Cross Country November 2018

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
endless possibility

I was lucky enough to hear André Borschberg talk in September. Along with Bertrand Piccard in 2015/16 he famously circumnavigated the world in a solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse II. He spent five days and nights flying across the Pacific: just him, his silent machine and his yoga practice to keep him stretched and clear-headed. “You just hear the sound of the wind on the canopy. Almost nothing from the propeller,” he said. He is now busy working in the world of unmanned aviation, developing e-power and hybrid planes, and he talked a lot about “convergence”. How new materials, lighter batteries, computing power, artificial intelligence, data, sensors and cameras are converging to the point where whole new aviation industries are starting to be built. Once the period of convergence is over, “optimisation”…

1 min

Ruth Jessop shot to fame in paragliding when it was rumoured she read Hello! magazine as a passenger throughout a five-hour tandem XC with husband Ulric back in the 1990s. Since then she has become a stalwart at the PWCA where she now runs the live commentary for each race. She checks in on p50 Cody Tuttle is no stranger to the mountains, and since taking up flying has already amassed a lifetime’s worth of paragliding experience. His favoured arenas are always big: Owens Valley, the Greater Himalaya. But free-flying threw him a curve ball and he’s been thinking it over ever since. p82 Himalayan Travellers Thank you to all the contributors to our article on Himalayan vol-biv adventures, including François Ragolski and Loraine Humeau. With a folder full of Himalayan vol-bivouac…

2 min
in the core

XC SEASON 2018 Michael Sigel Michael Sigel won this year’s XContest online cross-country competition, topping the table of more that 12,000 pilots worldwide. The Swiss pilot, who also won the PWC Superfinal in January, clocked up 2,693 points, where one point equals one straight-line kilometre (triangles count for more). While you can enter any number of flights, only the top six count towards your final annual score. Sigel flew four flights of 533km, 514km, 482km and 413km in Brazil in October 2017, at the start of the XContest season. He flew a Gin Boomerang 11. His other two flights were 280km triangles in the Alps. Swiss pilots took the top four slots: Chrigel Maurer, Patrick von Kanel and Christian Erne. Look out for more long distance action from Brazil this season. Joanna Di…

2 min
gin’s champagne moment at 40

Gin Seok Song, founder of Gin paragliders, celebrated 40 years in free flight at the Coupe Icare in September with a show-stopping performance from Korean drummers and a heartfelt tribute to those who had helped him along the way. “Friends have come from all over the world for this,” he said at a party on the Gin stand held to mark the anniversary. “It’s a very emotional moment for me, because without these guys nothing happens. I can not work alone.” He said it was 40 years since he started flying hang gliders, and 20 years since he established Gin Gliders. His first flights were on a home-built Rogallo hang glider in South Korea in 1977. “It was hard to stay in the air more than 30 seconds but I set the…

2 min
davinci: new kid on the block

While Gin Seok Song was celebrating at the Coupe Icare, just round the corner was Jihun – “Joeseph” – Lee, 35, founder of new South Korean brand DaVinci Gliders. Does Gin Seok Song know you are here? Ha ha! Of course I know Gin well, as a senior figure in the paragliding industry. How long have you been paragliding? I’ve been flying 26 years. I started aged 8, in South Korea. I enjoy XC flying. We launched DaVinci a year ago. What’s your background? I studied as a mechanical engineer, and worked as a mechanical engineer for eight years for a big Korean company. Tell us about your gliders We have an EN A, the Rhythm. The Classic (EN B), Funky (EN B+), and X-Chord (EN D, two-liner). We also have two paramotor models and a tandem. EN…

3 min
the future’s bright

The annual Coupe Icare at St Hilaire gives us a marvellous insight into how our sports have transformed. From a hang gliding fancy dress competition, with films joining, then the exhibition and flying displays, with more disciplines coming on board, and the big boom in paramotoring in the late 1990s, the event has grown year on year. This year we celebrated milestones: Gin Seok Song his 40th year in free flight, and Ozone Gliders’ 20th birthday. Gin’s first wings at Airman came with a harness as part of the package: a seatboard and a few straps. No reserve, no back protection. We’ve now evolved to the point where the harness has back protection that gets officially tested, reserves are the norm, and the harness has now risen in cost to over…