Holzmüller leads 6th migration
After 20 stages and nearly 1,200km in the air, Walter Holzmüller succeeded in guiding 11 Northern Bald Ibis to their winter grounds in Italy in September.
Flying a Fresh Breeze XCitor paratrike with the birds' "foster parent" on board, Walter led his hand-raised charges across the Alps from Burghausen in southern Bavaria to Laguna di Orbetello in Tuscany where WWF staff will monitor and care for them.
Young birds learn the route to the wintering area from their parents, but humans have to take over the role for zoo-raised birds to show them the way. The first human-led migrations were made in 2004 and 2005 from Upper Austria. This year's flight is the sixth time a flock has been led to their winter grounds in this way, and Northern Bald Ibises are now flying free in Europe for the first time in 300 years. Walter, former World Paragliding Champion and Nova test pilot, is the current Paramotor (Trike) World Champion. For more details go to www.waldrappteam.at.
Paramotor pilot escorted off
An airborne paramotor pilot was escorted out of the exclusion zone surrounding the Labour Party Conference at Brighton by a police helicopter on September 27th.
A witness to the incident describes the paramotor pilot landing, followed closely by the helicopter which remained on the ground nearby for 15 minutes. It is unlikely the pilot will have escaped without at least a very stern talking to, and a prosecution seems likely.
The 3.5-mile radius Restricted Airspace (Temporary) was in place from September 25th to October 1st and had been promulgated by NOTAM. Most clubs have good links to online NOTAM sources these days, and a primary source is www.ais.org.uk (username: BHPAuser, password: password). Pilots ignore such sources at their peril.
Visually impaired children go paragliding
Six brave visually impaired young people from Surrey climbed Mount Caburn in September to make tandem flights with Skylark Paragliding.
The event was organised by Stella Black, Children's Recreation Co-ordinator for the Surrey Association for Visual Impairment, in response to requests made by children from George Abbot School in Guildford. Smallest of the group and first to fly was 11-year-old Joshua, who was able to take control despite being unable to see the view.
In perfect weather all the children got their turn, some also experiencing wingovers and spiral dives at the hands of Skylark's Dave Lewis. Dylan, 13, said "I enjoyed the day immensely. The thrill of jumping off the steep hill was amazing. The best part was flying at 750ft with the circling buzzard - it gave me a sense of freedom and the experience of flying as a bird!"
Hats off to all concerned and thanks to Dave Lewis and Skylarks Paragliding from Steve Varden at Flyability, who played a major part in funding the event.
The perfect hang gliding mountain!
Those with a taste for flickering images of 1890s hang gliding, or flying ballads for that matter, might like to check out Richard Sheppard's YouTube film of club flying in the 1980s, complete with Ed Binch's rendering of The Perfect Hang Gliding Mountain.
That's a flying song with superb lyrics "…a shiver up the back when the rigging goes slack" to the tune of hobo's lament Big Rock Candy Mountain, recorded by everyone from Burl Ives to Tom Waits and punk outfit the Restarts. A great where-we-came-from film by Richard Sheppard, and great strumming and singing from Ed Binch.
It's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKaerlL4u6w.
Rachael Evans wins French XC League
Rachael Evans took the top woman's spot in the 2009 French National XC League in September, an amazing feat given that she flies only DHV1 or 1-2 gliders.
Her flights include a very impressive FAI triangle near her home site of Laragne. With her partner David Owen Rachel runs Allez-Up holidays at Laragne. She flies an Ozone Mojo3 or a Rush2 depending on conditions; both are EN B wings!
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