Flight Stories

2015 UK Paragliding XC Season

Flying cross country in the UK offers many challenges and special experiences.

Carlo Borsattino summarises the action from the most successful XC season in history ... grab a cuppa and enjoy the lengthy report at your leisure.

There's lots to learn from reviewing the days that worked well, and what pilots chose to do.

The Pilots' Tales section offers a unique perspective from some of the leading pilots in the UK.

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XPYRIENCE: A volbiv adventure

What's it like taking on the mountains with nothing but an aircraft that runs on air?

Greg Hamerton attempts a solo traverse of the Pyrenees via paraglider and discovers the magnitude and magic of a road less travelled.

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XC Secrets: Breaking 50km (by Dickon Walker)

Never having been a part of the BCC I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In 7 years I’d not quite got beyond being a lone ranger of the skies (well, ridges, more accurately). Whenever I’d previously thought about attending, the dates had never coincided with my being free of other responsibilities.

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XC Secrets: Busting 100km (by Dickon Walker)

It was Day 2 of the BCC, and looking through the caravan skylight the sky was blue with conditions similar to the day before. Hundred House was the new venue called for the BCC, given the more Easterly breeze. This was over an hour away from the Slackers camp site in Llangatock so I enjoyed being chauffeured there by more experienced XC hound Andrew Craig; it felt good to share encouragement and be confident enough to leave my car far behind with a clear intention of leaving the hill, knowing that every kilometre flown would take me towards my (mobile) home. 

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Flight: Trying A New Angle

Greg Hamerton attempts a 50km triangle from Combe Gibbet on 25/03/2015. The prediction: light winds of steady direction, cumulus clouds with reasonable height, thermals and no inversions. The UK Paragliding XC facebook page was alive with excitement, so I knew I'd be in good company at Combe Gibbet.

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Bo Peep Triangle 10th March 2015

Today I had my first proper flight on the Niviuk Artik 4. I also flew without my Oudie 3 for the first time in ages and I have to say felt rather NAKED without it! 

Nancy, Greg and I started at Firle at around 9:30, where it was nicely on the hill and soarable. We soon managed to get enough height to cross the small forest to the east of launch and fly to Firle Beacon. 

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87km by Paraglider in UK Winter!

It's generally agreed by most freeflight pilots - paragliders and hang gliders - that the cross country (XC) season in northern Europe starts in April.

For example, the UK Paragliding XC League (UKPGXCL) runs a Winter League which ends on 31st March 2015, despite Spring officially starting on the 1st of March in the northern hemisphere.

This doesn't seem to tie up with reality as a lot of big flights are flown in northern Europe in March every year.

However very few notable XC flights have been flown in February in the UK, with the biggest recorded on the UKPGXCL before 2015 being 55km by Simon Twiss in February 2014.

The weather forecasts for Friday 27th February 2015 showed it looking very good for free flying in the south of England with some potential for XC but the risk of it being a bit breezy for paragliding. Could this turn out to be a big February day?

The best way to find out was to give it a try... 

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