Hi there, I'm Tim, webmaster of www.paragliding-tales-and-reviews. You can contact me anytime. Writing to you from the southern suburbia of Adelaide in South Australia. I'll drop my 'Web-writing' persona now, and communicate a little more like the real 'me'.
The pages here are built on my general flying knowledge plus plenty of in-depth web research.
Since an early age I've been fascinated with flight, motorless flight in particular.
In my case, the spark of this lifetime interest was a schoolbook story of the Wright brothers achievement early last century...
A bit of trivia now...
A small group of Australians successfully re-created the first flight of the Wright Flyer, not that long ago. There was another attempt at Kittyhawk itself that was unfortunately unsuccessful. As on the original occasion, everything had to be perfect for such a borderline aircraft to fly. Anyway, moving on...
I have to come clean. I'm neither a current, nor an experienced paraglider pilot!
Having said that, let me present the credentials and experience I do have. Just so you don't click away from here in disgust! ;-) I'll try not to rave on too long.
I made and flew kites as a kid. Yeah ok, big deal..
OK, I made and flew paper planes during school, taking trim, C-of-G and L/D ratio very seriously :-) Wait, there's more..
At the age of 15, in a Blanik L13 sailplane, I became the youngest glider pilot in the country at the time. That was at Bond Springs airstrip just outside Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. Too young for a driving license, my Dad had to drop me off at the gliding club. While there I had the immense privilege of meeting Hans Werner Grosse, the German world-record setter.
Had a brief and unpleasant association with the Air Force in my early twenties. However, I did score 'motivational' passenger flights in such aircraft as the Chinook helicopter, Macchi jet trainer and various transports and light aircraft. An interesting one was a WWII Winjeel. At one stage I did the flying for a few 'circuits and bumps' in a single-engine CT4 trainer, with an instructor beside me, coaching.
Around this time, and for a few years after, flew a small radio-controlled trainer aircraft. Plus a beautiful Alpha-H sailplane, my pride and joy, which I equipped with working airbrakes. :-)
Eventually, in my twenties, I became a fully qualified gliding instructor for the Adelaide University Gliding Club. By this stage I had flown some 12 glider types, from vintage to 'glass' high performance. Had sign-offs in my logbook for passenger flying, cross country and basic aerobatics.
In my thirties, dabbled in hang-gliding for a while, had some nice ridge-soaring flights at various South Australian locations. Had a couple of flights in a powered trike during training. Interesting way to fly!
Dabbled in paragliding a bit later, in the mid 90s. Had a memorable ridge soaring flight in an ancient low-performance canopy that I wouldn't recommend now, based on the information in this site! :-D It made flapping noises during turns and dropped like a stone when not in lift.
Through all the above, plus some courses, I gained a solid understanding of basic aerodynamics.
Also had a short but very enjoyable stint as a virtual airline pilot with QVA (Qantas Virtual Airlines). I would recommend them to any flight-sim fans out there. Flight simming these days is incredibly realistic and can be really absorbing. If you can find some decent thermal scenery add-ons, the soaring flight experience can be pretty good too!
At this writing, I am 46 years old, married with a very young son. He will grow up to be a pilot of some sort. He will. I hope. If he wants to.
Carry on paragliding!
Last updated: 22 Feb 2007