ExtraHyperActive: Flying
Showing posts with label Flying. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flying. Show all posts

Parahawking- Flying Like A Bird...With A Bird.

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The video below is absolutely beautiful !

When you go parahawking, you are not just flying like a bird - you are flying with one. And there's only one place in the world you can do it: Pokhara, Nepal and doing it is as awesome as it sounds.

If it's too much to digest, let me first explain what parahawking is.
Parahawking is a fusion between Falconry and Paragliding. Falconry is a huntung sport where birds of prey are trained to hunt prey. Parahawking is different, our birds of prey are trained to fly with Paragliders and to guide them to the thermals. Parahawking also gives you a unique opportunity to interact with birds of prey in their own environment.
When parahawking, you soar with trained Egyptian Vultures, which are an exceptionally unique species of bird. Not only are the Egyptian Vultures incredibly intelligent (they're one of two bird species in the world that use tools to source food (they will actually pick up and drop rocks to break into eggs) but they are incredibly energy efficient. The vultures rely on warm pockets of air, called thermals, to achieve lift — allowing them to soar with minimal effort. The higher they soar, the wider their perspective becomes, allowing them to more easily source food. If there are no thermals, the Egyptian Vulture will find a tree to perch on and conserve energy until it's ready to try again.

Wingsuit Flying Over The Columbia Gorge

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The Mighty Columbia River rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, flows northwest and then south into Washington, to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.

The Columbia River and the Columbia River Gorge is a unique place with numerous adventure opportunities, and windsurfing and kiteboarding being among the most popular ones.

You can cross the Columbia River by boat, sailboard/kiteboard or ( the lamest ) even by car...But till recently, nobody has ever crossed it in a wingsuit....

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Get Your Adrenaline Pumping During Bridge Day In West Virginia

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Do you know how many official and unofficial "national days'', festivals and holidays we have ? 365 !

National Dress Up Your Pet Day , Public Sleeping Day, Be Nasty Day, Blame Somebody Else Day...( here is the full list ). Don't believe it's true ? Just Google one of those days.

But the craziest, most exciting, adrenaline -filled day/celebration would be Bridge Day in West Virginia.

Bridge Day is an annual one-day festival in Fayetteville, West Virginia held on the 3rd Saturday of October that commemorates the 1977 completion of the New River Gorge Bridge.

But it's not just that. Bridge Day is one of the world's largest extreme sports festivals that celebrates the outdoors with a show you've got to experience to believe.

On this day, all four lanes of the bridge are closed to automobiles and opened to hundreds of spectators and adventure seekers. One day festival is packed with adventures of all kinds: BASE jumping, skydiving, whitewater rafting, rapelling, ziplining/highlining. Check out the vedeo

Best Place In Washington To Try Hot Air Ballooning

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In 2010 I put "Fly In A Hot Air Balloon" on my Bucket List.

Since I was a kid, I've been dreaming about floating above Mother Earth with an inexplicable feeling of freedom that an open basket provides. Years later, after having tried skydiving, parasailing, paragliding, and flying a small aircraft, I still hope a hot air balloon flight will be a different and, in its own way, unique experience.

Two years ago when I was searching for information on balloon flights, I came across the Winthrop Balloon Roundup, an annual festival that takes place every March in Winthrop, WA

Winthrop Balloon Roundup

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Along with Leavenworth, Winthrop is another great theme town to visit in Washington state. Winthrop is a spectacular vacation destination with a Western flair.  Known for the American Old West design of all the buildings in town, this small town offers amazing adventures all year round.

Winthrop is home to the nation's largest cross-country skiing location, with over 120 miles of groomed trails. In winter,  Winthrop is home to an award-winning outdoor ice rink, an alpine ski area, backcoutnry skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, sledding and world-renowned snowmobiling.

In spring, this town hosts its annual ( now 17th ) three-day Balloon Festival. During the first weekend in March, the skies of Winthrop brighten with the brilliant colors of over a dozen hot air balloons flying over the magnificent Methow Valley.  It's an incredible visual display as the balloons fly over the old western town of Winthrop and with the snow-capped mountains of the North Cascades as a backdrop.

For those wishing to go aloft, Morning Glory Balloon Tours offers flights once a day, approximately one hour after sunrise when the winds are calmest.



Flightseeing Around Seattle, WA

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To have your childhood dream realized is a really big deal. At least for me. When I was a kid, I dreamed about becoming a test pilot, and later, just like my childhood role model Yuri Gagarin ( the first man in space ), a cosmonaut. But sometimes life has different plans for us...

Yet, the dream of flying one day is still very much alive. A few years ago, I was looking into getting my pilot license, but once again, I found excuses why I couldn't.

