Flying with Pelicans

_MG_3284Yesterday afternoon Kongo spent several hours at the Gliderport in La Jolla watching paragliders, hang gliders, and sail planes floating and zooming above the cliffs over Black’s Beach.  Check out the following images!

_MG_2744This tandem hang glider duo soars over the cliff and heads toward La Jolla Cove.

_MG_3080These paragliders are extremely graceful in the air, like the clutch of pelicans in the lower left corner of the image.  But on the ground, they’re awkward. Just like pelicans.

_MG_3197_MG_3219The young woman above evidently didn’t have enough weight to properly launch. A gust of wind caught her and she kept getting pushed backward. Finally she was helped by a fellow pilot.

Some of the paragliders flew about in these cool little cocoons.  The pilot kicks his feet out just before landing.

_MG_3231_MG_3238There was a pretty strong breeze coming off the ocean and rushing up the Torrey Pines cliffs to give the pilots lots of lift.  They could soar down low over the water and then rise up again. It was fascinating to watch.

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_MG_3039 _MG_3521A lot of people were taking flights with certified instructors at the Gliderport. The cost for one of these paraglider flights is $150.  _MG_2868 _MG_3104_MG_3337The paraglider wing is known in aeronautical engineering as a ram-airfoil.  These wings consist of two layers of fabric with internal cells so that when inflated the canopy forms a row of cells.  A series of lines connect the pilot to the sail through a harness that the pilot wears.  Basically, the pilot flips the canopy in such a way that it catches the wind, then the pilot swivels, and moves downhill into the wind until he achieves enough lift to get airborne.  These two below are just taking off near the edge of the cliff.


Landing is also into the wind and just before touchdown the pilot flares the canopy, dumping air, and his feet once more return to terra firma.

While Kongo saw a few novice gliders making some rather hard landings, the instructors and those who seemed to know what they were doing all just floated gently to the ground as these two below.

_MG_3595It was incredibly busy. There were literally dozens of paragliders and hang gliders in the sky above La Jolla.  They communicate with whistle signals and you could hear a lot of calls of “Landing, landing” and pilots came in for an approach.  Mixed up in all this were a bunch of model gliders that were zipping in and out of the airborne adventurers.  And of course, there were the pelicans.

Kongo learned the difference between a hang glider and a paraglider.  The paraglider will remind you of a parachute.  A hang glider is more like a fixed-wing.  A picture of a hang glider is shown below.

_MG_3129The next time you’re in San Diego, head out to the Gliderport and check this out. You can also make a reservation for a flight of your own.  Learn more about the services offered at the Gliderport at their website.

When Mrs. Kongo was looking over the monkey’s shoulder as he was culling through his photographic “take” for this series, she said, “These are fun photos.  Much nicer than just flowers.”  Just flowers?  Hmm.

Travel safe.  Have fun._MG_3710 _MG_2936

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