Free flying is about tuning into nature. It’s about understanding and harnessing the very forces that drive life on Earth. Develop your flying and you will also expand your understanding of the world around you.
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“Who wouldn’t want to fly over a live volcano?” Adi Geisegger embarks on a spectacular paramotor odyssey from the pristine Dolomites to the fiery summit of Sicily’s Mount Etna. Just don’t forget to keep the engine running.
“In the harness, I forget I am in a wheelchair. The wheelchair is normal but a little bit special. It’s like having a custom racebike.” Stefan Keller tells us about getting back into the air after an accident, developing new skills and teaching other wheelchair users to fly paragliders.
“You won’t grow out of of it too quickly; in fact, I’d say you grow into it.” We take you to the air with Icaro’s mid EN-B Gravis and quickly warms to a welcoming wing with a big personality.
“The three of us pushed the paragliding frontline by discovering this remarkable peak. We had to lie in wait for the right wind. We had to respect this powerful, potential foe. And then we struck. It was a little victory.” Felix Wölk follows in the footsteps of World War One’s swashbuckling ‘Flying Patrol’ to conquer the Dolomites’ beautiful Monte Cernera.
“Never, ever think it is too late. It is your life we are talking about so try everything you can to save it.” Our resident acro champion Théo de Blic knows the value of a good rescue. He shares his top tips for dealing with a reserve throw.
“Our mad game was back on. I turned around a second time, pointed my pod towards the summit of sacred Mount Kailash, and sped after Jim.” John Silvester and Jim Mallinson leave Bir in their wake, grit their teeth ¬– and embark on a daring flight into the spiritual Himalayan heartlands.
“The rational part of my mind dismissed it as a trick of the light. That evening, I told people of my lucky escape but not of how; I think for fear of being thought crazy or not believed. I wasn’t very sure myself.” Stuck in a perilous position above a thickly-forested hanging valley, Steve Charles ‘saw’ a thermal – and it saved his skin. He tells us of his quest to find out what really happened.
“Vultures don’t get enough pages in paragliding magazines. Leaf through scuba-diving magazines and you’ll see lots of articles about wildlife. Beginner pilots should be introduced to birds – many of us are inspired to fly because of them.” Scott Mason tells us how he’s hoping to bounce back after the devastating closure of his world-famous Parahawking project – and why we should all pay more attention to our neighbours in the sky.
“For me, it’s the perfect wing: great feeling, fun to fly, but safe. And I can use the same wing with a minimal harness for hike-and-fly.” If you’re looking for a lightweight EN B with feel and handling, AirDesign’s Vita 2 SL ticks all the boxes, says Charlie King.
“The mental side of things is super important. As soon as you think ‘I might land’ you probably will. To keep going you have to think about not landing. In the Rockies Traverse, we flew for hours with nowhere to land … unless you count the lake or the river.” Gavin McClurg shares his hard-learned lessons from a lifetime of pioneering paragliding.
It’s not just the wings that are benefitting from state-of-the-art science. Andy Pag visits Supair’s Annecy workshop and gets a sneak peak of the next great leap forward in back protection.
“Be aware, pulling a small amount of brake can actually make things worse, removing any reflex in the profile and making the wing shoot more.” Bruce Goldsmith fine tunes the fickle art of pulling a collapse. Now, when’s that SIV course?
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