I've just been speaking to Adrian, a friend who lives in France and who uses his Jodel to fly in and around the Alps far too regularly. Adrian has just given me some bad news. Chamois, the Italian altisurface is currently closed. The grass is too long, there are cows grazing on it, there's a fence in the middle and if that's not enough, it appears that there's a bit of an argument going on between the people who manage it (someone manages it?) and the local farmers. Aaarrrggghhhh.
I've only flown in once. I took off in a D140 from Megeve with Frank (seen arriving here) and Bruno, Megeve's CFI. We picked our way through Mont Blanc's valleys into Italy and routed overhead Aosta heading roughly south. Roughly ten miles later we turned left up a valley to be greeted by the Matterhorn looking simply stunning. Chamois was off to our right a couple of thousand feet lower. We landed, walked into the village (only accessible by cable car or aircraft) and had lunch. It is, or was, a great little strip in a spectacular setting.
There's a meeting taking place next week to try to resolve the issues and to get this little bit of aviation paradise open again, but I'm told that hopes are not running too high. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Update: It seems that Chamois will now be closed until the end of the year, it may open again in 2010, but that is far from certain. Bugger.
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