Carrying an airplane in a small backpack to the top of a mountain and flying back down or soaring over ridges and roofs only with the power of wind and sun… how cool is that? A piece of fabric and some lines made my dream come true.
Hi, I’m Manuel and I'm a paragliding pilot.
I grew up in a small mountain village in South Tyrol, Italy. Since I was a little boy, I’ve been fascinated seeing my uncle flying. From that moment on, it was clear for me - I want to become a paragliding pilot. Due to age restrictions in my country, I had to wait for my 16th birthday. It felt like ages but I could finally begin with my training in the local paragliding school. I was so overwhelmed after my first big flight, so I tried to spend as much time in the air as possible. That was five years ago, and since then I've never stopped. Flying more than 200km triangles in the Alps, performing “Infinity Tumbling” (aerobatic maneuver) over my house or just hiking on top of a mountain to glide into the sunset, I still enjoy every minute in the air.
I take part in competitions to improve myself and to get better and better. This year, my focus is on the hike and fly competitions Bordairrace and Prealpitour. In these races, I can hike and fly to cover as much distance as possible. Together with my teammates, I'm also looking forward to the Redbull Dolomitenmann, the world’s toughest team race in Austria.
The most important thing for me while practicing this sport is to have fun. It’s not always the longest flights that are the most beautiful ones. So far, one of my best moments was a little flight to a mountain hut at 3000m to drink a cup of coffee. The hut was surrounded by glaciers and sharp rocks, so I never thought that’s possible to topland there. Luckily, a high cloud base and weak winds helped me make this dream come true.
During summer, I work at the local paragliding flight school. It allows me to share my passion for this sport with other people and help them improve their skills. I hope you liked my story and it would be a pleasure for me to meet some of you guys in the air. Feel free to ask me any questions and check out my Instagram page for more content: @manu_hfmn