I finally had the chance to get into some of this beautiful Macedonian air yesterday. Tullio was kind enough to bring me a Falcon from Italy so I had something to fly if I found some spare time. Elia, one of the Italian team helpers also wanted to fly, so we set a task to go together from launch to the goal field.
I set up before the briefing with plans to launch after the last competitor. While I was suiting up, Goran prepared the entire crew for a salute when I took off. I looked up to see them all lined up at attention. Although I was a bit embarrassed, as I got airborne it made me feel very honored and it set the tone for my entire flying day.
I suppose I got the best conditions ever, because the air was soft and I never found a single sharp edge on anything. I'm sure it helps to be flying a Falcon. What is also so incredibly nice is that this is basically flatland flying (my favorite), but footlaunching, so no aerotowing (my least favorite). Perfect combination of the kind of flying I love. I see why it has become something of a Mecca for paragliding.
It was a beautiful flight and my personal best Falcon cross country (ok, it was my only single surface cross country flight ever!). Going xc into a quartering headwind is not an easy task. The 15km goal was hard earned, but thanks to several storks and even a lone swallow, I made it in, ahead of a few topless even ;-). What a great flight!
(Thanks to my favorite HG photographer Flavio, and Oyvind for the pictures!)