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latest Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, Nov07, Issue #0011, monthly
November 29, 2007

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Site Update

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Issued on Wed, Nov 28th 2007, Issue #0011

So you think you can write...

Before getting into the rest of the newsletter, I would like to tell you about an exciting new feature of the website! It is now possible for anyone to visit Paragliding Tales and Reviews and type in their own flying tale for all to see. It's very simple, there's a new paragliding story up there already.

It will take a little time for other visitors to get into the swing of things and start contributing, but meanwhile, what about you? If you're keen enough to subscribe to this newsletter, you must have had some interesting flying experiences recently. Maybe a year or 2 ago, but something memorable must have happened! Otherwise, why fly, right?

See what you think! By the way, you don't really have to be a talented writer. Any half-decent yarn with a few spelling mistakes will do. I'll polish it up a bit before letting it loose on the rest of the paragliding world! ;-) It's easy to submit your own paragliding story.

I'm thinking of dropping the 'Image of the Month' from January 2008 onwards, and replacing it with 'Best Paragliding Story of the Month'. Any comments? If so, please just reply to this email with your thoughts.

Does 'RSS' mean anything to you?

If so, here's the feed URL for my website updates:

Table of Contents

  1. News of the Month
  2. Image of the Month
  3. Website Content of the Month

News of the Month

As usual, I scoured the Web using a number of world news resources to uncover some paragliding news. It seems the bulk of news mentioning paragliding falls into the following categories, none of which are particularly interesting to pilots:

  • 'I'm a reporter and I went paragliding the other day rah rah rah'
  • 'I'm a travel writer and in this location you can do blah, blah, paragliding, blah, blah'
  • 'A 40 year old man was injured when ... crashed .... rescued ... hospital ....'

However, this month there was one news items which might interest you, particularly if you enjoy technology-related topics. It concerns an event in New Zealand which involves a number of soaring sports, including paragliding.

Oh, and I resisted the urge to report yet another 'paragliding granny' story! This time around it was another British pensioner who marked her 100th birthday with a spectacular tandem flight. She .... stop it stop it! ok...

Air Sports From New Zealand To Be Beamed Around The World

Source: Scoop Independent News

Date: 20 Nov 2007

It seems there is a huge air sports event coming up later this year, just over the Tasman sea from where I am, here in Australia. The New Zealand Air Games are scheduled to take place at Wanaka Airport on the 27th and 28th of December. It's going to be the largest aviation sports event ever to take place in the Southern Hemisphere.

Next generation media technology.

Yes, this event, or rather series of events is going super-high-tech. No less than 80 technical crew and a range of GPS, satellite and Internet technologies will be involved.

If your eyes are now starting to glaze over, and you feel a yawn coming on, please feel free to skip this slightly techie section. :-) Here's another impressive number. 112 small, light cameras will be mounted on helmets, in cockpits, on wings, just about anywhere that will give an interesting viewpoint. The cameras will feed their signals to a microwave transmitter strapped to the pilot.

The microwave transmissions are then caught by a dish which feeds to a broadcast truck. From there it gets sent to the giant screen at Wanaka Airport. Somewhere along the way, real-time graphics are added to the live images and sound coming in. As well, some footage will be arriving from off-site events such as swoop parachuting on the nearby Lake Wanaka.

An internet streaming converter is housed somewhere as well, which feeds via satellite into a German web site. From here, of course, anyone on the planet can see the action! Live action, with overlaid graphics! It will be free for the low-resolution streaming video, with higher quality viewing available for a small fee. Those that pay will be able to re-watch highlights as well.


Live action from 10 aerial sports.

Apparently, many of the sports will be 'reformatted for high adrenalin viewing'. I can only assume this means that the distances involved will be kept down. This way, people can either see all of the action in the sky near them, or at least not have to wait very long for something to happen.

The 10 air sports will include such diverse kinds of flying as sky diving, helicopters and hot air ballooning. More interesting to you, the paraglider pilot, will be the small group of soaring sports. That is, gliding, hang-gliding and paragliding.

A few brief details on the gliding now. I'm biased, since I've done more of this than either hang gliding or paragliding... 20 of the world’s top glider pilots will race around 50 kilometer circuits, in heats of 5 machines at a time. The fact they can get around this length of course in just over 20 minutes gives you an idea of how fast modern sailplanes are!

A company called Animation Research Ltd (ARL), has developed custom-built units to track the 3 soaring sports. GPS location signals are sent via two networks (GPRS and satellite) to an operations center on the ground. ARL’s 3D sporting graphics package, Virtual Eye, then produces a life-like 3D representation of what’s actually happening in the air. For example, how fast the competitors are going, who’s in front and by how much.

What about the paragliding action? I'm only guessing here, but I imagine it will be treated very similarly to the gliding scenario. A short triangular course would just about keep all the paragliders in view from the airport most of the time. Distances and speeds would be scaled down compared to gliding. The nature of the racing, and hence the live graphics, would be quite similar.

How will this aerial event be different to others?

The size of the whole thing, plus the variety of live perspectives on all sorts of flying sports. X-Alps on steroids! Plus, the live Internet streaming promises to open up the world of air sports to a whole new audience.

A Good Book For Free-Flight Paragliding

Paragliding - A Pilot's Training Manual. Do you have at least a few hours of soaring experience under your belt? Keen to learn much more? This book will fill out your knowledge nicely. Just remember it doesn't take the place of your instructor!

Complete Reference For Powered Paragliding

Powered Paragliding Bible. This is one of a couple of good books that people are using before and during taking up power paragliding. It's great if you want a really complete reference book about the sport. Authored by Jeff Goin and Dennis Pagen and published in April 2006. That Pagen name pops up a lot in light aviation literature!

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.

A row of Niviuk Hook paragliders in loose formation. Judging by the background, they are at a quite high altitude. Perhaps they all worked the same large thermal to get into position for this shot. Thanks to Niviuk for permission to use their pics, from which this was selected.

Some Interesting Paragliding DVDs

There's a few decent powered paragliding DVD titles all grouped together in the one spot on my site. See what you think. Most are for region 1 only, although one does play in all regions.

Another group of paragliding DVDs might be interesting if free flight is more your thing. This page is put together much like the PPG one, and all the DVDs are Region 1 format only.

Website Content of the Month

Pages are always being added to the site, and I usually highlight just one page here. If you have any interest in powered paragliding, you might also be interested in reading the page on paramotor harness variations. There's some quotes in there from Jeff Goin too. Recognize that name? He's an author of one of the more popular powered paragliding books.

A Couple Of T-Shirts

Looking for a paragliding t-shirt? Are you visually oriented? If so, you might be interested in a shirt displaying a reproduction of a great photo. The title text, if any, doesn't matter so much.

There's No Place on Earth... is the title of one such t-shirt. Check out the giant growing cumulus in the background! It draws you in, saying 'stop for a moment and imagine approaching cloud base under this thing, at 3000 meters.'

Maybe you're the type who likes the pithy slogan that says it all in just a few words! Here, the graphic design doesn't matter so much, except to make clear that the subject is paragliding.

Gravity Sucks don't you agree? It cuts short so many flights in weak conditions, and it really sucks when you have a collapse in strong conditions!

As for actually buying a shirt from CafePress, I bought one just before Christmas 2006. I can't say I had any complaints. It arrived a few days late, but that was understandable considering the workload CafePress has around that time of year.

Bearing in mind that this paragliding newsletter and in fact most of the website is really for 'newbies', any constructive feedback is welcome! In particular, what would you really like to see in this newsletter? Just reply to this email and tell me your thoughts.

Finally, why not tell a friend about this newsletter.

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