Few of us get to fly as much as we want, but with a little planning, we can all look forward to those days when we can experience the very greatest of escapes. This issue will help you to make the most of yours.
“This flight makes me dream every time, because it is wild in the middle of the 4,000m summits and the mountain atmosphere is strong, with little sign of civilisation. I feel like I’m on the other side of the world.” Antoine Girard and others share the spectacular sub-50km flights that have left their heads in the clouds.
“This is a great cross country wing. It wants to fly fast and when it does, it’s easy to control and quite efficient. Pilots looking to step down to this wing from higher-aspect gliders will feel right at home and appreciate its slow and fast characteristics.” Lawrie Noctor samples Gin’s EN-C Bonanza 2 – and lands all smiles.
“During all my visits to New Zealand I have spent my time the way I love the most: don’t plan too much and visit places off the tourist trail. This way, I always end up having amazing flights and meeting local people.” Emilia Plak packs her paramotor and sets off for a southern hemisphere odyssey across New Zealand.
“The current problem for light pilots – men or women – is that it’s harder for them to do well in competitions. If they get poor results, they get put off and stop competing.” Bruce Goldsmith explains the thinking behind the handicap system in BGD’s recent Weightless comp.
“I was a little lucky on the Matterhorn, but I got enough altitude to soar the summit. I got within one metre of it and there was no one there, just footsteps and the cross.” Tobias Dimmler, who supported Chrigel Maurer in the 2017 Red Bull X-Alps, takes us on a flying tour of some classic Alpine 4,000m summits.
“The Mantra M7 would be my go-to wing if I lived in the mountains. It’ll please the retiring competition pilot and put a huge grin on C pilots’ faces, too.” Ozone have done it again with their three-liner EN-D, says Hugh Miller – “It’s a very, very good wing.”
“You need to be able to say, ‘No! Today I won’t fly.’ This is important when you are flying alone, but the most important element when you are flying tandem.” Thinking about flying tandem? Théo de Blic shares his ten-step guide for anyone eager to get airborne with a passenger.
“Wow, they are going hard! I’m dripping with sweat and curse myself for bringing no water. Never mind. Too late now. Every time I look at Live Tracking, they’re 200m above me – but I just can’t close the gap.” No one said being the official Red Bull X-Alps race reporter would be easy, but Tarquin Cooper discovered keeping up with the best is a truly Herculean endeavour.
“Greg Hamerton explained that his strategy was to go south all day on day one and play Pacman with the waypoints, then try to fly himself out of the ridiculous situation he’d put himself in.” It’s not quite the Red Bull X-Alps, but the X-Lakes hike-and-fly challenge requires true grit – and a good dose of humour.
“If you are hesitating between a bleeding-edge EN-B and the step up to an EN-C, I’d definitely recommend a test flight on the Volt 3.” AirDesign’s EN-C Volt 3 is fun and reassuring with class-leading handling and feedback, says Brian Steele.
“Ha! The numbers make me think but my goal is not to run after records. I’ve been thinking about taking things easier. I will see how life goes.” After winning the Hang Gliding World Championships, Alex Ploner shares his secret of success – and reveals why there’s more to flying high than chasing statistics.