with an Amputee....
For once you have tested flight
You will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward;
For there you have been,
And there you long to return"
plagerised from the Fly
SA Site, 'coz now it really means something
weekend (June 2005) I took a trip with a friend of mine who is a
paraglider. Went to a fabulous mountainous spot almost on the border
of Swaziland. My idea was to sit on a mountain (while all the other
nutters leapt off) and just take in the views and veg out.
the instructor had other plans for me. He decided, in his infinite
wisdom, that Ally had to fly. There was one tandem pilot there (from
another club), who had come for one solo flight, and the intrepid
instructor talked him into taking me for a tandem.
(so I thought) was getting this one-legged gal off the edge of the
mountain - yes MOUNTAIN, not a big hill! And no-one on the top of
the mountain that day had flown with a disabled person before. But
they were eager to see how and if, they could get it right. Didn't
do much to make me feel safe!!
was windy, and most of the baby pilots were being dragged around
over the rocks when they tried to take off. So there was a lot of
running toward the edge of the mountain, and falling down to a well-placed
ledge (thank you God) before they actually got into the air.
put a flight suit on me, gloves, helmet, harness and said 'get ready'.
This all took about 1 minute - there were 3 men dressing me. I was
then the wind was right. The tandem pilot was strapped behind me,
I had two other pilots on either side of me - and then we were off
- heading straight to the edge of the mountain. They were running
- carrying me. I just closed my eyes and prayed 'Lord, please let
the chute open first time and let the wind take us UP'.
peeked out of one eye and all I saw was the earth dropping from
underneath us - and then we were flying. So quiet, amazing. And
we had the longest flight out of all the people there that weekend
(about an hour), and we went so very high, about 400m from the take
off point. Could even see the beginnings of Swaziland over the mountains.
Eish, what a memory I gathered that day.
I believe the one guy who picked me up and ran with me got a memory
of his own too. They were running so fast, that he couldn't stop
when we took off. He ran straight off the mountain! And I am told
there was blood. Trevor, I owe you!
landing was a tad rough, got dragged around a bit on the ground,
but it was ok. No broken bones. And more importantly, no broken
say though, it was a lot more scary than skydiving, and we jumped
from 10,000 feet then.
SHOO - what an experience. I have photo's on my phone. Now, just
have to figure out how to get them downloaded.....rocket scientist
that I am.
must add, this sport could definitely become addictive, I can see
how my friend has chosen this as her insane hobby-of-choice. What
a tremendous group of people. Very social, friendly, and with nothing
to prove other than ensuring (or should that be 'insisting' - gotta
love that larger than life instructor Carlos, yip you do!) that
everyone has an enormously good time. And safety is number one with
this bunch - they won't let you hurt yourself, unless of course,
you drink too much beer around the fire at night and fall over a
I have heard that one of the highest bungees is somewhere near Knysna...mmmm...
out the site for nice nutters at Fly
SA and just GO FOR IT!