Cross Country June 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
just imagine...

"How do they ever manage to fly a helicopter on Mars?” someone came in and just asked. I laughed, because really, who knows?! “With their heart in their mouth!” I should have replied. The latest mission to Mars has engaged the world over the past few months. First they sent the spacecraft up there, then they dropped it using a giant red-and-white parachute, then the rover roamed about taking selfies, and then an autonomous drone launched and buzzed around in the sky – literally on a different planet. Matt Warren was on the case when it came to following up the story about that giant red-and-white parachute this issue. The manufacturer, Heathcoat, makes fabric for reserves as well as spacecraft. The idea that we could all be carrying a little bit of Mission…

1 min

Ben Depp is a documentary photographer and National Geographic Society Explorer. His ongoing work documents wetland loss and coastal erosion in Louisiana – and he flies a paramotor to get the shots. This issue he met, photographed, and was impressed by fellow Louisiana-based pilot, Wyatt Parker, p20 Jérôme Maupoint is usually found in the French Alps, where he has made a life and career for himself photographing the sport of paragliding for the last two decades. But in this issue he goes back to where he grew up in the north of France – the beaches of Normandy. See p50 Mathilde Chivet has a PhD in neuroscience and spent a decade in research in France and abroad. Now, her “all consuming passion” for free flying has seen her swap her lab for…

4 min
what’s on in june

Here’s what’s in the free-flying calendar for June. Check for pandemic-related restrictions online before you make any plans to go. The 12th Super Paragliding Testival 3-6 June, Koessen, Austria The Super Paragliding Testival in Koessen is one of the world’s biggest paragliding festivals, and is aimed at pilots who want to fly-and-try before they buy. In normal years some 3,000 pilots arrive to try wings, harnesses and all the kit. Exhibitors provide equipment for pilots to fly for free, and it’s a great time-saver for pilots who are on the hunt for a new wing as they can often test-fly several gliders over the weekend. Cancelled last year, organisers were hopeful it would be able to go ahead this year as planned. Supair Week 2021 5-11 June, Annecy, France This new week-long competition in Annecy…

3 min
fledglings wyatt parker

My name is Wyatt Parker, and I just turned 11. I live in Covington, Louisiana, about an hour from New Orleans. It’s very moist, swampy and flat. I first flew a paramotor when I was nine. It all started with my mom and dad. My mom was going to an Easter party, and my dad was going somewhere on this “man trip” that he called it. I didn’t want to go to the Easter party, so I went on the trip. And that was a paramotor course. My dad said I should just sit back and watch, but the instructor, Matt Minyard, he treated me as just another student. He kind of gave me some training and gave me a tandem for free, which was really nice of him. After that I…

1 min
mom and pop

What do Dad Steve and Mum Bonnie think? Steve: I think parents should allow their kids to take risks. And Wyatt earns it, he earns our respect. We have set stages and we have safety mechanisms, and we’re comfortable with him flying. Like any kid he knows how to push limits, and we have to bring him in a little sometimes. I fly too, and we fly together several times a week. I’m very procedural, and Wyatt works at it hard. But yes, at first people do think we’re a little bit crazy to allow him to do it. Bonnie: Wyatt never stops training. Matt Minyard comes over once or twice a month and trains him some more. He always wants to learn more. He’s never, “OK, I know enough,” he’s always,…

8 min
insider’s guide: mission mars

On 18 February this year, as the world looked on, holding its breath, a parachute opened 11km above the surface of Mars. Below the parachute was the Perseverance rover, tasked with exploring the Red Planet for signs of life, and as it unfurled at supersonic speeds, a bold message for all humanity was revealed. Encoded in binary in the parachute’s groundbreaking “natural white” and “international orange” fabric, the message read “Dare Mighty Things”. The 21.5-metre diameter parachute, which slowed Perseverance from around 1,500km/h to just 320km/h, when rockets cut in to decelerate the lander further, played a critical role in one of the most ambitious space missions in human history. After travelling 472 million kilometres from Earth, the parachute was designed to open in half a second and was exposed during Nasa…