Paragliding Across the Alps – in a Wheelchair

Vincent Delepeleire, a paraplegic who paraglides in his wheelchair, if successful, will be the first disabled person to complete a human-powered paragliding crossing of the European Alps.

On July 15, Vincent and his four team members will depart on the month-long expedition to paraglide the length of the European Alps, from Austria to Monaco. While this is not the first time the 620-mile-journey has been attempted, an athlete has never accomplished it by handcycling – instead of hiking or driving – in between landings and launches. The endeavor, dubbed Handi Cap Au Large, will see the team roughly following the course of the Red Bull X-Alps, a grueling adventure race where participants paraglide and hike across the Alps.

Delepeleire, 24, and his teammates all grew up in the same region of France and started paragliding together in 2009. After Delepeleire lost the use of his legs in a work accident in 2011, they co-founded In Cloud, a non-profit dedicated to adaptive sports adventures. This is In Cloud’s first major undertaking. Read more…

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Skylarking – Daydreaming About a Big Blue Sky

Skylarking

Beautiful soundscape meditation on flying, the sky and freedom on BBC Radio 3. With contributions by Jim Mallinson of Himalayan Sky Safaris and the film Temples in the Clouds, also lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical Indian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Cathy FitzGerald meets a prisoner and a paraglider in this airy daydream about the delights of looking up at a big blue sky. Includes cameos from levitating yogis, labradors with wings and freewheeling angels, plus a specially composed score by Joe Acheson and the Hidden Orchestra.

Please note Skylarking is a lawn-based, horizontal radio feature best experienced from the comfort of a picnic blanket with a long drink, a soft pillow and a view of the sky.

Does the lenghtening of your tongue give you the power of flight? Who wrote Sky Event for John Lennon? Relax to the sound of the vario-bird and find out here.

Cape Town’s High Flyer | Alois Marume

Paragliding has provided an unlikely career escape route for one man in South Africa:

Alois Marume came to South Africa from Zimbabwe looking for work. He found a part time job as a porter for tandem pilots in Cape Town, and while watching them fly off Alois developed a deep passion for Paragliding. After one of the tandem pilots took him for a flight, there was no turning back, Alois was in love: ”This is real freedom!”

Always in a contagiously happy mood, Alois quickly earned the nick-name Smiley and it was his friendly nature that captured the attention of Pete Wallenda, of WallendAir, a long time instructor who saw great potential in young Alois and took him under his wing.

Alois is now a qualified solo pilot with lots of flights under his belt and an ambition to become an instructor and tandem pilot. He has come a long way already but it has not been an easy road. Alois hopes that his story will inspire others and says that when circumstances are difficult it should never discourage you from fulfilling your ambitions.

Happy flying Alois, you inspire us!

Alois was one of the most hard working porters on Lions Head. Though, normally carrying only one tandem kit (weighing in at about 25kg), he was once spotted with these three ;-)
Alois was one of the most hard working porters on Lions Head. Though normally carrying only one tandem kit (weighing in at 20-25kg) on his back, he was once spotted with another on his head and a solo kit dangling on his arm 😉
Alois Marume groundhandling
Alois and his ever present warm smile, showing Pete’s students how to pull up the glider. Wilderness, South Africa.

National Geographic Live! : George Steinmetz: Seeing the World by Paraglider

Sure I know you’re gonna say flying a Paraglider with a motor is cheating, and normally I’d agree with you! But this video is all about the adventure and experiences of free flying.

George Steinmetz only took up Powered Paragliding to get better pictures. To get to all those ‘impossible-to-get-to’ places. For the stunning view. For the freedom it gave him to explore. And that’s what Paragliding is all about, motored or not.

George is a great storyteller and an epic photographer for National Geographic. He’s an explorer and getting arrested seems to come with his job. Hope you enjoy this inspiring documentary 🙂