Over 300 days of sunshine per year, an area known all over the world for the quality of the air, infrequent fog and rain are the advantages that make up the wealth of the climate of Alpes de Haute-Provence.
Made up of plateaus and mountains, fields of lavender and ski runs, this department is a combination of Alps and Provence which gives it, in addition to the ideal lifestyle, an exceptionally varied landscape.
The view from the sky makes everything magnificent and you can admire the montagne de Lure, the Gorges du Verdon, the Alpine valleys and the Mont Ventoux, Sainte Victoire, etc.
The quality and pureness of the sky, the optimal aerology and the spectacular views of the Alpes de Haute-Provence attract aerial activity enthusiasts from all over the world, making the department a must for soaring and gliding, where gliders, hang-gliders and paragliders etc. spin slowly in the sky.
Gliding is an activity where gliding enthusiasts use a craft known as a glider. The principle is to use vertical draughts (thermal or mechanical) to gain height.
Take-off can be performed by catapulting with a winch from a sloping terrain but gliders usually take-off behind an airplane to which they are connected.
The aerology of the Alpes de Haute-Provence is particularly favourable to this activity due to the presence of powerful thermals in which, in a high wind, the forming of lee waves which allow pilots to surf and rise. The area is well covered by landing grounds where the pilot who has lost draught can land safely.
The sites for flying
The paraglider is a light and supple craft, derived from the parachute, which enables free flight. It is made up of a sail, a seat, hangers, two controls and often a foot-powered acceleration device.
The pargalider starts his flight by throwing himself off a mountain slope, from the top of a cliff, etc. The sun and wind are the motors behind this type of activity.
In the Alpes de Haute-Provence, from the Ubaye to Haute-Provence and the Verdon, there are around fifty take-off and landing areas for discovering the many aspects and riches of this territory from the sky:
Oraison, Saint Geniez near Sisteron, Le Cousson above Digne les Bains, Moustiers Sainte Marie, Saint-André-les-Alpes, le Col Bas in Seyne-les-Alpes, Saint Vincent Les Forts,
The sites of Archail, Contras, Dauban, l’Andran, Gache, Gamby, le Grou de Bane, la Coste, le Molard (north and south), Saint Pancrace, Sumiou, Villevieille and le Mont Chalvet give you a chance to contemplate the varied Bas-Alpin landscape from an unusual viewpoint.
Practice flying with service providers
Anyone can discover the pleasures of paragliding and with a Government-approved instructor, the maiden flight will help you to discover the unforgettable thrill of freedom that free flight gives for twenty minutes.
Whether you want to start paragliding or you are already experienced, 5 days of progressive activities will enable you to sample the pleasures of paragliding. These stays hold unforgettable moments as much in the activities as in the discovery of the magnificent landscapes or the moments of warm friendliness which belong to the world of sport. Brochure
The hang-glider is the device for speed thrills. The pilot hangs in a supine position underneath his apparatus and the movements of his body in a trapezium enable precise piloting under a sail made from aluminium tubing and fabric. Peak flying speed is from 30 to over 100km/h!
This device has remarkable possibilities which can be illustrated by anecdotes. As an example, the present World record for distance is held by the pilot Manfred Rhumer with a flight measured in a straight line of 700km/h in 12 hours flying.
There is a special technique to hang-gliding that the free flight clubs of the Alpes de Haute-Provence will be delighted to teach you. In Haute-Provence, the Ubaye or in the Verdon valley, you can learn to fly hanging under this « huge kite » and get a surprising thrill.
The principle of the hot-air balloon is simple: an envelope is inflated with hot air which, lighter than the surrounding air triggers the rise into the air of the balloon. Aerostation gives a feeling of serenity and an unequalled view because it can float along just above the trees and houses and the beauty of the low light at the times when these craft fly.
Peacefully, under the blue Provencal sky, with the birds for company, you will gently float over mountains, wheatfields, fields of lavender and the little villages on the hillsides. You will be able to admire, from an unusual angle, this whole unique variety of landscapes, whose colours are both bright and soft, magnificent in any season and all the hidden treasures that only a hot-air balloon flight can uncover.
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