Preface Sepp Gschwendtner
Cross-country flying: an adventure
A lot of the sports I have practised were right at their beginnings when I took them up. This was also the case with paragliding. At the beginning, just being in the air was fantastic but soon after, I wanted to fly “somewhere”. I read almost all the sailplane books I could get my hands on, talked the ears off a lot of successful hang glider cross-country pilots and received a lot of good ideas and tips. In spite of all this, in practice, going cross-country on a paraglider meant you were faced with a whole lot of differences in performance and flying characteristics so that a lot of the tips just didn‘t work. I find it really great that Burki has gone to the trouble of writing a book about cross-country flying especially for paraglider pilots. After all, we‘ve been going cross-country now for nearly 20 years, and Burki and friends have gathered a lot of experience in this time.
Cross-country flying still is, and remains a fascinating adventure. To be able to fly from peak to peak, town to town, crossing over valleys or even the borders to other countries with merely a piece of material, sun, wind a few muscles and a bit of brain power is a marvellous privilege. Revealing how to do it in this book doesn‘t reduce the adventure, it merely spares some painful lessons and frustration. You can never gather enough information for all the possibilities in cross-country flying, analysing flights from other pilots and just talking about your experiences are also a great help.
This ”Cross-Country Flying“ book will help prevent a lot of frustration and learning will be accelerated. Nevertheless I can only advise you to still use your common sense, keep your eyes and ears open and trust them more than whatever you might read in a book or on the internet. If clouds blow over the ridge from the east then there‘s an easterly wind blowing even if the gliding weather forecast maintains westerly winds are going to blow all day! And if you find a 2 m climb over a cold lake where all thermal books say there won‘t be anything, then turn and core it anyway!
Enjoy your flying