Paragliding United Kingdom (UK) cross country (XC) season report for Summer and Autumn 2015.
Summer 2015 UK Paragliding XC
7th June turned out to be a record day for XC flying in the UK: 130 pilots logged XCs totalling 12,261 km. The biggest flights of the day were from Leckhampton in Gloucestershire, and The Lawley and Long Mountain in Shropshire.
Getting the most out of a good XC day often comes down to a simple decision: do you leave the hill as soon as you can (and try to stay up all day) or do you wait till it's good and blaze a trail on speedbar to cover more ground during the strong part of the day?
Flybubble's Carlo Borsattino recounts his decisions and tactics on an epic flight from Selsley Common hill near Stroud in Gloucestershire to near Eastbourne in East Sussex, when his leading position on his sports class wing (Skywalk CAYENNE5, EN C) was put to the test against the relentless racing of Mark Watts on his competition wing (Ozone Enzo 2, CCC).
The Advance Alpha 5 was an outstanding first wing that took beginners well beyond the school environment. The updated design boasts less weight, fewer lines and double 3D shaping at the leading edge that is bound to give it more performance. The Alpha 6 also promises 'air scoop technology' that increases the stall resistance when flying slowly. With all these improvements, is it still suitable for training? Does it meet the needs of adventurous beginners and recreational pilots?
Like many paraglider pilots, I’ve been a big fan of the Red Bull X-Alps ever since the event launched in 2003 (with only 17 participants and a small audience). This incredible hike and fly race embodies much what I love about paragliding: a wonderful light flying machine that fits in a bag, which allows you to launch into unknown adventures, and challenges you to make the most of the day’s given conditions.
Although having more performance helps, you don't have to fly an Advanced or Competition wing to achieve your Big XC dreams. The gliding and climbing ability of the modern Performance Class (mid EN C) is now remarkable!
Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than Carlo Borsattino's recent performance on his Artik 4.
You don't have to fly a hotship to achieve great flights! Although having more performance helps, you don't have to fly a Performance Class or Competition wing to achieve your Big XC dreams. The gliding and climbing ability of the modern Sports Class (mid EN C) is now remarkable!
Flybubble's Carlo Borsattino has been flying cross country (XC) by paraglider since the early nineties, and has a reputation for his ability to stay aloft for hours even in the weakest conditions. But it takes more than patience to fly over 200 km in the UK. He analyses the technical challenges, tactical moves and saved mistakes that helped him to achieve his personal best distance to date.
A pilot reported that the main rescue bridle failed at the shoulder connection points following a rescue parachute deployment on a Gin Genie Race 3 harness. Although the harnesses exceed the certification minima, Gin Gliders recommends connecting each main rescue bridle to the front rescue bridle connection point using steel maillons for added safety.
Flybubble's Carlo Borsattino recounts his February flight by paraglider from Devils Dyke in East Sussex to near Ashford in Kent and gives insights into how this exceptional flight was achieved starting, as it often does, with checking the paragliding soaring weather forecasts.