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Our record breaking local sites:
On August 20th 2009, Ozone’s
Chief Test Pilot and Designer, David Dagault, flew from Col de Bleyne, 15 mins
from Les Basses Beaumettes and landed 9:40hrs later in Sion, Switzerland, total distance - 333km. A
full account of his flight can be found on the
On the 6th of May 2011 Luc Armant flew from Col de Bleine, 15 mins from Les Basses Beaumettes, to Martigny in Switzerland. Luc’s 339kms is the longest flight that has been declared in the Alps. Have a look at his amazing flight on
On the 21st of May 2011 Luc Armant took off from Jérusalem (Gréolières) 30 minutes from Les Basses Beaumettes and got the highest score ever recorded on the French XC Distance cup (CFD) 246kms. Have a look at his record breaking triangle on Le site PARAPENTE de la Fédération Française de Vol Libre
To get an idea of the stunning scenery you are likely to see flying here, have a look at this Vu Du Ciel film made by Anthony Green (half of the infamous Green acro twins).
For general flying in France it is worth investing in the French Topo Guide Des Sites de Vol Libre.
The aerology of the Alpes Maritimes is famous for its pumping thermals and high cloud bases, which can be in excess of 4000m, little wonder Col de Bleyne, is such a record breaking site. The epic flying to be had at St André (50 mins drive away) needs no introduction either. However, gentler conditions are usually available at sites like Gourdon and Gréolières, and away from the strongest hours of the day. Winter is good here too, and the 8 m/s thermals often to be found at that time of year are not to be sniffed at.
Our local sites. From Les Basses Beaumettes, Col de Bleyne (fifteen minutes drive plus 10 minutes walk) is our nearest site, Lachens (thirty minutes), Gréolières (forty minutes, 4x4 only), Gourdon (forty-five minutes), Kennedy - (HG only) and St André (fifty minutes).
Both Col de Bleyne (see photo on the left and below right), and Lachens, have very big flat, easy landing fields if you don't fancy going cross country. The summit launch at Lachens is 1685m and the landing field is at 937m, giving a top to bottom of 748m. From the Gourdon take off at 1150m to Gourdon's lowest bottom landing field at 140m, is a wonderful 6km glide past the chateau affording great views out to the Mediterranean coast and a top to bottom of 1010m. The St Andre take off is at 1540m and the landing field at 884m giving a top to bottom of 656m.
There are a host of other flying sites within a reasonable driving distance, including those around Moustieres, La Colmiane, Laragne, St Vincent and Monaco, to name but a few.
Although we fly almost exclusively on south-facing sites here, the strong sunshine and the proximity to the Mediterranean mean that each site has its own peculiar characteristics, that allow flying in nearly any weather conditions. The topography in our area could have been designed with paragliding in mind, with its succession of south-facing parallel ridges, giving endless possibilities for closed-circuit flights, as well as being a superb launch-pad for long distance flights north into the bigger mountains.
If you are flying from Col de Bleyne, it is easy to land next to the house (see photo on the right), while other sites require a modicum of XC flying to get there. But, what better way to round off a fine day's flying than to enjoy a cold beer from the fridge, on the lawn without having to worry about hitching home.
Over the last few years a lot of publicity has been given to EDF/EN's project to put an industrial windfarm along the Col de Bleyne ridge. We are now delighted to be able to announce that this project has been abandoned. You can read the latest in the on line magazine Free Aero (Col de Bleyne has been saved!!!) and Voler Info (Col de Bleyne sauvé...) This page also includes an excellent topo of the site.
Winter flying is possible giving the stunning views in these photos and the 8 m/s thermals often to be found at that time of year. Both of these photographs were taken at Allos which has the added advantage of chairlifts to take you up to 2600m.
Learning to paraglide. If you are new to paragliding, and fancy giving it a try, then there are plenty of schools nearby. The instructors speak excellent English, and the reliable weather makes progressing towards your qualification a breeze.
For more information, have a look at the sites of our local paragliding schools:
Local club websites:
Coaching. For a bit of paragliding coaching before you come out to Les Basses Beaumettes, we recommend our long time friend Pat Dower. Coaching for all levels from qualified paraglider pilot up to elite level. Pat's philosophy is fly higher, further, better, faster - no glass ceilings.
“I believe strongly that every pilot can improve: become more skilled; achieve more; improve performance, become safer and most importantly get more fun out of the sport. Helping other pilots to improve is for me, one of the most rewarding aspects of being involved in paragliding.”