Courchevel, Méribel and all the altiports !
Discover mountain flying departing from the altiport of Courchevel, the highest runway of Europe…
For a ski weekend or simply for the pleasure of flying, getting a Courchevel altiport rating (site authorization), is an ideal way!
Improving yourself, learning how to fly in a mountaineous enviroment, discovering the Alps and then getting back with your family or friends at the end of the day. A good reason for all pilots to learn how to land in Courchevel!
All year long, Alpine airlines teaches private and professional pilots in mountain flying. In our “mountain flying” specialized ATO you will find rigor and professionalism.
The Courchevel rating, Méribel and other altiports is provided on our aircrafts or on yours (if its performance meets mountain flying requirements!).
Content of the Courchevel rating, Méribel altiport rating Alpes d’Huez rating
The training is divided into 2 days on site with the following program:
- Aerology of mountain flying
- Recognition technique
- Approach and landing
Our theoretical courses are published in theGuide pratique du Pilotage written by our friend Jean Zilio!
3 hours of flight:
- Mountain navigation
- Circuit joining on altiport
- Failures procedures
The aircrafts for the Courchevel and altiports qualfication
Our fleet consists of a wide range of aircraft, on which all of our pilots are instructor qualified
We can also practice on your own aircraft!
The best time for your Courchevel qualification?
Our mountain training school located on the Courchevel altiport is open all year. However, the weather conditions are more restrictive depending on the time of the year …
If possible, avoid the month of November (very unpredictibable weather!), December and May (unpredictable weather too!).
Questions or booking?
History of the Courchevel altiport
More than 50 years of history!
Did you know that the word “altiport” that appears in the dictionary today was created in 1961 for the Courchevel location? Back on the creation of this unusual airstrip, on the sloped, short compared to lowland airports, symbol of an extraordinary human adventure, the one of mountain aviation.
A bunch of aviation enthusiasts, Michel Ziegler and his small team, including Robert Merloz, followers of Hermann Geiger, the pioneering “glacier pilot”, with the Frenchman Henri Giraud, mountain slope landings. Together, they wanted to develop this particular aviation: to drop-off skiers and their guides on the glaciers, to connect isolated ski resorts, first flights on demand (air taxis) then on scheduled time.
Creating an airline then became necessary. Chamonix and Megève, well developped and famous ski resorts at that time, did not want to join the adventure that they considered a bit crazy, so our friends turned to the new ski stations. Emile Allais (technical director of the resort), Gilles de La Rocque (director of the Office of Tourism) and Jean Blanc (ski champion and local) had no trouble convincing the mayor of the time Emile Ancenay. In 1961, he approved with his city council the creation of an airstrip. On January 31, 1962, Courchevel had his first aircraft landing!
Air Alpes airlines and the Pilatus
On the Pralong meadow, a small hangar was built. The returning caterpillar from the Paul Emile Victor polar expeditions was requisitioned to groom the runway. And passengers? They would board their airplanes on skis! The road will be built later. The first flights connected Geneva, Lyon or Chambéry. The birth of the Courchevel altiport is directly linked to the creation of Air Alpes, a small regional airline just like all the others that were popping up at that time everywhere in France.. Another key player: the Pilatus. A mountain airplane, able to carry passengers, to drop-off people on glaciers, to fight wild fires South of France or to fight hail storms for vineyards …
Facing the increasing congestion on the low roads accessing ski stations, Air Alpes is enjoying rapid success and traffic is increasing at the altiport. In the mid-70s, Pilatus aircrafts dropped off skiers on a regular basis on glaciers of the Vanoise, Twin Otter aircrafts (twin-engine aircraft) used to bring it and out passengers from Paris or Geneva every day. A decision was taken at that time to permanently clear the snow from the runway so that airplanes could land every day without having to be equipped with skis..
For the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games, the runway was lengthened and rotated to accommodate even bigger aircrafts like Dash , a four-engine aircraft capable of landing in a very short distance.
Air Alpes is starting at that time to experience financial difficulties. The company is bought by TAT in 1981. The new owner puts an end to the daily service of the ski resorts. In 1985, glacier landings became banned in France, and air traffic on the Courchevel altiport diminished. Then the arrival, initially slow, then more and more quickly of private helicopters in mountains will give a new boost to the Courchevel altiport. The SAF group, created in 1979, is settling on the altiport. At the same time, the number of private aircrafts was increasing in the 1990s.