This time, I wanted to see if my son would share the same passion, and just to make his childhood a bit more memorable, I planned a scenic flight that showcased a bird's-eye view of Seattle sights and the surrounding area.


A one hour flight took us high and above our beloved city, we caught a beautiful view of Mt Rainier ( when the Mountain was "out" ), and flew over and all, but into Snoqualmie Falls.





I haven't given up on my childhood dream. One way or another, sooner or later I will fly. And who knows, may be one day, my son will share my passion of flying.

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Is BASE Jumping On Your Bucket List ?

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I'm proud to be "The First Russian To Tandem Base Jump Off A Cliff !" It was an amazing, once-in-a-life-time experience !

BASE jumping is not something I'd personally do on a regular (every weekend) basis ( like skiing/surfing/kiteboarding ). In my opinion, this is the activity that is strongly influenced by location.

I'd love to do BASE jumping at different beautiful and exotic places. I'm sure, even going back to Canyonlands in winter and jumping off the same cliff would be totally different !

Have you ever considered adding BASE jumping to your Bucket List ? Where in the would would you love to jump ?


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Snowmobile + Kite = SuperStoke

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... people never cease to amaze me ! I mean, when you watch Youtube videos like "People Are Awesome", it's crazy what we, as human beings, are capable of !

Sometime it seems like our physical, mental, and creative capabilities are limitless !

... I mean, who would ever thought of using a kiteboarding kite with ...a snowmobile !


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First Russian To Tandem Base Jump From A Cliff !

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The Guinness Book of World Records, here I come !

It doesn't always have to be a world record. Even an amazing "first" can be remembered in the GWR book.

During my recent road trip around Southwest, I had an amazing opportunity to try tandem BASE jumping in Moab, Utah.



Withing the past 3 years, there have been many things that I'd done for the first time. But it never really felt like it was such a big deal. Before me, there have been tons of people who've done skydiving, kayaking, paragliding, surfing, scuba diving and etc. for the first time.

But personally, I don't know many people who've done tandem BASE jumping off a cliff !!!

And after my jump,I realized that I'm one of few who can proudly say: " I did it !"

The company, Moab B.A.S.E. Adventures, has taken dozens of people from around the world on this exciting journey. And I just happened to be the first Russian to experience the extreme adventure of cliff B.A.S.E. jumping !






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Wingsuit Flight Above The Space Needle!

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The Seattle Space Needle is our pride and beauty, historic landmark and a major tourist attraction. While many locals and visitors visit the Space Needle by taking an elevator to the observation deck, a few chosen ones had the privilege to fly over it...


Every summer, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels take over the sky for their performance during the Seafair hydro-race weekend...

But one summer day in 2010, the iconic Seattle space needle took a back seat to an insane wingsuit flight above the city. Locals all across the city were looking to the skies in wonder as the Red Bull Air Force performed never-before-seen wingsuit jumps for a project dubbed Red Bull Seattle Swoopers.




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Tandem BASE Jumping In Moab

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What are your thoughts when you're standing on the edge of a cliff looking down ? Have you ever felt the urge, this weird impulse, inside sensation to just jump ?
I have literally dreamed of this moment many times, and now it was about to happen...


It's true what they say : " Be careful what you wish for".

I month before my visit to Moab , I'd written a short post about Moab BASE Adventures that offered an unbelievable opportunity to try tandem BASE jumping off a cliff. I was so excited about it that I even added it to my Bucket List on Pintrest.

But when the opportunity presented itself.... I almost backed out !

It wasn't the fear of the drop itself, rather the fear of unknown...

BASE jumping is a relatively new sport, and tandem BASE jumping is even less known ( at least to an Average Joe like me ). Hence, there are a lot of questions go through one's mind : Is it safe ? Is it dangerous ? How high is the cliff ? How long is the free fall ? Do you need any specific training ? What happens if the parachute doesn't open ?

Though, no skydiving or climbing experience is necessary ( you just need to weigh fewer than 185 pounds and be fit enough to hike and scramble to the top), that's not the most important requirement.

When it comes to tandem BASE jumping, it's all about mental commitment...

That's probably why the company's first customers were climbers, skydivers, mountain bikers, people who are familiar with the feeling of "adrenaline rush", and are aware of the risks involved.

Tandem BASE jumping is not for everybody, it is not a roller coaster ride at your favorite theme park.

Now that I've done tandem skydiving, paragliding, and BASE jumping, I can say that there is something that sets BASE jumping apart from any other "extreme sport".

Most of the action in BASE jumping, at least at the novice level, occurs before the actual jump. In BASE jumping, the edge you're standing on is attractive in so many ways; it’s a boundary between the known and the unknown, the tame and the wild, the sane and the mad.

