Alpine Magic Alpine Magic by fjwuxn

VIEWS: 386 PAGES: 80

									                                                              MAR – APR 2005


                             Alpine Magic           by Rainer Scheltdorf


   Carol Binder reports
   Bob Drury reveals hot product news
   A portfolio by Rainer Scheltdorf
   Jérôme Maupoint flies over the
   Nazca etchings of Peru
   Jaco Wolmarans gives the scoop
   on South Africa’s new record skies
   A review of seven paramotor wings
   Will Gadd holds his nerve...
   An interview with Ramon Morillas
   Gerolf Heinrichs on thermalling

                                                                                      ON THE COVER
                                                                    The wilderness of Germany’s Black Forest,
                                                                                      Photo: Rainer Scheltdorf
                                                                                           Jesus - he say, fly!
                                                                                               Rio de Janeiro
                                                                                    Photo: Christian Pondella

                                        TLFeBOOK     CONTENTS   WWW.XCMAG.COM | EDITION 98                  3
                     THE SQUADRON
              SHOT TO PIECES: Hugh Miller
      CAPTAIN: Ian Blackmore (
          DOES NICE DRAWINGS: Ian Roxburgh
             LEFT WING GUNNER: Bob Drury
           RIGHT WING GUNNER: Carol Binder
            TAIL GUNNER: Richard Sheppard
          ONLINE: Nic Hervy (
         FAMOUS COLUMNIST: Bruce Goldsmith
    SPELLING TEACHERS: Jaco Wolmarans, Val Ishii
    CLIP-ON TIE: Matt Coyne (
  DEBT COLLECTOR: Jill Ridgway (

             ARGENTINA: Guillermo Rivera
        AUSTRALIA: Carol Binder, Karen Sexton
                  AUSTRIA: Ulrich Grill
                CANADA: Vincene Muller
                  CHILE: Jens Tannen
              COLUMBIA: Andres Escobar
           CZECH REPUBLIC: Richard Plos
              DENMARK: Louise Crandal
        FRANCE: Michel Ferrer, Xavier Murillo
 GERMANY: Uli Wiesmeier, Peter Hensold, Oli Barthelmes
               HUNGARY: Marton Ordody
          MACEDONIA: Vladimir Barakovski
               NAMIBIA: Piet Steenkamp
               NEW ZEALAND: Eva Keim
                 NORWAY: Frode Halse
               POLAND: Szymon Gorski
          ROMANIA: Popescu Stelian Catalin
                   SPAIN: Sol Pistone
                   SWEDEN: Nic Hervy
          USA: Nic Cauchy, Chris Santacroce
    SOUTH AFRICA: Jaco Wolmarans, Greg Hamerton
                 SLOVENIA: Ales Novak
                  SPAIN: Pedro Chapa
              UK: Noel Whittall, Kath Rigg
      Chief Spy, SOUTH AMERICA: Rafael Dubois

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The spring XC season is arriving at last in England - oh, don’t tell me, you live in
 Australia or Brazil or some other paradise and you don’t really care about the
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 of a fat kid stuffing his face with chocolate Eclairs in front of a warm fire while
  us hungry skinny kids shiver outside in the cold, yes, you heard me, you and
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  6          CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98                                         OPENING SHOT

           Sunset soaring on the slopes of the Nebelhorn, Germany. Photo: Rainer Scheltdorf

             OPENING SHOT                  EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY                   7

The Road To Victory
Flies, dust, intense heat and huge flights over the baking plains of Australia’s flatlands...
Carol Binder reports on the Worlds in Hay, NSW, Australia which finished on January 19
with victory for Aeros’ Oleg Bondarchuk. In her words, “Hay: it’s both heaven and hell.
You’ll either love it, or never come back.”

                                   The start grid. Photo: Binder/Barthelmes      The line-up. Photo: Binder/Barthelmes

                                 Photo: Antoine Boisselier


                                                                                    Italy’s 7th placed Alex Ploner blasts off the trolley
                                                                                      through a cloud of dust from the tug’s propwash

   n traditional World Championship
   style the competition began with
   a grand parade down Hay’s main
street and then on to HQ for the
official welcome party. Already
there was a tremendous sense of
excitement at the prospect of
some great flying. Albeit only the
practice day, Rohan Holtkamp             police station and at first light, tug
(AUS) has blasted the Australian         pilots Dave and Matt Olive located
record to 456km!                         the missing competitors just 17 km
   The following morning saw us          from the tow paddock. The Dutch
congregated out in the tow               driver had found his pilot, and then
paddock in a pleasant 25 degrees         lost the car keys. The Portuguese
and with an 1,800m cloudbase.            pilot had simply chosen the wrong
Launch opened using four aerotow         people to cadge a lift with!
lines with the top thirty pilots             With the missing pilots safely
reversed and within seconds we           found it was time to take stock of the    Powering the worlds: Bill Bailey’s purpose-built Dragonfly
                                                                                   is the machine de rigeur for towing. France’s Antoine
got our first taste of Aussie dust       day. Once again we faced strong           Boisselier enjoys a quality outback sunset
kicked up by the propwash from           winds out of the SSW and just two
the tugs. The pilots departed into       failed starts and one chute               hard. He was killed immediately.                         turnpoint at Gunbar to make a total
cooler and cleaner air leaving           deployment later, everyone was on             The day was cancelled out of                         of 144.8km. Huge bushfires in
behind sweating ground crews             their way and in lumpy air for most of    respect for Robin as was the                             South Australia resulted in a low
removing the stakes hammered into        the 180km flight. The task took           following day to make way for                            inversion and high-level
baked earth in an attempt to keep        everyone back to Ivanhoe via One          lengthy discussions on safety issues                     smoke/cirrus, base remained low for
gliders from surrendering to the         Tree and Booligal, keeping pilots over    and safe towing procedures.                              the first three hours of the flight at
inevitable dusties!                      the road (yes, there is only one road).   Frustration spread through the                           just 1,200m. The home leg resulted
   By the end of task one, pilots        The main gaggle headed out at 3 pm        competition with further meetings on                     in pilots flying directly into a 50km/h
were scattered everywhere                breaking down into smaller groups         such issues as towing regulations,                       head wind making it impossible to
between Hay and Ivanhoe, 180km           after leading out hard. Oleg won          procedures, medical attendance,                          make goal. Brett Hazlett (CAN) won
to our north. Oleg Bondarchuk            again, with Robert Reisinger (AUT)        weak-links, launch dollies. The                          the day landing just 3.7km short of
(UKR) won the first day in fine style    just seven seconds behind him and         matters addressed were resolved,                         goal with Mario Alonzi and Antoine
followed by Gerolf Heinrichs (AUT)       Gerolf again, right on his heels.         and eventually, implemented.                             Boisselier (FRA) close behind.
and Bruno Guillen (FRA).                     The next day was one we all               That evening all pilots joined the                      Day six was weatherman Len
   What always makes Hay                 wished had seen a different               Norwegian team at the accident site                      Paton’s worst nightmare. After
interesting, or maybe enduring, is       outcome. Norwegian pilot Robin            at sunset to say good-bye to Robin.                      interpreting the charts, forecasts
not always the flights, it’s the         Strid chose to foot launch in a light     Tomorrow was another day.                                and lapse rates the best he could,
experiences on the ground. At 2 am,      crosswind rather than use a dolly.        Tomorrow came, but was cancelled                         the tugs wind readings didn’t
Comp Director Paul Rundall was           Robin took off with his left wing         due to high winds. This certainly                        match, decisions, decisions...
notified that a Dutch pilot was          dragging on the ground, but               didn’t improve pilot morale;                             With forty degrees on the ground,
missing along with his driver. By 3 am   correcting it. He then flew off line      temperatures also hit the high forties.                  everyone just kept pumping water
it was discovered a Portuguese           again to the left and was seen                Finally, another task was set                        into their bodies while the light wind
pilot was also missing. Paul co-         reaching for his release but              heading initially east and then in a                     meant less dust, but more flies and
ordinated a search from the local        continued left, hitting the ground        triangle returning to the first                          bigger dusties!

10    CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98            ZOOM
                                Record skies at the worlds. All photos: Binder/Barthelmes

                                                                  Climb out into the cool

   For the pilots though, good             the western tow area and were
climbs out of the paddock kept             nearly ready to go when the task
spirits higher than those left baking      committee called for us to change
on the ground. The task this time          tow direction. The task was then
was to Kooroongal, with a second           broadcast amidst the confusion
turnpoint at Waddi and then on to          and reshuffling between set up
goal at Ardletham, 192.4km to the          areas. (Due to the nature of car
ENE of Hay. No one made it with            towing, it’s not possible to just
many landing near Waddi. The main          move into wind).
gaggle were still struggling along at          The window opened and Davis
dusk after pushing out their final         Straub (USA) got away with ease in
glide. Oleg blitzed it once again          a strong climb. Due to the strong
making best distance just 16km             wind, he was reluctant to leave the
short of goal. Dutch pilot Koos De         climb and so drifted off downwind.
Keijzer impressed all by almost            Unable to make it back to take the
matching Oleg’s distance and a             first start time he drifted off even
sterling effort by weatherman              further, well aware of the severe
Lennie, kept the Aussies smiling by        scoring penalties that went with his
slipping them into the first team          course of action.
place just ahead of the Austrians.             The day’s turnpoint was Gunbar
   The following day was cancelled         with goal at Erigolia 152.7km away.
due to a forecast of strong winds,         The wind on the ground picked up
which arrived exactly as forecast.         even more, to around 40 - 50km/h
   The following day we set up at          SSW and conditions in the air >

                                                                                     TLFeBOOK   ZOOM   EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   11

                                                                                             Rigid glider? Not any more mate!

                                                                                                                                         3rd. Oleg played it safe coming in
                                                                                                                                         14th and was crowned the 15th
                                                                                                                                         World Hang Gliding Champion.
                                                                                                                                            Sixty-five pilots made it to goal,
                                                                                                                                         but the question on everyone’s lips
                                                                                                                                         was “Where is Gerolf”. Rumours
                                                                                                                                         (or is it Ruhmers?) spread
                                                                                                                                         throughout the goal field that he’d
                                                                                                                                         landed 1km short. Gerolf did make
                                                                                             A memorial for Robin                        goal, late, but still enough to keep
                                                                                                                                         him safe in the top three.
                                                                                                committee task five was                     Hay was a long journey with
                                                                                                unfortunately cancelled. Many pilots     many highs and lows for everyone.
                                                                                                were in revolt: their perception of      One would hope that what was
                                                                                                fairness and rules in conflict.          learnt in this, and other
                                                                                                   A quote from the Oz Report:           competitions, will help result in
                                                                                                “The use of rules in an unfair and       better guidelines in the future with
                                                                                                unsportsmanlike fashion is what          regards to the rules and regulations,
                                                                                                makes pilots unhappy with                but most of all, to make
                                                                                                Category 1 competitions”. In non         competitions safe, fun and fair.
                                                                                                Category 1 competitions the rules           In the end, the true champion
Oleg Bondarchuk pulled a convincing lead over his competitors,                                  are less important, and the spirit of    stepped forward to a hearty Aussie
leaving few in doubt of his currently fearsome form. Photo: Binder/Barthelmes
                                                                                                sportsmanship prevails more often.       cheer, “Good on ya Oleg...
reflected this with rough and                        to lose and everything to gain.               For the final task, the committee     Mummy’s proud!”
turbulent air. Davis’s driver Belinda,               Most pilots opted for the first            decided on Pretty Pine, via
reached goal to report there was                     start time at 4.15 pm and speeds           Boorooban, and then back to the
no one there. No goal line, no goal                  over the ground were fast. Thirty-         northeast to Conargo, site of the
officials, and even worse, no goal                   seven pilots made goal with the            Australian Nationals. So began a
beer! Due to the strength of the                     last in as late as 8pm. Robert             full-on race with screamer thermals
wind the goal officials had moved                    Reisinger took first place with            to 3,200m.
goal to a location 1.7km before the                  Oleg second and Gerolf hot on                 Curt Warren (USA) who’d had his
given goal co-ordinates.                             his heels.                                 ups and downs during the event,
   Team leaders arriving earlier than                   The competition was finally             finally strutted his stuff completing
their pilots broadcast this                          blessed with some light winds and          the 145km course in just 1hr 56m
information on the team radio                        a square course to Carrathool              with Robert Reisinger second and
frequencies. Many pilots made goal                   Racecourse (129km) was set.                rookie Michael Friesenbichler (AUT)      Ukraine’s speeding
                                                                                                                                         bullet hits its target
and nearly all complained about the                  Pilots congregated over the tow
goal position.                                       paddock and worked their way up                2005 WORLD HANG GLIDING CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
   Davis was initially scored giving                 to 2000m before blasting off into                 Pilot            Glider            Nation Total
him goal, then the scores were                       the distance.                                  1 Oleg Bondarchuk Aeros Combat L      UKR    6455
revised after the next team leaders                     A pleasant day’s flying proved              2 Robert Reisinger Icaro Zero 7       AUT    6281
briefing that followed.                              too much for Walter Mayer (AUT)                3 Gerolf Heinrichs  Moyes Litespeed S AUT    6100
   Rain ceased flying the next day.                  who, pushing himself to the limit on           4 Kraig Coomber     Moyes Litespeed S AUS    6060
Gerolf, the French team and Davis                    final glide and just 1km before goal,          5 Mario Alonzi      Aero Combat L     FRA    6057
submitted formal complaints about                    got so excited he decided to throw             6 Attila Bertok     Moyes Litespeed S HUN    5997
Task five’s “misunderstanding                        in a loop. Luckily the twenty or so            7 Alessandro Ploner Icaro Zero 7      ITA    5934
/mishap” with goal placement. The                    pilots with him didn’t disturb his             8 Brett Hazlett     Moyes Litespeed S CAN    5928
rain continued throughout the night,                 need for exhilaration and he landed            9 Guido Gehrmann Aeros Combat L       D      5920
as did the discussions.                              safely at goal.                                10 Jon Durand Jnr   Moyes Litespeed S AUS    5912
   Strong southerly winds helped                        Alex Ploner and Christian Ciech             Teams:
dry the paddock’s mud and it                         (ITA) raced into goal with only a              1 Australia                 18,694
was off to Ivanhoe yet again.                        metre to spare in front of Oleg                2 Austria                   18,565
Climbs were low and the race                         followed by half of the field.                 3 France                    17,838
was on. The top positions were                          Finally after many discussions
                                                                                                    Full results at:
now all fighting it out with nothing                 and interviews from the protest

12     CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98                       ZOOM
The wait is over for Oleg Bondarchuck. So what’s
next? More comps, of course! Carol Binder grabs a
quick interview with the new World Champion

Oleg, it’s been a long way to the top but you’ve finally won the
Worlds. How does it feel?
It feels good, I reckon I can handle it.
How long have you been dreaming of winning the World
For a long time now, but they weren’t dreams, more like nightmares!
Always my harness or my glider was missing, everyone had launched
without me or I hadn’t set up my glider in time, something like that.
What did you think of the conditions in Hay this year?
This year conditions were OK. I would say more reliable than I’ve known
in the past but maybe I’ve got used to them by now.
Did you think the attitude of pilots at the Worlds was different with
Manfred not being there?
Without Manfred I think the attitude of most pilots was very different. I
could feel it even before competition started. Competing without Manfred
casting his shadow over us allowed at least ten pilots the potential to win
the title.
After the fatality in the event, did you notice any improvements from
the pilots or the organisation with regards to safety?
I guess the pilots became more concerned about safety than the
organisers. They put pressure on the organisers to make some
improvements towards safety. Remember, the organisers told us that due
to Australian law it was not possible to have an ambulance in the
paddock. After a few briefings and discussions between pilots and the
organisers the “Australian law” changed overnight, the next day we had
an ambulance.
There seem to be fewer and fewer pilots attending World
Championship meetings, what do you think we can do about the
declining numbers at the Worlds?
I believe that after some competitions which were very badly organised
and not much fun to fly in, some people have lost their motivation. I know
a few very good pilots who said that Hay would be their last World
Do you have a preference for towing or mountain launching for the
next World Championship?
No, it doesn’t matter to me. My only concern is how well it’s organised.
If the flying is good, that’s a bonus.
Over the last few years, which have been your favourite hang gliding
competitions to fly in and why?
The Florida comps have good organization, good flying, you can stay at
the airfield, leave your glider rigged overnight; and many times when
there’s not much wind we’ve been able to have the goal at the same
    Also the Bogong Cup and the Deni comps for good organization and
flying. I like the Croatia Open for the same reasons.
What do your wife and son think about you being a World
They’re very happy. Maybe even more so than me.
And Aeros, I bet they’re ecstatic?
Yes, they’re thrilled, maybe even more than my wife and my son.
Has anything changed since winning in Hay?
Not much. I’m still the same: I still have two arms, one head.
So, what’s next?
More comps, of course.

