Yes, a bucket list item crossed off!
I always wanted to go paragliding and found out that in Capetown there was a possibility of doing just this. it was advertised as one of the most beautiful places to do it together with Rio Brazil. So I looked online to some companies and was reading about the experiences people had in Capetown. As it is Aviation I always want to know who I’m flying with due to safety. I found Fly Capetown Paragliding and made me think about the times I was working as a pilot for a company that dropped people from the plane. (with a parachute of course) The company looked professional and on TripAdvisor some good stories so I made a reservation.
I made a reservation for Friday and got a WhatsApp on the day before that due to weather conditions we couldn’t fly. As a pilot, I know how important the weather is and that it really can ruin your day if you don’t take it into account. So it was postponed to Saturday. On Saturday morning we woke up and drove to signal hill the place we would walk off the hill to fly like a bird. We met the pilots and we spoke about aviation. He told me that the wind has been changed and came from the back. Like an aircraft, you need the wind on the nose to fly. As safety is the most important and I really wouldn’t like to break my legs trying we decided to put the flight to Sunday. So Sunday morning we woke up again and we received a WhatsApp that everything looks good and we could come to jump off that mountain.
We arrived and signed in for the flight. The pilots came to us and were eager to fly with us. The sun was shining and the wind was on the nose. I still couldn’t believe that I was letting myself go run off a mountain to hang on a fabric wing profile to glide over a city and don’t have the controls myself. I know I have trust issues regarding aviation but I’m working on it haha. So we got into our harnesses and the instructors told us about the safety measures and showed us what was going to happen.
We got hooked onto the parachute and he told me that we would run as fast as we can and keep running until you don’t feel the ground anymore. Then you lift yourself up into the chair. Of course, you are completely secured so you can not fall out. So we started running and after seconds we lifted off. What a silence. There is nothing. I really think this is the ultimate feeling of flying. It is so relaxing and all my worries were gone. My fear of walking off a mountain was gone within a split of a second. This is amazing. We made a few slow turns when my instructor told me to take the controls if I felt OK with that? I did surely and made a few turns as well. Knowing we flew over the city I was looking for places to land because I was not familiar with the glide ratio of this parachute. But what a view. I felt like a bird roaming the skies. After a bit, the instructor asked for the controls back. Most likely because I was a bad pilot 😉 No actually because we had to prepare the landing.
In aviation, they teach you that you have to fly a downwind circle before landing, with this downwind leg you can see your landing strip/field and ensure that there is a clear strip. With this paragliding parachute, we did exactly this. We made a downwind leg and then the instructor descended rapidly to gain speed and ensure a soft landing. What a professionals. I was impressed about how this all went.
I will come back to do it again. Maybe if I am done with flying on a plane I will start taking that as a hobby.
If you ever go to Capetown visit Fly Capetown Paragliding there tell them you came from PilotRaymon.