The range of feelings you're experiencing is enormous. Before a jump, you're filled with anticipation, fear, excitement, worry, anxiety, some more fear, and right before you're about to take a leap - tranquility…




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Paraglider crashes into Statue of Liberty

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A man paragliding above New York Harbour flew too close to the Statue of Liberty and found himself caught in its grasp.

The man, 41-year-old French stuntman Thierry Devaux, had been circling the 46m (151-foot) high statue in his paraglider.

But his motor-driven parachute became snagged on the torch and he was left dangling for about 45 minutes before managing to haul himself up by the parachute's ropes with the help of rescue workers.




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Two Places In US To Try Tandem BASE Jumping

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BASE jumping is not a sport for the faint of heart or the uncommitted. It's a very dangerous and unforgiving sport, and that alone has prevented it from ever becoming mainstream. BASE jumping is one of few action/extreme sports that , till recently, has only been practiced by experienced skydivers, and mostly solo. Not anymore...

Skydiving boomed after tandem rigs were developed — “training” to be a passenger requires just 30 minutes — and there are now a half million tandem jumps in the States annually. Nobody expects tandem BASE to rival skydiving, but with a couple of fledgling operations and the ability for someone to BASE jump without the traditional 100 airplane jumps before your first BASE leap, the appeal is obvious.
Tandem BASE, the Idaho company in Twin Falls, has taken 200 people for tandem jumps. The company offers tandem jumps from the Perrine Bridge, one of the country’s most popular BASE launching pads. Jumping from a bridge is considered the safest form of BASE jumping.

But recently, another company, Moab B.A.S.E Adventures ( Utah ) opened the first earth-based commercial tandem BASE jumping operation ( jumping off cliffs ). The company is operated by climber Steph Davis and her husband Mario Richards. I posted a video of Steph climbing a huge stand alone rock, and then jumping off of it ! She's a woman I'd definitely trust my life with :)...and yeah, she's hot !

Now your first parachute jump can be a base jump...




Now that BASE jumping is accessible to an Average Joe like me, I'm going to add it to my Bucket List :)


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Paralyzed Wheelchair BASE Jump!

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I wrote about Bridge Day a few times already, but this is the first time I heard about Lonnie Bissonnette, a Canadian BASE jumper, who was injured in 2004 while making his 1,100th BASE jump.

It took him a year to get back into the sport. As of today, he's the only paralyzed athlete who has jumped from all four objects in BASE-(Building, Antenna, Span, Earth).

Below is a video of Lonnie Bissonnette rolling his chair off the bridge at Bridge Day in WV in 2010.



I came across an interview with him on basejumper.com where he talks about his life before and after the incident, his life philosophy and his passion for BASE jumping:
" I have always believed that I was going to die BASE jumping; from when I stood on the edge for the very first time in doing my first BASE jump."

Brdige Day 2011 Video: BASE Jumper Survives 876 feet Drop

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I learned about Bridge Day a few years ago, and shared my excitement about its celebration in this post.

Yesterday I was shocked to find out that this year's celebration had a horrible accident:
Christopher Ryan Brewer, 27, of Pensacola, Fla., was among hundreds of BASE jumpers who parachuted from the New River Gorge Bridge during Saturday's annual festival. Emergency officials said Brewer's parachute didn't fully open and he plunged into the New River.
"Lucky" for him, he "walked away" with a pelvic fracture, lung injuries and a spine injury. Right now, Brewer remains in stable condition at a Charleston hospital.

The Register-Herald reports emergency responders estimate Brewer struck the water at a speed between 60 and 80 mph, and that his wingsuit, designed to allow a jumper to glide forward instead of falling straight down, may have helped slow his descent.

Learn how to fly a Wingsuit

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I mostly write about sports and adventures that I personally get to try. I've already dropped like a rock ( tandem skydiving ), soared like an eagle ( paragliding ) and floated like a butterfly (or sailed like a ship ? parasailing ). Now, I want to fly (?) like a bird...

OK, not to confuse you anymore, I am talking about wingsuit flying here. And unlike speed riding ( which won't be available to general public in US for sometime), there is a pretty good chance for anybody to try wingsuit flying...as soon as you get minimum ... 200 sky diving jumps. After that you can fly like a bird ( or like Superman, if you're a nerd with adrenaline addiction ).

A number of skydiving companies in US offer wingsuit classes. They can take you through all the steps. From rigging up a suit, to all pre-flight and in-flight procedures, in accordance with the international standards for wingsuit training. Also they'll fly along on your first jump and will shoot a cool video of you wingsuit flying !

