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latest Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, May07, Issue #0005, monthly e-zine.
May 30, 2007

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Site Update

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Issued on May 30th 2007, Issue #0005


Table of Contents

1. News of the Month

2. Image of the Month

3. Website Content of the Month

4. T-shirts of the Month


News of the Month

Having scoured the Web using a number of world news resources, I came across one BIG story, another that I thought might be of some interest to you, plus quite a few smaller snippets which I won't present here.

Firstly, the biggie, which has actually been in the making for several months. It's the Mount Everest fly-over attempt by Bear Grylls and Gilo Cardozo. Yes, they actually pulled it off, with one pilot making it to the required altitude!

Secondly, a story about plans for a sports event to benefit a couple of charities. For extra spectacle, a number of pilots will land on the field, streaming colored smoke of course! But it won't be skydivers this time. No prizes for guessing what kind of aircraft will float from the sky...

Flying Over Mount Everest in a Powered Paraglider

Source: BBC News

Date: 17 May 2007

Weather requirements for mountain climbing and flying near mountains is similar, so the record attempt coincided with the usual climbing season on Everest. Bear Grylls had actually been above Everest before, in 1998, but that was as a climber. On this occasion, there were more than a dozen people and heaps of expensive specialized gear. After months of meticulous preparation and planning, the 2 pilots had only 3 days to sort out any technical problems and get in the air for an attempt. That's not much time for trouble-shooting if problems arise.

Bear and the other pilot, Gilo Cardozo, took to the air from the Himalayan village of Pheriche. This village was itself at 4,400 meters (14,435 feet) above sea level. Just getting off the ground was a challenge apparently, with 120kg (264lbs) of gear excluding the engine. The thin air at this altitude plus the considerable weight of extra but necessary gear made takeoff difficult.

The pilots' departure was witnessed by Sherpas and employees of GKN, the UK-based technology company that sponsored the Everest mission. After a couple of hours of unexpected delays, they wondered whether the attempt was even going to get off the ground at all!

Bear had 3 tries before he finally climbed out and headed north towards Mount Everest. Gilo, his fellow pilot, is the designer of the Parajet range of paramotors. Gilo unfortunately had engine trouble and was forced to turn back just as he was approaching the Everest peak. Bear however managed to climb well clear of the summit and circle the area a few times before heading back to Pheriche. In fact he reached 8,990 meters (29,494 feet) at 09:33 local time.

So there he was, marvelling at the view into Nepal, India and Tibet all at once. The great Himalayan mountain ranges didn't look so imposing from his vantage point apparently. He was higher than any mountain on Earth.

The motors they used were no ordinary paramotors, good though the latest ones are. Gilo oversaw the development of a 100 horsepower 4 stroke Wankel rotary engine, supercharged and intercooled. Just for this record attempt. To make things easier for the pilot, the motor was designed with a computer managed altitude compensating fuel injection system. Wow.

Want some more figures? How's this - 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of thrust using a 5-bladed prop which is 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) in diameter. Amazingly, the unit weighs only 38 kilograms (84 pounds) and that's including the harness.

All in all, the flyover was a real team effort. A triumph of planning, flying knowledge and paramotor design.

Paragliding Plans For Special Sports Event

Source: News & Star, U.K.

Date: 8 May 2007

According to this report, World Cup cricketer Paul Nixon, from Langwathby in the U.K. was planning a benefit day at Keswick Cricket Club on the weekend following the 8th May. These grounds at Fitz Park were once voted the 'loveliest cricket grounds in the UK'. That's nice you say, but where's the connection with paragliding?

This story doesn't have a lot of paragliding content as such, but it still caught my eye. That's because paragliding rather than skydiving features in the intermission period for the event. In this case, the that's the period between the end of a soccer match and the start of a cricket match. And even midway through a cricket match. Australian cricketer Luke Wimbridge planned to paraglide in from a nearby vantage point when it was his turn at the crease!

The news article was full of names which apparently are 'household' names to those in the U.K., but mean little to me here in Australia. Particularly since I don't follow team sports, with the occasional exception of International limited-overs cricket!

On the day, stars of sport and a popular soap opera were to be involved, hence becoming part of the entertainment. Sports Personalities teams vs. Soapie Stars teams. A big mix of sporting ability no doubt, which would make it more entertaining.

Now here's the interesting bit. Weather permitting, the organizers were hoping for up to 40 paragliders to glide into the park during the lunch break. All trailing colored smoke, just like skydivers sometimes do at these events. They must have involved a number of paragliding clubs or schools to get those numbers, since only good, experienced pilots would be used at such an event.

I wonder how it went, I didn't find any article reporting the event itself. No details were given on the launch point either, apart from it being 'the top of nearby Latrigg'. Is Latrigg a building, a small hill or what? Anyway, if anyone actually glided in, I'm sure the crowd would have been fascinated!


Image of the Month

There's plenty of paragliding imagery on the Web these days, much of it so-so. Thanks to some paraglider manufacturer friends of mine, I can bring you some great pics that you might not find anywhere else. Hope you enjoy this month's featured picture, below. Just click on it to enlarge.



The paraglider pictured here is the new Mustang 2 DHV-2 design from Airwave. It has an extra square meter of sail area compared to the previous Mustang, across all sizes. This is said to give better sink rates at all speeds and has also chopped 3 kph from the stall speed. Very useful.

The pic was taken during a photo shoot in New Zealand. If those mountains in the background look familiar, it could be because the film 'Lord of the Rings' was shot in rugged areas of New Zealand.


Website Content of the Month

Pages are always being added to the site, and I've selected an instructional article this time. This month, a whole bunch of these technical articles have been added to the site, thanks to a generous re-publishing offer from Jeff Greenbaum. Perhaps you know him as the guy behind Airtime of San Francisco, online at the paragliding-lessons.com website. You might even know someone who has flown with his school, he's been operating for ages.

I gave one of his articles, Winglish, the complete para-phrase treatment. In other words, I rewrote it totally in my own words. However, all the others are almost identical to his originals. I made some minor corrections and formatting changes to add a little polish and make them easier to read online. Try reading Landing a Paraglider- Timing the Flare as an example of my collection of Jeff's technical articles.

These articles really add some solid content to my site. They are sure to be of interest to, as Jeff puts it, 'advancing pilots'. Is that you?


T-shirts of the Month

Now, I promised last month to feature another 6 of the 'most popular' T-shirts from CafePress.com. However, since then they have switched over to using a 3rd party company to handle all their affiliate sales. Huh? you say...

What it means to you is that the garments below aren't necessarily the most popular, since I only have a limited number to choose from. At least for now, while they are still converting all their inventory across. So I have just picked out 5 t-shirts to offer here, going for a bit of variety.

One good thing about the new company - when you click the 'buy'links below, the product pages come up sooooo much quicker than they used to! :-)

Gravity Sucks White T-Shirt

Gravity Sucks White T-Shirt

Fly Above All!


Surreal Flight 101

Surreal Flight 101

Powered Paragliding Shirt


Acro Black

Acro Black

Simple clean design


Paragliding Organic Cotton Tee

Paragliding Organic Cotton Tee

Paragliding


There's No Place on Earth... White T-Shirt

There's No Place on Earth... White T-Shirt

There's No Place on Earth...




Bearing in mind that this paragliding newsletter and in fact most of the website is really for 'newbies', any constructive feedback is welcome! Just reply to this newsletter and tell me your thoughts.

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