                                                                      TLFeBOOK   ZOOM   EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   13

The Bregenzerwald Cup
Bob Drury reports on all the new developments
from the 2005 Bregenzerwald Cup, the biannual
industry meeting held in Austria, January 28-30

           Michael Knipping about to lay down some moves. Photo: Rainer Scheltdorf
            All other images: Hugh Miller, Bob Drury, Bruce Goldsmith, Michel Ferrer

                  ZOOM              EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY                 15

Acro pilots light up the landing field

                                                            he sun’s out, the sky’s a        magical atmosphere that surrounds
                                                            shock of cobalt blue and         me and, swilling my fourth gluhwein
                                                            colourful paragliders are        down my neck, I stumble off after
                                                    tumbling, swooping and stacking          the rest of the Cross Country news
                                                    away above the quaint and                team to meet the industry and hear
                                                    picturesque Bregenzer Ache valley, in    what’s in, what’s out, and what’s
                                                    northern Austria. Below them,            new to shout about.
                                                    painted against a backdrop of pure           2005 looks set to be an innovative
                                                    white snow, lies a brilliant mass of     year with some manufacturers
                                                    tents, banners, flags and cars sitting   striding to break new ground with
                                                    surreally amongst the ‘Sunday ski        technological advances.
                                                    set’ who jostle for places with pilots   Independence, Wings of Change
                                                    at the telecabine. The air is charged    and U-Turn have been working on
                                                    with the smell of woodsmoke from         systems that use flaps or vents to
                                                    nearby cosy chalets, smoke               keep the airflow from breaking away
                                                    canisters from tumbling acro teams       from the wing profile when flown
                                                    and the non stop amplified               slowly. This allows gliders to fly
                                                    commentary by the vendors and            slower without stalling and is
                                                    creators of the latest paragliders       something Skywalk first brought to
                                                    being showcased here this weekend.       us with their jet flap system.
                                                        But it’s minus 15 degrees, my            Independence have developed a
                                                    feet are frozen solid - no amount of     system to aid handling with a series
                                                    toe wiggling will bring them back        of rings that tightens the trailing
                                                    now - my nostrils are blocked with       edge when braked. Span reducing
                                                    ice and I’m starving hungry. Red         rings at the wing tips are an
                                                    wine and bread may have fed              established way of creating more
                                                    thousands on the shores of the Sea       drag at the tip to aid the turn,
                                                    of Galilee but they’re seriously         however using span reducing rings
                                                    failing to impress your hungry           all along the trailing edge looks like
                                                    vegetarian XC reporter. Yet despite      a new concept.
                                                    my dislike of extreme cold and fatty         U-Turn have also been busy
                                                    German sausages I can’t help but         perfecting an automatic flight
The Renegades                                       be enthralled by the vibrant and         stabilisation system (AFS) which

Firebird’s eagle dominates the skyline

they claim reacts automatically to           are incredibly colourful visual
any changes in pressure within the           occasions. There are few other
wing therefore preventing                    events in the free flying calendar
deflations. They have also included          where you can feast your eyes and
their ‘b-stall help system’ on their         chat to the designers and test pilots
latest wings. Read more about AFS            of all the wings that will be the ‘talk-
on                            of-the-hill’ in the coming season.
    Many manufacturers have                  Bring your harness and you can
responded to the current trend of            even get a test ride or two. Better
building two gliders in the DHV 1-2          still, when you’ve had enough you
category. It is rapidly becoming the         can go snowboarding offpiste and
norm nowadays to have a ‘hot’ 1-2            end up hiking out of the woods for
where agility and performance are the        hours... but that’s another story!
main criteria and a ‘low end’ 1-2
where maximum passive safety is              The Cross Country team - clueless
more the design target. Until DHV re-
evaluate their grading system to
accommodate a wider range of wing
in the 1-2 category, pilots should be
sure to research exactly which style
of 1-2 they are buying. But please
remember that whether it’s a ‘top
end’ or a ‘bottom end’ 1-2, all 1-2’s
have passed the DHV stringent tests
and consequently have a very high
level of passive safety. It’s more the
agility of the wing, the level of
information you’re going to receive in
flight and a touch of performance that
will differentiate the two levels of wing.
    Whether you like cold and fatty
sausages or not, the alternating
Bregenzerwald and Stubai events


Airwave Mustang              FreeX’s new colours         Gradient Nevada             Icaro’s Ciber                                             Paratech P80s

The Independence line-up                                 Mac Magus4                                  Nova Tattoo Ozone Rush                    Swing Cirrus

                                                        offer a range of coats and accessories.               Independence family is the Avalon (DHV 1),
THE 2005 LINE UP                                                                       the Dragon 2 (DHV 1-2) and the Akron (DHV
ADVANCE                                                                                                       2). The Raptor remains the out-and-out comp
2005 is the year of the Sigma in the Advance            GIN                                                   wing.
calendar and Sigma 6’s were on show with pilots         Gin aficionados will be excited to hear that the
D-bagging them over the waiting crowds. Certified       Boomerang 4 is ready and will be contesting the
at DHV 2 the Sigma 6 sits in between the Omega 6        World Championships in force this month. With         MAC
(DHV 2-3) and the Epsilon 4 (DHV 1-2). The Alpha        an aspect ratio of 6.8 and a top speed rumoured       Spice up your lives with two new wings for 2005!
stays as their entry wing at DHV 1.                     to be 66 kph, the Boomer 4 will surely be in          The Bitch is an outright acro wing and is quoted                                          contention for a rack of medals. The rest of Gin’s    by Mac as having “difficult take-off, hard
                                                        stable for 2005 will consist of the Bolero plus       steering, bad glide and is very demanding to
AIRWAVE                                                 DHV 1, the Oasis DHV 1-2, the DHV 2 Gangster          land!” On the other hand she masters Ass
Bruce Goldsmith’s latest creation, the DHV 2 rated      (freestyle) and Zoom (XC and Race), plus the          Choppers, McTwist, Tumblings and Helicopters
Mustang, is now ready for production and will fill      Beetle tandem, Yeti mountain wing and the             and is available in ages 18, 20, 22! Infection is
the slot between the popular Sport 2 (DHV 1-2)          Tuarag for motorheads.                                apparently warranted. Worlds pilots will be
and Magic 3 (DHV2-3) high performance wings.                                      hoping to do well on Mac’s new Magus 4 and
For 2005 Airwave are keeping the Wave (DHV 1) as                                                              the Mac moto boys will be pleased to see the
their entry-level glider and the Combi as their bi-     GRADIENT                                              Spice, a high performance motor wing.
place wing. All eyes will be on the latest version of   The Nevada (DHV 2-3), described as ‘an Avax 
Bruce Goldsmith’s Magic FR on which he’ll               for the people’, is now ready as a serial class
contend the Worlds next month in Brazil.                racer or high performance XC glider. Its little       NOVA                                 brothers the Aspen (DHV 2) and the Golden             Nova have a striking new tri colour scheme on the
                                                        (DHV 1-2) remain in operation above the Bright        Mamboo, a high end DHV 1-2, which is said to out-
FIREBIRD                                                Classic (DHV 1) and the Avax RSE hopes to             perform the very successful Artex. The Tattoo takes
Rising from the flames once again, Firebird have        continue its success in high level competition.       over as their latest DHV 2 wing. The Primax remains
dusted themselves down and are now sporting             The Bi Golden is Gradient’s tandem for 2005.          their entry wing, the Syntax a low end 1-2 and the
not only a complete new range with a totally new                                Radon their DHV 2-3 competition and XC machine.
look, but also brand new management. Peter                                                          
Schifflechner, previously of FreeX, was there to        ICARO
display not only his impressive 4 m high inflatable     Acro pilots Bernd and Xandi from the ‘Against the     OZONE
chicken but also the Z-one (DHV 1), the Spider          Grain’ display team join Icaro for 2005 and will be   Taking over from the Vibe in the DHV 1-2 class the
(DHV 1-2), the Eagle (DHV 2) and the Twix               flying an acro version of the Ice, a new DHV2 wing    Rush is a top end sporty wing aimed at pilots who
tandem. The F18 is an out and out acro wing.            that sits between the Force (DHV 1-2) and the         want 1-2 security but with Vulcan type handling and                                     Cidan. The Cidan is a very sleek looking              performance, and the Buzz is a low end 1-2 for
                                                        competition wing, while the Cyber 2 remains their     pilots wanting 1-2 performance with DHV 1 levels of
FREEX                                                   entry level wing.                                     safety. All Ozone gliders now sport the same colour
Meanwhile Kevin Payne, formerly managing                                          scheme and pilots can choose from eight colour
director of Firebird, announced their 2005 range                                                              combinations. The new gliders join the Atom 2 and
to be the entry level X-one, (AFNOR standard), the      INDEPENDENCE                                          Mojo, both DHV 1, the Vulcan (DHV 2) and the
Frame (ACPUL Standard) and the Arcane (DHV              The Excaliber (DHV 2-3) takes over as the             MacDaddy tandem. Work is underway on the
2). The F16 acro wing is ACPUL Performance. In          serial class racer from the Radical. The              Mantra a new high performance DHV 2-3 wing.
addition to their glider range the company now          Stairway is a new acro wing. Completing the 

18    CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98             ZOOM
                        ProDesign Thesis3            Sky’s new performer         Skywalk Poison

                        UP’s new performance
U-Turn’s acro team      intermediate                 Wings of Change Nemeton

PARATECH                                               with the Arcus 4, whilst the Cirrus 4 is the DHV
Big news from Paratech is that the P80 is in           2-3 high performance wing. Swing now has one
production for 2005 rated DHV 2 and sitting            of the most comprehensive ranges on the
above their P 26 (DHV 1) and the P 43 (DHV 1-          market which includes the Salto acro wing, the
2). The P70 remains the serial racer, the P7 their     Stratus 5 comp wing and the Everest
DHV 3 competition glider and the PBi 4 the             lightweight glider.
tandem wing.                                 
PRO DESIGN                                             UP announce three new gliders for the 2005
For 2005 Pro Design releases the Thesis (DHV 1)        season; the Kuna (DHV 1) replaces the Pulse; a
as a school/beginner’s wing to sit below their         new serial class Trango 2 at DHV 2-3 takes over
two DHV 1-2 gliders, the Effect 2 and the Jazz.        from the very popular Trango 1; and the World
The former is a ‘low end’ 1-2 wing whilst the          Cup winning Targa gets a complete overhaul in
Jazz is designed for a higher level of pilot. The      the form of the Targa 2. UP’s comprehensive
Titan 2 (DHV 2) is a performance glider for XC         range for 2005 also includes the Makalu 2 and
and the Red Joe 2005 a full-blown comp racer.          Kantega in the DHV 1-2 category, the Summit 2                                      at DHV 2 and the Rock acro wing in two sizes,
                                                       one for tandem use!
SKY PARAGLIDERS                              
Czech manufacturer Sky have launched a new
competition wing, the Eris. Load tested for Open       U-TURN
Class competition use it has a claimed top             U-Turn have fully embraced acro flying and judging
speed of 62 kph and is available in four sizes.        by Felix Rodriguez and Richard Gallons’ aerial antics
The Brontes (DHV2), the Atis (DHV 1-2) and the         on the G-Force acro wing they’re doing quite a
Fides (DHV 1) will bring up the rear of the Sky        good job. The Apex (DHV 2) has a bigger uncertified
2005 fleet with the Metis tandem.                      brother, the Apex XP for competition use, and the                                  new BodyGuard (DHV 1) incorporates both B-stall
                                                       help and AFS technology. Between them sits the
SKYWALK                                                Infinity and the U2 tandem (both DHV 1-2).
Skywalk have a smoking new tandem called the 
Join’t, which uses their now established JetFlap
system, and a new high-end race wing, the              WINGS OF CHANGE
Poison. All of their gliders now use JetFlap           Local hero Marcus Grundhammer announced
technology except the Cayenne. The 2005 line           two new wings in the Wings of Change range.
up consists of the Mescal (DHV 1), the Tequila         The Nemesis (DHV 1-2) is another wing to take
(DHV 1-2), the Cayenne (DHV 2) and the Poison.         advantage of Michael Nesler’s flap system and
The Moto.Rizer is a dedicated paramotor wing.          the Nemeton is a new DHV 2-3 comp/XC glider                                       and supersedes the Tsunami. The Taifun (DHV1-
                                                       2), the Twister (DHV 2) and the Chinook Tandem
SWING                                                  complete the range for 2005.
The ever popular Arcus is reborn again in 2005

