Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Gift of Flight...

Rundown: Birds beware... Pete takes to the Air!

Location: Skies above Santiago de Chile!

You guessed it. Paragliding. There's no jumping off cliffs, the whole rig is flying before you leave the ground. After ample courses (in Spanish), many an hour of ground handling the wing, and short duration flights, you're strapped into a seat harness with raisers (lines) above.

Haul on the raisers and the wing inflates and climbs overhead. Balance the wing with the brakes.

Check the lines to make sure they're free of snags and the wing is flying well. Turn to see your launch path and perform the awkward loping run that speeds the wing and lifts you off the hillside.

Once away from the hillside, scootch into the harness and start looking for thermals, easing on the brakes and leaning into the turns.

"Peter! Siga donde el pajaro!" Go where the bird is flying, comes my instructor Marcelo over the radio, guiding me to the site of a thermal. How do you say no to that?

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