One-wing wind chasers

Natalia Ternavskaya, "Stary Zamok"  27 June 2012 11:37  24515511 015992
One-wing wind chasers

The feeling of flight, free soaring above the earth, when every gust of wind lifts the body up or throws it down. Many of us have experienced something like this at least once in a dream. It is not surprisingly, that most of us dream to experience the same range of emotions, but in reality this time.

A 24-year-old Uzhgorod citizen Nikolai Shahayda has been conquering the sky for four years. He says since he first saw paragliders, he realized that he would fly for sure.

- Kolya, how did “this” happen to you?

- As a child, I dreamed of jumping with a parachute! When I was 10 I began to realize that we could fly and we set this goal for ourselves. In another 10 years I saw paragliding! My first thought was: "I want!" Only later I found necessary books, photos, videos. And six months later I flew! In fact, it was not a dream, but something like a task or goal.

- Was it difficult to learn?
- It is necessary, as in any other training, to learn the theory first. I got everything relatively easily. Although I have to admit - practice requires considerable physical efforts and special training.

- Can you remember your feelings at the time of the flight debut?

- I flew with a glider on the first day of training in the valley Rivna (Runa). Feelings ... I think if I say that I still remember every second of the 7-8-minute flight (which happened 3 years ago!) it will tell you a lot!

- How many people in Transcarpathia are engaged in paragliding seriously?

- In the whole our region there might be 20 of those who can fly! But there are even less of those who are seriously engaged in it, maybe 5-7. "Seriously" means to have a constant desire to learn, improve skills, fly more often etc. Very few people know about this sport. And, of course, not everyone can afford it, at least because of the work schedule. We probably “depend” on the weather more than anyone else. It is not enough for paragliders to have a simply beautiful and sunny weather. Wind direction and strength are very important. One may predict this just a couple of days before a flight that is why our trips are usually very spontaneous.

- Do your friends want to try flying when they see your pictures? And how do passers-by react to such an extreme hobby?

- Friends "line up". But others, despite all the beauty of this sport and the desire to try, refuse due to the danger ... I can understand them. It is only when you start to fly you realize, that it is not so dangerous as it seems at first glance. What concerns the parents, my passion scared them a lot at first... But eventually they got used to it ...

- And do you admit the possibility of some emergency situations, traumas? Or do you try not to think about that? An intuitive sense, before you rise into the sky, tells you something, do you listen to it?

- It is necessary not only to expect, but always be prepared for emergency situations. Before each flight you think about it and in your head you try to "imagine" your actions in such cases. It must be brought to automaticity so that you are ready for anything!
As time passes these thoughts appear less often ... and flying becomes safer and more enjoyable! About intuition - I do not have it ... Or maybe I just do not know how to use it (laughs - Auth.) Something similar it is with superstitions and signs. The only thing I believe is that if a paraplanerist flies low - it is going to rain! (Smiles Auth.)

- Where do you like flying most of all?

- On the meadow Rivna. Probably, because it's actually my home place. I used to spend my summer holidays there and there I first saw a glider. It is easy to get there: I come by car, go 10 metres away, and I can fly! The height of the mountain allows floating comfortably. There are all conditions for beginners and experienced pilots. One can also wonderfully fly on Borzhava. But most of all I want to try flying in the Alps! It's my dream.

 - As a kind of sport, how expensive is paragliding?  Where in Ukraine is it now more developed?

- Training, traveling by car, equipment ... It is rather expensive. For example, a new glider may cost up to 3,000 euros. But this is only the dome. You also need a harness, carabiners, appropriate clothing and footwear, variometers and GPS-navigators, spare parachutes, helmets, goggles, etc. But if you want to fly, you can find a way out: rather than using new equipment, start with used one. It's like with cars: there are new ones and second hand. Paragliders, like cars, have their durability. On the ground it is run, in the sky it is flying hours. Usually their durability is 800 hours of flight. The main places of paragliding are Kiev, Kharkiv, Chernivtsi, Crimea (Klementyev), but you can add Transcarpathia too. Ukraine also has two paraglider equipment manufacturers of the world class - «AEROS» and «SkyCountry». And this is something important...

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