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Courchevel Altiport (LFLJ) Pilot Qualification –

Every winter there are pilots in Europe wondering the place to fly subsequent for their ski trip with their very own plane. There are some options out there in Austria, Switzerland and France, but with most of those options, you will have to drive afterwards for some more time to get to your skiing vacation spot. One exception to that is Courchevel Altiport within the French Alps.

Parked the PA34 at Courchevel, the ski slope is just behind the apron.


Courchevel Altiport shouldn’t be for the faint-hearted. The runway is a mere 540 meters long. You fly your circuit at 7000 ft altitude. The runway upslope is 18.5% and there is no go-around process. On the French airport chart there’s even a point out of a delegated crash area, so that if you have to crash your plane, it is best to ideally do it over there.

Courchevel is the identify of a ski resort situated in the French Alps, in the Tarentaise Valley, Savoie, Rhône-Alpes area in France. It is a part of Les Trois Vallées, the most important linked ski space on the planet.

Courchevel is probably the most japanese resort of the Three Valleys, the most important related ski space on the earth. It is famend for its wonderful carry system which is nearly queue free, even on the busiest of occasions.

Though Courchevel consists of four satellite villages — Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 and Courchevel 1850 — it’s most well-known for its highest resort, the exclusive village of Courchevel 1850. Named the St. Tropez of winter sports, it attracts virtually solely a select clientele of VIPs, rich individuals and royal households, together with Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Beckhams, Christina Aguilera, Geri Halliwell, the Saudi royal family, Robbie Williams, Roman Abramovich, George Clooney, Giorgio Armani, the King of Morocco, Robyn Sommerville, Robert Grant, Jared Gogek, and lots of others.

Courchevel has 11 inns with a 5-star rating. In 2011 France launched a very prestigious Sixth star rating for lodges, named “palaces”. The palace Sixth-star rating is just awarded to probably the most prestigious, exclusive and opulent resorts in France. No more than eight lodges in France have been topped with this score. Two of those eight lodges are in Courchevel tree-lined Jardin Alpin space. No different ski resorts in France have inns with the palace ranking.

Courchevel can also be recognized for its effective dining. It’s the ski resort with probably the most Michelin-starred restaurants. Seven eating places share 11 Michelin stars, together with 4 restaurants which were awarded two Michelin stars, together with Le Chabichou. It also hosts quite a lot of luxurious outlets including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Valentino, Prada, Cartier, Fendi, Dior and Chanel.

Nevertheless, there’s also a Mercure lodge with decrease charges. The Altibar right at the altiport additionally presents a number of flats which are perfect for pilots flying into Courchevel to do some skiing and mix that with e.g. some mountain flying or flight training.


537 meter runway, upslope of 18.7% and no go-around choice.

You want either a French mountain-rating (on wheels) or a selected site-license to be able to be allowed to land at this airport in the French Alps. The location-license might be obtained after 2 days of coaching with a mountain instructor and must be stored up-to-date by touchdown at the very least as soon as every 6 months on the Courchevel altiport.

When you have a French mountain-rating, you’re exempted from the 1 landing per 6 months rule. The mountain score is a national score that permits the pilot to land in any respect French altiports. The French mountain qualification isn’t yet a PART/FCL qualification. In accordance with DGAC-France planning, this qualification shall be PART/FCL on eighth of April, 2018.  DGAC-France is presently processing institution of the conversion report with EASA. So, for now, you’ll get a French mountain-rating that’s valid for all times, however that may most certainly in 2018 be converted to an EASA MOU score with some type of new re-currency requirement. The recurrency requirement could possibly be one thing resembling doing a verify flight with a mountain examiner each 2 years to revalidate the MOU score in your EASA license.

PA34-overhead-Lima Parking-Courchevel-Restaurant-Le-PilatusPA34-fuel-station-Courchevel

Above prime left, I am flying a Seneca 2 over the ski slopes of Courchevel for an overhead be a part of by way of Lima-point into Courchevel. I fly first overhead to inspect the runway and the wind earlier than joining base at 7000 ft for landing on the altiport. As soon as landed, Courchevel has its own gasoline station and parking. A lot of the parking spaced obtainable are outdoors, but there’s additionally a limited capability contained in the altiport hangar.


360 Video

Under is a 360 video taken with my 360Fly digital camera of my landing just lately in a Piper Seneca 2 Twin-engine 6-seater aircraft on the Courchevel altiport. Not all browsers help 360 videos yet, so it is best to observe this video in Google Chrome. On this video, I initially fly from Maastricht (EHBK) to Lyon-Bron (LFLY) to go to the Opera that night time in Lyon. Then, the subsequent a part of the video exhibits me together with Alex Combes flying into Courchevel. Alex is doing the radio whereas I do the flying. Click and drag your mouse to look around the 360 video even better: use a Google Cardboard for the optimum look-around experience!

Where and The best way to get the Score

A mountain-rating consists of a mountain-rating “on-wheels” part and (optionally) a separate mountain-rating “on-skis” part. The coaching for the “on wheels” mountain-rating takes about 2-3 weeks of your time with in complete about 20-25 hours of flying. In addition, you’ll be able to practice for the “on-skis” mountain-rating which lets you land on snow on the glaciers. Nevertheless, to land at Courchevel you don’t need any skis beneath your plane and thus additionally not the “on-skis” variant of the mountain-rating.


Mountain landing-strip in French Alps.

