Flying with the eagles

Flying airplanes is fun. Those heavy, fast, noisy and expensive machines that raise you above the clouds just by pulling back the stick provide you with a feeling that can be addictive.

There is another form of flying though. Paragliders. Those light, slow, quite and relatively cheap machines provide a sense of flying which is kind of different but can be equally addictive. Taking off using your own feet as wheels and controlling your movement by exploiting local weather conditions is exciting. When flying paragliders you actually think airfoils. By pulling small strings you change the airfoil’s camber line and angle of attack, continually modifying your wing’s lift and drag and as a result the gliding ratio. At the same time you use your body weight as a turning aid and through all these things you try to get the most out of any wind currents or thermals in order to gain energy in its most natural form. I tell you that the first time I found myself cycling in a thermal together with an eagle it was an astonishing feeling that cannot be described…

So after some time of absence, I had a couple of paragliding flights yesterday, refreshing my skills, meeting some old friends and enjoying some post-flight jokes and ouzo at the local cafe.

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