Ten Years Ago
Stephen Winkworth warns of the pitfalls of editorial laxity
and keeps his feet firmly on the ground

   n 1995, flatland flying was at last coming into      as the ‘foot note’ unapologetically adds, ‘this will
   its’ own and the hang gliding competition at         indeed be boggling.’ Now, if footnotes in general
   Hay in Australia featured pilots from all over       have a fault, it is that they tend to be pedantic.
the world. Hay is very flat indeed, not to say          They rarely boggle. Early issues of Cross Country
bleak, arid and forbiddingly hot at the end of          could never have been accused of pedantry. Wild
January. Here it was, according to the XC report,       flights of grammar flit lightly through their columns
that a few years earlier 25,000 sheep fell victim       - where’er they seem fit - while untamed literals
to the drought, “transforming once thriving farms       and sabre-toothed spelling mistakes stalk their
into a moratorium” (crematorium? mortuary               pages. Wherever possible, dates and locations of
perhaps? - or am I being pedantic?). The event          competitions are breathlessly omitted. No author
was won by French pilot Eric ‘chicken’ Poulet;          suffers the indignity of having his text tinkered with
the second task falling to debonair, ‘biwingwal’        by sub-editors.
Jean-Charles Balembois, for whom a very mild                A victim of this policy was my fellow scribe
French chicken curry was cooked in celebration          Bruce Goldsmith, to whom a huge boo-boo is
at his home town of Gourdon in the south of             attributed in XC 37. For, in his article on Air
France (it really was mild: I ate some).                Density, where Bruce no doubt intended ‘High’,
   But back to the pedantry. It has to be admitted      the word ‘Low’ has crept in, unobserved by the
that at this date the magazine laboured under an        watchful editorial eye. Numerous readers
editorial regime that could only be termed              spotted the problem and wrote in to complain at
“laissez-faire”. I would be the last to deny that       this monumental boggle by Cross Country’s
there is a certain exotic charm to early issues of      veteran author.
Cross Country: the rude ore of reportage from               P.G. Wodehouse, it is well known, “deemed it         Hayler, of the valiant efforts of 300,000
remote corners of the globe, often hastily              best/And in the public interest/To buy a gun, to         Chinese who had toiled without pay to build
translated, and untouched by the editorial refining     oil it well, /Inserting what is called a shell,/And go   the Red Flag Canal of Linzhou, thus saving
process, resulted in an exciting immediacy - albeit     and pot/With sudden shot/This printer who had            future generations from starvation. How much
sometimes at the expense of intelligibility. How        printed ‘not’/When I had written ‘now’.” How             propaganda had Mr Hayler swallowed whole?
about this rough gem, from the account of a             much worse to have printed ‘Low’ where he had            Should pilots support an event in a country
Franco-English record breaking expedition to            written ‘High’! But in Bruce’s case “noblesse            that had just massacred students in Tien-An-
Chile: ‘Closing me up, twisting my wing                 oblige” stayed his hand, for in a footnote to his        Men Square and was brutalizing the people
completely around my head, then stalling it, I lost     article a female collaborator is mentioned.              of Tibet? Let us hope, at least, Hayler had
nearly 300 of my 650m and found myself, just            “Cherchez la femme” as the French would go on            not swallowed whole too much of the famous
above the blasted, red dunes, with my heart             to say - ‘in their original “language”, or where         Linzhou Canal Liquor. Bruce brought back a
shivering like flames in a windy fire.’ A ‘foot note’   they seem fit’.                                          complimentary bottle and defied me to say
explains that ‘Rather than homogenize ... spellings         An important issue at this time was                  what the stuff tasted of. I confess I was
and usages, we have decided to keep them in             whether to support the paragliding pre-World             baffled, not to say nearly asphyxiated, but
their original “language”, or where they seem fit.’     Cup scheduled for next September at                      after trying it out on a few other flyers the
Good on you sport, we get your drift, even if           Linzhou in China. Much was made in an                    general consensus was - ‘very old trainers’.
those last words seem, well, not quite to fit. But,     exploratory article by PWCA secretary, Joe               And on that footy note, farewell.

20:1 Glide?
AIR develop new VR rigid to shatter milestone
                                                                                    2007 Worlds
                                                                                    Australia and USA win CIVL bids, reports Hugh Miller

        he buzz in the flight parks is    of up to 70 mph.

                                                                                            t the recent CIVL meeting in        Both Manilla and Big Springs are
        that rigid wing innovators AIR       It's uncertain whether the VR will             Guatamala, delegates voted       tiny provincial towns and their
        are about to release a new        be certified before the Flytec Champ-             for Big Springs, Texas as        communities are excited to play a
super-high performance version of         ionships this April, but customers are    the venue for the 2007 World             part in such major free flying
their ATOS.                               waiting with baited breath.               Flexwing Hang Gliding                    events. In Big Springs, huge town
    Designer Felix Ruehle's ATOS VR       More at               Championships, and Manilla,              meetings have been held with
is hyped to have a glide of 20:1,                                                   Australia for the 2007 World             scouts and girl guides pledging
which, if true, will smash an                                                       Paragliding Championships.               their assistance for the event
incredible milestone in weightshift                                                    Manilla is well known as a            alongside the local fire department.
hang glider performance. Much of                                                    superb distance area, with Mt               In Manilla, pilot-friendly publican
its development has been derived                                                    Borah owner Godfrey Wenness              Tom Cocking of the Royal Hotel
from the success pilots have had in                                                 having flown several world records       was bubbling with excitement. 'It's
flying AIR's VX tandem glider solo.                                                 from the flatlands site in New           huge for us,' he said. 'This will be
    The VR features swept-back                                                      South Wales.                             televised all over the world. It's
wing tips, a tailplane and winglets.                                                   Big Springs is a less famous          bigger than Tamworth's Country
    Already, top rigid wings benefit                                                aerotow location. The town hosted        Music Festival!'
from a sink rate of around 120                                                      the 2004 US Nationals, and is               The next World Rigid Hang
ft/min, half that of paragliders, and                                               reputed to be the USA's version of       Gliding Championships take place
pilots are used to gliding at speeds                                                Forbes, Australia.                       at Questair in Florida in 2006.

20    CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98             ZOOM
                             03                          05                         06


02                           04

ADVANCE                                                  04>PRO-DESIGN
Always a popular model in the Advance range,             The new addition to the Pro-Design stable is a
the new DHV 2 Sigma is here and now in its 6th           DHV 1 entry level/beginner wing called the
incarnation. The Sigma 6 is available in 4 sizes         Thesis. The Thesis is to be available in three
22 - 31 and covering pilot weight ranges from 55         sizes, 60, 80 and 100 covering weight ranges
- 130kg. Designed by Thomas Ripplinger, the              from 60 to 125kg. Pro Design claim they have
new Sigma is claimed to offer improvements in            managed to create a wing with the safety of the
all areas over the Sigma 5 and in true Advance           new DHV 1 certification but without sacrificing
style the company has paid great attention to the        the fun handling. This should make the Thesis
detail touches in the wing’s design. Typical of this     suitable for both new pilots and more
is their decision to make the risers in two sizes        experienced pilots wanting security but without
so making those on the two smaller sizes an              losing the fun. The 80 and 100 sizes are now
easier reach for small pilots. A minor detail but        certified with the small size pending.
typical of Advance’s attention to detail.      
01>AEROS                                                 Latest hot ship from Sky Paragliders is the
Aeros’s AL12 ultralight sailplane attracted so           Eris, aimed fairly and squarely at advanced
much interest at the Telford International               and competition pilots. The design goals were
Airsports Exhibition that Aeros aquired a new            maximum speed and minimum sink rate but
importer for the UK. The AL12 was one of the             also bringing Sky’s traditional trait of excellent
stars of the show. Let’s face it, where else can         handling into the category. Sky say the new
you find a glider with a 27:1 glide that weighs          wing combines performance with maximum
just 80kg and goes on the roof of your car?              safety alongside easy handling with good                                         feedback and excellent thermaling. The Eris is
                                                         available in four sizes covering take-off
02>APCO                                                  weights from 75 -120kg
The Salsa XS has now passed certification in the
CEN Standard class. The glider is now in
production. Also new in the Apco line up are two         06>SKYWALK
new helmets, the Blade and the Speed. Both use           The team at Skywalk continue to come up with
carbon/Kevlar technology and are laid up by              some innovative and practical ideas. Their latest
hand. Their main features are low drag, washable         is aimed at tandem pilots and is called the
linings, light weight and sizes from S to XXL. The       Biplace Box. Professional tandem pilots have
Speed is a full face helmet and has the option of        long been faced with the dilemma of where to
being fitted with a clear, tinted or reflective visor.   put their glider when the rucksack is already full                                     with the harnesses and helmets. With 120 litres
                                                         of space the BiPlace Box has ample room for
03>ITV                                                   the glider and can be carried on one shoulder if
ITV’s latest offering is the Pawnee which is             necessary. It also doubles as a universal
homologated CEN Standard. The Pawnee has an              rucksack or travel bag. Skywalk also have a
aspect ratio of 5.6:1 a claimed glide of over 8:1        new rucksack with a main compartment
and a sink rate of 0.9 m/s. Price is 3050 Euros          expandable from 130 - 160 litres.                                     

NOVA                                                     U-TURN
The latest offering from the drawing board of            Ernst Strobl’s latest wing is a DHV 1 called the
Hannes Papesh is the Mamboo. Rated DHV1-2                Bodyguard and is the first wing to feature his
the Mamboo is the replacement for the very               new AFS system. AFS stands for automatic flight
popular Artax which, despite being around for a          stabilisation and is a sail pre-tensioning system
while, is still one of the best performers in the        that intervenes when an inexperienced pilot, or a
DHV 1-2 class. Hannes claims the Mamboo                  pilot in trouble enters turbulence and is unable to
improves over the Artax in top speed, glide,             fly actively. By carefully designing the panel
resistance to turbulence and also handles better         shape at the rear of the wing, the slightest drop
and feels more dynamic. The main changes are             in pressure within the wing causes the sail to
that the new wing is from the Tattoo family and as       system to react with a result similar to dabbing
such is smaller than the Artax with more aspect          the brakes. U-turn claim the new system is a
ratio, more sail tension and a more efficient            major step forward in preventing accidents.
aerofoil. In addition to the new DHV 1-2, all four
sizes of the Tattoo are now certified DHV 2.

Best photo wins a Never Ending Thermal DVD. Send yours to, or post to:
READERS’ CLOUDS Cross Country, 1-3 North Court, Lewes, BN7 2AR, UK
Don’t forget to include a caption and your postal address

WINNER Cruising above cloud in wave at Wether Fell, the Yorkshire Dales, UK.   Photographer: Pete Swanborough, Ripon, UK

A Marge Simpson cumulus in front of Trey, Ballon des Vosges,         Sunrise in Mantalegre, Portugal                       Awesome saucer-shaped lenticular over Bright, Australia
France. Photographer: Steve Walsh, UK                                Photographer: Ian Blackmore, Brighton, UK             Photographer: Peter Condick, Mooroolbark, Australia

22     CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98                       READERS’ CLOUDS
The Portuguese Open 2004 - task cancelled                            Abandon hope all ye who enter here! Photographer: Harry Postill, York, UK
Photographer: Nicky Moss, Barcelona, Spain

Amazing sunset at Pemba in Mozambique. Photographer: Jaco de Vries, Reitz, South Africa

                                                                                                                            READERS’ CLOUDS      EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   23
Best photo wins a free 2005 T-Shirt. Send yours to, or post to:
READERS’ GALLERY Cross Country, 1-3 North Court, Lewes, BN7 2AR, UK
Don’t forget to include a caption and your postal address

WINNER Paal Wiik takes a break     Photographer: Lena Abotnes, Stavanger, Norway                            Jason Leus indulges in some winter thermalling at Mt Prevost, Vancouver Island, Canada
                                                                                                            Photographer: Jayson Biggins, Victoria, Canada

Summer at Rustenburg, South Africa                                       Hugging the ridge at Shek O, Hong Kong Island                            Jiri Stipek cranks it up on Christmas Day at Craigy Road, Australia
Photographer: Nadia Firkovich, Pretoria, South Africa                    Photographer: Steve Wordsworth, Hong Kong                                Photographer: Jiri Stipek, Melbourne, Australia

Sunset in the Cheviot Hills, Northumberland UK          A very ambiguous sign. We took it to mean           Cruising magic air above Peeralilla Hill vineyards,     No flying, but at least he’s high!
Photographer: Ron White, London, UK                     ‘Very Scary Thermals’                               South Australia. No in-flight wine was served...        Subscriber Joe Dunbar at work replacing the
                                                        Photographer: Paolo Limauro, Verona, Italy          Photographer: Kym Fielke, Clarence Park,                FDNY communication tower and wearing his
                                                                                                            Australia                                               Cross Country cap
                                                                                                                                                                    Photographer: Joe Dunbar, New York, USA

24     CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98                          READERS’ GALLERY
                                                                                                                        Escaping to freedom: Volkmar Kienol flying in Australia

 There I was: Defecting
‘There I was, standing on the roof of a building overlooking the Berlin Wall
with my home-made hang glider. The big question was not whether it
would fly, but whether I’d get shot!’ Volkmar Kienol tells his tale...

           hen I was 27, I was living   had been mainly spent in the              suggested we use material from the         achieved a best glide ratio of 3:1.
           in East Berlin in East       sensitive field of communications,        stage sets. We broke in,                       All that was left was to find a
           Germany. It was always       they were even more compelled to          “borrowed” some materials, loaded          rooftop launch site that would
my dream to travel and discover         reject my request.                        them into a borrowed van and               enable us to glide over the Wall and
the world but living in the                With no legal options left, I dug      smuggled them back to the                  into freedom. We decided to do it
communist east prevented me from        out the old photo of the Rogallo and      apartment inside a roll of carpet.         in style and go for a 75m high
doing so. In 1986, I read about         Nick and I considered the possibility         The harnesses were made from           building in Leipziger Strasse, close
NASA’s Rogallo wing in a Russian        of flying over the Berlin Wall and into   old blankets, car seat belt webbing        to Checkpoint Charlie. We broke
Aerospace magazine and the              the west. Extreme caution was             and two karabiners from a                  into the building, hid the gliders on
developments that resulted in the       necessary in our planning due to the      hardware store.                            the rooftop and then waited for
modern day hang glider. At this         number of informers around and                Over the next eight weeks the          suitable weather.
stage, hang gliding was forbidden       thanks to our efforts to try and leave    gliders steadily took shape and,               Four weeks later, the conditions
in the DDR due to the risk of           legally, the Stasi were now watching      bar a few enquiries from the               were perfect. We dressed in black for
people escaping and defecting to        us like hawks.                            neighbours asking about the noise,         the occasion, broke into the building
the west.                                  Using the old Rogallo photo and        all went well.                             and made our way to the roof to set
    A few years previously in 1982, I   Nick’s knowledge gained from                  Finally, in October 1986, both         up the gliders. At 1.30 am we had
had written numerous letters to the     building model aircraft, we set           gliders were ready. We had built           corn schnapps and cigarettes and
communist government stating that       about constructing two hang               them in sections so they would fit         drew straws to decide who would go
I didn’t really belong in the East      gliders in my apartment. We               inside our Trabant. One evening we         first. Nick won.
and should be allowed to leave.         calculated we needed 32 m2 of             loaded them up (disguised as rolls             Nick made a hard run from the
They said no. I then tried to           fabric which we duly purchased            of carpet) and drove to a training hill    other side of the building and
convince them my strong religious       from model airplane shops - in 2m2        70km to the east of Berlin.                leaped over the concrete ledge
beliefs should exempt me from the       lots and from different shops within          Nick made his maiden flight at         launching into the night air. The
mandatory eighteen months               a 300km radius so as to avoid             1 am, illuminated by the car’s             glider stalled over the edge and
military service.                       suspicion. Over the next month we         headlights. He broke both uprights         went parachutal - on the way down
    During my time in the army I met    took turns sewing the panels              on landing. I quickly followed suit        the wingtip scraped along a nearby
Nick Kuschmiez. We became great         together but always at random             and we were both soon raiding our          building and both side wires broke.
friends and upon our release we         hours so the neighbours wouldn’t          supply of spare uprights                   200 ft later and almost directly
returned to Berlin and life went        become suspicious.                        compliments of the Berlin Opera.           below launch, he hit the ground. We
back to normal. I again wrote to the       With no aluminium tubing               Over several more nights spent             should have built a ramp. I was left
authorities requesting I leave the      available for the frame, Nick (who        sinking rather than gliding, we slowly     standing on the roof in total
DDR but since my time in the army       worked at the Berlin Opera)               improved the gliders until we finally      darkness, all I knew was that

