P_7878

Courchevel Airport Landing - That was nerve-racking!

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[Note: Tipped by the Bargain Shack, I decided to do my 1st Airport Scenery purchase from the "The French Touch" team (the LLH Creations) - sounds a bit like "LHC - Lionheart Creations" but this is different. I picked up Courchevel (LFLJ) and Chambery (LFLB)...these 2 towns (in the French Alps) are very near each other (only about 50 miles apart). Here is my report for Courchevel...]

First consider these facts:

  1. This airport (LFLJ) consistently ranks in the top 10 most dangerous airports in the world (and, probably would be in the top 5, if one excludes jet-capable airports).
  2. Its 525m (1722ft) Rwy has a very steep slope gradient of 18.5%.
  3. On landing there is no go-around procedure here. There is merely a very steep hill (which has seen a few accidents).
  4. The approach requires a dangerous passage through deep valleys, which can only be performed by specially certified pilots (so, yours truly, wannabe pilot, here, is already disqualified, except here in the SIM!).
  5. Regarding approved aircraft, even the venerable (all-capable) Twin Otters have been recently phased out from this Airport for safety reasons...smaller Cessnas and Helicopters are the main users now.

And, a bit about the town of Courchevel itself:
Courchevel has, interestingly, referred to its constituent towns by their altitudes in meters e.g. Courchevel 1330, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650, and Courchevel 1850. However, in an effort to move away from the use of altitudes in the names, the above four towns have been recently re-branded, respectively, as Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel Village, Courchevel Moriond, and (Courchevel 1850) as just Courchevel. Courchevel consists of the world's largest linked ski area. In the past, it has been host to Winter Olympics events, and will be the joint host of the 2023 Alpine Ski World Championship. The town has 11 luxury hotels with a 5-star ranking. In 2011 France introduced a 6-star ranking for hotels, named "palaces". Eight hotels in France have received this rating, of which two are in Courchevel's Alpine area. The majority of Courchevel's visitors are Russians. The resort's name is (reportedly) associated with the super-rich in Russia! Many Russians visit during New Year and Russian Orthodox Christmas on 7 January. As a result, the first two weeks of January are high season weeks in Courchevel.

Now, a bit about takeoff/touchdown at Courchevel (for SIM only, NOT FOR REAL FLIGHT...🙂...!): During start of takeoff run, because of the steep downward slope, one cannot see all the way to the end of Rwy (a bit un-nerving), please see shot, but the slope helps with picking up speed rapidly. I was airborne well before the end of the Rwy (please also see a shot of lift-off). For approach, Rwy 22 threshold is on an elevated platform (see screenshots), so it's difficult to just monitor Radio Altitude, but visual guidance (alone) works best for approach (On the 1st attempt, I dipped below the level of the Rwy threshold, with results, better left un-spoken). Also, one has to keep in mind that the plane is approaching a Rwy that has an upward inclination greater (1/5)th of that of a vertical wall! So, the Yoke must be pulled back before TD to be on level with the Rwy surface. The slope, however, helps slow down the aircraft very quickly. I was already near zero speed by the time I reached the top of the slope (please see shot).

For this test-flight, I am using the (FW) Pilatus PC-6 (Turbo) Porter by Tim Conrad (Piglet), in the Himalaya livery - a bit out-of-place, but after all, this is in the heart of the mountains too - the Alps! I've set the LLH Configurator to "Winter", and have matched the FSX Season to it. The pictures below are for a short flight with take-off from Rwy 04 (only way to takeoff) and then coming around for the touchdown on Rwy 22 (only way to land). BTW, LLH has done a great job of replicating the sloped Rwy, and the airport elements.

FYI: here is a picture of the actual Rwy:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courchevel#/media/File:Courchevel_aeroport.jpg

And, here is a video clip of an actual touchdown:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGN3XA2Mxfs

Thanks for viewing. [LLH (LFLJ)/FW(PC6)/REX]

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Edited by P_7878
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I've flown there (virtually) from Chambery. I've used the little Aerospool WT-9 Dynamic (from LionHeart Creations! :laugh:), and the great old Cessna SkyMaster (Carenado). I currently have a freeware Courchevel installed. The runway is treated like a dirt track, givent the textures and the way the aircraft bumps around on it. I presume the payware one give you nice smooth asphalt?

If I may be permitted to post up a screenie by way of an example - here's the 337 leaving Courchevel (FSceneX terrain textures have decided it isn't quite wintry enough up there today...).

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Superb screenshots, P_7878!! And you sure picked the right plane for the task. Should you want more such challenges, try also Lukla 😉

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Mark: Thanks. Regarding, "...I presume the payware one give you nice smooth asphalt?", yes, the Rwy is very smooth here...no bumps. It's a very peculiar Rwy, though, flat at the start for a bit (please see 2nd shot), and then it drops down to the 18.5 % gradient, but I give credit to LLH, they have nailed it. Plus, I also like what they have done to packed snow layers, According to them, "...For the winter season, the scene presents real layers of snow on the ground, on objects and buildings". I do not recall seeing such deep-snow effects before in FSX...and, I'm used to deep snow zones in RL for many many years...🙂...And, btw, your FW Courchevel RWY part emulation also looks spot-on (from here)...

Bernd: Thank you! Yes, agree, Lukla is another unique (and challenging) Airport to practice (SIM) landing (and takeoff). I recall I'd purchased the AS Lukla many moons ago, but I've not used it...I'll surely look for it now...

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Thanks! I've gone and bought the payware LFLJ so I'm looking forward to installing it .

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