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Cross Country October 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
the right side of fun

We all know paragliding has a flip side to all the fun. The penalty it can impose on us when we are not paying attention or become complacent. The ground hurts, and it is entirely unforgiving. But how dangerous is paragliding really? No one really knows. It’s why, in February, we helped Dr Matt Wilkes carry out the biggest survey of its kind ever done into safety in paragliding. Matt, a mad keen pilot himself, is an adventure medic and researcher who, for the last few years, has been engaged in answering basic questions about our sport. What happens to our heart rates and stress levels when we fly? What do pilots actually do when they try to throw their reserve? How does the cold affect our hands in flight? Cumulatively,…

1 min

Dr Matt Wilkes has spent much of the last six months working in the Covid ward of his hospital in Edinburgh, but he still found time to write up the results of his survey into accidents and flight statistics for this issue. Hundreds of you helped contribute back in February – now read the results on p28 Antoine Girard needs little introduction. The first pilot to soar up and over an 8,000m peak, a Red Bull X-Alps athete, and an extraordinary adventure/ vol-bivouac pilot, he met his match earlier this year in Ethiopia when faced with a human with a gun. As he explains, too much adventure for one trip – p52 Matias Nombarasco is a full stack software developer whose outdoor passions include kiting, hiking, biking and of course, flying. His…

4 min
october in the air

Ölüdeniz Air Games The 21st edition of the Ölüdeniz Air Games festival in Turkey will go ahead “as planned” according to organiser Kadri Tuglu. In August he said that the “latest information” is that the four-day festival would happen from 21-25 October. It will be the biggest fly-in to happen in Europe since the Stubai Cup in March. Turkey has had an interesting season – the shutdown of tourism meant the professional tandem pilots in Ölüdeniz went solo flying, with some big results. Duncan Babington, a British pilot who lives in Turkey, wrote: “In normal years, after the end of May, all the best pilots in Turkey go to Ölüdeniz for the tandem season to earn their money for the rest of the year. But Ölüdeniz has been virtually deserted. “The result is…

3 min
the naked pilot benedikt bös

I’m 29, and live near Stuttgart. In daily life I am an orthopaedic technician – I build prosthetics. But in the evenings, weekends and vacations, everything is about flying. I got my paragliding licence at 16. I was on vacation in Austria, hiking up the Neunerköpfle. It was hot, my knees hurt and I still had to walk down. I saw these paraglider pilots, who only took a few steps before taking off and flying down. I decided right there that I needed to learn this. I still love to go free flying. When I’m in the mountains I always bring a paraglider. But at home I didn’t get much airtime. I could only fly in the evenings but there were not enough thermals at the small hills in my area. I…

3 min
insider’s guide: boomerang z

The experimental Gin Boomerang Z made its debut at the Swiss Open and then appeared again at the Paragliding World Cup in Disentis in August. This high-spec prototype competition glider is a project from Gin Gliders in South Korea, and it turned heads because of its distinctive leading edge – it’s wavy. The shape is inspired by the tubercles – small rounded projections – on the fins of the humpback whale. It’s an idea that has been experimented with before in paragliding, and more recently applied in surfing and in prototype wind-turbine blades. We asked legendary Gin Gliders owner and designer Gin Seok Song all about the design. Gin, where does this idea come from? It’s inspired by nature. Several academics have conducted research on the tubercles of the humpback whale. A professor…

2 min
james johnston

The writer James “Kiwi” Johnston, a long-standing contributor to Cross Country over the years, disappeared while on an XC flight in Nevada on 22 August. After a large ground and air search involving three local agencies, scores of volunteers, and hundreds of people online looking at satellite images, the official search for him was called off a week after he went missing. Kiwi, a New Zealander resident in the USA, was 86km into a flight when his Garmin InReach broadcast its last signal at 13,980ft – about 6,000ft AGL. The groundspeed of the InReach was recorded as 2.9 mph, which led search and rescue personnel to believe the unit was in freefall as it fell. The wind was 10-15mph, and if Kiwi had been under reserve he would have been drifting…