The CIX VFR Club Over the Alps
Club Events - Difficult Airfields - Skiers to Courchevel
This year’s event takes two intrepid skiers to France's most infamous airfield for a slip-sliding event.
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Briefing APRIL 2021

For the April Star event we will continue where we finished last year's tough airfield challenge; from the Locher private airfield in Italy (LILX). The task is a simple one; Deliver 2 colleagues that are competing in the Winter Legacy skiing and the Annual 3 Vallees Endur event held at Courchevel, pick them up from Innsbruck and take them to Courcheval Altiport (LFLJ).

Start Time and Place

The event can be flown anytime in April 2021 and lasts for the duration of the month at a time that suits you. Departure is from Locher Airfield (LILX).  The author is aware that the download scenery may not work on MS2020 (and the very nature / difficulty of Locher airfield may not be modelled), so departure will also be accepted from Bolzano (LIPB) for those not able or willing to depart from Locher.

Flight Planning (Plan-G, Little NavMap)

Flight planning plays a major part of this event. Before the event you will need to plan your route. Plan to approach Innsbruck (LOWI) from the south via BRENNER (TP BRE) and Sierra. Plan to depart Innsbruck west via VRP W2 / W1 with the route being via Bad Ragas (LSZE); Sion (LSGS); Chamonix (with Mont Blanc on the left); Albertville and finally Courchevel (LFLJ). Download a simple example plan. Feel free to explore the valleys; Just ensure you enter and depart Innsbruck correctly and enter Courchevel likewise.

There is useful information about Innsbruck procedures on this website, and detailed charts for flight simulator pilots can be found here.

The journey legs are: -

  1. Locher (LILX) or Bolzaro (LIPB) – Innsbruck LOWI (Approx 45mins @ 110kts)
  2. Innsbruck (LOWI) - Courchevel (LFLJ) (Approx 2hrs 25mins @ 110kts)

As a side challenge, see if there a route that enables you to valley fly and remain under 6500ft before reaching Bad Ragaz.

What Aircraft can I fly Any single engined or twin aircraft can be flown in this event as long as it is within the EASA "Light" category (see Club Rules for details). However, the Swiss-built Pilatus PC12 would be the natural preferred aircraft due to realism to the scenario and its having a reasonable speed to complete the event in a reasonable time. Other aircraft of similar performance may be flown, or a slower one if you wish to take in the sights!

LOWI is a popular VATSIM control area (depending on what time you go online). Be prepared and expect ATC to be active over the centre coverage area. Because of the terrain and the liklihood of having ATC coverage, you will need to revise the Innsbruck approach and departure procedures. You will approach inbound via Sierra, and outbound via Whiskey 1 and Whiskey 2). Download a simple Approach Chart.

Similarly, make sure you learn the Courchevel inbound procedures, as there is no possibility of a go around there. If departing Locher, consider the airfield as “Locher Traffic” (unless a CIX controller wishes to do Locher RADIO on TeamSpeak).

At the time of publishing this event plan, ATC has not been requested. If unsure or worried at any time, let a more experienced member explain on your behalf or simply call “Student X-XXXX” is not familiar with... LOWI controllers are generally very understanding as you can imagine; they get a wide range of pilot skills.

It is worth noting that this flight is across 4 countries. Take off in Italy, arrive / depart Austria, transit Switzerland and land in France (all in the space of a couple of hours)! Don't let a fear of ATC ruin the beauty of this flight.

Note: VATSIM has announced the retirement of 5 Pilot Clients @ 0000z on April 01 2021). Only vPilot, Swift and XPilot can now be used to connect to VATSIM.

Weather - or Not!

Before starting we will check the weather. If it is unsuitable for the trip as planned, then we will fix it. Something we can do in the simulator - wouldn't it be nice if we could do it in real life! FSInn has a "CAVOK" button. Click this and you get calm clear weather. Those using SquawkboxB or XSquawkbox will need to turn off the on-line weather updates, and select calm in the FS weather options. Whilst CAVOK is ideal if IFR conditions exist; consider adding some high clouds / winds to add to the realism of the Alps.


Remember to ANC (Aviate, Navigate & Communicate). Take care not to let our TeamSpeak chat cut across ATC. Stop any conversation immediately the R/T comes alive, and then continue if "he wasn't talking to us". This is difficult because when transmitting on TeamSpeak you can't hear the R/T. So be brief on TeamSpeak, and be aware that ATC might be trying to get through. If anyone hears an R/T message which seems to be being ignored, just say "ATC is calling G-CIXN" if you have identified the callsign, or "ATC is calling us" which is a cue for everyone to be quiet on TeamSpeak until ATC call again (which they will). Remember too that if asked to "Stand By" by ATC, you do not reply - not even "Roger", but simply wait until you are called again. Remember also that there are several different ATC frequencies in use, and you may not be able to hear when communications are taking place. Make sure you have set and know how to use a TeamSpeak mute switch. Remember...this should be fun for all.

Should your enjoyment become impaired due to “unsportsmanlike” ATC, let someone know to allow club senior pilots to pass on your concerns to the controller! By the same token, accept any refusal or admonishment lightly if you get something wrong, such as straying into Controlled Airspace without clearance, and use it as a learning point if required.

If you wish to receive help and training for / before the event, please ask. Everyone wants to help…It’s the CIX way!

Club Star Award

To qualify as the star, a PIREP must be recorded for each of two separate legs:

  1. Locher (LILX) or Bolzaro (LIPB) to Innsbruck LOWI. (Taxi to parking, shut down, and a new flight plan for Leg 2).
  2. Innsbruck (LOWI) to Courchevel (LFLJ)
Links Locher Sarentino Airfield Scenery:



Information Videos on Locher:

The Locher Approach:
Shortest take off:
When the boss…
Von Kempten zum "Locher Airfield Sarentino":
Locher Sarentino Airfield Pilot's Guide cockpit view:

Information videos on Courchevel

Locher to Courchevel:

Acknowledgements Event Idea: Dan Cooper
Event planning: Dan Cooper
Briefing: Dan Cooper & Peter Dodds
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