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Aphro Dizzy Acts!
How to rejuvenate your flying spirit with passion for the sky

You used to love paragliding, but now it just seems too much effort to find the right hill, not worth the risk to lay out the fragile canopy, it is all becoming a touch boring. The mere mention of flying used to fill you with adrenalin, one blurred image of a wing in a magazine would fill your mind with dreams of unlimited, glorious freedom. But now? Nothing new really happens, you launch, fly around, land, you've done it a hundred times before. Packing the glider away is just a hassle. Filling in a logbook? Nothing to report. A melancholic cold steals across your heart - where is that excitement of discovery you vaguely remember? Where has the passion gone? Where is the magic of flying? It may well be hidden in one of the ideas below - 10 ways to recharge your flying spirit.

 

 

1. Blue movies.
Capture a story through photography, make the moment count, remember it. Great flights live in memory, providing our minds with a thrilling breath of fresh air whenever we recall the experience. But memory fades with time. Photographs bring back the colour, that wonderful big blue filled with puffy white clouds, putting us right into the past as witnesses. Even a little instamatic camera can yield stories galore. Every day you fly, try to take a photograph which captures the mood of the day. Select your best photo's, and put them in your logbook. Spend a little time over it, show your friends. Treat the flights as something special, and they will be something special.

2. Feeling your way
Ever answered the phone, and known before speaking who was on the line? The same intuitive sense is possible to detect thermals. Try to sense if it is flyable before you leave for your flying site. Wait on the launch site until you feel something approaching up the slope. See if you can feel where the thermals are, by flying with your eyes closed for a little while. There is a lot more to flying than meets the eye. Open your mind to the mysterious forces acting in the sky.

3. Adventure!
There's nothing quite like standing on a huge mountain you've never seen in your life before, in a strange country, and then launching into its strange sky. Apart from the enjoyment and challenge of travelling, the mere challenge of mastering a new environment is enough to get your pulse racing. Even a trip to a new site in your own country can fire up the enthusiasm for the sport. You need to keep growing, that's where the fun comes from, so call up some friends, jump in a van, and drive out of town for the weekend. Do it!

4. Which way did the fluff float?
A white-winged bird flies across your path, circles in front of you, and then glides off to the left. Pretend it's an omen. Follow it, as far as you can. Three crows fly by, and tumble around each other. Do a wing-over. Respond to the world around you by playing with it. This childlike way allows magic to bubble up into your world - you are more likely to hear the cloud calling you, to laugh at the words of the crows, and to see the thermal when your mind is in this playful frame. A logical mind, striving for more performance, and straining to integrate technical information about glide angles, lift, and tactics will allow you to achieve a 'distance flown'. But a distance is something on the ground, and a flight is an adventure in the air. It doesn't matter how far you fly, its how you fly that will keep you smiling. So follow the fluff.

5. Getting a hand on those wobbly bits
Safety courses (offered by experts in paragliders-behaving-badly) are a great first step on slippery and steep path to mastering aerobatics. You're bored? How smooth are your wing-overs? Can you keep your wing firm when it's below the horizon? Can you get your wing directly below you? Have you tried off-balanced spirals? There's a lot to be learned from getting above your wing, and it can be loads of hair-raising, butt-clenching fun. Ask any skydiver - falling is furiously cool.

6. Swapping girlfriends.
What? The idea alone is taboo, the practice forbidden and the fantasy - exciting? Taking your friend's wing, while your friend flies yours. The newness is exhilirating, the handling always different, and you may learn how much you really love the one you're with, or find that perfect wing you've always dreamed of.

7. Doing it together
Flying a tandem glider allows you to soak up the overwhelming enthusiasm of newcomers. As your passenger gasps at the thrill of lifting off the ground, and trembles in the excitement of overcoming fear, you can't help being a little thrilled yourself. The new responsibility and challenge of the tandem craft offers a steep learning curve. After putting your passenger safely back on the ground, it is usually really hard to wipe the smile off your face.

8. All by myself
If there's a hill in the distance, then there's a place to bivouac. Stuff some food, a sleeping bag, and a bottle of water into your pack, and take your wing on an adventure. The purifying strain of walking, the pilgrimage-like ascent to the peak, the silence of solace, and the communion with nature and your wing combine in even the shortest weekend bivouac to create a memorable journey. Spend the night out on the slope, warm in your sleeping bag, munching on bread and cheese - watch the stars, dream of big thermals, and glide down, or up, or away, in the morning.

9. Money for love
One of the fantastic powers of free-flying is that it offers an escape from the mundane into the ethereal. If you're making money out of paragliding, then you are exposed to the danger of the American Dream - find something you love, then bend it and warp it until you find a way to make money out of it, so that you can do it all the time. Problem is, most folk end up losing the love for the thing they so cherished, chasing the dollar sign instead. There are many ways to make money - everyone's doing it. There are precious few things that give the inspiration flying does. If you're losing the passion for flying, it may be time to think of finding another profession, and not another sport.

10. Graphic novels
Richard Bach, a master storyteller of aviation and metaphysics, has written 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagull', 'Illusions', 'One' and many more. Judy Leden, ex-World Hang-gliding and Paragliding Champion of the world, has offered us 'Flying with Condors'. Jim Palmieri (USA) has a vast wealth of tales collected in 'Stories of our Heritage'. I wrote a novel titled
'Beyond The Invisible'. All have a common purpose - to infuse the reader with the inspiring perspective of flying. Take one to bed with you, you'll rise a happy pilot.

I hope that through these ideas you are able to rediscover the joy of being a bird.

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