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Cross Country December 2020 - January 2021

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
in the moment

One line jumped out at me when I read Lucho Machado’s article about partnership in flying (Choose your wingman, p30). He said he remembered when pilots would guide each other into the landing, warning of gusts or the wind direction. He didn’t see so much of that anymore, he said. Instead, “What I see are smartphones aimed at those approaching for landing.” Reading that, it felt true, and I also felt a gulp of guilt. His point is direct: buddy up. Take care of ourselves and each other while we fly, all the way to a safe landing. It made me think of how much precious headspace it takes to engage with the latest ping or alert, how (intentionally) distracting all our devices are. I could be learning Spanish! Instead I’m…

1 min

Craig Morgan is a former British paragliding champion who lives and works in England’s green and tranquil southwest. He has reported from numerous comps for XC in the past, and when we heard he was off to Brazil last year, well... The result, with Steve Ham’s brilliant illustrations, is on p54 Dougie Swanson-Low last wrote for us in the Cross Country Travel Guide 2020, when he described his vol-biv adventure through the Alps. This issue he’s back – we’re delighted to have him onboard as one of our latest wing reviewers. Read his review of Supair’s new EN-C Savage on p70 “‘THE FIRST COLLAPSE HIT ME. STRAIGHT AFTER THAT MY VARIO WAILED HYSTERICALLY”Felix Wölk in Guatemala, p46 Charlie King is our gear editor and was the first British woman to climb-and-fly from the…

4 min
rafa’s 530k record in brazil

Rafael Saladini flew 555km and set a new paragliding distance-to-goal world record in Brazil on 15 October. He beat the previous distance-to-goal world record by 20km, pushing it to a massive 530km. His flight was the third longest in paragliding history and was all the more remarkable because he flew the whole distance on his own. For a decade, all the world records in Brazil have been flown as a group – allowing pilots to work together and collectively fly faster. Rafa launched from Tacima by tow and had initially planned to land at the 100km mark. However, a good thermal as he came in to land saw him climb out to base. “After that my mindset changed completely,” he said. “I decided to fly as far as I could and try…

4 min
the naked pilot thomas friedrich

I’ve been flying all my life. I grew up in Graz, Austria, where my dad, Willi Friedrich, ran the Flugschule Steiermark. I’m 19 years old now and I still live in the house where I grew up. My dad took me on my first tandem flight when I was five. I was at the training hill with him nearly every weekend and after school with my younger brother. My dad looked after us, I was groundhandling a Swing Savage 13 m2 . Later I got a Gin Bolero 3. I was in heaven because it was superbig and I could do short hops with it. When I was 11 my dad said I could come up to the high take-off. He used to tease me and say that I could come up…

1 min
insider’s guide: survey 2020

In October we carried out our regular Cross Country Subscribers’ Survey, and what a picture it paints! Nine out of 10 of us are men; most of us fly EN B or C paragliders; more than half of us fly a pod harness; only one in three fly with a compass (get one!); and most of us drive to launch on our own. Although most of us have never thrown, almost one in five actually have deployed their reserve for real. We could all do with some more groundhandling practice! Over 1,500 pilots completed the survey in full – here are some of the initial results. Paraglider pilots, what sort of paraglider do you fly? What sort of harness do you fly? Paramotor pilots, what do you fly? What do you wear on your…

2 min
nova’s new two-liner

Nova is not a name usually associated with the Red Bull X-Alps, but perhaps that is about to change. Toni Bender, who was the original inspiration for the very concept of a foot and flying race across the Alps, is helping X-Alps rookie (and Cross Country columnist) Théo de Blic in his bid for glory in the 2021 edition. Together with the design team at Nova they are working on developing an EN-D two-liner for the race plus lightweight adventure race harness. Yes, you read that right. Nova, for so long synonymous with EN-B+ XC-league triumphs is making a lightweight two-liner. What’s more, they plan to release it to the public after the race. Nova designer Philipp Medicus and test pilot Fabian Gasteiger have been working on two-liner prototypes for a couple…