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latest Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, Jun07, Issue #0006, monthly e-zine.
June 27, 2007

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Site Update

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Issued on Wed, Jun 27th 2007, Issue #0006

Table of Contents

1. Newbie Reports

2. News of the Month

3. Image of the Month

4. Website Content of the Month

5. Paragliding T-Shirts

Newbie Reports

A while back, a subscriber to this newsletter emailed me asking for articles from a newbie's point of view. That is, actual flying stories or experiences while learning to fly paragliders. Great idea, but you know me, I don't just copy'n'paste stuff from the web word-for-word!

So how about it... Do YOU have anything to share that would help other newbies?

No need for polished articles or great writing, just dash something down, and I'll take care of spelling, grammar and so on. Even if you just submit a whole bunch of points in note form, that's ok, I can cobble it into a story!

Here's some ideas for what to write about:

  • a funny incident
  • a not so funny flying incident that can help others avoid trouble
  • your absolute best flight so far - even if it was your 1st sled ride!
  • anything interesting or unusual that happened to you while paragliding
  • heck, just tell me about your last flying weekend to get your name in print here! ;-)

This is THE time to contribute, since the next issue will be the FIRST one with a Newbie Report. I can almost guarantee that if you contact me with a short story or a few noted down points, you'll get published! Point is, there are other newbies out there who receive this newsletter. Your experiences will probably be of interest to them.

If I get several responses, I'll still publish them all, at this stage. Maybe later on I'll get fussier... But not this time, so GO FOR IT!

News of the Month

As usual, I scoured the Web using a number of world news resources but didn't come across anything earth shattering this time. But there is a guy preparing to break a long distance world record in a powered paraglider. Will he do it by the next issue of this newsletter? Maybe, maybe not, but you'll read about it here when it happens.

So, that leaves me with 2 quirky little news stories involving paragliding.

Firstly, there's a little old lady in England who rather than being helped across the road was instead helped into a paragliding harness under a tandem wing! How about that. Seems like geriatric paragliding is starting to catch on in the U.K. Just last year, a 91 year old man from the same area did a similar thing.

Secondly, an unusual global travel company has given a new twist to Fathers' Day over in the U.S. this year. No more socks and ties. A number of special experiences are on offer, including paragliding of course!

(Old) Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Source: The Argus, U.K.

Date: 13 June 2007

She's a thrill seeker with a difference. Most of the time, Phyllis Atkinson probably looks like any other 90 year old, doing the things old age pensioners do. But when it's her birthday, look out. Soon there won't be many extreme activities that she hasn't experienced. Ever since her 79th birthday, she has done something different, with some organizational help from relatives.

Here's a sample of this Extreme Granny's thrill rides.

  • freefall skydiving (strapped to an instructor in tandem, I presume)
  • 2 hours in a sailplane (I can remember taking an old lady up in a Blanik L13 once)
  • touching 290 kph (180mph) in a Lamborghini Diablo, scaring the wits out of her passenger (I made that last bit up, bet it got your attention...)
  • paragliding off a hill in a tandem

Yes, it was the paragliding flight she had this year. The location was Sussex, near Lewes, and it was a sunny day. Dave Lewis was the pilot, and he was impressed with the old lady's attitude and lack of nerves before the flight. Apparently, she just went for it and enjoyed the whole experience. They launched from Mount Caburn and descended 200 meters (600 feet) to the landing zone. Dave, who is based in Lewes, runs 2 Up Paragliding. He gives all sorts of people the experience of paraglider flight, with his tandem wing.

Interestingly, Phyllis sometimes manages to convince other members of her family to do the same activity she does when her birthday comes around! Imagine being shown up by Granny... This time, her niece's husband was game enough to also have a paragliding flight.

Phyllis Atkinson is almost certainly the oldest woman to paraglide in the U.K., and possibly the world. Good on her!

Wild and Unusual Gifts and Experiences for Father's Day

Source: Business Wire, New York, U.S.A.

Date: 12 June 2007

So what have you got your Dad for Father's Day in the past? Is he getting sick of cheap cologne and paisley ties? Actually I did make an effort once and took him to a mini-golf course. Seemed appropriate, since he had a tendency to put in a back yard putt-putt course at every address he ever lived... But that pales in comparison to what's on offer from, a global company which was founded in the U.K. This company specializes in exciting gifts and trips and has offices around the world. However, the news article seemed to focus on the U.S.

The unusual angle to this company is that they have specialized technology for seeking out unsold airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars and other things. These are combined into last-minute adventure opportunities that can be bought on-line, sometimes just hours before the departure time!

In the case of Father's Day in the U.S., managed to come up with an amazing array of gifts. Here's a sample...

  • Legal street racing in San Diego with Dad's own car
  • Tandem sky diving in New York or Los Angeles
  • Salsa dancing lessons in Miami
  • Fly fishing in Dallas, with private lessons
  • Paragliding in Atlanta

Apparently, iTunes gift certificates and gift certificates for last second deals are also available on the website for Father's Day.

Not sure how my Dad would react to being packed off to a remote mountain top with a paragliding instructor. He'd probably be like that old guy who once said about flying 'I like to keep my feet on Terra Firma - the more Firmer, the less Terror!'.

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.

This picture was taken in late March, at around 8 pm. The location being Chamonix in the north of France, there was still plenty of light reflecting off the snow. What a view from that perspective.

The pilot is Jean Charles, doing an exuberant wingover in the cool thin air! He's flying an Ozone Buzz Z.

If you're a shutter-bug, you might be interested to know that the camera used was a Canon EOS-1D Mark II.

Website Content of the Month

Pages are always being added to the site, and I usually highlight just one page here. This time, it's a set of powered paragliding world records. Yes, powered paragliding. As you might have noticed, my site is starting to feature more and more info on this increasingly popular alternative to free flight paragliding.

The types of records kept by the FAI for powered paragliding are interesting. The FAI is the international body that keeps track of world aviation records. The type of records reflect how this sport is a cross between light aviation and a soaring sport.

For example, the record for absolute distance leaves the pilot free to use his engine in any way he chooses. A skilled soaring pilot would use it as little as possible during a long soaring period of the day, then perhaps cruise under power as long as possible after all thermal lift has disappeared. Depending on the exact weather conditions, there would be many other possibilities too. For example, climbing or descending to take advantage of different winds speeds and directions, like a balloonist!

Paragliding T-Shirts

Here's five cool paragliding shirts. My wife isn't into any kind of flying, and she still thought some of these weren't bad!

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


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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