We get airborne in Blagnac (LFBO), a suburb of Thoulouse in southwestern France.
This commune hosts an aviation museum which has a Concorde in it’s collection: The first waypoint on our trip.
Also very close to LFBO is the stadium of Thoulouse (Waypoint #2).
We then set course for LFIU. At first sight just a 878m grass airstrip, nothing special. From higher altitude you can easily get a visual, but on the approach at lower altitude, it is mysteriously hard to find… until you notice that the airstrip actually sunken into the ground!
At first I thought this might have something to do with the name of the airstrip: “Crizols Balloonport”, as I guess that for a hot air balloon taking off from within a sort of huge pit in the ground might be feasible (And maybe even advantage because of the lack of wind?). But then a small airplane parked on the steep slope having his wing “stuck” in the terrain, and other details on the slope made me realize that this must be the result of an error in the elevation data of this airstrip.
Remarkable how the AI does it’s best to still make a credible landing spot out of this! 😊
Anyways the result is quite funny. I leave it up to you to decide if you just want to fly over it and check it out, or try to land on (or rather: in) this airstrip. Depending on the plane you fly it may be a challenge to put your craft safely “down”. And an additional challenge to get it out again 😊 (I needed to back up the Caravan as far as I could in order to get just enough speed to make it out of the pit!).
From this “sunken airstrip” we fly towards LFIM, where we make a left turn straight into the Pyrenees. Follow the riverbed at low altitude (around 2500 ft) for a scenic route to Bagnères-de-Luchon (LFCB), a spa village at the foot of the central Pyrenees close to the border with Spain. Nice location for a stop to have a picknick by the water side, do some fishing or even go for a swim in summer time 😊
Next destination is the “Altiport” of Peyresourde-Balestas (LFIP). Don’t get distracted from the picturesque village in the riverbed below, as the steeply sloped (15%) runway 9 will require all your attention! And make sure to keep enough speed to make it to platform at the top of the 332m runway!
In 1997 this airport served as a location for the shooting of the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”. As a result, this small airport in the mountains is now officially called “Altiport 007”.
Taking off from Altiport 007 (From within the cockpit you cannot see the runway while on the platform at the top) we fly to Pic du Midi de Bigorre: An astronomical observatory in the Pyrenees. Maintain just below 10000 ft (the observatory is at 9439 ft) and fly by as closely as you can!
After buzzing the (telescope) tower we continue to Lourdes-Pyrenees (LFBT) as our final destination.
Hope you enjoyed this flight!