                             Send to:

The author, Volkmar Kienol

                                                                            All Photos: Binder/Barthelmes

something had gone terribly wrong,       wall with a hang glider, we spent
and I suspected the worst.               the night in the cells at the border
   I dropped my glider and ran           station. One week later, after being
downstairs to find Nick uninjured, but   transported from one prison to
panicking badly. He was convinced        another we were back in Berlin.
that due to the noise of the crash the      The Stasi spent three months
police would arrive any second - we      collecting 2,000 pages of
fled immediately.                        information pertaining to our
   With bits of glider scattered on      attempted escape and we were
and around the building as               duly sentenced to three years in
evidence we would be caught for          prison alongside inmates up for
sure. We now had no other choice         theft and even murder. Nick only
but try to escape the traditional        served six months but I got stuck
way. We took the next train towards      there for a full thirteen months.
the Czechoslovakian border, spent           In 1987 there was an amnesty
the night in a guesthouse and then       and a general release of prisoners. I
moved across the unmanned                was driven to the border and
border crossing on foot early the        released. By coincidence I ran into
next day.                                Nick collecting his mail at a halfway
   Another train took us to the          house. We partied hard and ten
Bavarian border and after an eight-      months later I found work as a
hour walk navigating only by the         soundman for a local television
stars we arrived at the border at        station, I now work as a professional
5am. Completely exhausted we             cameraman for APTN and took up
made it over the first fence but         hang gliding again in 1992. My son
tripped an alarm wire on the             Nils also flies but we fly from hills
second. Suddenly the entire area         nowadays, not buildings.
was illuminated by floodlights and
seconds later there were dogs,           Volker told his story to Carol
guards and guns everywhere.              Binder. Got a ‘There I was’?
   Quickly identified as the criminals   Send yours to us at
who had attempted to fly over the

                                                                                                            HEADING   EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   27

Icaristics: The Full Frontal
Full frontals (and we’re talking collapses here, not centre folds) are a hot subject at the moment, with some new
certified wings not reacting the way we’re used to. Bruce Goldsmith brings us up to date on staying safe when the
whole leading edge unloads

                                                           full frontal collapse is basically the same as an   from collapsing. Once it has collapsed however, you
                                                           asymmetric collapse, but instead of the             should avoid applying brake as this often results in a
                                                           collapse being on one side of the glider and        full stall. If you do apply the brakes, then the timing of
                                                  progressing towards the middle, a full frontal collapse      the brake application as well as the amount of brake
                                                  progresses outwards from the centre of the wing              applied are of extreme importance.
                                                  towards both tips. This type of collapse can be so big          Once the glider has collapsed the wing will
                                                  that it can take out the entire leading edge of the glider   momentarily fall back and then return to its normal
                                                  from tip to tip.                                             position above the pilot’s head. As this happens, a
                                                                                                               few cells at the centre of the wing start to catch the
         by Bruce Goldsmith                       THE SIMPLE ANSWER                                            airflow and the glider should begin to reinflate
                                                  In a full frontal collapse, the wing will usually collapse   progressively from the middle of the wing. During this
                                                  and reinflate before you’ve realised anything has            stage of the recovery, many wings will enter a deep
2004 European Silver Medallist, Serial
                                                  happened. Normally, no pilot action is required - even       stall phase when the wing is falling vertically even
Class World Cup winner, three times               on high performance wings.                                   though the wing, and the leading edge, may be almost
                                                                                                               fully open again. During this stage it is highly advisable
British Paragliding Champion and a                LIFE’S NOT ALWAYS THAT SIMPLE                                not to apply the brakes. Even more important than not
                                                  Having said that, we do need to go into some more            applying any more brake, is the fact that the brakes
designer and test pilot since 1988,               detail. During the fraction of a second the wing is          must be fully released. If they are not fully released,
Bruce Goldsmith has been Cross                    actually starting to collapse, and if your reactions are     with your hands all the way up, the wing may not
                                                  both fast and instinctive, it is possible to use active      recover at all from this deep stall phase. Certified
Country’s lead columnist since 1991               piloting and briefly apply brake so as to stop the wing      gliders should recover from this deep stall phase within

Photo sequence: Bruce Goldsmith                                                           03
01: A full front collapse
02: Momentarily deep stalled following collapse
03: Recovering to normal flight


28     CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98                  ICARISTICS
a couple of seconds and smoothly and quickly return to normal
flight. In most cases the pilot won’t even notice this transitory
deep stall phase.
    There are circumstances however, (if the glider is old, porous,
if the lines have stretched or shrunk, or, if the pilot is out of the
weight range) where gliders may not recover as they should
and the wing may remain in a deep stalled state. If this
happens, a quick pump on the brakes will rock the glider back,
and when you release the brakes, the glider will surge forward
and recover. You must, though, be ready to catch the wing if it
surges too far forward, or you will immediately end up with
another front collapse.

It is possible for a pilot to get a front collapse in perfectly
smooth air. This is demonstrated nicely in the film Instability II
where the front collapse is as a result of the wing pitching
forward unchecked by the pilot following some extreme
induced pitch oscillations. It can also happen as a result of
exiting a thermal badly or when recovering poorly from certain
manoeuvres (e.g. stall, spin, spiral dive). If you feel that this is
happening to you, you need to control the pitch movements on
your glider better by using precise and frequent brake
adjustments to keep the glider flying above your head and
damp out any surges. Very often pilots get front collapses as a
result of a combination of two events happening at the same
time as in failing to damp out a pitch movement at the precise
moment they enter some turbulence.

For certification, full front collapses are induced by taking one
A-riser in each hand and pulling them both down quickly until
the leading edge collapses. The test pilots make sure that they
also pull down the big ears risers if there are any, because if
you don’t, then the tips fail to collapse and can both come
forward to form a front rosette instead of a full front collapse.
   As soon as the leading edge does collapse, the pilot must
release the risers immediately, and then observe the recovery of
the wing. If the glider recovers on its own, without pilot
intervention, and without staying too long in deep stall, then the
glider will pass certification.

I have heard recently of some certified gliders where front
collapses may not recover automatically on their own. This is not
a serious problem, but it does mean that SIV instructors can no
longer advise pilots to never touch the brakes during recovery
from a frontal collapse. If the glider does not progressively recover
from the front collapse, you may need to help it by applying some
brake. This is of course a tricky thing to do because any brake
application can cause a full stall and its resultant surge on
recovery could lead to a cascade.
   Front collapses are generally not as dangerous as side
collapses because there’s no rotation and no high speed
descent following the collapse. Also, little or no pilot action is
required to recover from a front collapse. All you need is height.
Typical height loss during a front collapse is usually between
10m and 30m. The excellent picture of a turbulence induced
front collapse at Montalegre in Spain, (XC97, page 20) is a
superb example of not having height enough to recover from a
front collapse. I hope the pilot walked away from that one
unhurt! [He did - Ed]


Making Safer Landings
                                                                                                               Cracked your landings? Think again.
                                                                                                               Christian Ciech explains what to do
                                                                                                               when faced with a narrow, curved, tree-
                                                                                                               lined, upslope field... with a crosswind!

  n Edition 97 we looked at landing in smaller          very well surprise you with the way your “familiar”
  fields and stronger winds. In this article things     glider performs. Just try it, but for your early       Sometimes, due to the shape of a particular
  get really tricky as we check out some                attempts make sure you’re at least 200 metres          landing field and the presence of obstacles it’s
examples with further complications.                    above the ground. Increase your speed by               not uncommon to see pilots perform quite
                                                        diving, to 60-70 km/h initially, and with practice,    remarkable manoeuvres in order to land directly
NARROW CURVED FIELDS                                    even higher. Shift your weight sideways but don’t      into the wind, when a crosswind landing would
Our first challenge is how to make a standard           push the bar forward and observe how your              actually avoid needless risks. This approach
circuit landing on a narrow, curving field with         wing performs. Does the turn tighten? If not, pull     does pose a few problems, but these are far less
restricted entry windows. In this situation,            the overdrive a little more and increase your          serious than you might imagine. To be honest,
wherever possible you should lose height by             speed, but take care!                                  everyone feels uncomfortable setting up to land
circling in the same direction as the curve of the                                                             in a crosswind, but the technique to be adopted
field. In other words, if the field curves left, then   FOLLOW THE PLAN                                        is simple, safe and instinctive.
360 to the left, and 360 right if the field curves to   The landing field in the following example was             During the approach phase, there’s little
the right. Due to power lines, buildings or other       short, narrow, and with tall trees on either side.     difference to when landing in a headwind. However
obstacles you may be forced to turn the other           Even at the downwind approach there were still         you should remember that you will probably be
way, but if you can turn to follow the curve of the     tall trees to cross. Prior to the flight, my friends   losing height with the wind coming from a different
field, it eliminates the need to reverse your turn      and I studied the field and since it curved slightly   direction, and this will change your course over the
just before landing. This manoeuvre may seem            to the left, we decided that the last 360’s made       ground. You simply have to be careful about where
easy in free airspace, but can become very              to lose height and the final turn into the field       you’re going. During finals, exposed to the
difficult when performed at high speed, at low          should all be made to the left. That way we            crosswind, you should keep your speed relatively
level, and possibly in conditions of turbulence. In     would not to have to reverse the turn a few            high in order to improve control of the glider, that
such conditions, even this “simple” manoeuvre           metres above the trees.                                way you minimise the risk of the turbulence turning
requires very high precision, perfect timing and           On reaching the landing field my two friends        you off course and giving you a degree of tailwind.
just the right intensity of correction.                 started to lose height with a series of perfect        In order to keep your course straight, the nose of
    Often, particularly if you have a lot of hours on   360s... unfortunately to the right! With lots of       your glider must always be turned slightly towards
a particular hang glider, one that’s become your        thermic activity and a considerable breeze             the wind and it’s important to keep your speed up
faithful companion through countless flights you        blowing I could do nothing but watch and pray          until you’ve reached the ground effect stage.
may underestimate the difficulty of performing          as they eventually hurtled over my head with a             At this point, your priority is to concentrate on
unusual manoeuvres when just a few metres               mere five metres of altitude. From such close          keeping the glider level and flying in the desired
from the ground. You should certainly avoid             range it was easy to see their bulging eyes as         direction. Your glider will travel crab-wise, and,
trying out any new manoeuvres during all stages         they levered themselves up into the left corner        because you’re keeping it on a constant course
of low-level flight, even when they seem to be          of the “A” frames and tried desperately to             with its wings level, as your speed decreases, the
relatively simple operations.                           reverse their turns. Both approaches were              glider will gradually turn into the wind. If you
                                                        made all the more difficult by turbulence caused       perform the manoeuvre correctly, when you flare,
SIDE SLIPPING                                           by the trees and the wind gradient. While I            the glider will have just about come to a halt, be
Here’s another example, there’s nothing simpler         watched I found myself instinctively moving my         facing into the wind, and all you have to do is
than making a turn in a hang glider, particularly if    torso, as if I could somehow help them turn            perhaps take a couple of steps sideways.
it’s your own glider. What’s not so easy is making      their craft.                                               The only other thing to watch is that during
a tight, high-speed turn in order to lose height,          In the end, they both made safe stand-up            finals and above all during the ground effect
and therefore without pushing the bar out as you        landings. Luckily they were flying wonderfully         stage, you hare careful to stop the upwind
would in a in a normal coordinated turn. Turning        docile gliders and were both pretty experienced,       wing from lifting. If it does, you risk landing
in this manner, in other words, a side-slip - could     otherwise they would have certainly hit the trees.     with a tailwind.

                              E     X    P     O     S    U     R     E

    Alpine Magic
Bavarian bliss: a portfolio by Germany’s Rainer Scheltdorf

                                  ‘Michael Knipping spirals into the dandelions’

                                                 EXPOSURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   33
‘Gliding down with Klaus Eberle after a great day’s skiing in Oberstdorf ’

                                                                                                            E      X     P      O      S      U      R     E

                                                                                                          ‘Evening soaring over Gstaad in front of
                                                                                                          the glaciers of Berner Oberland; one of
                                                                                                          the best week’s flying I’ve ever had’
NAME: Rainer “Schelli” Scheltdorf
LIVES: Allgäu, close to Oberstdorf in the south of Bavaria
AGE: 35-years-old
OCCUPATION: Photographer and paragliding instructor with own tandem business
FAVOURITE PHOTO SUBJECTS: Paragliding and people
FAVOURITE SPORTS: Paragliding, hiking, mountain biking, skiing and tobogganing

                                        “I started paragliding in 1991 with a Rademacher           advantages: I live in a beautiful area, there are a lot of
                                        Monofly which I acquired in exchange for a few             good acro pilots locally who can do the more radical
                                        boxes of beer. After my first big flight, and without      manoeuvres with mounted cameras, and also I’m not
                                        any training, I was addicted. Within a couple of           sponsored by any particular manufacturer which gives
                                        years I was a paragliding instructor, and after            me a lot of freedom to work with whomever.
                                        making the first tandem crossing of the alps from             “Flying for me is a kind of meditation, it’s all about
                                        Oberstdorf to Italy, I set up a tandem business in my      being at one with the air, the sun and the earth. I
                                        home of Oberstdorf.                                        get a sort of controlled rush. Floating around,
                                           “Inspired by Uli Wiesmeier’s legendary book “Wing       tapping and controlling the power of nature to
                                        Over” I started experimenting with a very simple           explore new regions and views - for me nothing else
                                        compact camera. In 1998 I bought my first SLR and          could be stronger and purer. Hopefully soon, I will
                                        started to learn, step by step and film for film, what     find the time to realise one of my biggest dreams, a
                                        makes a good picture. I am still learning. My goal is to   bivouac flight through the Alps together with my
                                        capture the dynamics of flying in my photos,               best friend Oli Rössel - and you can be sure my
                                        especially acro manoeuvres. I have several                 camera will be along for the ride.”

                                                                                                         EXPOSURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY           35
E    X   P    O    S     U     R    E

           ‘Throwing it down in Bavaria with acro addict
                          Michael “The Rotor” Knipping’

                          EXPOSURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   37
E    X    P     O    S     U     R     E

     ‘Messing about with Oli Rössel at the end of the season’

                               ‘Winter fly down with friends
                           Michael Knipping and Chris Geis
                       - where did that gap in the clouds go?’

