be on the way, with only some precipitation in the morning, followed by clearing skies and a return of the sun. This afternoon there were a couple flying, in the minor break in the weather,  apparently it was freezing, maybe time for the winter woolies to make an appearance. We will be out tomorrow anyway so we’ll see what we can glean from the day.

October 9, 2011 Posted by | Groundhandling, Tuition | Leave a comment

Empty Blue

It’s been a while since the last blog reason being… busy! We’ve had a pre CPC pilot with us for a while now, and we’re pleased to report a new CPC pilot joins the paragliding ranks. The week took us to Annecy a couple of times, and the rest of the time here.

Alex Rodriguez, incoming... after a flight of some perserverence!

Unfortunately, we didn’t make St. Hilaire as we were teaching, it sounded like a good gig this year though, with plenty of exhibitors, as well as the country being blessed with good weather so it sounded like it was an all round success. We had our own little successes in as much as managing to fly most days, although struggling in  cloudless expanses of lifeless air didn’t fare much for any flights of substance, but fun was had and it was perfect for the ‘L’ platers.

Most pilots have been doing speedriding, and acro… to alleviate the struggling lack of airtime, but at least we are flying. I’ve been spending some time Tandem flying which has been a new dimension for me, and most enjoyable, so will keep that up now for the time being.




October 3, 2011 Posted by | Flying, General, Tuition | Leave a comment

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

Alto Cloud Symphony

Alto Symphony

Woke up to the correctly forecast change in the weather… Skies were alto(gether) Cumulus, a positive symphony of altos were playing, well high up there, warning of weather changes. An Airport run was on the schedule for me today,  whilst Denns was fully occupied with Huw.

We’ve got organising to do, for our second jolly coming up in a couple of days. 🙂


August 18, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Stable Chamonix.

very stable and cloudless Chamonix

We went to Chamonix this morning. It was so stable, with barely a breath to launch. Still, our clients, Huw and James had a couple of exciting flights and were both really pleased to have flown Plan Praz. I was thinking about trying to get a climb out and grab myself a mini xc. Dilemma, very difficult to get a climb out, if I can’t get out within a given time I have to land, otherswise no lift back. The gliders that were out and about were scraping along, looking for scraps, I tried the pump, which worked ok, but the inversion was a tough one.

Time was running out, I couldn’t keep our clients waiting so had to decide to let it slip and land. After folding up, and journeying back, there were only two gliders managed a climb out, one of them was an R11, the other looked similar(ish).

Back at our ‘old faithful’ I did some much needed Start Gate practice… jeez… I should’ve got it by now! There was a minor page switch, that my instrument did at a crucial moment that de-railed my thinking, so I wanted to make sure it had been switched off and returned to it’s former simpler view! I think I may have it sorted now….

August 17, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

X-Alps – TP 7 !

We were on launch with Al, on the big day that Christian Maurer was en route to collect TP7… Dennis had a call from Gavin to say he was on his way… so scouring the landscape as well as we could we could just make out a couple of canopies… armed with my instamatic camera! I took a couple of shots….

These are they, I can’t be sure but I think Chrigel is the white glider ahead… I’ve circled them to make it easier to see…

Amazing feat this is, I can’t believe it! – We’re still rooting for our British contingency, and hoping to catch a glimpse of Jon Chambers and Steve Nash… well you never know! Keep the fires burning… guys, it’s incredible just to be part of this legendary event!! but for us mere spectators, it’s just as fantastic to watch.

Red Bull X-Alps 2011


July 25, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment

Cold Cold Cloud, Clearing Later

Al, with thick dense cold cloud and optimism!

So the weather’s not been brilliant to say the least, no shortage of rain for a few days, then a bit of a respite for Al to get some flying in at last! We were up on launch waiting… waiting… waiting… for the cloud to finally clear. It was cold up there hanging around, then we had a dominant, consistent backwind, swiftly followed by sleet! I wished I’d got my winter clothing on… it really felt like mid winter. Snow had settled back on the Brevant, as well as Mont Jolie, Varan and Pormenaz! It really was unexpectedly cold.

We perservered and took a swift launch when we finally had a face breeze. The cloud finally lifted and the day began to improve. It was extremely unstable, so after a couple of flights we decided to do a bit of ground handling.

I wanted to ground handle my new little wing, which arrived yesterday… and hadn’t been inflated yet. We tried the lake, which was too breezy, then Batistock, which was virtually zero, so the only choice left to us was to have a go at flying. So we bussed it back up to Plaine Joux where the wind had dropped considerably, there was barely a breath for launching.

Al, was set up and took a great launch, in a momentary face breeze that came and went. Meanwhile I was setting up, and had to wait a while before anything of any acceptable strength came through. I didn’t want to fly straight away, as I wanted to fully inflate the new wing before launching. Sometimes, when they are fresh out of the factory a full inflation is worthwhile just to fully open up the cells all the way through to the trailing edge as it may not be fully inflated and remain a bit compressed, from packing.

A couple of inflations later a nice take off, and away we were. It felt great, the perfect size for me! The response was so much better, and I felt happier… a good solid feel compared to the inattentive action of the bigger one! Can’t wait to get to fly it a bit more now… could really do with the practice and bonding time.

A few more in Daily Pics.

July 24, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Tuition | Leave a comment