Three Hours of Flying Without an Engine

Three Hours of Flying Without an Engine

On December 14th 2016, me, my father and three other friends took off from Três Morrinhos free flight ramp, in the city of Terra Rica, state of Paraná, Brazil. We didn’t have great expectations because it had rained the whole week prior. It’s not ideal for cross country paragliding, and the cold front trails were still in the sky. However, we were still very determined to perform a nice flight. We took off about noon and flew northwards, crossing three states and two main rivers of south Brazil.

The first one was the Paranapanema River, which with its 2.5 km margin to margin, set boundaries between the states of Paraná and São Paulo. After that, we flew nearly 25 km until we reached the margin of Paraná river. It had an amazing 12 km of extension, setting boundaries between the states of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul at the point we were at.

We already had a brief of the flight on this route before and planned thoroughly the crossing of the river to perform it as safely as we could. We can’t have room for mistakes due to the large distance we would fly above the water without an engine. But even having enough altitude at 2200 meters AGL with all indicators in our favor, we had to think fast of another plan and make the decision as a group to start the crossing of that body of freshwater we had in front of us.

The variometer kept emitting noise due to a big descent at the start of the crossing. But all of that disappeared because of the happiness of flying above a river and to have a panoramic view like we had. Only free flight pilots will know how threatening this noise is. Haha! Soon, I passed the descent and it was only happiness from there. We got to the other side on km 60 and continued the flight until km 103.8, landing near Bataguassú, state of Mato Grosso do Sul. We were flying for 3 hours without an engine.

This flight will be forever in my mind, for sure.

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