My Cirrus SR22: An Incredible First Landing at Courchevel Altiport

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The video showcases the Courchevel Altiport, the highest airfield in Europe at 6,580 feet above sea level. With a very short runway of only 537 meters (1,761 feet) and an 18.66% slope, it is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world. The video covers various aspects of the airport, including the approach procedure, special techniques for landing and take-off, and interviews with an experienced pilot. Additionally, it features footage of PC-12 and helicopter landings and take-offs at Courchevel. The video is meant for entertainment purposes only and should not be used for instruction or flight preparation.



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My First Landing at Courchevel Altiport with a Cirrus SR22

Welcome to Courchevel, a breathtaking destination nestled in the French Alps. Today, we embark on an exciting journey as we land at Courchevel Altiport with a Cirrus SR22. This small and challenging airport offers a unique experience for pilots and passengers alike. Here, we’ll delve into the details of our landing and share three fun facts about Courchevel Altiport.

As we depart IFR from Zurich, we cruise at a speed of 138 knots with a little bit of headwind. Our ground speed is reduced to 142 knots due to the wind conditions. We soon cancel the IFR and transition to VFR, heading directly towards the majestic Mont-Blanc. Courchevel awaits us with its stunning runway set against the backdrop of snow-covered mountains.

Approaching Whiskey point at 7,500 feet, we catch a glimpse of the Méribel airfield covered in a blanket of snow. We continue our journey towards Lima point, where we check the QNH and verify our altitude. From there, we head directly overhead to get a closer look at the runway conditions, wind patterns, and any other potential traffic.

The weather at Courchevel is beautiful, with minimal wind and traffic. We spot helicopters and a PC-12 aircraft waiting on the holding point. The runway, thankfully, is clear of any snow or ice. As we start our descent to 7,000 feet, we adjust the flaps to the first stage, preparing for our final approach. Passing point November, we turn slightly right into our base, making sure to maintain stability, altitude, and speed.

The SR22 is a powerful aircraft, and its speed differs from what we’re accustomed to in the Cessna 172. With a final speed of around 80 to 85 knots, we navigate through the varying wind conditions and aim for a spot in the wall just before the runway. The landing requires precision and expertise due to the challenging terrain. With the guidance of our flight instructor, Martin, we safely touch down at Courchevel Altiport.

Now, let’s explore three fun facts about Courchevel Altiport:

1. The Altiport’s Runway: Courchevel Altiport boasts one of the shortest and steepest runways in the world. With a slope of 18.66%, it’s even steeper than most mountains bikers can tackle. Pilots must adapt to this unique approach, compromising performance and adjusting to the uphill landing.

2. The Aircraft Parachute System: The Cirrus SR22, like many other Cirrus aircraft, is equipped with a built-in parachute system called the CAPS (Cirrus Airframe Parachute System). If activated above 500 feet above ground level and below a speed of 137 knots, the parachute ensures a safe landing in case of an emergency. This safety feature gives pilots added peace of mind while flying in challenging conditions.

3. The Aviation Background: Our flight instructor, Martin Gautschi, is an experienced mountain instructor and captain on an Airbus A340 for Edelweiss-Air, one of the top Swiss leisure airlines. With over 30,000 hours of flying experience, Martin is well-versed in the intricacies of aviation. His expertise and guidance contribute to a successful landing at Courchevel Altiport.

As we conclude our thrilling landing experience at Courchevel Altiport, we can’t help but be captivated by the stunning beauty of this mountainous region. We take a moment to appreciate the glistening ski slopes in the background, preparing ourselves for a delicious lunch at the renowned Pilatus Restaurant. Thank you to Martin for sharing his expertise and making this adventure unforgettable. Until next time, Courchevel, au revoir!

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12 thoughts on “My Cirrus SR22: An Incredible First Landing at Courchevel Altiport”

  1. Great presentation of both the airfield as well as the aircraft!! What an amazing experience this must be…
    I actually remember the time when this aircraft was brand new (different livery back then), and state of the art! Well done Martin! Thanks for sharing the adventures 😍

  2. Was there no wind or did you have a tailwind on takeoff? We have a similar airstrip here in Canada but much shorter. Landing was no problem favoring an uphill landing. The problem is the slope was too steep for an uphill takeoff. I decided to accept a light tailwind and takeoff downhill. At close to gross weight we just made it... (Grumman AA-5B Tiger)

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