Wednesday, 28 April 2010

How to become a tree hugger

This is my new paraglider. Swiss made, called Epsilon 6 and I am eager to get my first flights under the belt.

Here I am in the Dordogne valley, about a fortnight ago. The wind was quite strong, a bit too strong to be honest. Look at the wind sack, filled like sausage.

There was another paraglider pilot and the chap didn't hesitate a moment to prepare for take-off. He had some difficulties to launch but finally he made it in the air. His example made me decide to go as well.

First, I managed to lift off in spite of the strong wind. Here, I have already gained the first foot of height. Just lifting off.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake. Instead of speeding up (hands up at head level) I was braking (hands at hip level). Consequence, I was flying backwards, and in no time, I was back on Mother Earth

have a look

Being on the ground, the canopy above and behind me, I could not do very much. Du to the wind I was dragged backwards. Two or three seconds later the glider wrapped itself around this young oak tree and I came to rest near its trunk.

My flight was over. All I had to do was to disentangle the canopy and this I did.
It took me about an hour of intense work. A little later another pilot came and helped me from below.

Those photos were made by the wife of the airborne pilot. Thanks to Odile's photographic skills this little incident is thoroughly documented for the posterity. She proposed to send me some pics and I gave her my e-mail address. And she kept her word.

A paraglider is a high-tech machine, made of cloth and lines. To disentangle the stuff from a tree requires patience, lots of it. Don't tear on the lines, don't tear on the canopy. Patience, patience. The idea was to roll the glider right in the tree before getting in down all together. Fortunately, someone was helping me.

I don't even know his name. But we met yesterday before yesterday at the same site and I thanked him again for his help. If I meet him a third time, I'll ask his name. It's useless to propose a glass of beer in a pub, there is absolutely nothing near Mound Mercou. Just trees.

Friendly people.


  1. Wow, thank god you didn't hurt. Sounds very fun to me maybe I strat learning this after mastering in ice skating ;).
    Pictures are very nice.

  2. That must have been quite something Georg, you are quite the adventurer!

    I was wondering whether you would have fared better had you selected a better location for the take sans a broadly branched bare oak tree :)

    When do you try it again?

  3. To Hiva
    Flying the paraglider is more than fun. It is kind of superhuman because as a species we are NOT supposed to fly. Have you seen Avatar? Those people flying on top of the Pterodactyl?

    Besides, flying like this (paraglider or hang glider) gives you strength of character without becoming a bragger or strutter. Beneficial for every day life.

    To Id it is
    Well, flying like this, feeling the air around you is less an adventure than an experience. A unique experience, similar to nothing.

    Since my tree incident, I had already two more flights. I was not afraid, just annoyed because I had made a stupid beginners' mistake.

    In fact, I am quite thankful it was an oak tree, not too high. Some years ago, I landed on flat ground I thought safe. In reality, the whole area was covered with bramble, blackberries, wild roses. Thousands of thorns. It took me about three hours to salvage the equipment.

    So I say thank you to Mister Oak.


  4. Hey Georg, das würde ich sooo gerne auch mal machen! Muss wunderschön sein zu fliegen!
    Hab ein tolles und ereignisreiches Wochenende - und pass auf dich auf ;o)
    lg aus Hessen, geisslein

  5. OH NO! Oh NO!
    ~It is good to read that you did not lose your patience
    or your sense of humor.

  6. ahhh Herr Georg, this is amazing and so much fun to read, and yes, glad that you are OK!! and had so much fun, you are rather adventurous... your friend did a great job with the series of photos, hey! but from now on, do hug trees from the lower trunk.

  7. Hi Georg,

    lovely pics and looks like a lot of fun too!

    I just saw ur message about Vienna, Salzburg, Munich...

    My email is

    Looking forward..


  8. hihihihi Georg!!!!!!!!!
    tu as l'air emmerdé!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Thank you for this post. I really needed a good laugh. I always thought that would be something I would love to try. But I always had the fear that I would end up in a tree with no one to rescue me.
    Thanks for confirming that for me.
    Great post.

  10. Hello Exseno,

    You got it wrong. I've never ended up in a tree, only this time at its base. And I completed this last week my 530th flight since 1993!

    There is no reason you couldn't to this, too.


  11. Hi George,
    I saw your comments on my blog. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog and to leave a comment. May I ask how you found my blog?

    I've always wanted to try paragliding, looks like it could be a lot of fun!

    You're very lucky you didn't get hurt! better luck next time! P.S. Perfect title for your post!

  12. Bonjour Princess,

    Your comments on Lotus07. I was intrigued by the strange name you gave yourself that seems to be in contrast to your writings.

    So I scrolled down and was not disappointed.

    As to paragliding: this is the greatest thing that happened in my life: flying like this is beyond normal human experience.

    If you are interested try to find a school in your area via Google (paragliding+name of your state or region).