Paragliding at the Mustangs - Dec. 17, 2005
(about 10 miles east of Sonoita, Arizona

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Seven of us paragliding pilots met at the landing area at about 1:00pm.   One of us had a motor, so he got out his gear and took off right there.   (It was actually the first time I had seen a foot-launched, powered take-off up close.)   The rest of us made the arduous climb up the 1000-foot ridge with wings on our backs while Fred (the motorhead) soared above us in ridge lift (updrafts generated by wind hitting the mountain) with his engine at an idle.   Fred left before any of us were ready to launch off the top, due to being cold and having other plans, leaving the airspace clear for our quiet soaring delight.   I took off at 3:02pm and flew for an hour and 20 minutes, mostly between 6500 and 7000 feet above sea level in smooth air.   All of us had great flights with a huge area of lift so we had plenty of space to share.  This was my first attempt at photography while paragliding.   I could have stayed up longer but was shivering after an hour had passed, with temps in the 40's, cloudy skies, and numb fingers (even after putting on heavy mittens after I was done taking pictures).   It was my third longest paragliding flight, by one minute.


Yours truly, dangling 1000 feet over the ground...


Three gliders can be seen on the ground at launch, with the other two in the air above them.   I was the highest, most of the time...


That's the view down, with my reserve parachute (in case of emergency, pull red handle and THROW), knees, and foot in foreground.
Launch is near upper left corner of photo.


Another shot toward launch with my knee showing.


The only shot I managed to get with my face and the ground, at least not in the ground...


I look up at my wing a lot, making sure it's still there...

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