sobota, 02. oktober 2010

Brainstorming the season and looking in to the future

My idea of moving to Australia this winter ended with a possibility of work at the same place as last year in Nova Gorica under the, I think most flyable winter site in Europe.

So here we go again. Squeezing every coin for a maybe new glider, looking for sponsorships, or I could say begging for them as in this time it is hard to find someone that could give you the oppoturnity to represent them worldwide.
Competition hang gliding is indeed a very expensive sport that cost you so much that you have to push your life, your relationship and yourself to the edge. Last two years I have not been thinking of any other costs than hang glider equipment and costs that come with competitions.

If you are not one of the rear people who are either wealthy enough or are sponsored by some manufacturer then your life is competition for the coins that you spend on equipment.

Looking at the new glider(The see trough one) of Zippy I ask myself, where is this sport going. Will we fly gliders that will need to change sail every 100 hours? Is hang gliding becoming the “sport for elite”?

We all look for the best performance of our gliders but at a cost that could reduce number of hang glider pilots at the competitions (Which is not that big already). Sure, a see trough machine looks great but I would not never buy it as I don`t have the money to change sail every year. Of course there is not just sail, there is frame upgrade every year also, so changing just the sail does not mean everything.


We pay for the worlds and Euros around 400 € entry fee (Australia just the entry fee could be 800€). We get launch packet, a guy who knows where to look for the weather, a guy who knows how to download tracks and maybe a party in between. With 100 pilots this means a 40.000€ to spend. Of course I know you have other costs with our dear FAI stewards who always need the best accommodation with best food in town and there is more of course.
I miss one big thing. Transport. Each paragliding competition FAI 1 or FAI 2 or PWC has transportation in cost of entry fee.
Usually FAI 1 comps are payed by national team countries, so this is the easy step. FAI 2 competitions with 100 to 150 € are organised usually without launch packets, about transportation we can only dream about.

I know it is easier to put 100 jellyfishes to the vans and drive them around but I am sure that there is a solution for hang gliders also. Greifenburg was a very nice example of good organised transportation. For 50€ we got retrieve and take off ride.
In Bassano you can look in the morning at jellyfish pilots, coming in to the vans and going for the take off much further away, we, hang glider pilots we are so wealthy and we have so nice girls around that for us is no problem with transportation. AND WE PAY THE SAME PRICE.

So call me a crazy guy, that I spend all my time in thinking about where to earn money so I will be able to fly in summer at some competitions. One day I might have to cut this option as will need to earn money to feed some mouths, and hang gliding will become a sport of elite number of people that will be able to pay for a glider that will last for one season. Change will be spend for briefings and download guy at the landing.

Yes it is a passion or addiction that is really hard to resist.

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