Paragliding 3


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Paragliding 3

This page follows from Paragliding continued.

It was long ago
In the early morning glow
When it all began with Adam and Eve.

— Words from Children of Paradise by Boney M, 1980

Paraglider flying in 2015
Eve and Adam

I managed to photograph one of the new paraglider sail patterns created by former British hang gliding champion Bruce Goldsmith. On this day, I got above the paragliders just by standing on the hill…


Paraglider flying in 2015
Adam and Eve

While the colour schemes have improved, the naming problem (inherited from hang gliding I fear) persists. This particular example is called Adam. After Adam Ant? The guy I asked about it was adamant that it was named after the Biblical character who made the first paraglider out of interwoven fig leaves to hide his embarrassment about not having any clothes to wear. (Having been educated in UK state schools during the era of science and technology, I am somewhat hazy about such tales.)

Female paraglider pilot folding wing in 2015
Eve

Eventually, I launched my hang glider into a breeze so light it barely ruffled the sail and, three minutes later, I landed at the bottom. Would you Adam and Eve it!


Polish paraglider pilot in England in 2015
Polish paraglider pilot

When the Poles talk among themselves on the hill, the sound reminds of the 1968 movie The Battle of Britain, which features several scenes involving the Polish squadrons of the RAF.


Firebird paraglider flying in 2015
Firebird

This Firebird is one of the few good-looking paragliders (in my view) that has been around for a while.

Paraglider against the wind in April 2016
Paraglider against the wind in April 2016

It was a familiar story on a Saturday in mid-May 2015 at Monk’s Down. Some paragliders climbed out in thermals while the hang gliders did not do so well.

Paraglider pilot preparing to launch at Monk's Down, Dorset, England, in 2016
Paraglider pilot preparing to launch at Monk’s Down, Dorset, England, in 2016

Paraglider pilots begin their launch facing backwards. No kidding.


Paraglider pilot readying to launch at Monk's Down, Dorset, England, in 2016
Paraglider pilot readying to launch at Monk’s Down

When the wing is overhead (it just hangs there, supported by the lightest breeze) the pilot turns 180 degrees to face into wind and down-slope.

Paraglider pilot launching at Monk's Down, Dorset, England, in 2016
Paraglider launching at Monk’s Down

Two steps and she is airborne!

No doubt about it, paragliding is what hang gliding tried to be, but never was; flight with minimal hassle. Hang gliding is now a specialised activity suited mainly to stronger winds and ‘big air’ (strong lift and its associated turbulence).

Paraglider at Monk's Down in October 2016
Paraglider at Monk’s Down in October 2016

Bell Hill, north Dorset, in May 2018

A light wind day in mid-May 2018 at Bell Hill, north Dorset, England, saw height gains to cloud base by some, while others struggled to avoid going down to the bottom landing fields. Meanwhile, paragliding training was carried out at the west end of the launch slope.

New paraglider pilots undergoing training at Bell Hill, Dorset, England, in 2018
New paraglider pilots undergoing training at Bell Hill, Dorset, England, in 2018
Paragliding at Bell Hill, north Dorset, England, in mid-May 2018
Paragliding at Bell Hill, north Dorset, England, in mid-May 2018

Mere, Wiltshire, in June 2020

Paraglider flying at Mere, Wiltshire, UK, in June 2020
Contrast

See also Hang gliding 2020 onward.

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