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Cross Country

Cross Country August 2019

Cross Country is the world’s leading voice for hang gliding, paragliding and paramotoring pilots. Ten times a year, our magazine content reflects our obsession with flying, and we express it by packing each issue with the most imaginative, inspirational photography and writing we can lay our hands on.

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United Kingdom
XC Media
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min
spirit of the sky

“I am in the shape of my life,” Chrigel Maurer said before this year’s Red Bull X-Alps. Bumping into him a few days before the start of the race in the athletes’ campsite I could see this was true. He looked fit, slim and relaxed, and was confident he could win again. There is a reason the organisers of the X-Alps insist on calling the pilots “athletes” rather than “pilots” – it’s because they are. Watching some of them prepare their gliders ahead of the big day I was reminded of Olympic cyclists stripping down their bikes: every link in the chain was being tested. Hug an X-Alps pilot and it’s like touching malleable steel under human skin. Nose inside the nutrition box and you’ll find all sorts – from magnesium…

1 min

Nicolas Cochet lives in the heartland of paragliding in St Hilaire du Touvet. He works for AirDesign and in his spare time is a pilot/photographer. This issue we’ve used an image of him above Mont Blanc – he was there – and he also reveals how to get that classic wingover shot, the easy way. More on p32 Charlie King headed to Monaco to get an exclusive interview with Chrigel Maurer, who was fresh from winning the Red Bull X-Alps for a remarkable sixth time. Charlie is Cross Country’s news editor and is a regular reviewer for the magazine too. See Six in a Row, p54 Matthias Küffer started flying hang gliders in 2002, but has been involved in flying since he started skydiving in the 1980s. A Swiss pilot, his passion…

2 min
in the core

Poland’s 300k days Europe has seen some phenomenal conditions (including, of course, Mont Blanc day), but let’s start with Poland, which saw a clutch of 300k flights in early July. Kacper Kowalski (777 Queen 2) had a “great day”, flying 323km on 3 July in the NW air flow. It looked like a dream run across the flats, with base at 2,100m. Other 300k pilots over the two days of classic conditions included Grzegorz Szafranski (309km), Pawel Faron (308km), Kuba Sto (308km), and Ireneusz Janik (303.5km). Meanwhile, a little further down track, Bogdan Baziuk flew his Nova Sector for 337km across Ukraine. xcontest.org 400km in Iran Pilots flying in the Rokh mountains in Iran were in orbit in June, setting records and pushing boundaries. Soheil Barikani flew his brand new Gin Leopard (EN…

3 min
mont blanc 4,810m

Record cloudbase over the Alps on Wednesday 26 June saw an estimated 150-200 pilots top-land on the summit of Mont Blanc (4,810m). A high pressure system combined with a heatwave extending up from the Sahara saw truly epic flying conditions in the region, with many pilots climbing above 5,000m, and several to 5,800m. The day was celebrated by pilots, but also prompted swift action from local authorities. The town halls of Chamonix and Saint-Gervais issued a ban on landing within 600m of the summit for the rest of the month (it is already banned in July and August), and while the weather lasted they posted officials at take-off at Planpraz to warn pilots not to attempt the flight. The action followed an accident involving a French pilot who died while taking off…

2 min
heatwave sets european flying on fire

France wasn’t the only place to experience record cloudbase and good flying during the heatwave that gripped Europe at the end of June. Here are three highlights. Battle of the Finns Jouni Makkonen flew 379.77km in Finland on 28 June, taking advantage of the longest days and a northwesterly airflow to fly literally across the country. Launching by tow from an airfield near Kauhava about 40km inland from the Gulf of Bothnia, he flew until he ran out of land – and then kept on going. After flying over the tiny island of Vikarinsaari he finally turned and headed back to land. If he hadn’t, the next landing place would have been in Russia. He was flying an Ozone Enzo 3 and averaged 49.88km/h. Meanwhile, on the same day in Finland, Pekka Raudaskoski…

1 min
love is in the air

The French Paramotor Championships sweated through the epic heatwave that gripped the country in late June and saw temperatures peak at 45.9C – the hottest on record. It wasn’t quite that hot at the ULM airfield in Couhé-Verac, western France, but it was definitely high summer. Held over a week, 29 June to 6 July, a total of 35 pilots competed in the solo foot launch category, with nine solo trikes and four tandem trikes. The solo pilots managed 13 tasks, often in windy conditions. French paramotoring’s golden couple won the day – again. Alex Mateos won gold and his wife Marie won silver and the Women’s trophy. Fairly, they divided the wins – each pilot won three individual tasks. “I was a little apprehensive at first, because I missed the…