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latest Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, July08, Issue #0019, monthly.
July 30, 2008

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Paraglider


This month has seen a few good contributions to the Paragliding Tales and Reviews website from pilots who were very pleased with the wing they had recently acquired. This facility which lets you add your own experiences and opinions directly to the website is now coded into every paraglider page. That is, all the wings under the pages Paragliders 2005 right through to Paragliders 2008. In case you haven't come across one of these reviews yet, here's a couple of sample links:

Ozone Buzz Z

Niviuk Hook

See how it works? It's pretty easy. Feel free to join in, there's a good chance your wing is featured on the website if it was manufactured after 2004. Does it out-shine the others in its class in any way?

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Issued on Wed, July 30th 2008, Issue #0019
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

Just like last month, after the usual scouring of the Web using a number of world news resources, another decent flight story popped up. Just one, amongst all the usual over-reported accident doom and gloom in the media! This time the location was in the state of Idaho in the U.S.A. The last story was titled What's The Best Way To Approach And View A Large Dam? which tempted me to call this one What's The Best Way To Approach And View A Large Mountain? - read on to see why!

Highs And Lows Of Paragliding In The Mountains Of Idaho

Source: Idaho Mountain Express - U.S.

Date: 15 Jul 2008

Honza Rejmanek, a paraglider pilot from the state of Idaho in the U.S. had a great flight recently. No records broken, but it sounds like it was a personal best for Honza. In a nice bit of good publicity for the sport, his story was picked up by the local paper. Who wouldn't be interested in hearing about a 'parachutist' (in some people's eyes) staying airborne for over 7 and a half hours while flying across their home state? There were serene periods at high altitude, but also anxious times down low where it took a bit of effort to keep going.

The flight took Honza from the summit of Mount Baldy to near the town of Lima. The calculated distance was 174.7 km (108.5 miles), in a downwind direction. If those winds had been a bit stronger, the distance might have been a lot longer since ground would be covered as the paraglider drifted downwind during every climb.

The Flight In More Detail...

Launch was at 12:30 p.m., from the top of Mount Baldy. Soon, the paraglider was threading its way past mountain peaks. In fact, many climbs were in thermals triggered from near these peaks. In the words of the pilot, 'I got intimate with the mountains...' You can only imagine some of the perspectives he enjoyed, climbing away from terrain like that, and seeing round the corners and over the top more and more as the climb progressed! 'Scenic' and 'beautiful' are well-worn words but they certainly described the experience of this pilot.

In the original report I picked up a mild sense of disappointment that the tail-winds aloft were so light. Nice and safe for mountain flying, but not record-breaking stuff when attempting a long downwind dash! And there was a record in mind. This was an earlier effort in the same area of 203 km (126 miles) by a certain Nate Scales, back in August 2006.

As many record-seeking paraglider pilots say, better records are always possible since the equipment and local knowledge is constantly improving. Honza's sentiments exactly! He's going to have another go one day.

At one point during the flight, Honza was able to appreciate a view of the 3600 meter (11,850 feet) Devil's Bedstead peaks in the Pioneer Mountains. But then, as he approached the very highest peak in Idaho, it all nearly came unstuck. A height of 2000 meters (7000 feet) above sea level sounds pretty good usually, but not in the middle of a mountain range! At this height, the paraglider was only several hundred feet above ground and Honza was fortunate to come across a strong thermal just in time. It was a great relief to him to climb out to almost 3700 meters (12000 feet). The towering Mount Borah, just a little higher than that was nearby. The highest peak in Idaho. However, there was no chance of slipping up the side in slope lift. The flag at the top was just hanging straight down!

It was not long before Honza glided into another massive thermal which lofted him to 5180 meters (17000 feet) right over Mount Borah! If that wasn't the high point of his flight, in more ways than one, I don't know what was... From there, he tracked north-northeast, hopping over 2 more mountain ranges before conditions died. The final glide took Honza close to the Montana border, but he touched down near Lima at around 8pm, just 24 km (15 miles) inside the border.

With the help of a local farmer and also the operators of a fuel station near a highway, Honza eventually made it home before noon the following day. Very pleased with himself I bet, and in possession of a camera full of fantastic digital images of the flight!

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 a great new pic every month. Hope you enjoy this month's featured picture, below.

Just click on it to enlarge.

An Airwave Sport 4 launching from a small rocky slope. Well it looks small in this photo, but who knows what the terrain looks like in front of the pilot! The Sport 4 is not an entry-level wing, but to me the picture evokes the kind of feelings a newbie has when getting their first actual glide after all the ground training. Airborne at last!

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 Pro-Design Cuga. 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 Cuga is an entry-level wing, and therefore the emphasis is on passive safety, handling and easy launch behaviour. As you would expect. The manufacturer also chooses to mention the effort they have put into developing a wing profile (airfoil shape) to maximize stability in pitch. The implication being that low-time pilots get a bit nervous or stressed about too much swinging to and fro under the canopy! Pro-Design are keen to reduce the chances of a bad first impression in this area.

Pro-Design have some interesting technical innovations in their gliders, including the Cuga. I'll just touch on a few that caught my eye here.

  • 'Partial V-rib technology' aims at getting a better weight distribution across the top surface with fewer line attachment points on the lower surface
  • 'Ram-Air pockets' are built into the inside of the leading edge on the lower surface of the canopy, to reduce vibrations and improve stability when the glider is being flown at high speed
  • 'Differing line diameters' - progressively differing line diameters maximize the overall strength and minimize drag - also, the Dyneema material is pre-stretched for greater consistency in length

Here's a few very basic numbers describing the '90' version of this wing...

pilot take-off weight: 90-110 kg (199-243 lbs)
wing weight: 5.1 kg (11.3 lbs)
wing area (projected): 23.2 m (250 ft)
wing span (projected): 9.0 m (30 ft)
aspect ratio (projected): 3.5
min sink 1.2 m/s (236 fpm, 4.3 kph, 2.3 knts)
best glide ratio: 7.5:1
speed min: 22 kph (14 mph, 12 knts)
speed trim: 36 kph (22 mph, 19 knts)
speed max: 46 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 Pro-Design Cuga 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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