                  ‘When I saw pilots doing SATs in Germany,
           I decided to give it a try. With the Spirit, it wasn’t
                    always that easy to find the entry point...’

                   EXPOSURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY       39
       In the middle of the desert with seemingly nothing
           to see for miles around, every day hundreds of
              cars stop beside milestone 419 of the South
 Panamerican Highway. People pour out for a glimpse at
what is probably the most striking and enigmatic wonder
    to be discovered in the last century: giant, incredibly
  precise drawings scratched into the desert floor by an
                        ancient and long gone civilisation.

Jérôme Maupoint takes part in Operation Nazca, the aim
      - to be the first to fly paragliders over the famous
                                   etchings of Nazca, Peru
                                              All Photos: Jérôme Maupoint


                                               W                 e’re at the foot of a mirador or
                                                           observation point in the middle of the
                                                          desert and fifteen kilometres north of the
                                               city of Nazca, Peru. A souvenir vendor calls us
                                               over and points to the top platform of an iron
                                                                                                       he waves a slip of paper pulled out of his
                                                                                                       pocket; it’s an authorization to fly here for two
                                                                                                       days only and granted by the Peruvian civil
                                                                                                       aviation aurthority. It looks like we are not to
                                                                                                       have the skies to ourselves.
                                               tower. He tells us that from up there we can see a          Our aim is to capture images of paragliders
                                               pair of hands and a tree traced in the earth. Before    in flight over the famous earth lines of Nazca,
                                               long we’re all standing at the top of the tower         although access to the historical site is
                                               peering down at the famous drawings of Nazca.           strictly forbidden. With two drum winches, a
                                                   From this perspective, the pampa of San             paramotor and ten brand spanking new
                                               José reveals itself as strikingly rugged: a vast        canopies, our equipment and logistics are
                                               stony plain extending over tens of kilometres.          worthy of a true expedition. The only thing
                                               Not a single soul inhabits it, and, according to        left to do is to announce our project to the
                                               hearsay not a single drop of rain has fallen here       local authorities. Risking refusal, we
                                               for at least five years. All day long dust devils       nevertheless want to avoid any illegality and
                                               sweep the plain like sentinels. It’s only 9.30 in       hope to glean the necessary permission from
                                               the morning and already the thermometer on              an official local source.
                                               our truck reads 33° C. In the distance, two                 At Nazca airport, we’re confronted with our
                                               small planes dip their wings to circle at low           first hurdle, a wall of total incomprehension. In
                                               altitude, breaking the golden silence that had          explaining our idea, we don’t want to give too
                                               filled the air. Within seconds, they’re above us        much away. José Tabar, a local Aero Condor
                                               and descend to as low as 60 metres AGL. With            pilot takes our case in hand and generously
                                               this, Gin Seok Song starts to boil over, furiously,     informs us of the situation:

- No less than 180 planes, carrying three to four         the high risk of collisions. Still, we leave the     presence of human beings around the Nazca
  tourists each, fly over Nazca daily.                    airport with a complete list of GPS positions for    drawings. We state our case - we need only a
  Occasionally in the afternoons, the turbulence          each figure, but with no idea what lies ahead in     kilometre and a half of runway and a perfect
  is too strong for the planes to take off. This          terms of free flying.                                option already exists, and our group is made up
  first remark deflates our enthusiam.                                                                         entirely of world class pilots who can’t possibly
                                                        During our bumpy reconnaissance flights by             miss their landing spots and damage the earth
- Every plane flies a circuit of about 30 minutes,      plane, we spot a runway between the Condor             lines. I have a mind to tell these guys at the NIC
  passing over the best-preserved figures and           and the Hummingbird. It looks like a perfect spot      that if paragliders alone had been allowed to fly
  lines. Often they’ll fly several times at different   to operate the winches. The two figures are            over Nasca, then the Andes Condor (one of the
  altitudes over certain drawings - mainly the          among the largest (the Condor alone is 200             world’s most majestic birds) would never have
  Hummingbird and the Condor - which are the            metres long) and most distinguishable drawings         left the area in the first place. I manage to
  most spectacular.                                     of all and are set about a kilometre apart. On         restrain myself. Sometimes it seems it’d be
                                                        landing, we ask to meet with the flight officials in   easier to get permission to land on the moon
- When conditions are right, the little Cessnas are     the control tower which results in some good           than on certain parts of our own planet!
  likely to circle directly above the drawings at as    news, and some bad.                                       They eventually give us permission to fly but
  low as 60 metres AGL and in very steep turns.            It is forbidden to fly over the San José Pampa      restrict our flight window so narrowly (sunrise to
  It’s the only way for their clients to see a          between 7 am and 5 pm - that’s the good news.          7 am and 5 pm to sunset) that we have only a
  complete picture. These foreign tourists will pay        The bad news is that the officials of the NIC       maximum of 3 hours a day to work. Furthermore
  over 50 dollars to see certain drawings: the          (National Institute of Culture) are manifestly upset   we still don’t know where we’ll launch from,
  Condor, the Monkey, the Astronaut, the Dog,           that we hadn’t informed them earlier of our            needless to say, we’re off to a slow start.
  the Heron, the Spider and a dozen others. It’s        project. They want to meet with us immediately.           The NIC grants us three days of filming and
  quickly evident that any collaboration with the       The NIC is a government agency that oversees           will authorize use of the diagonal runway off the
  local Cessna pilots is out of the question due to     protected areas. It’s particularly sticky about the    Panamerican Highway. An agent from the >

                                                                                                                ADVENTURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY        43

                                                  Institute will remain on spot to watch that we    including a tandem paramotor and a kayak!
                                               don’t take a single step out of bounds.                  The next morning our orders are to stand to
                                                  Finally ready, we each set to our specific        for sunrise at 5.15 am and to get in as many
                                               tasks, Gin and Hausi man the winches, Mathias        flights and images as possible before the
                                               and Eric are the drivers, Louise, Ogi, Robert and    Cessnas arrive at 7 am.
                                               Norman are the free flyers and my job is to follow       A battery of alarms go off in the hotel at 3 :00
                                               the pilots by paramotor and capture as many          am, all the vehicles are loaded to the gunwales
                                               ‘perfect’ images in as short amount of time as       and each one of us checks his equipment and
                                               possible. Paul, a Peruvian pilot who just happens    rehearses his part. When the first ray of sun cuts
                                               to be in Nazca too offers to give a hand             across the sky it’s just like being in the movies.
                                               whenever needed. We count ourselves lucky -          “Camera, action!”
                                               Paul arrived on the pampa with a car full of toys        But, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a problem

with the paramotor and so the photographer is           gas as Hausi lets out the cable. Our wing lifts,       drawing. I’m torn between wanting to take in the
left on the ground. It takes too long to fix it so      the towline tightens and we rocket upward. At          splendour of the surroundings and concentrating
we decide to bring out the spare and rethink our        100 metres we release and continue to climb            on the task at hand. Dare I miss this moment
plan. In the end, Norman and I take the tandem          with the motor, heading in the direction of the        which is the culmination of weeks of arduous
paraglider and paramotor, but get winched up            Hummingbird 850 metres ahead. Behind us,               work for a sneek peek at the view. Once again I
rather than trying to launch from the stony             Louise has just taken off. She has to gain as          check to see if my camera is functioning properly,
runway with 35 kilos on our back.                       much altitude as possible to optimise the height       there are still plenty of things that can throw a
    This works fine but once in the air, another        of the release before drifting slowly toward ‘goal’.   spanner in the works of Operation Nazca and I
surprise awaits us. Fully loaded, we can barely             Down below there’s a smell of burning plastic      have no desire for it to be a film that doesn’t wind
maintain altitude and have to put up with a             coming from Hausi’s winch. With one hand he            on correctly or a lens ring that gets stuck due to
cacophony of heavy metal roaring away behind            maintains the tension and with the other               a grain of sand.
us. So it’s back to earth once again. Marc is           drenches the drum with water. In the air, the early       We experience the Hummingbird at 6.30 am
certain that the problem comes from the                 morning mist has evaporated and the ravines            for three whole minutes. The next day we winch
carburettor and proceeds to dismantle and clean         lining the Hummingbird outline the contours. As        two paragliders simultaneously on separate lines,
it, only to discover that one of the jets is entirely   carefullly as I can, I begin pulling out my camera.    but the light is not as beautiful as the previous
unscrewed. He works quickly and before long the         At about 200 m from the Hummingbird and 500            day and the cable breaks twice. A few days later
motor roars back to life, giving full power again.      m above it the ancient artwork is utterly              we lose 70 m of line somewhere near the
    It’s now 6.15 am and the light illuminating the     magnificent. Louise releases her cable and heads       Condor and the subsequent knots only weaken
plains is unreal. It’s already stifling hot and every   toward us. Before long she passes just beneath         our towing efforts. But then again, how can one
minute lost means an equal number of images             and I follow her track with the lens desperate to      possibly live through such emotions and not
lost. We take off once again, Mathias gives the         catch her in the perfect position relative to the      make a few sacrifices?

                                                                                                                ADVENTURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY         45

For centuries, the inhabitants of the San José            studying the lines and geoglyphs in great detail. She   made from animal skins to supervise the tracing
pampa were aware of the existence of the                  measured, documented, traced and photographed           of the figures from an appropriate height. But the
mysterious lines which they called “Inca routes”          them and fought for their preservation. She went as     wildest affirmation, due mainly to the Astronaut
believing that they were ancient abandoned                far as to single handedly sweep the lines with a        drawing, is that the figures serve as a landing pad
footpaths. It wasn’t until 1941 that Paul Kosok, an       broom over dozens of kilometres. She continued to       for extra-terrestrials.
American archeologist finally decided to examine          search for the reasons behind these engimatic
the phenomena more closely. Measuring one of the          figures until her death in 1998.                        CAST
so called routes on the afternoon of June 21st he            In spite of her work, the Nazca drawings throw       Drummers (of winches): Gin Seok and
observed that the sun struck one of the lines head        up more questions than they answer. Certain lines       Hausi Bollinger
on and deduced that it was a Solstice marking,            correspond to the location of underground rivers        Drivers: Mathias Roten and Eric Roussel
probably signifying an important agricultural calendar    that flow from the Andes mountains toward the           Technical: Marc Godefroy
date. From this point on, the lines, originally thought   coast. It’s been said that the lines represent a huge   Stuntmen (and woman): Louise Crandal,
to be footpaths, were regarded as possible                map of Lake Titicaca. It’s also been proposed that      Robert Graham and Kaoru Ogisawa
depictions of a gigantic astronomical calendar. Later,    the Nazcas, a civilization that populated the area      Giving it Gas: Norman Lausch
astronomist Maria Reiche, dedicated her life to           between 100 and 600 AD used hot air balloons            Pen and Pictures: Jérôme Maupoint

                                                                                                                   ADVENTURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY         47
                         De Aar
           The new Zapata

                                              Photos: Jaco Wolmarans

           Breathe deeply, tighten your straps, and
           prepare to fly higher and further than ever
           before. In the early 1990’s, world paragliding
           records tumbled at Kuruman, South Africa.
           World records then fell at Manilla, Australia,
           and Zapata, USA. But a new exciting
           destination has just been discovered. Jaco
           Wolmarans calms his nerves and counts
           down to launch

                        SITES | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY      49
De Aar
The new Zapata

  Dribble, dribble, drool. Photo: Jaco Wolmarans

                                                                                                   High above the measurelessly vast veldt, distance loses its perspective. Photo: Simon Headford
            Earl Valentine climbs out. Photo: Jaco Wolmarans

                                                                        he list of personal best distances being              conditions is gone and we are all seriously intent
                                                                        broken in De Aar is as mind-numbing as                on not just observing the De Aar Phenomenon,
                                                                        the hypoxia you’ll gladly suffer to avoid the         but being a part of it ourselves.
                                                                walk outs. Novice, Gregory Watkins’ modest                        The next day we make it onto the runway
                                                                improvement from 12 to 107km during the first                 even earlier, XC newbie Earl Valentine gets away
                                                                SAN Flatlands Challenge here comes to mind. And               and in a gallant effort scrambles along for 4km at
                                                                how about student Gert Bosch, still under                     just 300m before climbing to 1200m AGL, his
                                                                instruction? Gert blasted off on a 45km cross                 highest ever, and his first real flatlands flight.
                                                                country before he’d even passed his basic licence.                On my fourth winch of the day I hook a beauty
                                                                    And these are by no means isolated events,                at 92m, and when at 2800m ATO, (my best height
                                                                Peter Salomon jumped from a personal best of                  gain ever in a single climb) I set off following the
                                                                8km to 72km. After being forced to land due to                road to Hanover and slowly become aware of a
                                                                the competition’s land-by-time Peter was left                 new sensation - a dizziness and indecision I’ve
                                                                wondering what all the fuss was about.                        never experienced before. I keep looking at the
Launch at De Aar’s baking hot airfield. Photo: Jaco Wolmarans   “Flatlands, pah! It’s easy, anyone can do it!”                two roads ahead of me and forgetting which one
                                                                    In a remarkably short space of time, De Aar               I’m following... hypoxia maybe?
                                                                has gained a reputation as a formidable                           A combination of turbulence and a suspected
                                                                flatlands destination and it’s no small thanks                lack of oxygen persuade me to keep between
                                                                to husband and wife team Arnold and Des                       1500 to 2000m AGL. At this point Tim radios
                                                                Pansi who, two years ago, set up a B&B in                     that Lou is experiencing altitude sickness and he
                                                                the dusty Karoo town and kicked things into                   too will be staying low.
                                                                gear providing the perfect base to enjoy the                      But the weather gods laugh at the best-laid
                                                                awesome conditions and an infrastructure                      plans of pilots, and at 1400m, and on half bar, I
                                                                that allows you to concentrate on the flying,                 fly straight into a rough 7.5 up. Hanging on for
                                                                rather than the retrieves - or is this just the               dear life I race past 2000m, too scared to leave
                                                                marketing blurb?                                              the lift. The climb then accelerates to 8.2m/s and
                                                                    We roll into town, high season January means              in no time flat, my self-appointed ceiling of
                                                                furnace-like heat, and we catch a short respite               3000m has come and gone.
                                                                by the pool where we meet some UK pilots: Tim                     Desperate to escape, feeling dizzy and out of
                                                                Guilford, Lou Maurice and Simon Hedford. We’re                control, I finally manage to leave the thermal -
                                                                all here to break records and set personal bests.             but not the lift. Flying crosswind and hard on the
                                                                    At 9:30 the next morning we brave the heat                bar I travel a whole 3km before escaping. By
                                                                and line up on the runway. By the time we are                 then I’ve had enough, and spiral down to land.
                                                                back around the pool, sharing stories over a few                  A local sailplane pilot comes over and asks
                                                                beers, Simon has made a respectable 140km,                    how I keep my glider flying in these conditions.
                                                                achingly short of his personal best of 142km,                 “Prayer” I reply before asking him how he knows
                                                                and Tim, just ahead of him, cracked on further                it’s rough. He simply smiles and says he knows
                                                                for a wonderful 209km. Any caution about the                  the sky around here.

