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  • Early thermals building.
  • Forclaz taken off-Annecy.
  • Chamonix take off.
  • Plan Fait take off.
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XC/ Pilot BHPA Accreditation - FRENCH ALPS


Paragliding Course Description

Alps Pilot Accreditation and Introduction to Mountain XC Flying


July 19th. till 26th.

September 13th. till 21st. 2014--To coincide with the Coupe Icare (St. Hilaire Festival).


This is a new and very exciting development for the Sunsoar repertoire. Getting your CP ticket is really just the starting point on the road to becoming a safe and experienced pilot. There has always been a need for good coaching and guiding following CP, traditionally a time where the pilot is most vulnerable. Remember the qualification is officially ’Club Pilot Novice’. Pilot rating is what you are aiming for; this is what qualifies you to fly XC. The Alps is a natural mecca for free flying and very different in its demands on the pilot, from UK ridge soaring. We are fortunate to have several instructors on our team who have very extensive experience of flying in the Alps and there are none better than our partner Pete Gallagher (Sunsoar and Joint Services Instructor) and ace Alpine pilot Pete Morris. Here is Pete G's summary of the trip and what you can expect to gain from it:

Sunsoar run trips to the Annecy area of the French Alps generally in July and September. aimed specifically at those who are already Club Pilot qualified. Ideally you should have at least CP+ 10 hours airtime and be current in flying at the start of the course. We will be aiming to work on basic thermalling technique initially, then doing simple XC tasks in site of the takeoff area, then progressing to flying as a gaggle with some longer and more adventurous tasks towards the end of the week. We will be flexible of course and can adapt to your skill level as we know some of you will already have done some XC flying and some may never have thermalled before!

We will be based in the lovely Chalet Les Vernets near Beaufort and we will have a retrieve driver to collect you in the minibus if you land out. We will be in the air with you leading the way. You will definitely need a 2 metre band radio, a helmet fitted with comms, a vario and ideally a GPS, though the latter is not essential. We will run some Pilot theory lectures during the week and will be able to sign off your Pilot tasks as we go along. If you would like to sit your BHPA Pilot exam during the week, just let us know and we will arrange to bring an exam paper out for you too.

We started running this course exclusively for qualified pilots working towards their Pilot rating in response to comments from many of you guys who have joined us on past trips. See we do listen! We have done the trip several times now and are continually honing it to perfection! It's certainly a favourite with you pilots and with us alike (great to be flying together in this fantastic environment).

It usually fills up quickly so please let Ian Brown know if you are interested and he will add you to the list and keep you informed with no obligation.’

The Holiday

This exciting new holiday is aimed at qualified Club Pilots who want to progress towards the BHPA Pilot rating in a mountain environment. We will be working on basic thermalling technique initially, and then doing some simple XC tasks in view of the take-off area, progressing to flying as a group with some longer, more adventurous tasks towards the end of the week.

The Area

The area around Annecy in the French Alps is famous for its beautiful scenery and generally reliable flying conditions. There are few hazards and plenty of open alpine meadows to land out in when attempting cross country flights. The views from the main launch above Annecy are stunning and the spectacular mountain range surrounding the lake is even better when viewed from beneath a paraglider! The lake is approximately 13 kilometres long and the landscape surrounding it offers interesting flying with many cross country possibilities, including lake crossings. When the weather conditions are right the main launch (Forclaz) can be very busy but it is large and can handle lots of flyers. We will use other launch points if Forclaz becomes too busy. The main landing field is approximately 3 kilometres from launch and 2,500ft below in the village of Doussard, at the southern tip of the lake.

View from Plan Fait


The beautiful old town of Annecy is well worth a visit and has many fine restaurants at a reasonable price. We may also fly in the stunning Chamonix valley and of course from our local flying site, Signal de Bisanne in the Beaufort valley.


We will be based in the lovely self-catering Chalet Les Vernets (http://www.chalet-les-vernets.co.uk/). Prices are based on all pilots sharing twin rooms. The chalet is 5 minutes’ drive from Beaufort village and 40 minutes from the Annecy landing field. The nearest town is Albertville, approximately 30 minutes’ drive away.


There will be a minibus to take us to and from the airport, to the various flying sites and to retrieve those who land out while flying cross country.


Most days will begin with a leisurely breakfast in the chalet, a short weather brief, a technique briefing or lecture, then a short drive up the winding mountain road to launch for the first flight of the day at Signal de Bisanne. This is often a long top to bottom flight as the day’s thermals have yet to build. We generally then move to the Annecy area and once the sun warms the ground the true thermal flying begins. As each pilot’s confidence grows some simple cross country tasks can then be attempted accompanied in the air by an experienced instructor. There will be a personal debrief after each flight where possible and a general debrief in the evening.

Site Briefings

Each day you will be briefed on the launch and landing areas to be used and advised of any known hazards.
Flight Conditions
We will look in detail at mountain weather, thermal generation and how valley breezes are created.
We will also cover the following:
Launch and landing techniques in light winds
Finding and using thermals
Selecting a suitable out landing field
Rapid descent techniques
Active flying

Minimum requirements

This course is exclusively for qualified pilots in the Alps and you should have logged at least 10 hours flying since gaining your CP rating and ideally be current in flying and groundhandling at the start of the week. You will need a suitable glider, harness and emergency parachute, a 2 metre band radio with helmet communications and a variometer. A mobile phone and GPS will also come in handy.

This course is likely to be limited to 7 pilots so please let us know in good time if you are interested.


Airport transfers
Transport to launch
Transport for sightseeing etc
Fine company!


Flights - see Overview
Meals - self catering available
Travel insurance (mandatory paragliding cover--We can arrange this see web link)

Frequently asked questions.......

Q. Do I have to travel on the flight you use - for example if I live a long way from the airport your flight leaves from?
A. No, you can organise your own flight but do speak to us first to make sure we can do your transfer. You may need to wait a while or organise your own transfer.

Q. Do I need my own equipment?
A. Yes. You will need your own gear. A reserve parachute is mandatory and you will need a vario to get the best out of this trip. If you need to purchase these, call Northern on

0845 1232 555

Q. I would like to stay for an irregular number of days, can you accomodate this?
A. This is possible, but it may be difficult to arrange transfers. Call us to discuss.

Q. Do you do group discounts?
A. We have no specific discount structure.This trip is normally limited to a maximum of 7so we are unable to disscount this one. It's fantastic value anyway!

Q. What will the weather throw at us?
A. We can never guarantee the weather on ANY flying trip. If we could predict this we wouldnt be running a paragliding school! Be prepared for anything and be adaptable and we'll have a good time regardless. Bring some suncream as it can still be hot in September.

Q. How much experience do I need?
A. You need a CP qualification and be reasonably current in terms of forward launches.

Q. Can I bring my non-flying partner and/or family?
A. We have 2 double rooms. No children though, sorry.

Product Videos

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