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latest Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, Jan08, Issue #0013, monthly.
January 30, 2008

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Site Update

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Issued on Wed, Jan 30th 2008, Issue #0013

Remember back in November, I said... I'm thinking of dropping the 'Image of the Month' from January 2008 onwards, and replacing it with 'Best Paragliding Story of the Month'.

Up until now, I haven't exactly been snowed under with stories! So for now, the Image of the Month stays. However, the invitation is still open - impress your friends, family and maybe a few flying buddies by getting published on Paragliding Tales and Reviews! Submit a few paragraphs describing a flight or even just a flying incident or encounter that put a smile on your face for some reason.

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 start this paragraph with the words 'as usual' ;-) and tell you that I scoured the Web using a number of world news resources to uncover some paragliding news. Well, after looking at a few possibilities, one story stood out. A brave, crazy German quad-biker who travelled to New Zealand and dared to cross the summit of Mount Cook in a powered paraglider. He pulled it off, despite the mountain roughing him up a bit for being so cheeky!

There's more to Gerry Mayr than just paragliding, but I'll stick to the paraglider flight here. That's what you signed up for, with this newsletter...

Getting Rotored By Mount Cook, In A Powered Paraglider!

Source: various New Zealand papers

Date: 17 Jan 2008


Very briefly, Gerry Mayr is a German adventurer who found his way all the way down to NZ and toured around on a quadbike. Gerry already holds 4 Guinness world records, and believed a powered paraglider crossing of Mount Cook could be a first. He was inspired by seeing a photo of the angular snow-capped mountain while back in Germany.


With the weather appearing to cooperate, Gerry took off from Fox Glacier on the West Coast of the South island. New Zealand consists of 2 major islands, North and South. Immediately going for maximum altitude, Gerry started to get the jitters as he made the required 3700 meters.

As the mountain range drew closer, the intrepid powered paraglider pilot was impressed by their beauty. They must have looked good, since as a European, Gerry would have been no stranger to spectacular Alpine views.

Seeing the 3754m Mount Cook up close was a real delight, as he passed over the summit at a ground speed of around 85 kph (53 mph).

Not so delightful was flying straight into an aerial tumble-drier... more on that in the next section.

A radio was being carried, but it apparently malfunctioned. The same thing happened to Bear Gryll's flight over Everest - radios just don't like high altitude flying!

The whole 84 km (52 miles) flight, with a westerly tailwind, lasted just over two hours. Even so, the 200cc paramotor was almost out of fuel when Gerry landed at Mount Cook airfield at about 1.20 in the afternoon.

Rotor Turbulence!

Every mountain flier's nightmare. A deflated canopy and the pilot doing an excellent imitation of a rag doll being hurled about by a 2 year old, or perhaps the family pet. For several hundred meters, Gerry was in free-fall with not a hint of control.

Not surprisingly, he thought he was about to die, with the leeward mountain slopes rising up at him. It was all over in 5 to 10 terrifying seconds, when the canopy finally re-inflated. Interestingly, none of the reports mentioned a reserve chute! Perhaps there wasn't one!

The whole time the little paramotor worked hard but kept going.

Gerry compared the experience to being thrown at the ground at 30 meters per second, by a large hand. Something like a bungy jump, with which he was also familiar.


The civil aviation authorities were not impressed, and commented that Gerry was 'extremely lucky to be alive' after his tussle with Mount Cook. Incidently, this is the highest mountain in New Zealand. There was even talk of whether the flight was legal, and the possibility of charges being laid.

Summing up a somewhat different view of events, Gerry himself commented that 'If I didn't make it, or really crashed, then it's better than dying at home in bed. It was one of my dreams, and I live my dreams.'

By his own admission, Gerry is a bit crazy to do what he does - but who can take away his achievement, or the amazing memories from such a flight...

Just for laughs, why not try this R/C Parachute Power Glider as they call it. Let you or your kids pretend to be Gerry Mayr going over the top... of the tallest tree down at the local park or something ;-)

Note:It's a pity, but this model is currently available to US residents only. However, they are promising to change this situation soon!

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.

Two Independence Carver paragliders, zipping down a snowy slope. Although the image is sharp, somehow the nearer wing still gives an impression of speed! The rather new sport of Speed Flying, which combines downhill skiing with high-speed paragliding under half-size wings, is not for the newbie. However, it was an interesting picture. Something out of the ordinary! Photo courtesy of Independence.

Website Content of the Month

Pages are always being added to the site, and I usually highlight just one page here. This month I'm featuring a recently created page which summarizes all the factors which can cause paraglider fabric to degrade.

The information is drawn from all across the Web. Hopefully you will find it useful and informative. It could just save you a packet of money if you manage to make your nice new wing last a lot longer!

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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