Archive for category paragliding

Unbelievably Thrilling Paraglider, JeanBaptiste Chandelier

This is one of the most astonishing videos of paragliding I have ever seen. And the scenery is spectacular too. I had no idea that one could control these wings/canopies/airfoils with such precision. This pilot, JeanBaptiste Chandelier, can come to the ground so accurately that he can walk on a moving bus, skip down a road, give an observer a high-5, dip his toe in a swimming pool. Astonishing. Enjoy watching and imagining that it’s you doing it…

You can also see more at his web site .

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You Won’t Believe Some Of These

I am almost speechless after watching this People Are Awesome 2013 video. There are athletic stunts and achievements here I have never even heard of, and many are clearly somewhat established “sports.” It also reminds me how nuts some people are to take these risks…like walking a tightrope between two moving trucks about to enter two different tunnels. Still can’t believe that is for real.

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Mr. Death Loves Thrill Seekers At Birthday Parties

Talking to some friends yesterday about thrills like parachuting and paragliding, I reached for my computer and showed the June 15th video on this site of people screaming excitedly during their maiden tandem BASE jump. Suddenly I saw that my friend was not smiling, but crying, and she asked me to turn it off. A neighbor and friend of a friend in her town was being buried as we talked after making a first-time, tandem parachute jump from a plane in which the chute never opened and both jumpers were killed. More poignantly, the jumps were gifts at a 50th birthday party for guests who had the courage and interest to try it out. I heard how the man’s wife also jumped and was walking along afterward looking for her lost husband. The CBS news story starts out like this:

David Winoker was a guy who didn’t take chances, always driving below the speed limit, always using several layers of sun block. His wife says she urged him to go skydiving Friday, and he reluctantly agreed. Taking that risk cost him his life…Three million people skydive in this country every year. In 2011, there were 21 related fatalities. Of those, just one was a tandem jump like Winoker’s.

As I started to tell my daughter about it later on, she interrupted and said she definitely wants to try jumping…and then I told her about this accident. A severe reminder that there is always danger in these thrilling adventures that take no skill, no practice. Just courage and money. When I jumped out of planes 50 years ago, it was after three weeks of conditioning under strict supervision. Yet people were killed and injured anyway. It’s a risky game. And jumping in tandem is definitely not a sport.

A few days earlier, I’d found this story about an experienced mountain climber who fell to his death. I knew two people who went hiking and fell over cliffs and died. It all sounds so idyllic, but accidents do happen, even to experienced professionals.

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Mind-Boggling Sports Stunts In 3D

This is a thrilling collection of death-defying sports clips in an almost-3D mode that adds to the breath-takingness of the stunts. I can’t believe people have the courage to do some of these things. I can’t imagine how many takes it took to get these mind-boggling shots.

Enjoy the video.

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Another Fearless Ski/Jump/Paraglide Off A Cliff

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Top 10 Biggest And Best Jumps Ever

Afraid to jump into a swimming pool off of a “high” diving board of 10 feet? Then you will have a real rush watching these fearless humans perform jumps you can’t imagine sane humans would ever consider executing.

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Speedflying For Fun In The Mountains Of Switzerland

It’s amazing what people can do and will do to challenge themselves and keep their adrenaline flowing. A friend sent me this link from HalvorAngvik who gave some advice on this extreme sport he calls Speedflying:

“licenses depends on the local regulations. experience depends on the equipment you fly and the places you fly. You can start off pretty safe with good coaching and a big canopy on normal off piste skiing. If you want to fly places like this in high speed close to the terrain you need good canopy experience.”

“I had quite a lot of canopy experience from skydiving and base when i started, so I learned quite quick. I think I have something like 200 flights, but i dont log so i dont really know :)”

(ed note: “piste” is another name for ski slope)

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Alps Hiker Jumps Off Cliff

paraglider paragliding


I rode a gondola last week in Austria to 6600 feet to ponder the magnificent view of the Alps and take some summer snaps. As I started walking back to the gondola station, I passed a serious hiker carrying an enormous black, cylindrical backpack, maybe four feet tall and 20 inches in diameter. He totally ignored me on the three-foot wide trail—I thought he was a bit unfriendly, as we were the only two people on the ridge. But I was awed that he was going to camp out for weeks, I thought, and had to plan so carefully, be sure to take enough food, water, countless other supplies along with the tent that was obviously crammed into his bag. I have enough trouble remembering to take a cell phone or pen when I go out for a walk.

When I arrived at the gondola, the clock showed that the next descent wasn’t for 15 minutes, so I decided to go back near the ridge and throw a snowball in July while standing in the white patch of snow just near the cliff. Imagine my surprise to see this “hiker” in black maneuvering a large curved wing made of parachute-like material that was attached to his harness somehow and also by maybe 20 lines or risers half going to each hand for controlling the wing.

The wind was somewhat brisk, and I took three or four videos of him trying to organize his wing and keep the lines untangled. But one end of the wing kept crashing to the ground. Finally he looked away from the edge, toward the wing, inflated the fabric, then reversed his direction by 180 degrees so his back was to the wing, and he ran off the cliff. This is called a reverse launch, and the sport is called paragliding. Breathtaking.

I have to admit there is a difference between watching some life-threatening, death-defying activity on TV or in photos and seeing it right up close. Even for me, after parachuting in the army. I am still wondering precisely how you learn the skill, because there must be a way to practice parts of it in advance. And what if the wind is too strong and drags you off the mountain in the opposite direction from where you intend to go?

flying in the Alps


Anyway, this guy made it, and it was very exciting to watch. He fell off the cliff and out of site until a thermal (patch of hot rising air) picked him right up, and he was high above me. You could hear a slight whistling as he passed close by…right with the birds who were soaring effortlessly as well.

Although thermals are perfect in this sport, I was reminded of my first week at Fort Benning Georgia in 1963, where I went to jump school. In combat jumps, the planes are stacked, so that those in front fly lower than the ones behind, presuming that by the time the second or third wave of jumpers is out of their planes, the earlier jumpers are way down toward—or on—the ground in the designated drop zone. Unfortunately when I arrived, we heard how the first jumpers met thermals and were taken up, rather than down, and were shredded and killed by the propellers of the following waves of planes. Very gruesome, and just for training, not even combat.

After people heard that I had jumped, they often said how brave I was. But it was relatively safe…the stats proved that fewer people were injured or died from parachuting (percentage-wise or when considering miles traveled) than from driving cars (see details below). Read the rest of this entry »

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