© 2012 Aaron Zach nearing enough lift to take off

Flying with Zach

We had a holiday towards the end of the week and Kim heard about a paragliding “Taster Day” going on in Menzingen, just over the hill from our apartment. Zach and I had been taking about going paragliding before leaving Switzerland. So, perfect timing.

Our adventure began by carrying our harnesses and other gear through farm fields to a training hill. Our instructors pay a farmer to use his paddock for the gliding.

We began the day with lessons that taught us about the construction of the canopy, how and where the lines attached and how to hold the lines, untangle them and attach the harness. We went through a 5-point checklist, then moved our gliders onto the hill, spread the canopies and got ready for first flights.

“Run, run, run, run … don’t stop running!”, our instructor, Dom, said as he taught us how to gently lean forward to lift the chute to collect air, then run forward to gain lift. A paragliding canopy essentially turns into a wing once it fills with air. From the ground, it is easy to assume that a canopy is nothing more than a flat chute. However, the canopy is constructed in a way that it pulls in many cubic meters of air to inflate, changing its shape and eliciting a certain rigidity.

So, run, run, run, we did. Everyone’s first run entailed running, the quickly sitting in the grass fields as our canopies sailed over our heads into a tangle mess.

With each successive launch, our techniques were honed and by the end of the day, around 2PM, we began jumping front he highest parts of the hill, gaining lift and soaring above the field at a maximum height of about 60, plus or minus.

Zach and I enjoyed encouraging each other, learning a new skill and ended the day with smiles around. Tired, exhilarated, blessed by our time together and ready for the next adventure.

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Comments

  1. Grandma & Grandpa C.
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm | #

    A great “guy” adventure!

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