A sightseeing tourist flight in a small light aircraft is one of the most thrilling and exciting ways of seeing the snow capped mountains in all their glory from the air. As the plane banks it all becomes clear - the mountains, the ski runs the resorts. Darting over and past mountains the airplane flight is an experience you will remember forever.
|AIRPLANE - OPERATION TIMES|
|Daily tours available weather permitting|
|Early season - 1000hrs - 1630hrs|
|Late season - 1000hrs - 1900hrs|
Airplanes are not allowed to fly in bad weather by law. These conditions include Snow, Sleet, Rain or heavy cloud - all the conditions that are are not suited to a tourist, sightseeing flight.
Early in the season December / January / February when the days are shorter and the nights get darker earlier the last flights are around 4.30pm
As the season progresses and days get longer flights can continue up to 7.00pm
|AIRPLANE - LOCATION|
The air strip in Courchevel is situated in an area of Courchevel known as 'Courchevel Altiport'.
|HOW TO GET THERE FROM COURCHEVEL|
From Courchevel 1850 Centre you will need to catch Verdons bubble lift to the top, from here you will need to walk across to the Vizelle bubble which will take you to the top of the Vizzelle mountain. From here you can either ski down Marmottes (red run) or Suisse (black run) the choice is yours! At the bottom of each run you will need to join the Altiport piste (blue run). As you ski along the Altiport piste you will ski along the top of the Altiport, from here you will need to find a route down to the hanger and the airplane office.
|AIRPLANE - operation / duration / format|
There has been a flying surface in Courchevel since 1953 but until 1992 when the landing strip as it is today was built for the Albertville Winter Olympics the strip was grass field that went across the mountain not down. Unlike Meribel it is a runway that is true to its name during the winter months the asphalt landing strip is cleared firstly by a plough and then swept clear in order to remove any access snow that the plough can not remove.
At 2000m the runway is officially the highest runway in Europe it is 535m long by 40m wide and slopes downwards or upwards depending on whether you are taking off or landing. Courchevel Altiport can cater for larger planes carrying up to 35 people.
When ready the pilot will guide you to the plane, once in the airplane the pilot will make you put your seatbelts and headsets on before he performs his last checks. When the pilot is ready he will turn the plane around and point it straight down the runway for the takeoff. By increasing the power the plane starts to move swiftly down the runway until gently and gradually the planes wheels leave the ground.
Courchevel Flight - single valley - 10 minutes
Three Vallees Flight - Courchevel / Meribel / Val Thorens - 20 minutes
Haute Tarentaise - 30 minutes
The landing is just as impressive as the takeoff and the flight itself. When landing at Courchevel the pilot must land on full power this is due to the upwards angle of the runway. If the plane is not at full power it will not make it to the top of the runway.
Once the plane has come to a stand still and the propeller has stopped rotating the pilot will open the cockpit and remind you where to step as you walk off the wing to the ground.
|AIRPLANE - FLYING CONDITIONS|
Flying conditions are different in summer and winter - Conditions in winter are said to be much calmer due to ground expelling less heat due to snow cover and the fact that the snow is white which stops the ground absorbing the heat from the sun. In the summer the ground heats up much quicker which produces more thermals in turn creating more turbulence meaning a much bumpier flight.
|AIRPLANE - RESTRICTIONS|
|MAXIMUM WEIGHT LIMIT 340KG'S|
Maximum weight limit - 3 passengers X 85kg + pilot = 340kg
For the smaller passengers planes there is a special seat.
|AIRPLANE - SUGGESTED ITEMS|
Normal shoes will be needed to partake in the activity - Ski Boots are NOT allowed to be worn as they would cause serious damage to the plane wing and cockpit when climbing in and out.
|AIRPLANE - NUMBERS|
|Minimum - 1|
|Maximum - 3|
If you wish to take part in the activity by yourself you will need to pay the minimum charge which will be the price of two people. Sometimes it maybe possible to have three passengers if two of them are small children.
|AIRPLANE - EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS|
|AIRPLANE - CESNA 172|
The Cesna 172 is a good plane for learning as it is very stable. It is also a very good plane for tourist flights as the wings are high so will not impede vision in anyway.
Cockpit layout and design is similar in every plane small to large with the main six instruments in the same position across the board.