The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Words of nothingness

Very sad and frustrated…
One very big slap was taken… And we wake up with wide eyes for that special brief moment in time.

The slap and the awakening:

Paragliding …What’s about that sport? What is the essence of that sport? Why do we do it?  the endless quest for an answer…

We humans always need more and more... If there’s only ONE happiness feel, what will ‘more and more searching’ would give you further?
I never liked paragliding competitions even in my youth as it contradicts what ‘free flight’ stands for, IMHO.  

My free-flight definition: 
Standing on the top of the mountain, with a good breeze coming from the valley below. The sky is clear with beautiful clouds, birds are already circling up to cloud base, and you passionately long to join them for that weightless feel of floating freely far away from your daily survival combat… 
Up there, there’s only you, living that exact precious moment of your life. You look far, letting your eyes swim in the vastness of that space. You don’t rush it as the time stopped because you are there. Your mind works differently up there, configuring your XC route. It is the time to enjoy that freedom. 
When you land, you cannot speak, as words won’t be enough to describe that 'magical place' you were in.
-That is my personal understanding of paragliding. 

The brief awakening: 
Are we not creative enough to produce a different format of competition?  
What’s the purpose of being fast on such a slow (engine-less) device? Are we not missing the essence of flying?
Why not complete the largest possible triangle on that specific day smoothly? No rush…Just brain strategy.
Why not compete on a more predictable glider?  Example: Olympics formats!
Why in the certification bodies, (DHV,para-test…etc…) do the tests only in calm air? and only load tests for some? I thought humans were highly valuable beings! 
Why there’s not ONE expert-certified pilot that flies the B,C,D, CCC gliders in real thermic air and rate it on a (safety/recovery) scale 1 to 10.  And a scale of 5 could be enough for the new formats comps.
Didn’t the responsible wake up yet? Even the Formula 1 car race now in a 6-cylinder engine! with lots of safety measures..and only 12 drivers are allowed to drive them. Hello ???

Sports competition is created to push the human limit and materials for 'different purposes’…. At least not for the human peace of mind and internal happiness for sure!  
We arrived at the peak of our paragliding performance achievement. Now it is the time to invest more in our safety. More work on gliders' internal structures is crucially needed.  
I hope that a creative mind will finally take a leap of faith into another competition format. 

A simple recipe for happy flying: If you are stressed after you land. You have a clear answer. Listen to it carefully. It could be the conditions you flew in or the glider you chose to fly. 
If you are smiling, then you achieved your OWN goal without any format! 
Happy and safe landings my fellow friends,


Georg said...

gut geschrieben, ganz meiner Meinung !

Martin said...

RIP, Timo.

Martin said...

RIP, Timo!

Martin said...

RIP, Timo!

Kaczinski said...

Great words! I totally agree - this is the way we like to fly -YESS!!

And a big Thank you you for your alway brilliant and poignant reviews!

baracetti said...

Oui je suis daccord avec tes propos mais apres 30 ans de vol en delta et parapente. Mais quand on est jeune, c est different bien sur, on vit a fond l activitee et la sagesse sรฉcuritaire passe au second degrรฉ, helas ! Moi aussi je suis un puriste et n aime pas la competion car on prend plus de risque. En libre le danger existe aussi mais on peut mieux le choisir. Librement votre

Mano said...

Thanks a lot for those words, I hope Timo will be the last paraglider to die in a competition, RIP Timo ๐Ÿ’ซ

Sam said...

Very well written, Ziad. I'm sure many of your readers have had a similar discussion with themselves at some point.

"It's not about the miles, but about the smiles" - a wise man once said.

Sam said...

Very well written, Ziad. I'm sure many of your readers have had a similar discussion with themselves at some point.

"It's not about the miles, but about the smiles" - a wise man once said.

Tony Chapman said...

you have my following all the way with such humility and attitude. in Total agreement.

rsaccani said...

Competing on speed with a glider that can collapse is unnecessarily dangerous because of physics (when the glider collapses, bad things are proportional to the square of the speed). The “largest possible triangle” schema you propose is also based on speed because distance=time*speed, there is an upper limit on flyable hours and therefore you need more speed in order to get more distance.

There might be competition formats that don’t rely on speed but I can’t think of any competition format that doesn’t compromise on safety.
Competitions are based on measurable outcomes and the most important thing in flying (which we agree being enjoyment) cannot be measured. Considering this limitation, all competitions formats I can think of impact safety either by reducing safety margins or by increasing the chances of having an incident. Most likely both.

Simplifying, the accident is an incident with injury. In order to fly safer you can do two things: lower the chances of having an incident in the first place (which means lowering the frequency between incidents assuming that sooner or later we all get one, like a big collapse for example) and you can also maintain a safety margin between the incident and the accident for when the incident happens. You are supposed to do both: lower the chances to get into trouble and increase the chances that you will get out of trouble without hurting yourself.

You can lower the frequency of incidents by flying a safer glider in safer conditions, for example. You can maintain a higher safety margin between the (inevitable) incident and an accident by not flying very fast, by flying a glider with mild reactions (aspect ratio plays a role), with a small tendency to cravat (the line plan and the aspect ratio play a huge role), flying far enough from the ground in order to be able to manage contingencies and so on.
Any competition format I can think of involves compromises on multiple important safety aspects.

I believe the concept of experience being a “safety margin” to be very misleading and historically being one of the main causes of unreasonable compromises on safety margins, especially in competitions of any kind.
Experience and skills are mitigation factors for lowering the frequency of incidents but, as long as we are all humans, that frequency will never get to zero and at that point, when the incident happens, the safety margins will determine the outcome. This means that compromising on safety margins is a very bad idea for any skill level. Can we devise a competition format that does not compromise on safety margins?

In regard to certifications, there too many complex issues around this topic to be addressed in a comment. I’ve worked for many years on EN, I am still formally in WG6 but I haven’t attended meetings for years out of frustration. The push for performance from the market also plays a role.

I agree with you: we need to put enjoyment back at the center of our decisions. We should also stop overestimating the role of the equipment and glider performances at any level, not just competitions.

gilber said...

De dividirmos o tempo de voo de um.piloto: o inรญcio da prรกtica e sรณ prazer em voar. Depois vem a fase da competiรงรฃo, competir com os amigos e se firmar como um piloto de ponta. Finalmente, se apรณs a fase de competiรงรฃo ainda existir o espรญrito do voo livre vem o prazer de voar. Somente e puramente o prazer de flutuar na atmosfera!