Who among us hasn’t dreamt of flying at least once in their life? Since antiquity, man has looked up to the skies and wished he could soar like a bird, imagining how it would feel to touch the clouds. We belong in the very first generations of humans privileged of achieving this dream and with the advent of paragliding, it has never been easier and more attainable.
Paragliding (or parapente) is one of the purest forms of free flight, as with minimal equipment and no mechanical means we are able to find ourselves floating about, hundreds of meters above the surface of the earth. We can even gain altitude, by circling inside columns of warm air (called thermals), exactly like a lot of birds do. In fact, quite often, birds happily join us in thermalling, showing us the way up!
Tandem paragliding (ie, flying as passenger with a pilot) is the easiest, safest and most direct way to experience what free flight means.
What do I have to do?
Frankly, almost nothing, apart from enjoying the experience. All will be taken care of by the pilot you will be flying with. We take off from the mountainside, by simply running for a few meters to build up enough speed and then we are in the air!
Isn’t it dangerous?
Short answer; no.
While nothing is absolutely danger-free (not even taking a shower in your home), we can confidently claim that, when all safety measures are being respected, paragliding is perfectly safe.
The materials and the construction may look flimsy and fragile to the uninitiated, but a paraglider is surprisingly robust and tolerant; the materials can withstand more than 10 times the weight of the passenger and pilot and the paraglider itself is designed in such an ingenious way that it “wants” to fly and get you back to the ground safely.
And even if somehow all else fails, there is a reserve parachute ready to deploy.
Especially for a commercial tandem flight in particular we won’t leave anything to chance;
- our pilots are experienced and certified, flying hundreds of tandems and solo flights each year
- our equipment is new, certified, properly and regularly checked and maintained by professionals
- we choose our flying days and spots with safety as a priority; if the weather conditions show even subtle hints of uncertainty, we will readily postpone the flight for another day. It’s not uncommon to wait for hours at take-off for the conditions to improve or even cancel the flight entirely, due to safety concerns. It’s better to regret not flying than to regret flying
All things considered, it’s safer than driving on the highway.
But I’m afraid of heights!
A healthy amount of fear is always to be expected, even desirable. However, true fear of heights is rare and most people mean that they experience acrophobia, which is a fear of being on the edge of something tall. Flying with a paragliding, on the other hand is quite different. Imagine that you are sitting on a comfy lounge chair on the top of a mountain on a clear, fair weather day, tranquilly enjoying the view. It’s like that, only the mountain isn’t there.
For most passengers, the moment their feet leave the ground, fear vanishes and enthusiasm takes over.
Your pilot will brief you at take-off regarding what you need to do and prepare you for the flight. The flight itself usually lasts about 15-20 minutes, depending on the conditions. Experience has shown that this is the ideal amount of airtime for the first time paragliding.
The whole procedure (ie, briefing, preflight checks, flying, landing and driving from the landing field back to the take-off) takes about one hour per person.
If you are feeling brave or have already flown before, you could opt for the VIP flight. That is, we will fly for about 1 hour and take the maximum altitude that the day allows (could be 2000-2500m) and travel more distance away from the take-off (we call that cross-country flight).
What should I wear?
Because of the elevation and the wind, it will be colder than at the mainland, so, make sure you dress accordingly. Unless it’s the middle of the summer, you will need to wear warm clothes and, ideally, a wind breaker, or at least a decent jacket. Regarding footwear, the ideal solution is to wear mountain boots, or at least sneakers. Also, during the coldest months, gloves will also be a good idea, especially if you get cold easily.
All other equipment (the paraglider, harnesses, helmet) are, of course, provided by us.
Why do you constantly talk about the weather?
Those of us who love the mountain know that we are dependent on its mood. There are days that the mountain invites us to enjoy its beauty, but other days it wants to stay alone, or it could get really angry. We usually call this phenomenon “weather”.
Since this is a sport heavily dependent on the weather conditions, about 2-3 days before the planned date we will need to check the weather forecast, in order to confirm or postpone the flight. We’ll probably give you a call again the previous afternoon, or even the morning of the date set, as conditions may change.
We want to make sure that you will fly and have the experience of a lifetime, so if the forecast is debatable, we don’t want to drag you all the way to the mountain just to cancel the flight there.