                                                                                                                                        SITES | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY                   51
De Aar                  The new Zapata

1270 km in six days!
By Simon Hedford

            ith some spare time on a ‘business’               80km or so until the edge of Kikvorsberg and                       over the radio, and I eased past the 200km mark
            trip to South Africa last year leading            the plateau beyond. Here Tim and Lou                               halfway through the climb.
            me to some great flying at the SAN                unfortunately missed the best part of our climb                        But now it was 5.30 in the afternoon, the light
2004 Flatlands Challenge I was inspired me to                 just at the vital point where we needed to max                     seemed to be fading and my climb rate slowed. I
return with Tim and Lou having cooked up a plan               out before crossing the high ground.                               gazed critically at the sky and spotted several
for a mega-dose of XC flying to shake off the                    Gliding on from about 4000m it took one low                     fingers of particularly dense cirrus building
European winter blues. With my personal best                  leesider before I was feeling back in control                      behind me but with the sky ahead still looking as
having stood at 142km for about 18 months, I                  again. I said goodbye to Tim and Lou as they                       strong as it had done most of the day. There
felt it was time to push the boundaries a little.             landed, and concentrated on negotiating a                          was no other option than to continue and hope
    The mission for Tim and Lou was distance                  difficult section where the ground dropped away                    to reach the good clouds before they died. I
tandem. With the uninterrupted flatlands                      slowly towards the flatlands again.                                glided a full fifteen minutes in zero’s or weak lift
stretching off into the distance, and a westerly                 Staying high and cruising along at a                            before finally encountering sink, all the while
flow giving ground speeds around 60kph, this                  respectable 30-40kph average I passed my                           watching those lovely clouds steadily dissolve.
place looked to have potential.                               previous personal best with a reasonable if not                        The landscape of the Northern Cape and
    We were blasting up so high Tim radioed that              spectacular 2300m AGL, sure that at least                          upper Karoo desert is huge, seeming to stretch
Lou was suffering from hypoxia, and I mean                    150km was in the bag and maybe even 200!                           away in all dimensions and so measurelessly
suffering. But passing out and puking over the                   My next target was the twin conical peaks of                    vast that despite the 70, 80 and 90kph numbers
both of them didn’t dampen her determination to               Koffiebus and Teebus (‘coffee bush’ and ‘tea bush’),               appearing on the GPS it often appears not to
fly on. Once back below 3000m and with some                   standing like sentries on the plain below. In need of              move at all on glide.
proper air to breath she urged Tim on and wasn’t              a thermal, I had a decision to make - coffee or tea.                   After overflying six distinct trigger points
happy to land and recover until they had set the              In very un-British fashion I went for coffee, and got it           without a bleep I finally landed with panda-eyes
De Aar site record for tandems at 103km, by the               right - the perfect thermal from the perfect trigger. I            and a wide grin at just before 6.00 and 233km
end of the week they’d pushed it up to 120km.                 was soon grinning my way back to base in a 4m/s                    from De Aar. My flight had taken 5 hours 50
This was hardly the exception; Tim even managed               climb, the smoothest of the whole flight.                          minutes - exactly the same time as for my
to slip in a solo personal best of 209km.                        Getting lower all the while and feeling my way                  previous best of 142km in Texas. My highest
    Day seven was my lucky number, Tim and Lou                towards rising ground west of Bamboesberg, the                     altitude was 4800m ASL with a maximum ground
climbed out first on the tandem while I took                  constant and reassuring presence of Arnold was                     speed of 90km/h and an average of about
another couple of tows to get away. We                        lost as I left him behind a low ridge. With the                    40km/h. Peak climb rates approached 9m/s with
struggled for the first 30km then the lapse rate              walkouts looking less and less attractive it was                   no really turbulent air and certainly nothing my
improved and effectively blew away the low level              decision time, should I continue or not? The                       trusty Airwave Sport couldn’t deal with.
inversion. Word came over the radio that it was               GPS said 195km and I knew I wasn’t going to                            The flying at De Aar is absorbing and intuitive,
now too windy to launch at the airfield so no one             get the magic 200 unless I flew straight at the                    the height gains frequently mind-boggling. We
else was going to be joining us. Better climbs                escarpment in front of me in the hope that the                     regularly got to 5000m on days when base was
and more ground speed - things were looking up!               text-books were right.                                             well over 6000m. We flew 1275km in seven days
    We worked each successive climb up from                      What the hell - you only live once - and the                    before the weather turned, or if you discount the
4000 to 4500m ASL and then to just below base                 gods smiled on my decision as I rocketed back                      first (warm-up) day, 1270km in 6 days, which is
at 4800m. We worked together for the next                     into view above the peaks. “Nice thermal” came                     an average per pilot of about 105 km per day!

Tim Guilford (standing) and Lou Maurice preppingwith oxygen

                                                              In orbit, and still only half way to base! Photo: Simon Headfrod
                                                              Photo: Jaco Wolmarans
                                                                                                                                    STOP PRESS
                                                                                                                                    On Jan 31st, the last day of Simon’s stay, he
                                                                                                                                    managed 273km in 5 hours 30 minutes. In
                                                                                                                                    addition to being a new site record for De Aar
                                                                                                                                    we suspect this is the furthest anyone’s ever
                                                                                                                                    gone on a DHV1-2.



Gentlemen, start your engines!
                                                                                                         South Africa’s Cape Town coastline. All photos: Jaco Wolmarans

With the huge increase in                                                                       THE METHOD

                                          ot long ago, paramotors were regarded by many
paramotoring popularity,                  pilots as one of the best ways to take the fun out    We threw some extremes at the test wings, using two
                                          of paragliding. Take the convenience, silence,        completely different motors - one a belt-driven motor
wing designers are giving it      portabilitiy and purity of a paraglider, then hang a noisy,   generating a fair amount of torque effect, the other a
gas! Most manufacturers           heavy engine on your back. True, a skilled pilot could        gearbox-fitted Top80 with hugely reduced torque effect.
now sport a purpose-made          launch from flat ground and in nil wind, but launching the        To eliminate all possible variables, we did all speed,
motor wing in their line-ups.     beast was fraught with danger and the motor made your         glide and climb tests using the same pilot and motor
South Africa’s Jaco               paraglider handle like a pig once airborne.                   on the same day and in the smooth coastal air of Cape
                                     Now skip to the present: with today’s paramotor            Town’s Table View beachfront.
Wolmarans and Keith               wings requiring almost no effort to launch, and with              The test pilot would radio measurements through,
Pickersgill test out seven to     motors that weigh next to nothing, paramotoring has           land, clip into the next wing, and repeat the process -
sample the different              become far more accessible to the average pilot. Add          all within five minutes of each other to try and eliminate
characters on offer               to this the sheer convenience to the time-strapped            changes in atmospheric conditions. We measured
                                  paraglider pilot, and you’ll understand the explosion in      speeds at level flight, noting the rpm required to
                                  PPG popularity.                                               maintain level flight as a measure of fuel efficiency.
                                     Modern paramotor wings rarely display the hang-                Apart from the aerial tests, we tried the wings in a
                                  back characteristics of ordinary slope-launched               series of ground tests selected to emulate how the
                                  paragliding wings, they’re designed to handle                 wings would respond in the hands of the typical,
                                  impeccably even in the lightest of winds and are often        lesser-experienced pilot.
                                  almost immune to the effect of a turning propellor - the          Lastly, using the torque-prone motor with carabiners
                                  three criteria that set a good PPG wing apart from a          and all adjustments deliberately set to neutral gave us
                                  wing designed solely for free flight.                         a good idea of how tiring the wing would be if flown
                                     With this in mind, we designed a side-by-side              uncompensated.
                                  comparison to test some of the hottest wings on offer.            Some readers might question why the Paramania
                                                                                                Action does not feature. While we flew the Action,
                                                                                                Paramania did not want the review included in this
                                                                                                group test, citing that it would confuse their marketing
                                                                                                of their new range of wings, due out soon.

JW: ‘Agile and snappy’
The Kinetik greatly retains energy in wingovers, but
needs a deft hand to co-ordinate wingover exits and
turbulence. It sports a high trim speed, but strangely
enough a short speed-bar travel. It hangs back slightly
during pull-up, even with the trim dropped. If you’re an
experienced pilot, like your acrobatics and can handle
the G’s, this cruiser is for you.
KP: ‘Enthusiastic performance’
The Kinetic requires deft and firm handling and is
aimed at the experienced pilot who will understand
the acceleration and deceleration capability of its
trimmers. Its ground-handling in variable winds could
be technical, but an experienced PPG pilot will have
no problems.

JW: ‘Fun, ease and simplicity’
The Muse has an almost flawless launch, staying
directly overhead even at a walking pace. Although
very sensitive to offset trimmers, its response to torque
effect was surprisingly small in level flight. Although not
the fastest, its docile character makes for effortless XC
flying and makes it an excellent first motor wing.
KP: ‘Forgiving and predictable’
The Muse is ideally suited to the rank novice, even
those with zero paragliding experience. It’s amazingly
forgiving, easy to handle in all conditions, predictable
to a fault (it might seem a little too damped for more
experienced pilots), and is possibly one of the most
comforting wings to launch and fly. Overall it makes an
excellent school training wing.

JW: ‘A no-nonsense racer’
Although the PAP seems to turn slightly flatter, it’s still
very willing and it’s certainly possible to throw it around
if the mood takes you. It’s very quick, climbs fast, and
zips along merrily at high speeds. Pull-ups in lighter
conditions required slightly more coaxing to come
directly overhead than the Apco and Muse and it
seemed very stable at speed.
KP: ‘Sporty, solid, thoroughbred’
The PAP is a wing that wants to go places at full
speed, delivering surprisingly solid stability. It has the
handling of a thoroughbred but with the confidence-
inspiring comfort of an intermediate. Ideally suited to
the gifted student pilot upgrading from a school wing
under the guidance of his instructor, or the
experienced pilot wanting to go places. >

                                                                         BETWEEN THE SHEETS   EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   55
JW: ‘The all-rounder’
The Tomahawk has a huge useable speed range at trim.
It is prone to torque effect, but special offset attachment
points negate this completely and the light speed bar
and great agility make for excellent in-flight comfort. This
wing will satisfy most long-haulers, speed freaks, fun
flyers and will more than hold its own in competitions.
KP: ‘High-speed comfort’
The Tomahawk is a seriously sporty wing for the
experienced pilot. If you can handle the conditions,
this wing will too. Comfort, solid handling and
predictability are its hallmarks, and unless some
serious innovations come along, the Tomahawk will
remain hard to beat. The Tomahawk is best suited to a
pilot who is confident in his own capabilities.

JW: ‘An energy-saving long-hauler’
The Thrust may feel slightly heavy, but it launches
beautifully, has a superb climb rate and has a good
turn of speed. The firm brake pressure had me doing
some wide, flat turns, but I’ve also seen some big
wingovers performed on it. It’s slightly prone to torque
effect, but nothing you can’t fix with the trimmers. The
Thrust’s high energy retention, good glide and climb
rate will probably make it a fuel-efficient long-hauler.
KP: ‘The quiet workhorse’
My first impression of the thrust was of a fairly
unremarkable wing until I realised it just gets on with
the task, whatever you throw at it, with no complaints,
no surprises and with nothing unexpected happening.
This may be partly down to the the special intakes
which are covered with one-way valves to help prevent
deflations, even when pushed hard the Thrust simply
got on with the job with no collapses. Suitable Thrust
buyers would range from beginners to experienced
pilots looking for a solid, dependable wing.

JW: ‘Best selling All-rounder’
The Sting’s got everything tidily in place: it features a
good pull-up and is complete predictability in flight,
even when exiting abruptly from steep turns. As a
distance wing, it also excels, requiring little effort to fly
thanks to being only mildly susceptible to torque effect
and very happy with hands-off flying. It has just the
right amount of agility to be a fun wing, yet also has
more than enough stability to race with.
KP: ‘Dependable and comforting’
Aimed at the novice to intermediate pilot, the Sting is one
of the easier wings to launch in light winds, yet is also
very forgiving in strong and gusty winds. It’s a comforting
wing to throw around over your local field, or to take
cross country on long cruising flights. Quite simply, a wing
you can depend on in all conditions,yet lively enough to
really throw around when you feel exuberant, particularly
if they frequently fly in strong winds.

JW: ‘A solid beginner’
Although not a dedicated motor wing the Z1 did
admirably well in the review. Seated firmly in the fun
category, it is a willing climber, very agile and exits
messy spirals with grace. It’s not a wing for pilots into
long-haul adventures, but more for those interested in
mucking around near launch. For flying little precision
tasks it will prove immensely enjoyable.
KP: ‘A newcomer’s friend’
The Z1 has a relatively low aspect ratio and deep
profile making it an extremely docile wing with no nasty
surprises. With straightforward ground-handling and in-
flight characteristics it’s perfect for a lazy cruise down
the beach. The Z1 would make an excellent school
training wing although it would, however, benefit from
the addition of trim tabs. Every instructor should have
one for those students of a more nervous disposition.

 The ITV Tomahawk was originally developed as a
 paraglider for soaring rather than powered flight, but
 was immediately recognised by PPG pilots as an
 ideal sporty powered wing and has gained some
 popularity among performance-orientated PPG
 pilots as a result.                                              The inclusion of the Firebird Z1 and to a lesser extent the MacPara Muse in our test
     Spanish paramotor manufacturers, PAP, also                   emphasises the huge difference between wings designed for free flight and those dedicated to
 recognised the potential of the Tomahawk, so                     motor flight. The Z1 and the Muse felt decidedly different to the rest of the field - very agile and
 entered into collaboration with ITV to tweak and                 more fun, but clearly not intended as racers. This places them in the "first motor wing"
 tune the Tomahawk specifically for powered                       category. The rest of the contenders are more performance-oriented, requiring more
 flight, further enhancing its powered                            experience and skill at high speeds. Choosing between them was hard - it was easier saying
 characteristics. The result is sold by PAP as their              there was not a bad apple in the bunch than picking the sweetest one. It boils down to either
 Racing model though it is manufactured by ITV to                 the amount of agility you prefer, or what degree of high-speed stability you demand.
 PAP’s revised specifications.                                       Further, your choice will necessarily be influenced by your harness set-up, height of your
     Among the tweaks are lines that average about                attachment points and wing loading. Suffice to say that there is a motor wing for every taste out
 25cm shorter, and a more pronounced wash-in                      there. This, plus the small differences in measured specs, are indicative of the level of
 (the wingtips have a greater Angle of Attack),                   competition amongst designers out there - all of which counts in your favour in the form of
 reducing deflations at high speed while sacrificing              greater choice.
 L/D ratio which is in keeping with developing
 powered characteristics.

