So after my hop to Kathmandu with an Indigo A320…was wanting to try more mountainous approaches; so took on what’s known as one of the most dangerous mountainous approaches to try…the flight to Courchevel Altiport (LFLJ) in France. With a very short and steeply sloped runway (1,722 ft length) and a gradient of 18.5% , this airport has a dangerous approach through deep valleys, which apparently can only be performed by specially certified pilots. Oh yeah; no go-around procedure either, a very steep hill at the end of landing Rwy 23, which has seen a few accidents…so you either come in or you don’t.
Now I wanted a scenic and if possible short route…and found both with a flight route out of the Aeroclub in Geneva, Switzerland (20-25 minutes out from Courchevel) Given the short runway at Courchevel, I decided to take the TBM-930, given it’d be my first time to the airport (although I did try it years back on Microsoft FSX)
After rolling out from Rwy 04L, took the turn south and a climb to FL110 (Courchevel Altiport has a ground level of 6593ft)
and onto the narrow valleys of the Alps.
Given more than enough fuel, no traffic in the area and altitude along with clear weather, decided to go VFR, and fly around the area with some sightseeing of the mountains…and didn’t have any cause to regret doing so :) .
Slowed and went into landing configuration with lights and flaps prior to starting descent to 8500 ft at about 10 minutes from the runway threshold. Set heading on autopilot off so I could navigate between the mountains while maintaining steady descent. Dropping further to 8000 ft, got the airport in sight at my 2 o’clock before disengaging autopilot completely, dropping the landing gear, and making a hard right turn onto a safe touchdown at Rwy 23.
Grateful to those who read up this far :) and if you are wondering about safe landings or takeoffs I don’t recommend anything faster than a Bombardier Dash 8 (in reality Dash 7’s and Cessnas land and take off from here)