Ben Jordan goes huge in the Rockies. Photo: Ben Jordan
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Cross Country 198: April 2019

Wednesday 13 March, 2019

We live in a time when we can fly, safely, on gliders that pack into a shopping bag. Whatever happens next time you fly, never forget that magic, never let it get old. It’s remarkable – and this issue celebrates that.

“Holy… how could it be? Not 100m off the deck, a freight train of a thermal tearing me an express route to cloudbase… Flat-topped towers, city-sized glaciers and forgotten valleys were just the beginning of what I could see.” Battling storms, his own self-doubt and powered by kilos of peanut butter, Ben Jordan tells how he took on a 1,200km vol-biv adventure through the North American Rockies – and came out on top.

Ozone XXLite 2 review. Photo: Charlie King

“The changes have opened it up to a much wider range of pilots. It is much more mellow than the original, with better performance and landing characteristics.” At just 1.3kg, Ozone’s EN D XXLite 2 takes single surface paragliders to new heights, says Marcus King. And it still just weighs about as much as your water bottle.

Paragliding World Championships in Macedonia. Illustration: Steve Ham

“There are no fairytales in paragliding… The first thing you’ve got to learn if you want to be a paragliding champion is how to be a good loser, for even the best lose more than they win.” 50-something veteran James ‘Kiwi’ Johnston continues his quest to get back into the competition game – and make the World Championships.

Looking after your paraglider lines

“Enemy number one is salt water and sea air. I had a PhD student do a study on the effect and he found a 20% reduction in strength for kevlar lines that got wet in salt water then dried out. For dyneema, it was a 50% reduction.” Bruce Goldsmith reveals how you can show your lines a little love.

Dust devil in Turkey. Photo: John Stapels

“It was a lot of Gs, getting lifted off the ground. When I got my bearings a second later, I was more than ten metres in the air and moving – I did a semi circle and could see the dusty, right next to me.” When Rick Brezina was snatched by a dust devil in Australia earlier this year, the video went viral. He tells us his terrifying tale.

Aaron Durogati climbing in Patagonia. Photo: Daniel Ladurner

“It was gusting 50-60km/h, so it wasn’t possible to take off from the top. So I abseiled 60 metres down and found a little spot in the lee where I managed to launch. It was really sketchy, but…” Aaron Durogati heads to Patagonia for some big-wall climbing and ultra light flying.

Advance Lightness 3 review

“The Lightness 3 is an extremely high-quality harness. It should certainly be on many pilots’ must-try list for an everyday semi-light harness.” A 3.5kg harness with a windshield? Yes please, says Hugh Miller, it really does the business.

Gavin McClurg during the Red Bull X-Alps 2017. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

“The Red Bull X-Alps is the most challenging and awe-inspiring paragliding race on Earth. Of course, I’m jaded as I’ve done it twice, but I can confirm that at its core it is 100% diabolical.” So why do it again this year? Gavin McClurg reveals why he wouldn’t miss his third dose of hell for anything.

Supair Step paraglider review. Photo: Charlie King

“It offers great climbing ability, combined with good handling and glide performance, which make for an efficient cross-country machine. It’s a great all-rounder that will take you on some adventures.” Marcus King gets a high off Supair’s EN B Step.

Electric paramotoring. Photo: Jason Skinner

“I’m excited about the prospects of this machine – in fact, by all electric paramotors. For some pilots who are willing to express their pioneer spirit, this is a perfect fit.” Electric paramotors have yet to conquer the skies ¬– but the OpenPPG project hopes to change that. Jeff Goin tries one of its latest models, and gets a refreshing glimpse of the future.

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