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Cross Country

Cross Country September 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
on the menu

“Who gets to fly as much as they want?” Alex Ploner, the new Hang Gliding World Champion asked when I interviewed him for this issue. He was explaining work commitments meant he flew less these days, but actually that probably wasn’t a bad thing – it made him hungry, and so when the opportunity came, he wasn’t going to miss it. I think we all know that feeling. I experienced it myself earlier in the season during a week in Austria when conditions turned classic. Stuck at a desk for work I spent two evenings plotting my XC escape for my one day off. When it came, and the weather was good, you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as I rode up the cable car. On launch it was…

1 min

Tarquin Cooper is an adventure sports journalist who has worked for newspapers around the world. A regular contributor to the UK’s Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times, he is best known to us as the face of the Red Bull X-Alps. He tells us what life was like chasing Chrigel in this year’s race, p64 Tobias Dimmler is a professional tandem pilot in Switzerland and a trained photographer. He combined his love of landscape photography with flying in the best way possible this summer, shooting 4,000m Alpine peaks from above. He shares his story of one remarkable week, see p56 Kieran Campbell is a photographer who started paragliding in 2010, with “no idea how hooked I’d become on free-flight”. Having now flown and guided around the world, he still loves exploring his…

2 min
in the core

Kubo Beňo Slovakia’s Kubo Beňo (Ozone Zeno) spent July flying in the Karakoram. He flew a spectacular 220km FAI triangle around the mountains north of Gilgit on 23 July. Flying part of the way with Jean-Luc Wolf (Skywalk Spice) and Oriol Fernandez (Advance Sigma 10), Kubo spent a good chunk of his seven-hour flight between 6,000-7,000m enjoying 7m/s climbs. Having launched from Eagle’s Nest at 2,900m, a site near the small village of Altit, close to the Karakoram Highway, he headed west through massive terrain before coming back towards Gilgit. His final leg saw him fly past 7,788m Rakaposhi, the star mountain in the region, before closing the triangle exactly where he’d launched from. xcontest.org Out-and-return Arduino Persello and Paolo Brollo claimed a new tandem out-and-return world record on 23 July, with a…

2 min
alex ploner gold!

Italy’s Alex Ploner won the FAI Hang Gliding World Championships in July, becoming FAI Hang Gliding World Champion for a third time. He beat his teammate Christian Ciech by just 83 points over a nine-task, 9,000 point competition. Primoz Gricar (DE) won bronze. “It’s amazing!” Alex said. “I flew well, and I didn’t expect to.” He added, “It was the best World Championships I’ve been to.” In the Nations, Italy dominated again, winning gold for the sixth time in a row. Brazil and Germany won silver and bronze. There was no separate women’s category. The competition, held in the northeast Italian Alps near Tolmezzo, saw nine valid tasks over 12 days, including a rest day. 120 pilots from 29 nations took part. Large cylinders meant plenty of route choices over the tasks, which ranged…

1 min
‘the level just gets higher’

Théo de Blic won the AcroGame for a third time in July. He beat his friend and flatmate Tim Alongi into second place after a competition that took just one day instead of two to complete. Judge Pál Takáts said the level was the highest it’s ever been, with new tricks like the Hardcore Infinity and Superstall to Infinity marking out the best from the rest. “Every year these guys get into new depths of technicality, it is very inspiring,” he said. Invented by five-time Acro World Cup champion Horacio Llorens, the format of the AcroGame sees 15 top acro pilots go head-to-head in battles, with the losing pilot instantly eliminated. A qualification round progresses into quarter and semi-finals before the final two pilots fly against each other in a battle. This year…

2 min
in brief

Lydia Jaecques Belgian paramotor pilot Lydia Jaecques tragically died in a paramotoring accident on 24 July. Just 32, she was a well-known pilot in the PPG scene. The accident happened in the evening near the village of Vladslo, Belgium and was witnessed by her father, Dominiek. He told local news: “Lydia actually did nothing wrong, but ended up in a spiral. [Her husband] Aymard heard her say something on the radio. Then we saw her fall down.” We extend our sincere condolences to Lydia’s family and friends. XContest goes Pro XContest, the online XC league, is launching a subscription service for advanced users. Currently free to use, the Pro version will make use of XCTrack and offer additional features for in-depth flight analysis. A beta release is currently under testing with donors and…