About

Hi there and welcome to my little bit of virtual real estate!

I started this blog to document my progress through the paragliding world, one of the most cleanest and freest forms of flying. In part I was motivated by an excellent blog by another beginner, who is lucky enough to fly in Cyprus.

I have been fortunate enough to have been flying for all of my adult life, starting out on sailplanes while in the Royal Air Force before moving onto powered aircraft and now paragliding. I certainly don’t get all bothered about what type of aircraft I am flying, for me the joy is being in the air and each aircraft type brings its own rewards and challenges.

Currently I live in Belgium, not the ideal place for paragliding although I am hoping to move closer to mountains within the next couple of years. So stay a while read up on my exploits and feel free to give me feedback.

The blog title by the way comes from the excellent poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. an American pilot flying in WWII. The poem has become a mantra for pilots worldwide, and I reproduce it here, it communicates better than anything else I have read the joy that pilots find when in the air.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

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2 Responses to About

  1. Dave says:

    Nice reading Gary, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reports of denis’ tuition, some good, some less so, how would you rate him as an instructor/guide?

    You may be interested to learn that Tim (at your blog link above) in turn took HIS inspiration to start his blog from mine, also linked above. (Oh and we’re in the RAF too 😉

    Keep up the good work!

    • bridgers says:

      Hi Dave,

      I am defiantly in the good camp and I think the other pilot that gained his CP this week would also agree since we had a discussion about it. The tuition is not overbearing, issues are pointed out in a professional and clam manner, you are not made to feel concerned about your mistakes to the point that you panic, but the potential issues from mistakes are communicated well.

      I disagree with a tuition style which implicates fear in the student. I have had a lot of instructors over a range of subjects being in the RAF like yourself and went through several instructors when learning to glide as normally you didn’t have the same instructor every week. Many would be clear and insightful, most would make you feel small and idiotic. I would put Dennis in the top 10% of people that have taught me. We have a clear brief before flying and a good debrief afterwards, along the lines of the usual good, bad, good technique of teaching.

      I am an experienced pilot so understand lot of the theory of flight, air law and metrology already (PPL exams being a lot more comprehensive in this manner), so we have not spent time covering these issues, but I question when I know my knowledge is limited but I have the knowledge to know where I have black holes in paragliding theory. So I can not really give an opinion as a complete beginner, although second hand my learning colleague this week, John, came in as beginner has passed his exams and seemed more than happy with the instruction style.

      In short it has suited me, plus a lot has to be said for the fact that you get a lot of flights in here when compared to the UK. But I would suggest that pilots that learn in better conditions here should always join a club to have period of adjustment to the conditions in the UK. Much the same was true of people learning to PPL in Florida, it is not the UK so a period of transition is always needed in the changeable conditions and airspace of the motherland.

      Good blog BTW, would love to visit Cyprus again last time was in the mid 90s with 56 Tornado OCU! A long time ago, brandy sours don’t sound so appealing with increased age!

      Gary

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