Naked Pilot: Maurizio Bottegal
Bastienne Wentzel

"I am a former competition pilot from Feltre, Italy. I started flying in 1987 in Feltre on a Brindazur 24K. The K is for kevlar, it was one of the first paragliders with lines of kevlar. I was lucky because it was one of the best gliders at that time. To launch it you had to pull hard with your hands over your head and you had to yell 'Banzai!'"

"Before working in paragliding I did electrical repairs for cars. I started flying for fun but in 1991 I started as a test pilot for an Italian brand called East Wind for six months. After that I stayed in the paraglider world. I closed the doors of my garage and I didn't open them ever again.

I flew competitions for 20 years from 1989 until 2009. My first competition was the first World Championships in Kössen, where I won the bronze medal.

Together with my friend Ivo Gadenz we started to import Swing paragliders. I got in contact with Swing because I was a student with Martin Scheel, who was the designer at Swing. I learned a lot from him. He was one of the best climbers and mountaineers at the time, and now he's one of the best photographers."

The full interview was published in Cross Country Magazine 229, May 2022.