Cross Country August 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
inspirational flying

I followed our own advice from last month’s magazine and stayed local – and had a brilliant time. The site was packed with pilots keen to take advantage of the good conditions, but because of local restrictions on XC flying no one could go anywhere. The result was gliders everywhere in the sky, every thermal marked and an awesome afternoon flying mini circuits: wind turbine over the back; village out front; back to the hill and climb again. Like many pilots released from lockdown we were all keen to make the most of the day. I was told Austria was experiencing a mini boom in lightweight gear sales as pilots facing closed cable cars turned to hike-and-fly; France’s end of lockdown coincided with a run of good weather that saw some…

1 min

Franck Simonnet is a professional photographer. paramotor instructor and editor of Paramoteur+, the French-language PPG magazine. He has been conducting a love affair with flying above the deserts of North Africa for at least a decade. His latest trip was his best yet. See Song of the Sahara, p48 Martin Scheel started climbing aged 13 and was a leading-light in Alpine climbing in his 20s. He discovered paragliding in 1987 and has been a designer, test pilot, comp pilot and Swiss national coach. His camera never leaves his side. There is no one better to introduce Disentis! p24 “FLYING ABOVE THE ALPINE GIANTS IS A RARE BUT INCREDIBLE THING”Flying High Dan Clearwater, 38, has been flying paragliders since 2015. Before that he was a helicopter pilot in the New Zealand Air Force, before…

3 min
getting back to business

Competitions are trying to get back to business this month after the coronavirus lockdown. The Paragliding World Cup is making a comeback: Disentis, Switzerland, is in the calendar for 13-22 August and will be the first major international post-Covid competition. Organisers said the “safety and legal aspects” of the crisis were “favourable” in Switzerland, so the PWCA committee had decided to let it go ahead. The lockdown saw three PWC events cancelled: the Superfinal in Brazil in March, and the first two competitions of the 2020/21 season, Passy, France in June and Gemona, Italy in July. The Disentis PWC will be followed by the FAI European Paragliding Championships in Serbia, from 23 August to 5 September. Originally scheduled for the last two weeks in July and up in the air since April,…

4 min
the naked pilot cyrille marck

I’ve been flying since 1995. I started here in the Vosges in France, at my father’s school. It’s called CEM, Centre Ecole du Markstein. It’s the oldest school in France. We work together – I am 36, he’s 64. My first flight was aged 11, on a Sigma 1, size 21. My dad encouraged me, and I got my tandem licence aged 18, but I didn’t really get into it until 2004 when I was 20 and discovered acro. I moved to the Alps to study business in Chambéry, which was 10 minutes from Vérel, the number-one acro training spot in France. I was able to fly every day for five years. It was like a virus! I used to train with Eliot Nochez when he was just 13. He was so…

3 min
insider’s guide: disentis

Where is it? The Alps are divided in Switzerland by two large valleys. The Valais, which stretches from the Gotthard Mountains to the west, and the Rhine Valley, which stretches to the east. Disentis lies in the upper part of this valley. It is the counterpart of the flying mecca of Fiesch. Interestingly enough, Disentis is better for the “normal” pilot, but has not yet reached the status of Fiesch. It’s better because the conditions are not as strong as in Fiesch, and better because it is much easier to fly back and forward to the east and west, not only along the normal ridge. In addition, in Disentis you don’t fly next to, but often over the mountains, which is simply nicer! Why August? Disentis is good from July to September. August is…

2 min
richard gallon

One of the founding fathers of paragliding in Europe died too young in June. Richard Gallon was just 47, but had packed more into those five decades than many others could in 10. Born in 1973 he grew up in St Hilaire du Touvet and first tasted paragliding in 1985. As the sport developed, so did he, and in 1993 he won the Paragliding World Cup series, then only in its second year. He went on to become a living legend in the PWC, still competing, and winning tasks, more than 20 years later. “His fiery spirit brought the competitions to life,” World Cup organiser Ulric Jessop said, “and he was never short of ideas on how to develop the sport.” Alongside Andy Hediger, Sebastien Bourquin and the Rodriguez brothers, Richard was…