Windtech Kinetik 27   39kph - 8450     45kph - 8650             46kph - 8650        37kph - 1.6m/s               49kph - 8600      24.3m2           DHV1/2    85-145 kg
MacPara Muse 28       36kph - 8350     39kph - 8400             42kph - 8400        37kph - 1.2m/s               45kph - 8500      24.78m2          DHV1      85-110 kg
PAP Racing M          38kph - 8100     45kph - 8450             45kph - 8400        39kph - 1.3m/s               51kph - 8500      25.1m2           CEN Std   85-105 kg
ITV Tomahawk2 28      38kph - 8100     44kph - 8200             45kph - 8400        39kph - 1.4m/s               51kph - 8500      25.1m2           CEN Std   85-105 kg
Powerplay Sting       37kph - 7800     43kph - 8000             45kph - 8150        38kph - 1.25m/s              51kph - 8500      25.1m2           DHV1/2    80-105 kg
APCO Thrust           37kph - 8150     44kph - 8250             44kph - 8300        38kph - 1.4m/s               51kph - 8400      25.2m2           CEN Std   80-135 kg
Firebird Z1           35kph - 8150     no trim                  44kph - 8400        36kph - 1.8m/s               no trim           26.1m2           DHV1      80-100 kg

                                                                                                      BETWEEN THE SHEETS                  EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY         57
                                                                                        Crossing the mile-deep, 30 km wide gash in the earth known as the Grand Canyon.
                                                                                                                                       Photo: Christian Pondella/Red Bull

Grand Canyon   Will Gadd climbs to 17,800 ft
                              to make the glide of his life....

                                         I            ’m scared, scared enough to taste metal in
                                                    my mouth and have a hard time keeping my
                                                  feet on the bucking struts of Chris
                                              Santacroce’s Cosmos trike as we toss through
                                              the thermals over the Arizona desert.
                                                                                                        forest covers both rims, but the interior of the
                                                                                                        canyon is a searing desert that often literally
                                                                                                        bakes over-confident hikers to death. Large
                                                                                                        signs at the top of the rare trails warn hikers that
                                                                                                        every year about 250 people are rescued from
                                                  Why is my paraglider stuffed into a bag               this canyon and that many die here.
                                              hanging off the trike? And is jumping off a trike            So last September I stood on the rim. Hell, it
                                              doing 40mph really the best way to experience             was big, deep and wild, the cycles ripping up
                                              my first-ever “D-Bag?” I’m a cross country                among the strongest I’d ever felt. The Canyon is
                                              paragliding pilot, not some radical acro pilot.           “only” 30km across, but it’s almost 2km deep
                                                  Only the call of a truly amazing flight over the      and just laced with sub-canyons and ridges. Add
                                              Grand Canyon has forced me to step up and                 the powerful canyon winds into the equation and
                                              hang my harness inches from a whirling prop - a           a paraglider in the depths of the Grand Canyon
                                              flight that germinated in my mind about ten years         at midday would be exploring whole new
                                              ago while I jetted over the Canyon.                       frontiers of fear.
                                                  The flight sure looked feasible on a good day,           The flight looked simple on paper. Tow up
                                              but what if you landed in there? Beautiful pine           near the rim, get high, glide 16-30km across. >

Dreams                                                        Grand Canyon Dreams

                            Will’s lips crack under the strain of a harsh
                           17,000 ft sunburn and an ear-splitting smile.

                ADVENTURE | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY                   59
But as we scouted around the canyon a few                   twice to the left as I plummeted. Shit, now I was      leaving no margin for error.
things became obvious. First, because of the                guaranteed riser twists. The ball of fabric over           I struggled with maps and possible routes that
forest, there was no place to tow within ten miles          my head seemed to take forever to grab air, but        night, and then watched a huge cold front blow
of the canyon.                                              finally it opened unequally and did two quick          through. Base dropped to less than 12,000 feet,
   Second, the aircraft sectional map showed a              spins to the right before, thankfully, surging         and even the commercial sightseeing flights were
mess of highly restricted airspace everywhere I             cleanly with no major issues.                          grounded due to high winds.
wanted to fly. That airspace extended from the                  Game on! But wait, why were there lines and            Chris and I next talked about dropping me at a
ground to 10,000 feet for miles around the canyon,          fabric hanging out of the left tip of the glider? It   very high altitude on the north rim and riding the
and up to 14,500 feet directly over the canyon.             turns out my glider caught the trike’s wheel as I      north winds back across. In the end it all looked
   Chris then proposed that I jump off his trike at         fell past, which resulted in extensive damage to       just too dicey, plus, d-bagging and gliding over
14,000 feet with my paraglider unfurling from a             the wingtip.                                           the Grand seemed like a cheap shot to me. Any
deployment bag. I could start above the airspace                The next day after some dubious repairs I D-       fool could do that. I wanted to thermal and really
and the National Park. I agreed, and the                    bagged again. This time it went much smoother,         fly over it. It was time to find a tow road.
planning started.                                           and I was able to climb to 17,000 feet only to             September 5 the winds finally died, and we
   For our start point we choose the small town             find unpredictably strong north winds, which           had a good break when we discovered some
of Tusayuan just outside the south boundary of              made the crossing impossible.                          tow roads about 30km southwest of the
the park, and on 1 September, I dropped from                    A head wind would prevent me from arriving         canyon. This meant flying an extra 25-30km to
the trike for the first time.                               on the north rim at a safe altitude. With the north    get to the canyon.
   I looked into Chris’s focused face and then fell         rim at an altitude of about 9,000 feet, this makes         September 5 and 6 we towed, but base was
backwards. The air grabbed me, spinning me                  it about an 8:1 glide at the narrowest point,          only about 12,000 feet rising to 13,000 feet late
                                                                                                                   in the day - not enough to get legal in the
                                                                                                                   airspace. Each time I landed just on the edge of
                                                                                                                   the airspace rather than commit.
                                                                                                                       By September 7 the forecast was good. Light
                                                                                                                   south winds, base predicted at 18,000 feet and no
                                                                                                                   chance of thunderstorms. At 12:00 we were ready,
                                                                                                                   but there were no clouds to indicate the tops of
                                                                                                                   thermals. It was scorching on the ground. I went
                                                                                                                   through 2 litres of water before finally towing at
                                                                                                                   1:30 just as the first small clouds popped.
                                                                                                                       I released at about 1,000 feet over the ground
                                                                                                                   and climbed in strong, punchy lift to 12,000 feet
                                                                                                                   where I ran into an inversion. For the next hour
                                                                                                                   and a half I bounced off the inversion like a
                                                                                                                   beach ball. I was in the middle of a 25km blue
                                                                                                                   hole; from at least another 5,000 feet above my
                                                                                                                   glider, the clouds taunted me.
                                                                                                                       The weather forecast was lousy for the next three
                                                                                                                   days, so this was my last chance. Finally, after
                                                                                                                   almost two hours of inversion bashing, a small cloud
                                                                                                                   popped about three miles south of the Canyon. I
                                                                                                                   glided under it then screamed to 17,800 feet.
                                                                                                                       From this altitude the canyon looked close
                                                                                                                   enough to touch, and I could see clouds
                                                                                                                   developing on the rim. I happily radioed down,
                                                                                                                   “The inversion broke, I’m at 17,800 and heading
                                                                                                                   north!” and then watched the trike scramble into
                                                                                                                   the air with Chris and Scott Simper on board.
                                                                                                                   Amazingly, Chris flew straight into a massive
                                                                                                                   swirling dust devil and used its energy to save
                                                                                                                   fuel while climbing to my altitude.
                                                                                                                        With the aviation map memorized I knew
                                                                                                                   exactly where I had to go to be legal. As I glided
                                                                                                                   north, I flew above the airspace ceiling and
                                                                                                                   entered the aerial boundary of the park. I was
                                                                                                                   committed. My planned route took me out onto
                                                                                                                   a peninsula west of Grand Canyon Village.
                                                                                                                        The Grand Canyon is the wildest terrain you
                                                                                                                   can imagine, a gash in the earth a mile deep. As
                                                                                                                   I looked down into its stepped red depths, I felt
                                                                                                                   the power of it pull at me; I wanted to just turn
                                                                                                                   and start my glide. The trouble was, I was gliding
                                                                                                                   lower and not hitting lift. Below 14,500ft I’d be in
                                                                                                                   the FAA airspace, but more seriously as far as I
                                                                                                                   was concerned, I’d have to abort the flight.
                                                                                                                       As Chris zoomed by me on the trike, I worked
                                                                                                                   light lift and drifted farther out over the peninsula
                                                                                                                   on the lip. This was getting serious, but I noticed
‘There are moments in life that seem more real than                                                                a good haze dome start just ahead of me. OK,
others, times when colours are brighter, sounds                                                                    glide toward it, YES! Soon I was back at
cleaner, your vision sharper. The air over the canyon
was surprisingly smooth; I was able to let the glider fly                                                          17,000ft under a cloud and there was only one
and just soak up the feeling.’                                                                                     thing to do, so I did it.
Photo: Christian Pondella/Red Bull

                                                                                                                 Grand Canyon Dreams
                                                                Places to land... zero! Photo: Christian Pondella/Red Bull

   There are moments in life that seem more real       Canyon, ahead of me Route 67 leading north to
than others, times when colours are brighter,          the small town of Jacob’s Lake.
sounds cleaner, your vision sharper. The air over          The last clouds of the day slowly turned red
the canyon was surprisingly smooth; I was able         and then dissipated. There are nice clearings all
to let the glider fly and just soak in the feeling.    along Route 67, so I floated along for a while
   Sink, lift, it didn’t matter, I was on my way.      until low, landing gently in a perfect meadow
Chris and Scott flew by and although they could        about a half mile off the road in the late evening
do nothing for me I was glad to have their             light. No flashing lights from police cars
company. My sun-baked lips cracked and bled            disturbed the silence and beauty.
from a splitting smile.                                    As the sun sunk, for the first time in days I
   I remembered to shoot some images of the            had time to truly unwind. My mind was raging
Canyon as I glided north. The late afternoon sun       with images and thoughts of the trip, but mostly
brought the ridges and colours alive below me.         I felt very lucky to be a flying human.
Ahead of me and to the right was Point Sublime             I lay there in the dark and mentally thanked all
on the north side of the Canyon, my first goal.        those without whom I never would have made it.
   I radioed that I had the rim safely on glide and    While I physically flew over the Canyon, it was
heard yells through the radio. I arrived at Point      only possible thanks to their efforts and friendship.
Sublime with plenty of height but found some               The total flight was about 80 or 90km, total
surprisingly aggressive air. I could see Chris and     time about three and half hours, total joy
Scott bouncing around hard on the trike as they        immeasurable. Today I’m editing the video and
turned to leave. Chris wished me luck and              part of this joy will be sharing some powerful
radioed, “What’s up with this air?” as he flew off.    images of flight with other pilots and non-flying
   I’d planned on screaming back out to base           humans around the world.
from the southwest facing cliffs, but it wasn’t
happening. The forest ahead of me was thick;           Thanks to Red Bull, Gin and Superfly for their
there was no place to land as far as I could see.      financial assistance and moral support.
I started to worry. Should I hang out over the rim
hoping for lift and drop into the airspace, or keep
gliding out of it and risk landing in the trees, but
out of the airspace and park?
   I headed north and out of the park, dropping
lower and lower over the trees, not that worried
about landing in them as I had rope enough to
rappel out and food enough to walk to a road,
but it was tense. I’d never landed in trees before.
But there were clouds, so where was the lift?
   Just over the National Park boundary I saw a
flock of swifts diving and darting. I joined their
thermal as they snapped impossible turns around
me and through my lines. They eventually left me
as I reached 16,500 ft and headed northwest. I
was across the Canyon, out of the park, and at         Will Gadd is the FAI World Record
                                                       Distance Holder at 423 km, set in
base. A wave of relief swept over me.                  Zapata, Texas, June 2002.
   I suddenly realized that I was freezing and         Photo: Christian Pondella/Red Bull
hypoxic from all the time over 15,000 feet. My
brain had been busy with more important
problems until now. Behind me lay the Grand

                                                                                                            how far we think we can fly and still return. To
                                                                                                            make it even harder we often also have to
                                                                                                            declare an exact return time. These type of tasks
                                                                                                            require excellent time and fuel management

                                 Crossover                                                                  skills, good navigation, good thermalling skills
                                                                                                            and a huge amount of in-flight mental arithmetic.
                                                                                                            To do well in paramotor competitions you need a

                                                                                                            very broad set of skills and a lot of mental and
                                                                                                            physical endurance.The only tasks I don’t like are
                                                                                                            the precision landing tasks, I get good results
                                                                                                            but I think they’re dangerous
Ramon Morillas has won the World Paramotor Championships three times,                                       Do you think a top PWC pilot could instantly
and holds both the paramotor world distance and altitude records. He’s also                                 do well in a paramotor comp?
                                                                                                            The pilots that compete regularly in PWC don’t
a member of the Spanish paragliding team and regular PWC flyer.
                                                                                                            have time to train and practise for paramotor
                                                                                                            competitions and they are often quite prejudiced
Ramon talks to Ian Blackmore about misconceptions between the
                                                                                                            about paramotoring. They think it’s a marginal
paramotoring and free flying communities                                                                    activity. The people who do give it a try usually
                                                                                                            come to enjoy it.

       he first surprise on meeting Ramon is that        more comfortable in that you have more time to     What makes a good paramotor wing, are
       he’s not the stocky archetypal paramotor          relax both before and after the task. In a         there any essential differences or qualities
       pilot you might expect. He’s lean and             paramotor event the tasks are extremely varied     you need compared to a paragliding wing?
short, without the counterbalancing paunch of            and test everything from your low-level handling   A good paramotor wing must inflate quickly and
most of the revheads I know. Watching him                skills to your navigation, tactics and even        easily, but also have good agility and high speed.
launch his Advance Omega 6 in the paragliding            accuracy. My personal favourites are the low       When launching from flat fields with no wind you
competition, it’s also obvious I’m watching a            level tasks. These are where you’re flying very    have to have a wing with good inflation
pilot with outstanding skill and finesse. So what        quickly and very close to the ground having to     characteristics. Depending on the quantity of fuel
made him join the petrolhead fraternity? Time to         race around a course, sometimes physically         you need, you’re often as much as 30kg
find out...                                              touching targets. All the tasks are good but       overweight at launch.
                                                         these are most fun since you need good agility     What wing do you use?
Tell us about the paramotoring competition               and precision. Some of the navigation and          I use the Advance Epsilon 4, next year I’m going to
scene. How does it compare to a paragliding              endurance tasks are also far more fascinating      use a Sigma 6 with trimmer risers for competitions –
contest?                                                 and tactical than any in a paragliding             you need the trimmers for paramotoring.
The main difference is that paraglider pilots have       competition. All the navigation tasks are run      Do you use different wings for competitions
a sort of mental barrier when they enter the             using maps and compass but with no GPS. We         than you would for fun or free flying?
paramotor world, almost a superiority – it’s a           do have a GPS but it’s just a logger to record     I always use the same wing for everything, but I
negative attitude. I was the same at first but over      our flight rather than one that gives any          might use a different size. One of my jobs is
time I’ve learnt that it’s a different sport requiring   information to navigate from.                      taking aerial pictures using the paramotor. For
different skills and giving different rewards.              More familiar to paraglider pilots are the      this I need more straight-line stability so then I
How does a paramotor competition differ in               thermalling and endurance tasks where we           use a bigger glider.
practical terms?                                         launch with a small and measured amount of fuel    What makes a good paramotor?
The main difference is that the tasks start very         and then fly as long as possible, or sometimes     There are two classes of paramotors, those with
early in the morning and with up to three tasks a        navigate a number of turnpoints and return at a    a high hang-point and those with a low one.
day you need far more physical strength and              precise time. We often have to declare in          With the low hang-point you get the same
endurance. Paragliding competitions are much             advance how many turnpoints we will cover or       feeling as when flying a paraglider. With high

