Cross Country February - March 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
happy new year

Time flies. Remarkably, at least to me, 2021 is my 30th anniversary in paragliding. My first flight on a paraglider was in spring 1991 when I was 17. I cannot say my progress was as quick as some of the 17-year-olds we’ve featured recently, including this issue’s Naked Pilot Timo Leonetti, who has several 300-400km flights under his belt, but I can say I was gripped by the magic of it straight away. The idea that you step off a hillside and enter this completely invisible environment that very few people realised was there, let alone had experience of, met a fertile imagination. The feeling of strong dynamic wind as it lofted me skywards, the grab of a thermal, the feeling of ground skimming through fog, the sheer utter amazement…

1 min

Dr Matt Wilkes returns to these pages with the latest in his series of articles on paragliding and safety. This time he teamed up with pilots in Germany to look at how we react when we’re in a high-G situation and need to throw our reserve. “It’s time to standardise our reserve handles,” he says. Read the full report on p30 Jake Holland lives in the Chamonix Valley where he pursues his passions of skiing, climbing and paragliding in the Mont Blanc mountains. A photographer, filmmaker and registered drone pilot he has worked for clients including the BBC and The North Face. He’s been in Brazil – p60 “AFTER LANDING BACK WHERE WE STARTED WE WERE ECSTATIC” Vitek Ludvik in the South Pacific, p52 Vitek Ludvik is a filmmaker and photographer who specialises…

2 min
pwca 2021 calendar

The Paragliding World Cup team is “as motivated as ever” to get back on track in 2021, with competitions being “pencilled in” for the competition year ahead. In an email sent at the end of the year PWCA president Goran Dimiskovski said, “We have lots of organisers willing to do something in 2021, very enthusiastic top-level pilots keen to take part, along with a World Cup team, as motivated as ever, to make it all work. He added: “My hope [is] that 2021 will be a year that we can look forward to, for all the right reasons. The 2021 World Cup calendar is being updated continuously … so that we can make the most of every opportunity available to us.” With travel restrictions still in place, and the pandemic still very…

3 min
the naked pilot timo leonetti

I was born in Corsica. I’m 17 and I live there with my mum and dad. I learned Portuguese because I come to Brazil very often. I was only 18 months old the first time I came. My dad has been flying in Quixadá for a long time. He has also worked as a tandem pilot in Canoa Quebrada. We come every year during the winter in Europe and stay up to four months here. My mum is also a pilot. I learned to fly in Canoa Quebrada. It’s an easy place to learn with beach soaring flights and sand dunes, so at the age of seven I could already fly on my own using a small wing. In Corsica flying conditions are stronger than Canoa Quebrada, so I began thermal flying later…

4 min
insider’s guide: tenerife

Travel restrictions and Covid-testing aside, let’s talk about Tenerife. This island in the sun is the largest and most populated of the eight Canary Islands, with a population of nearly a million and, in a normal year, five times that number of tourists. Politically part of Spain, geographically it sits just west of southern Morocco, which means an average temperature of 20C from January to March. Of course, this is not a normal season. Tenerife had a 15-day lockdown over Christmas and New Year, and the rules are subject to change, so check before you go. But the beauty of this place is, if you live in Europe, you can seize your moment and just go. Flights from winter-bound Europe are not expensive and take four hours, and the island is…

3 min
why cell openings are shrinking

Higher performance wings generally look racier on the ground, but one of the outliers is the Triple Seven Rook 3 (high EN B) which sports incredibly narrow cell openings in comparison to most wings – including the EN D two-liner it is photographed with here. In December we posted this image to our social media pages and asked pilots to “guess the gliders”. Afterwards we talked to Triple Seven designer Aljaz Valic about it. Aljaz, the cell openings seem very narrow on the Rook 3. They are less than half the width of the two-liner we compared it with! How wide is the cell opening at the centre of the Rook 3? Do they vary by size? With the Rook 3 MS, the cell opening should be about 30mm in the centre…