Even if you've never jumped out of a plane before, if you commit to the goal of flying ( or as I try to emphasize in this blog - ANY GOAL IN YOUR LIFE ), you can make it happen !

When I was doing my search for how and where to learn to fly a wingsuit, I came across this site Fly Like Brick , and their best advice to anyone wanting to fly a wingsuit would be... jump and have fun! I think it's a great advice !

Until then, watch this beautiful video




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Things to do before I die: heli-skiing

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One of a few outdoor activities we won't get to try in Washington state is heli-skiing. But as I like to say " If there is a will, there is a way".

Just 4 hour drive away, in Whistler, you can make this dream come true. Just picture this : knee deep, untracked powder, 54 miles long and 33 miles wide of remote mountain terrain, spectacular views...all to yourself (well, almost).

After my first trip to Whistler two years ago , I can't wait to go back. Even if it means draining my bank savings accounts, it's worth it...

Here is a short clip from one of Whistler's oldest heli-skiing companies, Whistler Heli-Skiing.


Speed riding: skiing with WOOPY

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Last year I wrote about a new extreme winter sport of speed riding/flying, and since it was not something I was able to try any time soon, I kind of forgot about. But a recent post on the Adventure blog, reminded me about this sport, and it looks like it's making its way in the United States.

As I wrote in my post, speed riding is a combination of skiing and paraglding. But the sport is so new that it can be difficult to find equipment and gear, especially in the United States, especially, considering that it's not the same gear used for paragliding or kite boarding.

But when I was looking for more information on speed riding and gear, I came across this:

It's called The Woopy, an inflatable wing - part balloon, part paraglider—used in speed riding. According to the designer ( Laurent de Kalbermatten ), the pilot can begin soaring across the slopes at speeds as low as 20Km/h. allowing the skier or snowboarder to glide very long distances or jump incredibly high.



As I've just said, the sport of speed riding is incredibly new , and the only place you can try speed riding ( AND WOOPY ) is in Switzerland. But from the video in the Adventure blog ( shot in Utah ), I won't be surprised to see those wings at US ski resorts any time soon.

Cave base jumping in Oman

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One reason I don't write often about one of the world's most dangerous recreational sports of base jumping is because ...well, chances are, I'll never get to try it. And it sucks to write about something I haven't personally experienced. The only thing left to do is to watch other people live their lives to the fullest.

In this post I posted a cool video about cave base jumping in the Cave of Swallows in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

Recently I came across another great video of cave base jumping, this time in Muscat, Oman ( officially the Sultanate of Oman, a country in southwest Asia ).

Since I have a "caving" category on this blog ( and not too many caves in Washington to write about ), I thought I'd write a short post about Oman caves.

Oman offers some of the most hair-raising cave exploration in the world. Some of the interesting caves in Oman are the Jebel Akhdar massif, Kahf Hoti (the longest known cave in Oman that stretches up to five kilometers !), several caves in Jebel Bani Jabir, the most impressive being the three deep shafts which enter the chambers of Majlis Al Jinn - one of the largest underground chambers ever discovered ( large enough to hold the biggest of Egypt's pyramids).

The video below feature Felix Baumgartner, one of Red Bull's crazy dare devils jumping into Majlis al Jinn ( translates as The Chamber of Spirits ) cave. Until recently there had not been a way to reach the cave by car, so cavers had to hike in carrying their equipment or rent donkeys from a village a few hours walk from the cave entrance.

For several years tourism companies had been providing caving trips into Majlis al Jinn, but in 2008 the Oman government announced that people would no longer be allowed to enter the cave.

So, here is your chance to catch a glimpse of one of the world's most famous caves:



P.S : According to the news, in 2010 Oman's Ministry of Tourism is planning to develop one of the world's largest cave chambers into an eco-tourism attraction.

Glass-bottomed hot air balloon offers the views right under your feet.

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There is something magical about flying, whether it's a plane, a paraglider, hangglider, parasail...But flying in balloons is different: you're not rushing, you can drift along quite slowly, lean over the edge of the basket, and sometimes fly so low that you can chat to people on the ground.

The Palletways Dragon glass-bottomed hot air balloon is the brainchild of pilot Christian Brown.
Mr Brown travelled the world in a balloon with tycoon Richard Branson and holds the tethered altitude world record after flying at 3,048m (10,000ft) on a mountain in Chile.
Ordinarily, you would look over the edge of the basket to peer at the ground but there is something very disconcerting about seeing it right beneath your feet.
Though, personally I am not sure if there is a big difference between the views under your feet and the ones over the edge of the basket, hot air balloonig trip is till on my "things to do" list.

Anybody interested in joining me for a ride ?