A deterioration in the weather has forced the boys to rethink their plans so rather than heading South West to Villefranche we’re heading North. This should give us more options should the weather really close in.
After fantastic weather yesterday, we had more of the same today.
Despite Les opting not to join us, Grant and I set off in search of more high thrills. After an uneventful flight up the valley, things suddenly started happening very quickly as I led in at Courcheval.
The complicated approach patterns – there are 2 – 1 for when AFIS is in use and 1 for when it is not, involve flying very close to landmark way points and ski lifts.
Added to that, there were 3 other planes doing circuits. No “touch and goes”, so when I landed, they were all on the apron, engines running, waiting for us to land.
Turning off the engines, for photos, was a challenge in itself. We were on the “holding” side, not the parking side and you have to be next to the shoulder, to see if anyone is coming in.
This is one of the most frantic flights you can make.
once up to temperature, you edge to the shoulder, to check nobody is coming in. Then line up and go. Luckily, 1 up, I was in the air before I reached the sloping runway. But here is the problem, you are taking off from 6,500 ft and you have to stay below the traffic pattern of 7,000 ft. By the time you have threaded between the villages for noise, you turn left and have to change frequency immediately, to start your approach (elongated circle). What do you call the into wind leg, parallel to final? Then a nice turn over the threshold, before downwind and in.
Meribel is not steep and is like many microlight strips in the UK, except concreted. A beautiful, tree lined approach, with an overshoot up the golf course fairway!
So we saved the easiest to last!