Fly by wire
Where there is not even a hillock in sight a winch is the only way for paragliders to get airborne. All that is needed is a long open space roughly in the direction of the current wind. "Towing opens up a completely new range of flying areas," says Michael Gebert, a guide with the Swiss company Fly with Andy organising trips to fly from tow in Uruguay, Argentina, Brasil and the Balkans. "And it's a supersafe kind of flying," he adds.

15 januari 2024, Cross Country magazine

Checking out glider checks
As free flyers, we are exempt from quite a number of rules and regulations that apply to larger and motorised aircraft. A lot of our sport is self-regulated which makes it such a beautiful and free sport.
An example of this self-regulation we find in the certification process of paragliders and their maintenance. When you think all the norms, checks, inspections and repairs must comply with laws, rules and regulations, you could be disappointed. But the lack of a legal framework doesn't mean these things aren't important. It just means we can't hide behind a law but have to take responsibility ourselves.
(Foto: Nova)

1 december 2023, Cross Country magazine

Review: Airdesign Vivo 2 and LiVi
Flying the Airdesign Vivo 2 and its superlight sibling the LiVi at the same time is a great opportunity to make a direct comparison between a regular wing and the exact same one in a lightweight version. Both pitched as easy B gliders, the airfoil design is identical. The differences are mainly in lighter fabric, unsheathed lines and nitinol instead of plastic rods in the nose. What does that mean for the pilot?

1 december 2023, Cross Country magazine

The tightest acro season ever
This year's acro competition scene was more exciting than ever. There was a change of competition rules for the better, a neck-and-neck battle between the two top pilots of the year: veteran Théo de Blic and upcoming star Luke de Weert and there was a good effort to make it all more accessible to the public. Here's an overview of the year through Luke's eyes.

This article was published in Cross Country magazine #246, December 2023.

1 december 2023, Cross Country magazine

Why size matters
Being a lightweight pilot in paragliding is a disadvantage. It's no myth that the smallest paragliders fly worse than larger ones. Some competitions such as the BGD Weightless even have a separate ranking for light pilots for this reason.
But recreational pilots struggle as well. Reader Angela Bonato ("considered lightweight by most wing manufacturers") emailed us: "I unfortunately only fly with much heavier guys and at almost every flight I have the feeling we flew in a very different air from what they say to me."
Lightweight competition- and ex-test pilot Joanna diGrigoli can fully relate. Among other wings, she flies an XS EN-B glider below mid-weight range. "I feel light against the wind. It has no bite." On a lightly loaded glider it can be harder to enter thermals, Joanna says. "But the main problem is into wind."

This article was published in Cross Country magazine #246, December 2023.

1 september 2023, Cross Country magazine

Review: Supair Step X
The ‘X’ in Step X stands for ‘cross’ which means at the crossroads between performance and light weight. With a weight of 4kg for the S, it is similar to other semi-lightweight wings such as the Advance Iota DLS. It replaces Supair’s Step 2 and Step Light. Supair’s designer Pierre-Yves Alloix says: “You do not need to choose between light and classic, this new Step is ‘all in one’: almost as light as the Step Light with similar durability of the Step.”

1 augustus 2023, Cross Country magazine

Chrigel Maurer Eight time Red Bull X-Alps winner 2023
Chrigel, congratulations! You said you didn't quite have the feeling before the race. What did you mean by this?
"Before the race, many things are unclear. This gives me the feeling of not being comfortable. It is always the same. The last experience is so far away, this feeling of insecurity starts to appear and I have to start to get into the next adventure to become comfortable and to focus on the race. And when it feels really good you can start pushing."

Bastienne Wentzel talked to Chrigel and some of the others who made it in, including Damien Lacaze, Maxime Pinot and the first woman to finish the race, Eli Egger. The final 10-page feature makes for essential reading for X-Alps race-watchers.
Cross Country Magazine #242, August 2023.

Review Gin Evora
The “easy B” class is crowded nowadays. New pilots and those who wish to fly for fun and keep things super simple often look for easy intermediates. Launched at the start of this year the Gin Evora is the latest member of this class. It is designed to be “undemanding for relatively inexperienced pilots, yet at the same time offer more than enough performance for the category” say Gin. To see what it has to offer I flew the Evora for a week in the fresh spring thermals at hotspot Bassano del Grappa in northern Italy.

Quiz - Beginner's Guide to Paragliding
How much do you know about paragliding? Bastienne Wentzel, Erwin Voogt and Cross Country developed a quiz to find out. There is a quiz for everyone: newbies, beginners and experienced pilots.

Find the quizzes at

The web engine behind the quiz (developed by Erwin Voogt) is fully functional examination software used in schools. Send us an email ( to find out more.

Naked pilot: Robin Friess
"I always knew I wanted to fly. My parents are both hang glider and paraglider pilots. We lived in Frankfurt in Germany and all our holidays were flying holidays. I first flew when I was six but my mother did not really want me to fly. She told me if I wanted to fly I would have to make my own money, so I delivered newspapers until I had enough. At 13 years old I did my first course in Wildschönau in Austria."

Review: Swing Helios RS
All Swing paragliders are now equipped with a RAST partition, which causes parts of the glider to inflate or deflate slower or quicker depending on the situation. This gives for example remarkably easy launching behaviour and dampens the adverse effects of collapses. But such a complex internal structure would surely result in a heavier glider, right? Swing now proves that it doesn't have to be with the new lightweight hike&fly performance glider Helios RS.

12 december 2019, Cross Country magazine

Review: U-Turn Morpheus NG
A little over a decade ago, U-Turn launched the Morpheus, an acro glider which was developed together with Mike Küng. He wanted a dynamic glider capable of all manoeuvres but with a safety margin for performing shows. After many customers' requests, U-Turn now launches the Morpheus Next Generation based on this popular 'legend' as they call it. Just as the old Morpheus was a mild version of their professional acro wing G-Force, the Morpheus NG is the little brother of the very popular Blackout+ and Joker. It will replace the freestyler RedOut.