Air Adventure 3: Still Grounded

Sadly, we are still grounded and it feels more like winter than summer no thanks to the cold front currently passing through Central Europe. I woke up this morning to 11c and not a ray of sunshine to be seen. I thought I was doing myself a favour by switching to the lighter fleece jacket but the wind blew right through me to rattle my bones. Like I wrote yesterday, the wind is our master and commander around here, and there is nothing we can do about it.

So we had more theory, which is not a bad thing because we are getting most of the obligatory lectures out of the way. Though the subject of German Civil Aviation Law is a rather dull topic there is so much to learn. Paragliding is essentially an adventure sport, but the fact that you are moving around in the air means that you also have to know and comply with aviation rules, taking care to observed the different fly zones and allowed altitudes. This is why a paraglider is a licensed pilot more than an athlete.

Much to my horror, we also have to learn to read maps. No matter how sophisticated your GPS and other navigation gadgets that will provide the necessary information on weather and altitudes, you will need to know your direction, the location of the landing zone, and the direction of the landing strip. Anyone who knows me and my association with maps is aware that this has been a very turbulent relationship over the years, and there is definitely no loveloss here. Heck, I get lost with Google Maps.

Cululus nonflyus ©FrogDiva Photography

Then came the lecture on weather and clouds. I love photographing clouds, but memorising all the different types and knowing whether you can fly in, below, or above them, and what type of cloud you encounter at which altitude is a whole new ballgame. The darn things are all a type of cumulus, but whether it is cirrocumulus, cirrus, cumulonimbus, altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus, you just have to learn to figure them out because they determine whether you leave the ground or not. Basically, my take-away from all this was that there were more cumulus-no-flyus (or as we decided to re-name them in class, cumulus fliegus verbotus) than cumulus-paraglydus (both my own inventions…).

But behind every cloud is a silver lining, and the winds will be significantly calmer from tomorrow onwards. Stay tuned!

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