The X-Berg Challenge is a fun and very flexible race. You can choose your discipline between paragliding, running and mountain biking, or mix it up, and plan your own route between the turnpoints.
Extreme 3-day race 20-24 March 2019
140 km (as the crow flies)
If mountain biking you can expect to cover 310km to 340km (depending on your route-finding!) and 10,000m elevation gain.
Mini 2-day race 21-24 March 2019
40km (as the crow flies)
If mountain biking you can expect to cover 105km to 115km and 3,200m elevation gain.
The Montegrappa Trophy competition takes place at Borso del Grappa in north-east Italy over the Easter weekend, 18-22 April 2019.
There are places for up to 150 pilots in the competition, which is also a round of the Italian Nationals 2019. Alongside the competition is a season-opening trade show – come and see the current lines of some of the industry’s biggest names.
This three-day hike-and-fly competition starts and ends at the Gruyère Château.
Competitors have to complete a course around turnpoints, laid out in a figure-eight. If they complete the circuit before the time is up, they can go round again.
There are two categories: ‘Compétiteur’ is standard hike-and-fly competition rules – only your feet or your wing can be used for transport and the mandatory kit must be carried; the Mobilité douce” category offers a gentler approach, where public transport including ski-lifts can be used to help get pilots to take-offs. Between 9pm and 6am is rest time.
Pilots don’t need an FAI sporting licence, but IPPI level 4 or above is required.
2019 is a Red Bull X-Alps Year! The ninth edition kicks off with the Prologue on 13 June, when all athletes race around a course, aiming to win one of three available extra night passes.
The race itself starts on 16 June. 32 athletes will be taking part, including five-times winner Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) and Romanian running man Toma Coconea who hasn’t missed a single race. Fourteen of the athletes to line up at the start are rookies, including the two female participants, Kinga Mastalerz (NZL2) and Dominika Kasieczko (POL).
The exact route for the 2019 event will be announced in March, and thousands will be following the athletes’ progress day and night via the live tracking and media updates.
The UK’s music and flying festival, Parafest, returns to the stunning setting of Caerwys in North Wales in July 2019.
Parafest is the UK’s only event for all foot launched and single-seat trike aviation. The festival site is ideally placed for access to both coastal and mountain flying, with several North Wales flying sites a short drive away for free-flyers, and a dedicated field for powered craft to use from Thursday to Sunday.
There will be a trade show with demo equipment available, and the British Vintage Hang Glider Rally will be on site with up to 40 fully rigged gliders charting the history of UK hang gliding from its beginnings to the present day.
The pilot-run ‘Fly Inn’ bar will be stocked with Welsh real ales, gins, rums, Pimms, Prosecco, cocktails and more. In addition there will be arts and crafts markets, a children’s area, live music from 1pm to 1am on the Friday and Saturday nights, sideshows and much more.
Tickets are on sale now and cost £65 for pilots (Thursday to Sunday) or £55 for non-flyers. Under-16s are free and dogs are welcome. Organisers warn, “Parafest sells out to capacity every year and tickets must be bought in advance from the website”.
The magical mayhem of the Coupe Icare takes place on the third weekend of September at Saint Hilaire du Touvet and the Lumbin landing field near Grenoble in the south of France.
A huge trade show takes over two large marquees as well as outdoor stands; demonstration flights from all sorts of craft fill the sky, and the fancy-dress fly down is one of the event’s biggest draws, with some truly crazy costumes. Don’t forget the all-important film festival that runs throughout the long weekend. As well as all of this, the south take-off becomes a children’s wonderland, with activities from kite-making to science lessons to meeting birds of prey.
Paragliding from the sites during the daytimes is restricted to fancy-dress competitors and authorised pilots, but plenty make the early-morning hike to the Dent de Crolles if conditions allow, for a morning fly down among hot air balloons.