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Where to take-off in Chamonix
lower altitude

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Where to take-off in Chamonix: lower altitude

Area Orientation Access & Ability Site Specifics Landing Area
Plan Praz GPS:
N 45° 56' 08"
E 006° 51' 18"
Direction: South & North East
Altitude: 2000m
Vertical Drop:1000m
Access: Planpraz gondola and then 10 minute walk uphill to launch site
Ability: Supervised beginner to cross country (XC) pilot
Situated on the north side of the Chamonix Valley, Planpraz has two take-off sites in close proximity to each other – one south facing and the other north easterly. This is one of the most popular sites in the area with local schools and clubs, meaning the take-off area can get quite busy, particularly during summer. This site is useable from 8am through to early afternoon after which, the wind tends to become too strong to fly. As this is a popular area, if nobody is flying there, there is probably a good reason! Bois du Bouchet or Clos du Savoy
Flegere & Index GPS:
N 45° 58' 06.6"
E 006° 52' 33.4"
Direction: South to East
Altitude: 2350m
Vertical Drop:1350m
Access: Flegere cable car and Index chairlift and then a 5 minute walkto take off situated below old lift station (or alternatively on the piste but not during winter).
Ability: Supervised beginner to XC pilot
Due to the closure of the popular Brevent/Plan Praz area during summer 2008 to replace the gondola, a new launch site was developed on Flegere to ensure that pilots could continue to enjoy the great thermic flying conditions on this side of the valley. Having said that, Flegere is an area that should be tackled early in the day, generally before 11am, as the wind and thermals become strong as the day goes on requiring good piloting skills. On arrival at this launch site take a moment to absorb the stunning views of the Mont Blanc range and the Mer de Glace as they are among some of the finest from anywhere in the valley. Bois du Bouchet
Plan d’Aiguille GPS:
N 45° 54' 17"
E 006° 52' 59"
Direction: West & North East
Altitude: 2233m
Vertical Drop: 1233m
Access: 1st stage of the Aiguille du Midi cable car and then a 5 minute walk down beneath the cable car.
Ability: Supervised beginner to XC pilot
Situated on the southern side of the valley, right opposite Planpraz, the Plan d’Aiguille has Mont Blanc looming overhead and the Bossons Glacier stretching out below. It is a truly beautiful setting and flights from here are best planned from the beginning of the afternoon into the evening. The take off area is pretty rocky underfoot so caution is required. It is forbidden to launch from or overfly this area in July and August Bois du Bouchet
Merlet - Les Houches GPS:
N 45° 54' 41"
E 006° 49' 09"
Direction: South & South West
Altitude: 1600m
Vertical Drop: 600m
Access: By car travelling from Les Houches, route de Coupeau towards the Merlet animal park. 10 minute walk following the signs for the footpath to “Aiguilette des Houches”.
Ability: Autonomous to XC pilot
This launch area is quite small and stony with only really space for one glider at a time. You can catch great thermals from here if the wind conditions are light and is best used late in the afternoon. Avoid flying over the animal park itself so as to avoid scaring the animals and causing conflict with the owners. Cachat gravel pits
**See warning below**
Grand Prarion - Les Houches GPS:
N 45° 53' 46"
E 006° 44' 62"
Direction: West
Altitude: 1900m
Vertical Drop: 1300m
Access: From Les Houches Prarion gondola, turn directly right after leaving the cable car station and follow the path marked Grand Prarion for 15-20 minutes. The take-off should be on your left, marked with a windsock or streamers.
Ability: Beginner to XC pilot
Similar to the Merlet take off, Grande Prarion is small and steep and only has space for one glider at a time. It is only possible to fly from here if the breeze is directly on which generally happens at the beginning or end of the afternoon. Le Fayet/
Passy-Marlioz (Batistock)
Prarion North Easterly GPS:
N 45° 53' 46"
E 006° 44' 62"
Direction:North East
Altitude: 1853m
Vertical Drop: 843m
Access: 1st stage of the Les Houches Prarion gondola and the launch site is next to the drag lift, 100m across from the lift.
Ability: Beginner to XC pilot
As a complement to the Grand Prarion site, this north-easterly facing launch site is best flown in the morning. It is possible to fly from here in light fohn conditions if the wind at take off is gentle. If in doubt, ask at the lift station. In winter, it is not possible to take off from the piste but there is a possibility to take off from the plateau by the gondola station but beware of the cables. Les Chavants