For the site-license choice, it is best to reserve 2-Three days of training with a mountain instructor. If you’d like, you’ll be able to combine the site-license training for Courchevel with the training for the wanted site-license for Saint-Tropez La Môle airport (LFTZ) and get both site-licenses in a single go.

I did my preliminary training for Courchevel a number of years ago with Alex Combes of Aéroclub des Three Vallées and started flying into Courchevel initially with a Piper Archer 2 (DEOMP), later with the Cirrus SR22T and Piper Seneca 2 (PA34). The mountain-rating flying is completed on a Jodel D-140 Mousquetaire tailwheel aircraft.  I can highly advocate Alex to you in your Courchevel training.

Saint-Tropez La Môle Airport (LFTZ)

A website license is restricted to at least one specific altiport or airport, whereas a mountain-rating is valid for all altiports in France as well as for e.g. the Saint Tropez La Môle airport. Under left I’m on brief remaining with the Seneca 2 on La Môle. To the proper, I am flying overhead Saint-Tropez. The famous harbour is clearly visible under.

PA34-Saint-Tropez-short-final PA34-flying-over-Saint-Tropez Saint-Tropez-airport-building

Saint-Tropez La Môle (LFTZ) sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. That’s the reason you have to even have a site-license or a generic mountain-rating “on wheels” for this particular airport. You’ll be able to’t see the runway till very late. The airport has an IFR procedure. Within the go-around, you’ve to concentrate on the mountain proper behind the runway. The 2 website licenses are straightforward to obtain from one mixed coaching with (a) the Courchevel site-license coaching and (b) a brief journey to La Môle as this airport sits solely a direct 40-50 minutes flight over the Alps away from Courchevel.


On brief last Saint-Tropez La Môle airport (LFTZ).

In the subsequent video, you see my landing at Courchevel with a Cirrus SR22T whereas there was a skinny cloud layer above the altiport. At first, I circled around to see if I can see the runway and examine its situation and the wind to then land on the altiport.

What makes Courchevel Particular

Their spectacular runway and strategy means one thing special to pilots. There isn’t a go-around procedure and the upslope is 18.7%. Add to that the truth that you’ll be able to land and park your aircraft and hit the ski-slopes in just minutes.


Courchevel is at its greatest in the course of the winter interval from the middle of December till the top of April. You land your plane and park it and could be skiing in a matter of minutes afterwards. The ski slope Pralong runs right next to the altiport. If you have been there before and purchased your ski-pass and still have it, you’ll be able to simply re-activate your ski-pass by means of the web beforehand and you will then be all able to hit the slopes.


Altiport Restaurant-Altibar Le Pilatus.

The altiport hosts a restaurant referred to as Altibar or Le Pilatus. A panorama view of the restaurant may be seen right here. On the ski-slope aspect, you have got a terrace the place you’ll be able to chill out, have a drink and meet pilot associates or your loved ones for lunch in the event that they have been snowboarding. The Altibar additionally has several flats for lease. In that case, you will have every little thing all at hand in one place.

A giant portion of Courchevel’s guests are Russians. In reality, the resort is understood for the rich Russian elite who flock to the resort during Russian Orthodox Christmas and Russian New Yr. These are celebrated two weeks later than in Western Europe, on the 7th and 13th of January. Because of this, Courchevel’s identify has turn out to be synonymous with “winter playground of the super rich” in Russia. The primary two weeks of January are high season weeks in Courchevel in consequence right here of, so it could be sensible to omit these two weeks.

Courchevel is understood to be an costly resort. One of the reasons for this are the high costs of residential and business property. Courchevel 1850 is the 6th costliest place on the planet with common square metre costs of €37.000 per square metre of property. It leaves cities like Hong Kong, Cannes and Tokyo behind. When you just need to ski for someday, then it may be an choice to make use of Lyon-Bron as your base. Airports like Chambery or Annecy are sometimes restricted throughout winter high-season limiting arrivals of smaller aircraft. Proper subsequent to Lyon-Bron Airport (LFLY) you will discover a small Kyriad lodge. It is easy, however with good breakfast in the morning and on a walking distance from the airport. Go to Brasserie Georges that night time for diner in Lyon and then fly early within the morning from Lyon-Bron into Courchevel.


Snowboarding-small-Courchevel Snowboarding-2-CourchevelSnowboarding-Courchevel

Mont Blanc Massiv

In case you are within the Courchevel or the Trois Vallée space and the weather is sweet, you may need to contemplate flying your aircraft to the Mont Blanc Massiv. You do need permission to enter the restricted flying area around the Mont Blanc Massiv space. You might contemplate taking a mountain instructor together with you.

Mount-Blanc SR22T-Mont-Blanc-5 SR22T-Mont-Blanc-1SR22T-Mont-Blanc-4

I keep in mind flying in the Mont Blanc area over the glacier at an altitude larger than 10.000 ft and hearing the five-hundred (500 ft) warning. Contact one of many mountain instructors within the area to rearrange a flight into that space is you are not positive the place to go.

Balloon Flying

Matthew from is the only man that flies together with his balloons over the Alps from Courchevel. Convey your family to take pleasure in a shocking journey in a hot-air balloon. Beneath good and secure climate circumstances, you’ll be able to ask Matthew to depart from the altiport.


Additional info:

(1) Alex Combes – Mountain Instructor Aéroclub des Three Vallées
(2) Altibar Flats
(3) Matthew from Skivol for a balloon experience over the Alps
(4) AOPA Courchevel-Article of me flying to Courchevel within the SR22T
(5) Older blogpost I wrote on Courchevel