Thursday, March 23, 2017

Paragliding Q&A

Four young girls (maybe 10 years old?) discovered me kiting in the park. I was enjoying the warmer sunny weather and less crazy wind. (photo is of Shelley last summer)

What's that?
It's like a giant kite. But it also lets me fly off mountains
Fly for us!
I need a hill.
There's a hill right there. (pointing at the tobogganing hill)
Yeah but the wind is the wrong direction.
He can't fly off that. 
Actually, I have.
(Wide eyes)

Do you have a parachute too?
Yeah, I do.
No! Where is it?
It's the red handle on my right side.
(Thankfully they didn't try to pull my reserve out!)
Oh wow!
Is it scary?

Can it lift you off the ground?
Yes, if the wind is strong.
What do you do then?
Just hold on till you come down.

What if you let go?
(I let go of the brakes.) Nothing happens.
No! Let go of everything. Would it fly away?
No, it's like a kite, if you let go of the string it will fall down.

So you jump off mountains?
No, I run off mountains.
(I couldn't help giving my standard smart ass answer, literally true, but irrelevant to most people!)

Where do you fly from?
All over, Rockies, the US, ...
You flew from there today!?
No, I'm just practicing today.
But where did you come from?
I just walked here from my house.
But we saw you way up in the sky!
No, I've just been on the ground in the park here.
No, we saw you up there. 

We should help!
Uh, no, I don't think ...
Yeah, we'll hold it up.
To their credit, they grasped that holding it up would help me launch. Of course, I didn't need the help, but what the heck. I taught them how to pinch the back of the wing so when it launched it would slide out of their grip and not pull them. Of course, one of them had to see what happened if she hung on. I just waited until she gave up and let go.

But "helping" didn't hold their attention very long.

Drop it on us!

My goal of trying to keep the wing up in the light wind wasn't very interesting!

So I dropped the wing on them (very gently). Much shrieking ensued.

Thankfully the wind was light with no gusts. It was barely enough to keep the wing up. If it had been strong (like it has been recently) I wouldn't have wanted them anywhere near the wing or lines. But with the mellow conditions I could raise and lower the wing gently. I was very careful not to let any of the lines get caught on them. Their ideal scenario was that I would drop the wing on them, then they'd get out from under it and crouch beside it, and I'd raise the wing back up. I think they liked the feel of the giant (relative to them) wing moving so close them.

How long have you been doing this?
Two years.

How old are you?
25, (that's old?) more, 30, more, 40, more, 50, more, 60, less, 70, stop!
It was kind of nice that it seemed totally academic to them. I guess to them, it's all old.

C'mon, let's go, we should leave this guy alone. 

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh... That's pretty great. See?? You should have gone for a career in public school education. ;-)