All Photos: Martinez Alfredo/Red Bull Photofiles

hang-points you lose the sensitivity and the good      I’m more motivated if we’re making flights that          Reliability is pretty good, if they’re well-
handling. It’s essential that the paramotor be as      result in feedback that improves the                     maintained you can fly without any real trouble.
light as possible and have low fuel consumption,       customers’ motors.                                       Having said that, it’s always worth keeping in
which also means a big propellor. Finally, it must     Do you think there’s a future in four stroke             mind that it’s only one little motor keeping you
be comfortable, a lot of paramotors vibrate really     paramotors - or are they only really useful in           up there. You should never put yourself in a
badly, have terrible torque effects, bad launch        fuel economy tasks?                                      situation where your safety completely relies on
characteristics etc. There’s far more to it than       There’s an English pilot, Paul Bailey, who’s             the engine not failing.
you might imagine.                                     developing a four stroke and everyone’s talking          What would you say to us sceptical free
Do you need any particular technical                   about his motor. But so far there’s no real opinion      flyers who’ve never flown a motor?
expertise or mechanical knowledge to do                as to whether it’s the future or not. Four strokes are    I would say give it a go, but be prepared to take
well in paramotor competitions?                        heavier, less powerful, but much more economical         the time to look deep inside the sport or you’ll
In competitions, yes. Sometimes you might have         so need less weight of fuel. In theory it’s possible     end up making a judgement without sufficient
a little trouble that could ruin your flight. Often,   they might be better, but not at the moment. One         knowledge. There are experiences like flying over
with a little knowledge you can fix it there and       of the big problems with the motors is that it’s         clouds or deep through canyons that you can
then. I’m lucky., PAP, my sponsors, are always         necessary to develop them expressly for                  only acheive with a paramotor. It’s a great tool.
there to help me out.                                  paramotoring to make them powerful and light. To         Any experienced paraglider pilot, when he’s
Do you have to modify your motors to be                do that, you need a large manufacturer to make a         comfortable with the paramotor, can make
competitive, or can you win an event using a           big investment in the motor itself. I fly with the TOP   amazing flights thanks to the freedom the motor
stock motor?                                           80 motor, it’s an Italian engine in a PAP chassis and    gives you. I’m looking forward to the day when
We sometimes make changes to the                       after five years in competitions with good results I     we have paramotors that weigh only 10kg.
carburettor and test different propellers in order     think it’s the best motor for powered paragliding. In    When these arrive the sport will experience a real
to improve the fuel efficiency. The philosophy         the future, and with a big manufacturer developing       revolution because with that little weight you
of my manufacturer is that the competition             a motor specifically for paramotoring, I think we’ll     could fly it with your normal paraglider. You
pilots should use the standard paramotor and           see lighter more powerful engines, but for now, I        would then have the paragliding equivalent of a
only change the propellor and the carburation          think the best compromise is mine.                       motor sailplane. I don’t see them being that light
to suit the task and the conditions. Some of           More power and less weight usually equals                in the near future, maybe ten years from now,
the other competitors make big changes, but            fragile - how reliable are the new paramotors?           but it’ll certainly be worth the wait.

                                                                                                                  INTERVIEW | EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY      63
Photo: Binder/Barthelmes
                                            Secrets of Champions
                                                                    03: GEROLF HEINRICHS
                                           In the third in the series, Dennis Pagen interviews Austrian ace Gerolf Heinrichs,
                                               bronze medalist in the 2005 World Championships, on his thermalling tactics

                                                HEINRICHS’ MANOEUVRES
                                                Gerolf Heinrichs is a member of the legendary       home meets. I was the organizer of the Austrian
                                                Austrian team. He is consistently one of the        League for ten years and tried to keep us
                                                pilots favoured to win any meet he enters. He       cohesive. I’m not doing it now, and I think things
                                                brings a unique perspective to our discussion for   are falling apart a bit. I was the team integrator.
                                                he is a successful hang glider designer with a      Manfred was not a teacher, he was more like the
                                                degree in aerospace engineering, a competitor in    star while I was the team captain. Monte Cucco
                                                many sports, and of course, a teammate of           was the first time we weren’t flying as a team. I
                                                Manfred Ruhmer.                                     was on a Moyes and none of us were
                                                                                                    communicating by radio. We lost to the
                                                What makes the Austrians as a team so               Brazilians. They had a good trick in Monte
                                                formidable? I note that they have won three         Cucco. They came to Manfred and me and
                                                World Meets and four Europeans.                     asked us to tune their gliders. We didn’t think
                                                Some years ago we all flew Icaro gliders.           they were as strong as they turned out to be, so
                                                Everyone on the team benefited from the tuning      we were glad to help. Never again! [Editor’s note:
                                                secrets of Manfred and me. We could get them        Australia has just won the 05 Worlds beating
                                                top gliders. Plus we were flying together in our    Austria into second place.] >

Secrets of Champions
Well, Gerolf, being the best doesn’t just
happen magically. Let’s start talking about
technique. Would you focus your unique view
on thermal skills for us?
Sure. The top pilots like Manfred, Tomas
Suchanek, all the Austrians and others use the
advanced technique I call spinning up. It was           The result is a very efficient flat turn in the
invented by Tomas and cultivated to the highest         smallest radius possible. It feels like you are
level by Manfred. Here’s the method: a given            turning on a tip. You cannot continue such a flat
thermal calls for a certain turning radius. You         turn, so the technique is only valuable when the
may want to turn tighter to get in the better lift      thermal varies (but most thermals vary
towards the centre of the core, but a steeper           somewhat). Naturally, you should not be flying
bank hurts your sink rate. So the trick is to fly       so slowly in very strong thermals. That’s a good
with 1/4 to 1/3 VG near the stall balance of the        way to tumble. The technique requires enough
inner wing. Then when getting tipped out of the         practise that you know every nuance of your
thermal or needing to tighten up in a surge, you        glider or you will end up losing more than you
push out and high-side the glider (shift weight to      gain because you’ll fall off on a wing.
the outside) a lot to stall the inside wing and get        The best gliders for doing this are the curved
1/4 of a spin which then settles back into co-          tip gliders. They tend to be more forgiving of
ordinated flight. This method produces an               stalls in a turn. You also need to have a relatively
exceptionally efficient climb, especially when the      flat profile in your tip battens so the stall
thermal isn’t uniform or it is crowded.                 recovery is quicker (that is less hysteresis, which
   In order to perform this properly and safely,        is a difference in the airflow detachment and
you have to practise and have the right glider          reattachment angle of attack. Most airfoils stall
set up. You should practise away from other             at a given angle of attack and re-establish
pilots and the terrain. The action is, slow down,       smooth airflow at a lower angle of attack). If you
put in a yaw control to high-side your body and         have a wing that has a steep stall in a turn, then
create a partial spin/stall in the turning direction.   it would not be good for this technique.

                                                                                                               towards the centre and thus has a smaller radius
                                                                                                               for a given bank angle (see figure 1). Brett Hazlett
                                                                                                               and I came up with the result that the optimum
                                                                                                               circling radius is between 17 and 20 metres (56
                                                                                                               and 66 ft), no matter what the glider polar or
                                                                                                               thermal lift profile. Any tighter than that and you
                                                                                                               begin to overload the wing and lose efficiency.
                                                                                                               But a 20 to 30 second time of one 360 is usually
                                                                                                               too big a circle. Some pilots think they climb
                                                                                                               better when they use a flat bank, but they are not
                                                                                                               aware of how big the circle gets with just a small
                                                                                                               flattening of bank. Of course, every pilot gets low
                                                                                                               at times and has to work small and weak stuff
                                                                                                               before it gets better higher. Then you have to use
                                                                                                               the bank angle and circle size appropriate to the
                                                                                                               conditions. If the cores are many, but too small to
                                                                                                               turn in, maybe a big flat circle is best.
                                                                                                                  Sometimes you have to experiment while using
                                                                                                               your experience to get a quick recognition of
                                                                                                               what technique to use. You improve your general
Figure 1: The climb benefit of high-siding
                                                                                                               thermalling greatly when you can master the
                                                        Can you give us more insights into your theory of      small stuff. Tomas is best at working the very
                                                        lift optimization?                                     small cores. He knows that often you have to do
                                                        I’ll start out saying you must be more aware to        the tightest turn you can just to get into it. Later
                                                        feel the thermal at all times. This awareness          you can open up as you climb and the lift gets
                                                        requires two things. First, your glider must be        wider. I think I see Moyes boys banking a few
                                                        perfectly tuned to fly straight when level and to      degrees more than other gliders. That’s because
                                                        be equal in a left and right bank. Secondly, you       the Litespeed is set up to bank tightly like a
                                                        should have light pitch at the right speed when in     paraglider. It helps to get into the interior of the
                                                        a thermal turn. If your glider is trimmed to fly       core. On the Litespeed we’ve reduced the span
                                                        nicely above stall when level, then it will probably   and widened the tips so there is not as much
                                                        be too fast when thermalling. You’ll have to push      speed differential from tip to tip and the pilot can
Photo: Binder/Barthelmes                                out to go slow enough, which is tiring. Most likely    slow more in the thermal. This helps in a gaggle
                                                        you won’t be going slow enough much of the             because you can sometimes cut inside the other
                                                        time. If you are constantly holding the bar out (or    pilots and stay in the core. Try to avoid going on
                                                        in) you won’t be as sensitive to the changes in        the outside for you risk falling off the edge of the
                                                        the thermal. When you miss changes you miss            thermal. The worse situation is the start gaggle
                                                        chances to accelerate upward.                          because it’s pilots of all levels and they tend to
                                                             The other point, which I touched on earlier, is   turn too flat. Often you can turn inside and get
                                                        you should set the glider up to require a bit of       above them all.
                                                        high-siding in a normal thermal bank. I like less
                                                        high-siding than others, but still it’s important.     The Secrets of Champions is available through
                                                        With high-siding there is more mass toward the         all good dealers and, priced
                                                        outside of the circle, so the wing can be more         £24.95 (35 Euros)

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                                                                                                 CLASSIFIEDS        EDITION 98 | CROSS COUNTRY   69

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70    CROSS COUNTRY | EDITION 98             XC SHOP
APRIL 2005

MAY 2005

JUNE 2005

JULY 2005
    02-09     PWC SERBIA – NIS, SERBIA

    11-15     ACROARIA – OMEGNA, ITALY


CARABINER WARNINGS                                         enables experienced cross pilots to take off on a
The DHV has received two broken AustriAlpin                good thermal day in the Vosges and transit to the
Parafly Automatic carabiners from a Brazilian pilot.       Alps. See more about this intriguing company at
Both carabiners show surface damage indicating   
that they have been used for purposes other than
flying, and the information regarding usage cannot         ITALY
be independently verified. AustriAlpin gives the           If you fancy an accuracy competition in a
maximum lifespan of these carabiners as 350                stunning location, how about the Accuracy
hours of usage and these particular ones were              Landing Race in Praia a Mare, Italy. Last year’s
manufactured between 1999 and 2001. The                    winner Matteo Accornero from Rome beat the
following pictures indicate breakage due to metal          100 other competitors to win himself a Gin
fatigue followed by overloading.                           Zoom, and again this year’s first prize is a new
                                                           glider. This year’s event will take place April 22 -
                                                           24. Praia a Mare is located on the west side of
                                                           Calabria half way between Naples and Sicily.

                                                           Many times I have

                                                                                                                  Robin Strid Photo: Frode Halse
                                                           written about
                                                           national hang gliding
                                                           team pilot Robin
                                                           Strid’s amazing flying
                                                           achievements both
                                                           in XC and
                                                           competitions. This
    The DHV recommends that should                         time it is with deep
carabiners show signs of damage or no longer               sadness I have to report that he is no longer
function correctly (e.g. the gate does not close           among us. During the World Championships in
properly), then these carabiners should be                 Hay, Australia he encountered a lockout in low
exchanged immediately. Before take off a visual            altitude whilst being aero-towed. He died in
check must verify that the carabiners are                  the crash that followed.
correctly installed and closed - independent of                His whole existence revolved around free
the manufacturer of the carabiner. Carabiner               flying. He liked to go his own way, willfully, and
lifespans as documented by their                           sometimes raising controversy, but was always a
manufacturers are only relevant for undamaged              faithful, caring friend. Robin will be missed by his
and fully functional carabiners. The DHV also              pilot friends both in Norway and abroad.
recommends, as stated in several previous                  “See you at cloud base, Robin”
publications that pilots of both hang and                  - Frode Halse, Norway
paragliders use steel carabiners due to their
increased lifespan and loading properties. More            UK
information on carabiners can be found on the              Under the very capable control of Meet Director
DHV website at                                  ‘Calvo’, and his dedicated team of marshalls and
                                                           volunteers, British FAI Cat2 Open competitions
AirCross’s U3                                              have been getting better and better every year.
                                                           British Opens have been a popular training
                                                           ground for emerging East European pilots where
                                                           they’ve developed some strong team flying skills.
                                                              In 2005 each entrant will be automatically
                                                           entered into the British Open Championship.
                                                           The three FAI Cat2 Opens will take place in
                                                           Mayrhofen, Austria; Piedrahita, Spain and
                                                           Bishops Castle, UK. The last round should give
                                                           pilots a good taste of the UK ‘Harvest’
                                                           conditions seen in Cross Country 96. Entry fees
                                                           are £135, £135 and £70 respectively - or you
FRANCE                                                     can get all three for £295. After three rounds the
In our report about the European Championships             highest British and International pilot will be
in issue 96 there was an error concering the               awarded their Championship trophies. To
name of the wing that Philippe Broers flew to              guarantee your place you’ll need to register early
third place. The manufacturer of the U3 is                 at
“AirCross” not “Crossair” as stated. Crossair are,         The UK’s Royal Aero Club Trust are looking for a
in fact, a Swiss airline.                                  part-time Volunteer Press and PR Officer.
    AirCross is a little-known French manufacturer         Established in 1998, the charity has HRH the
still in its fledgling stages of evolution. The glider’s   Duke of York as its patron.
designer Hervé Corbon has been designing and               For more information visit:
constructing paragliders and kites for over ten  
years for personal use and also a few friends.
Hervé is reputed to be an excellent pilot who
regularly flies in French national competitions
always using his latest prototype. Hervé’s dream
is to design a glider with performance that


                                                            Canada’s Chris Muller loops over Copacabana during the
                                                                    Red Bull Giants contest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
                                                                                          Photo: Christian Pondella


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