Local Flying :: Gourdon
Photo © Felix Wölk
Gourdon is 20km from the sea as the crow flies (and about 37km by road). The ridge reaches 1250m at its highest point, and has two take-offs, the upper of which is slightly bigger, both facing south-east. Because of the sea breeze, there is often dynamic lift to augment the thermic lift, and cross-countries are possible all year round. Convergence often sets up right over the site. The SE orientation means that you can launch early, and local pilots often leave Gourdon and reach Col de Bleyne just as that site is beginning to work.
You can drive all the way to take-off (carefully!) on a rough track, and top land, making it a very convenient site. It is also very popular, which makes it relatively easy to hitch back up to the top, but also means it can be very crowded at weekends. There are several landing options: top-landing; an “official” first bottom-landing which is quite small, but which the school uses; an unofficial landing by the lay-by at the bottom of Cavillore, the south-westerly facing ridge in front and to the left of take-off; and the main bottom-landing field (and only option for hang-gliders) which is very big but a long 6km glide out.
:: Safety Note
The site can be turbulent in a strong northerly meteo wind.
It is a 15 minute drive to take-off from Gourdon village. The site is signposted from the roundabout next to the Auberge, and follows the D12 towards Caussols before a left turn takes you onto a rough track for the last km or so to take-off (Ignore the sign that says “Chemin privée”).
It is fairly easy to hitch from the D12 (if you land in the school bottom-landing or below Cavillore), and much appreciated if you return the favour to pilots you pass en route if you are driving up! The school runs a Navette service in summer.
- IGN Serie Vert 1:100 000 map 61, “Nice Barcelonnette”
- Michelin Carte Routière et Touristique, 1 :200 000 map 245, ” Provence Cote d’Azur “.
- IGN ” Top 25 ” (1 :25 000) map 3643 ET.
:: Take-offs and Landings
|Name / Orientation
||Altitude (m AMSL)
||32T 0334663 4843443
||Very easy take-off, but be careful of the sharp stones on the ground!
||Very easy take-off.
||Altitude (m AMSL)
||UPS 32T 0335713 4843475
||300m top-to-bottom. The field is L-shaped and quite small, but has a prominent wind sock at the top end. There is a navette service from here in the summer. Parking is in the lay-by where the footpath to Cavillore begins (about 2km from Gourdon on the road up to take-off). There is no public access on the road down to the landing field. The field is turbulent in a strong Easterly.
|Car park below Cavillore.
||UTM 32T 0335713 4843475
||Not an official landing area, but there is space near the car park (on a slightly higher patch of ground) to put a paraglider down on. It can be thermic, and is quite rocky outside of the main area.
|Main bottom landing.
||UPS 32T 0339339 4840518
||800m top-to-bottom. Large field with windsock at far end. Surrounded by trees, with cables at E edge. It is a long glide out (about 6km) from the take-off, and there are no easy bomb-out options below Gourdon town. (One very tempting possibility is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. See notice on take-off.)
:: Useful Numbers
||Tel / Radio frequency
||Website / Email
||Tel 04 93 09 44 09
(Before 9am and evenings); Day 06 61 42 08 64 or 06 13 50 44 64
|Lei Courpatas (Club)
||Nicolas Bernhard. Tel 04 93 369034 or 06 12 94 51 78.
|Gourdon Tourist Office
||Tel: 04 93 09 68 25
|Gourdon taxi service
24h. Seats 6 max
|Christine Segur. Tel 06 24 26 41 12 or 04 93 42 93 49.
:: XC Routes
- The site record was set by Eric Bordon in April 1996, with a flight of 170km to La Mure (department 38).
- In spring and summer, with a light south-easterly wind, local pilots regularly fly to St André, and from here the possibilities are great for very good distances. In 2003, many flights were logged on the FFVL’s website, including a 90km flight to Roquebrune (7/3/03), 110km to Selonnet (22/2/03) and a 50km triangle (15/2/03).
:: Other Activities
- Walking, Mountain biking, tennis, fishing in the river Loup, climbing, canyoning.
- Horseriding: La Bastide St Louis, 06460, Caussols. Tel 04 93 09 29 70
- Karting: Fun Kart, Route de Gourdon, 06620, Le Bar sur Loup. Tel 04 93 42 48 08
- Circuit of the Gorges du Loup
- Waterfall at Courmes.
- Gourdon itself is of historic interesrt: It has a 12th century chateau, built on the foundations of a 9th century fortress, which now houses a museum of weapons, 15th to 17th century furniture and decorative arts. The Chapelle de Sainte Catherine is a roman church which was built between the 10th and 12th centuries.