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A trip to the Alps to get nice photos (and a video)

I have done many crossings of the Alps and got many great photos, as well as (more recently) videos with an external camera, but they were just random opportunities, and most of the time there is cloud or haze.

Many years ago, in the days of 35mm film, I did a trip out of Wangen Lachen LSPV, Switzerland, with a local pilot, to Sion and back, and got great photos.

It may be best to fly to say southern France or southern Germany, refuel, stay the night and do a VFR flight the next day, to some preplanned places.

Does anyone have any ideas, and would anyone from “down there” who knows the particularly scenic spots be interested in coming along?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

If you decide to start/end the trip in Switzerland, let me know and I might join. I can show a few places but not sure I can be the best guide for “particularly scenic spots” except the well known ones.

LSZH, LSZF, Switzerland

In France: close to the mont Blanc there’s les dents du Midi, a multi-peak mountain, and the aiguille du Midi, which has a tower and some buildings at the top. To/from Chambéry over the lac du Bourget is good for photos. On the Vercors plateau there’s the mont Aiguille. Links to wikipedia for quick photos.

EGHO-LFQF-KCLW, United Kingdom

I one did Interlaken-Jungfraujoch-aletschgletscher-Matterhorn-Aosta Valley-Mont Blanc but beware restricted area around the latter.

Oustanding views, but you need good wx incl low winds at altitude and FL150 capability!

LESB, Spain

We did a round trip last year from Hohenems ( ) . Cheap Avgas (1,95€/l presently) and friendly people. Very close to EDNY.

Last Edited by Tigerflyer at 22 Nov 16:02
EDWF, Germany

Every place is great, I feel lucky to have opportunities to fly over the Alps all year long. Last week was very scenic with recent snow falls over 1000m, I flew over Barcelonnette via col d’Allos, Christmas landscapes all around, and we are often going there because weather is very bad in the south-east.
There are some instructors and moutain pilots in clubs and ATO in LFMD, I can look for some if you have a precise idea of what you want.

Last Edited by greg_mp at 22 Nov 19:09
LFMD, France

I would be looking for a pilot who really knows the area, knows where one can fly VFR, and knows how to do the ATC.

I used to cross the Alps under VFR but it was mostly a hassle, with e.g. Zurich not allowing above FL130. So I had to fly weird routes… Inside the canyons you can go anywhere, it seems, which is how I flew with that Wangen Lachen guy, but I don’t want to do that, since it is clearly not safe unless the wx is absolutely clear.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

since it is clearly not safe unless the wx is absolutely clear.

I wouldn’t say it is unsafe. Yes, you should be careful and weigh the weather before you go but you can go with some clouds. There are quite a few webcams and enough aeronautical information to figure out if the weather will be good enough or not.

Peter wrote:

I would be looking for a pilot who really knows the area, knows where one can fly VFR, and knows how to do the ATC.

I can do that.

Peter wrote:

Zurich not allowing above FL130. So I had to fly weird routes….

You can cross the alps at 8000ft or even lower but I prefer to go around 10,000ft. Of course if you want to go e.g. over Aletschgletscher you need to go higher. Oxygen can become an issue but you have the MH, so no problem.

LSZH, LSZF, Switzerland

The cloud base is one element, but the wind is another and just as important. You can have cloudless skies with a foehn wind that will make for a lot of turbulence and downdrafts especially in the valleys. Generally, a cloud base of 10’000 with little/no wind will allow a lot of options without any significant risk. There are a number of routes that are quite spectacular at 9-10k ft allowing enough manoeuvring space yet giving a feel of being “in” the mountains but without the “canyon” feeling. At FL130+ one is definitely above almost everything except a few of the highest peaks.

One suggestion would be to arrive via LSZR St.Gallen/Altenrhein, an IFR airport with customs. From there a variety of routes could be selected depending on weather. The airport at LSZL Locarno is very nice for lunch with an excellent Italian restaurant next to the taxiway and parking. One route could be taken crossing south and another back to the north. The Gotthard route is quite impressive at 9-10k ft.

LSZK, Switzerland

There are so many nices views in the alps. For example this is the Lukmanier pass when following the Swiss Gafor route #83 (not the best shot, also as a photographer I have some room for improvements ;-) :

Last Edited by Marcel at 22 Nov 21:03
LSZF Birrfeld, LFSB Basel-Mulhouse, Switzerland
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