XC Media

Cross Country

Cross Country July 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.

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United Kingdom
XC Media
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min
what's in the pot?

Adventure Menu make “100% natural” food for adventures that can be heated without a stove. They make lightweight, vacuum-dried sachets (you need to carry or find water to rehydrate them), or ready-to-eat sterilised meals in pouches – no need to add water. The menu includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, with names like 'venison ragout and potato dumplings' and 'tandoori quinoa'. They make desserts and snack packs including trail mix and turkey jerkey, too. We first came across Adventure Menu when they partnered with the 2019 Red Bull X-Alps, and they handed us a box of samples to try. We used them on a family bivvy trip in the Alps in the summer. Our box of goodies consisted of a selection of the ready-to-go food pouches, plus some snack-packs. We were all…

8 min
le grand tour du lac

Located in the Northern Alps, Lake Annecy is one of the most famous flying areas in France. Away from the main chain of the Alps, the north of the lake is bordered by a rolling plain that extends north to the Jura while the Bornes massif rises to the east and the Bauges massif to the west. The main Annecy valley stretches for about 30km in a south-easterly direction towards the Beaufortain and the high massifs. This geography allows cross-country pilots to fly routes in many directions to suit the conditions of the day. Over the years a large free-flight infrastructure has developed, particularly the main take-off at Col de la Forclaz and the landing in the town of Doussard. Paragliding is an important part of the economic fabric of the…

4 min
combatting fatigue while flying

I don’t know about you, but I find that a day of free flight has a range of emotions and physical responses that lead to me going into and out of the ‘flow’ state. Joy, fear, anticipation and exhilaration are all emotions that add to or detract from our focus. Related are the varied physical states that can change minute by minute. Relaxed, tense, nervous, high heart-rate, low heart-rate, cold, hot, and so many other reactions can be found in a single flight. “REDUCE OR MITIGATE LIFE STRESS. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY BEFORE AND DURING FLIGHT” It can be argued which emotions and responses are most desirable. I believe that all of them have value (even fear which is useful for keeping us alive) but it does seem clear that we…

4 min
flying in the lee

As you start building more experience with your mountain flying you’ll find that flying in the lee is commonplace. It’s a great skill to have in your toolbox, but if you’re new to it there are a few things you should consider before diving in. Turbulent air As soon as we embark on our cross-country careers all we do is fly in turbulence. In fact we actively seek it out: thermals cause turbulence and on an active day turbulence is everywhere. What you should learn to discern as a pilot is what level of turbulence you are comfortable with and what level matches your active piloting skills. For example, if you are happy in a 3m/s thermal then you will probably be happy with the leeside turbulence you find from up to 10km/h…

1 min
back in the day

25 YEARS AGO XC45 (Jun/Jul 1996): Dante Porta reported on an experimental paraglider with 12m long lines, 18m wingspan and an inflatable leading edge. Designed by Andrea Borschi it had a tube running tip-to-tip along the leading edge. This was then inflated to “between 100mb to 300mb”. “This gives tremendous stiffening,” Dante explained, adding, “rubber dinghies are inflated to 150mb.” A valve system allowed air to escape if you got too high (“4,000m”), to avoid it popping. This of course meant you then needed a way to “top up” the inflatable spar to allow you to descend safely. “A mechanical pump operated by foot pedal, or small electric pump,” was in development. The effect on performance? “Glide ratio of 11, stall speed of 8km/h and top speed of 32km/h, all with…

4 min
starting out in paramotor xc

After getting your paramotoring licence and returning home with your shiny new kit, it’s natural to be keen to explore your home area from above. So, for the first few months to a year you stay busy flying over your friends’ houses, taking pictures and discovering things you’ve never seen before from the ground but which are now visible from above. Most paramotor pilots, including myself in the beginning, stay close to home: we only fly within a radius of 20km or so around our take-off and landing zone. However, what was new and interesting in the beginning becomes a habit and suddenly you find that you always only fly as far as that river or this city or that big road because it’s just what you’ve always done. You know how…