We're about to embark upon yet another exciting adventure! Four days from now, Leanne and I will already be on some high grassy slope poising together for a long flight in one of our favorite playgrounds: the European Alps. This year we have planned a hike-and-fly, cross country expedition by tandem paraglider - inspired partly by the Red Bull XAlps
(of course), but also by only a small handful of tandem teams in whose footsteps we shall follow. One can even think of it as a kind of pioneering expedition!
Our main goal will be to do as many quality, long-distance XC flights as possible. An ambitious goal will be a total of 1000 kilometers flown. We will try to do the journey vol-biv style as much as possible, but given that we only have two weeks available, we will give priority to flying over trekking and on occasion will not hesitate to use public transportation if it increases our chances of an epic flight. Other than that we will be completely unsupported, taking opportunities as they come and hopefully having a good time along the way.
|A tentative route (780 km)|
Our new wing is a Niviuk Takoo4
custom-made for us with lightweight materials. It weighs in at 5.2 kg, and actually packs quite nicely into the compression bag I actually used during the X-Alps! Niviuk was kind enough to sponsor us here, and we are very grateful to them. A dozen or so test-flights at our home area has us fully familiarized with this user-friendly glider. I am pleased to see we have plenty of airspeed at our disposal; giving up the speed bar had been one of my worries about XC tandeming in the Alps. A motley melange of other semi-lightweight gear, some of it recycled from last year's X-Alps, will fill out our kit. It shouldn't be too heavy for us to do some major trekking, if required.
|The lighweight custom Niviuk Takoo4 (5.2 kg)|
To lighten our load, we will try to carry the minimum of everything, including just enough electronics to be making daily updates online with photos and videos of our journey. Monitoring the links from my HP
should be enough to keep you fully up to date. We will also carry a SPOT tracker, so you will be able to essentially live-track us with 5-minute updates while airborne. If grounded, to conserve battery power, we will only send our position occasionally.
That about sums it up! Now, let the adventure begin!
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