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latest Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, June08, Issue #0018, monthly.
June 25, 2008

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Paraglider

Hello again!

It's that time again when you get your monthly news snippet and manufacturer's photo. Talking of photos, a couple of visitors to the website have left some nice images - just scroll down to the bottom of that page and click the links to see them.

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Issued on Wed, June 25th 2008, Issue #0018
Paragliding Tales and Reviews
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia

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Table of Contents

  1. News of the Month
  2. Image of the Month
  3. Featured Paraglider

News of the Month

After the usual scouring of the Web using a number of world news resources, a decent flight story popped up. The location was in the state of Washington in the north west of the USA. Perhaps the fact that the pilot was a woman made this tale even more newsworthy! Here's the best bits, in my usual compressed style...

What's The Best Way To Approach And View A Large Dam?

Source: Grand Coulee Star - U.S.

Date: 18 Jun 2008

By paraglider, what else. The noise level is so low that the slowly approaching spectacle can be heard as well as seen. Plus the aerial perspective just has to be better than anything land-based! The Coulee Dam was the main highlight in a memorable distance flight for this female pilot. In fact, the day was so good that she wasn't the only one to make a personal best straight-line distance flight.

The launch was from Chelan Butte, in the company of several other pilots. Conditions were near-perfect with light winds and the promise of excellent thermal conditions later in the day. Heather St. Clair, whose flight is described here, had been into paragliding for almost 3 years. It seems her first experience of the sport was extra-special, with the tandem wing sharing the air with bald eagles. Wouldn't that get you hooked in a hurry!

Approaching The Dam

With pre-flight checks completed, Heather launched off Chelan Butte around 1 p.m. Apparently, she was not the only female pilot either. Many other pilots also began long flights from the same spot on the day. Half an hour into the flight, she joined several more pilots in the same large thermal.

Kilometers passed slowly by, below. The miles passed even more slowly ;-) Having launched close to the best part of the day, it wasn't long before Heather was tucked right up under cloud-base at 12000 feet. It was cold, and the spare heavy gloves came out to prevent any chance of frostbite.

An early goal was Mansfield, but that was achieved easily. Hence Coulee City and the associated large dam became a possibility. Around this time the GPS batteries died. Bummer.

Near The Dam

This was not just any dam across a small river. The Grand Coulee Dam is a hydroelectric power facility, producing 6480 megawatts of clean green energy. From 10,000 feet, Heather could just spot the Banks Lake behind the dam. After pushing on and getting down to 5,600 feet she could see the dam itself.

As the awesome sight drew closer, the sound of torrents of cascading water topped off the experience.

Final Glide

After a low point of 3,500 feet, another thermal provided a welcome climb back to 7,000 feet. At this altitude, the sound of chirping birds near the ground finally disappeared!

With thermals dying off, it was soon time to pick a landing spot. A large football field was within range, so Heather completed her exhilarating flight with an easy landing on the grass, in almost nil wind. The grounds turned out to be the Lake Roosevelt High School oval.

And so ended the kind of flight low-time paraglider pilots dream of!

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 couple of Ozone MantraR07 paragliders in a thermal. The R stands for research since Ozone use their high-end competition wings to test the latest advances in technology. Some of those design features might eventually filter down to the LTF 1 and 1-2 level wings. I thought it was about time I featured a hot high-aspect ratio design in this spot!

Featured Paraglider

This section focuses on a recently manufactured and certified paraglider that has been written up on the Paragliding Tales and Reviews website. This month, it's the SOL Prymus 3. Nothing hugely in-depth here, just a few notes based on

  1. what the manufacturer is saying about the wing, plus,
  2. some basic technical data, assuming a ready-to-fly pilot weight of 95 kg (210 pounds).

The Prymus 3 is a 39-cell learners' wing with the emphasis squarely on safety. In common with any other LTF 1 rated wing these days, it's also quite capable of distance flights in good conditions. SOL like to let people know about 3 separate areas of technology which contribute to the fine reputation their wings have, including the Prymus.

Firstly, 3 types of fabric are used in canopy construction. This gives strength where needed, without unnecessary weight. Durability and low deformation are the result. Secondly, laser technology is used for cutting which results in great accuracy. Thirdly, their quaintly-named 'comfortable technology' is a general reference to their efforts to maximize in-flight pilot comfort! Here's a few very basic numbers describing the L version of this wing...

pilot take-off weight: 90-110 kg (199-243 lbs)
wing weight: 6.3 kg (13.9 lbs)
wing area (projected): 25.3 m (272 ft)
wing span (projected): 9.6 m (36 ft)
aspect ratio (projected): 3.6
min sink 1.0 m/s: (197 fpm, 3.6 kph, 1.9 knts)
best glide ratio: 8.1:1
speed min: 21 kph (13 mph, 11 knts)
speed trim: 37 kph (23 mph, 20 knts)
speed max: 47 kph (29 mph, 25 knts)

Min Sink and Best Glide figures are rubbery of course - many factors can cause small changes in these. Pilot weight for example.

The SOL Prymus 3 paraglider is written up in quite a bit more detail on the website.

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.

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