Is there a EASA Mountain/Altiport licence ? Or does it require an endorsement from each individual country?
I've been into Courcheval and you need a specific "Licence de Site" for that one and most others are airfield specific as far as I know. The Licence de Site is obtained by taking instruction from an instructor usually in a school plane to start with then your own. It's not cheap and probably not worth it unless you intend to fly in regularly. It cost >£1000 to get my licence de site for Courcheval and it only lasts 6 months after which you need a check ride to renew.
AFAIK both the notion of an "Altiport" (sic!) and the mountain rating are strictly French things. As mentioned above. the mountain rating may not be sufficient for using certain aerodromes.
Until now it was a national thing but the new EASA licenses include a mountain qualification which is universal. France has not introduced EASA FCL yet so it will probably take some time until courses become available.
Does anyone know if the EASA mountain thing is non-expiring (like the night flying qualification) or expiring (like instrument ratings)? If it were non-expiring, I would be rather sure that the DGAC will impose additional currency requirements to land at places like Courchevel, unfortunately...
CAP 804 (which replaced LASORS) includes the FCL.815 Mountain Rating:
It can be for wheel or ski landing gear (or both)
Valid for 24 months, revalidated either through experience (6 mountain landings) or proficiency check with an examiner (which seems to be the same as the initial skills test)
It will be interesting to find out if French alpine airports/altiports will require additional local training or approval over and above an EASA mountain rating..... In theory, this shouldn't be needed.
I believe the mountain rating doesn't apply to UK PPL's until 2015. And I don't know how or where you'd get one!
Any idea which airfields will be designated as "mountain airfields"?
On the one hand, one would hope that very few airfields will be restricted by requiring the rating. On the other hand, if more "moderate" places like, I don't know, Sonnen EDPS, Asiago LIDA or even Innsbruck LOWZ were to become "mountain airfields", that would make it much easier to revalidate by experience. In that case, I would really consider getting (and maintaining) the rating. However, if there was such a "broad" definition of mountain airfield, I very much doubt that it will be legally sufficient for using the "real altiports" like Courchevel, Meribel, L'Alpe d'Huez, etc. and they will probably have additional requirements.
I rather believe that the mountain rating will be required only for those french airfields which, as of today, require the french mountain rating (or authorisation de site), plus maybe handful of places in Switzerland and Italy.
The current French mountain rating is not the same as the site license. To land e.g. at Courchevel Altiport (LFLJ) you need at least a site license. This requires approx. 4-6 hours of training with a local French mountain instructor, who then gives you the site license. It only remains valid for 6 months after you last landing at Courchevel. So, you will become a regular visitor of this nice place to keep it valid. The alternative (after that) is to train for a French mountain license. It consists of a winter and a summer part (on skis and wheels) and involved flying into small grass strips in the Alps, landing on Glaciers on Skis, etc. Once you are ready (there is no theory exam) you do a practical exam and you get your French Mountain License, which is for now valid for life. Then you don't need the mandatory 1 in 6 months landing at Courchevel anymore and also can land at all the French altiport.
The EASA mountain license situation is not clear to me yet, so I have no idea how the French Mountain License will migrate into it.
I confirm what Aero plus wrote: in France the site license is valid only for 6 monthes whereas the (French) mountain rating allows you to use any altiport or altisurface in France with no limitation of time. The difference? For the site license you learn how to land on a specific altiport. You know that overhead this tree you must have this speed, this engine rpm, that you must turn above this house etc... The general mountain rating teaches you how to land on an altiport or an altisurface you have never used before. You are able to guess by yourself which pattern you should use, your speed, etc... Remember that in France, altiport are not only high elevation runways. The runways are sloppy. You land upwards and takeoff downwards, no matter what the wind is. Often, the slope prevents any go around beyond a certain point. All the mountain rated pilots I know consider that proficiency is critical. They would not land on an altiport without training if they had not done it recently.
This thread is now somewhat old – does anyone have further news or more recent information such as an up date on the EASA rating?
Greatly appreciate your knowledge, as I would like to start some training this year