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Cross Country September 2020

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.

United Kingdom
XC Media
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min
wish you were here

For many in the northern hemisphere, August means holiday season. It’s too hot to work, everyone else is away, people have switched on their email out-of-office and muted their WhatsApp notifications. It’s time to forget about work, wind down and turn to the things we love: friends, family, flying. It means being able to fly mid-week rather than just the weekend, to travel to sites and places we’ve always wanted to visit, and to meet up with old friends and make new ones. All of that everyday stuff that we take so much for granted, and that has been thrown into sharp relief as the pandemic and its effects continue. Somehow, for me at least, it’s made them more precious. The day taken away from the desk to make the most of…

1 min

Bastienne Wentzel and Erwin Voogt are a husband-and-wife team from the Netherlands. Both instruct, while science journalist Bastienne also edits Lift, the Dutch association’s magazine. This issue they headed to Kössen for a flying trip – and took the Cayenne 6 and Rook 3 with them. See Kitlist, p68 Tarquin Cooper has been the Red Bull X-Alps reporter for several seasons, yet only started to fly last year. This year he got his solo wings, an experience he described as “Fantastic!” He’s got the bug. This issue he tracked down and interviewed New Zealand’s Nick Neynens. See p52 “ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS THINK, ‘I WANT TO FLY OVER THAT BUILDING’ – AND YOU DO”Bill Suitor, p58 Tobias Dimmler is a Swiss pilot and photographer who specialises in flying and outdoor sports.…

4 min
europeans cancelled

The pandemic continues to claim competition scalps, the latest being the FAI European Paragliding Championships. Originally due to be held in Serbia in July at the start of the pandemic it was pushed back to start on 23 August, for two weeks. However, as more or less everything else in the sporting calendar shut down the plan looked increasingly tenuous, and it was cancelled with just three weeks to go. Serbia was hit with a spike in Covid-19 cases in July, and an emergency situation was declared in Belgrade. Outdoor gatherings were limited to 10 people. Against this background, organisers were forced to postpone the whole event until 2022. “Positive thinking and having all medical measures ready have not been sufficient to ensure a ‘safe, fair and satisfying’ event,” organisers said. “We tried…

4 min
the naked pilot icaro’s vera and wolfgang kaiser

Vera Kaiser: In 1985 a hang glider pilot invited me to fly with him. I was stunned. I didn’t know you could fly like that. The flight was a mind-blowing experience and changed my whole life. I left my job and became an instructor in paragliding and hang gliding, I met Wolfgang in 1995, we moved to Bavaria and we started Icaro Paragliders. Wolfgang Kaiser: I was a keen hang glider pilot in the eighties and early nineties. I was selling hang gliders for Wills Wing and later Icaro 2000 in Germany and Austria. While the market for hang gliders was decreasing, we had the brilliant idea to start our own paraglider brand. We were no paraglider pilots but I learned quickly. I got my licence with Sepp Himberger in Kössen.…

4 min
insider’s guide: st andré

Where is it? The French Alps stretch from the frozen glaciers of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley in the north, to the rocky, sun-drenched limestone escarpments in the south. St André-les-Alpes sits in the southern part, just two hours’ drive or a train ride from the Mediterranean city of Nice. It is a legendary, well-established site that has hosted Paragliding World Cups, World Championships and numerous national and smaller-scale competitions. Partly because of all those competitions it developed a pretty fearsome reputation: for a while everyone seemed to return from St André with some sort of “There I was…” tale involving high-spec gliders spiralling out of the sky like so many paper napkins in a storm. Why September? The reason was competitions are often held there at the height of summer, when conditions…

1 min
fly the earth’s new 3rs

Veso Ovcharov has developed and launched a new paragliding acro harness. Called the 3RS, which stands for the Three Ring System, it has three rescue parachutes: one cutaway Base rig and two standard reserves. In development for three years its standout feature is that it sits up – carbon fibre back protection for the back, seat and sides is encased in high-impact foam, all of which means the harness has rigidity and, at 4kg, is lightweight. It’s also slimmer as the high-density foam used as back and side protection is thinner than standard foam. Aimed at intermediate pilots upwards, the streamlined design of the harness means, “less drag through manoeuvres and, most importantly, there is more room to evenly distribute the reserves and the cutaway system into their own, clean containers.” Each…