Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
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43.723, 6.9438 : 1163.0 m
43.7261, 6.95885 : 829.0 m
Hora de Europa Central (+0100)
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.
L'embarnier - a SE-facing rugged ridge, actually two takeoffs, a small one right next to the parking with a big rock in its midst, another one, large and easy, reachable by a short walk up the ridge. Domaine de St. Ambroise, a small private field E of takeoff equipped with a windsock at the lower end (slight slope). Possible to walk back up in about 30 minutes. The owners of the landing field do not wish speed flyers to land there. Valettes, in the distance below Bar s/Loup. Usually unreachable in summer due to strong valley winds, this is used commonly in winter for extended sled rides, this landing is suitable for hang gliders. Top landing, either on takeoff itself (easy on the upper one, tricky on the parking one) or on the old roman track on the plateau behind the parking takeoff. Outlandings are tricky (urbanized area to the south). This site is below the Nice Airport airspace, limiting it to FL65, so stay below 2000m. More prohibited airspace (Nice and Cannes CTRs) towards the sea, to the south of the Valettes landing. This site is below the Nice Airport airspace, limiting it to FL65, so stay below 2000m. More prohibited airspace (Nice and Cannes CTRs) towards the sea, to the south of the Valettes landing.
Although SE-facing, this site is protected by the sea breeze and is generally flyable even with a moderate NW,N or NE meteo wind above. The site can be turbulent in a strong northerly meteo wind. Southerly wind reinforces the sea breeze. In spring/summer, conditions usually get quite strong at midday, but that is lunch time anyway.