Carnage at the Worlds

Well, the world cross-country hang-gliding championship for the women’s flex wing class, rigid wing class, and ultra-light sailplane class is on. It's taking place in Bern, Austria and I can tell you--because I follow hang-gliding competitions all over the world--that this year is quite a bit different. A little history is in order. Back in the early days of the 70s and 80s, most hang-gliders were launched by foot, from mountain tops. So, most flying was mountain flying. It's how I learned. In the mountains, weather can be unpredictable, gust fronts can come up in minutes, and the turbulence from higher-level winds passing over the contour of mountain ranges can create some very strange (and scary) conditions, even several thousand feet AGL (above ground level). But, in the last 10 years or so, everyone has discovered aero-tow. It's so much more convenient. You set up your glider, get towed up and dropped off in a thermal, fly around for a couple of hours, maybe do a small out-and-return X-C, land where you launched, pack it up, and go home. Now, most of the largest competition meets are aero-tow. With 4 to 6 tugs, they can get 300 hang-gliders to 2,000...

This content is for Monthly Subscription, Annual Subscription, and Lifetime Subscription members only and is a preview. Login or Join for access at the level you choose. You can also subscribe to the Non-Pestering Newsletter with substantial free content on everything in your email every Wednesday and Sunday.
Login Join NowNon-Pestering Newsletter

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2022, contains over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More
Follow by Email8k