Lanzarote

Paragliding at El Cuchillo

Lanzarote

7 – 14 Jan 2016 2 places remaining
14 – 21 Jan 2016 1 place remaining

We’ll be running 2 weeks in Lanzarote, 7-14 and 14 – 21 Jan but we’re nearly full already! It is an amazing island with a huge range of flying sites. There’s everything from super easy soaring sites to blistering thermal boiling pots. We’ve been going to Lanzarote for over 20 years and we’ll show you the “local” side of this beautiful island.
This trip is suitable for everyone from EP up to sky god!

Click here to learn more…

Madeira

Paragliding on the island of Madeira

Paragliding on the island of Madeira

Madeira 7 – 14 Nov 2016
2 places remaining

We’ve still got a couple of places left on this trip to Madeira. We’re there from Nov 7 – 14th and it is an incredibly reliable flying destination.. You’ll get to soar over banana plantations, play in thermals and if conditions allow, fling the biggest cliff in Europe!
To join us on our Madeira trip, you’ll need to be CP rated although the flying isn’t particularly difficult. Most of the take-offs are top land-able and bottom landings are on the beach.
If you’d like more details, please let me know straight away.

Click here to learn more…

Dune de Pyla

tandem-flights

Sept 2015 – FULL
May 2016 – now taking bookings

This is an amazing place to practice and learn a wide range of paragliding skills. We use the silky smooth breeze straight off the Atlantic to soar this beautiful place. There is a feel to the Dune that is super relaxed and very friendly. If you’d like to discover this magic area, why not join us next May?

This is an ideal place to learn as beginner, develop advanced soaring skills, or learn to be a tandem pilot.

Click here to learn more…

How to concertina fold a glider (properly)

More and more gliders are using rods in the leading edge to improve inflation characteristic, stability in flight and to improve glide. These gliders do need to be packed in a particular way to prevent damage to the rods. In this video, Konrad from Aircross shows you how to do it properly.
If you’re after an Aircros concertina bag, we have a stock available at only £49.95

Lanzarote, and amazing paragliding in winter

Why go to Lanzarote?

Havin' it at lower Famara lanzarote

Is Lanzarote really somewhere I should be thinking about as somewhere to go paragliding?
I’ve been taking groups there for 20 years and I’m going to try to explain why we keep going back there.

A little background
Lanzarote is the most easterly of the Canary Islands and is about 60 miles off the coast of Africa and about 600 miles from mainland Spain. The islands are Spanish but tourism is a huge part of their income so English is quite widely spoken. There isn’t any natural surface water on the island and is the only major Canary island that is a desert island.
The island is oriented on a NE – SW axis, is 40 miles long and about 18 miles wide. There are lots of airlines that fly to Lanzarote and it is about a four hour flight from the south of the UK.
For much of the year, strong winds blast the island but from mid October – mid February the trade winds slip further south, the wind drops and we get flyable conditions. If you visit Lanzarote outside this period, you might get the odd flyable day but they will be few and far between. In the winter months, leaving the UK winter behind and stepping off of the plane into warm gentle breezes is a wonderful feeling. During the day, a T-shirt and shorts is normally all you’ll want.
The island is covered in volcanic cones which provide flying sites as well as the high central spine of the northern part of the island. There are flying sites all over the island but finding them isn’t always easy. All of the take-offs are hard and somewhat rocky and all except two are very large. All landings are huge and easy.
Paragliding at Mala, Lanzarote Paragliding Famara

Where to stay
Well, the easy way to do this is to tell you where not to stay. There are three big resort towns; Costa Teguise and Puerto del Carmen are spectacularly ugly and are largely responsible for the “Lanza-grotty” image. There is really nothing good I can say about either town and I can’t imagine why you’d want to visit them. Plya Blanca is the third resort town and is really quite a nice place but being stuck on the southern tip of the quite a drive from most flying sites. Good options would be getting an apartment or villa (if there’s enough of you) in Teguise, down at Caleta de Famara, in Airetta or Haria. There are lots of other villages that are also good but you really want something that is either central or to the northern of the island. You will need a hire car on the island as it’s impossible to get to the flying sites on public transport and bottom landing always require a vehicle retrieve.

Getting started
I tend to start my day by checking the internet for forecasts. One of the best sites is windguru and I’ll take a look at predictions for both sides of the island (Famara and La Garita).
When you head out in the morning you’ll always need sun block and sun glasses, water, clothing in layers as it’s usually hot in the middle of the day but often cooler in the evenings. I always take swimming things as well because sea temperatures are really nice and a swim after flying feels great. There isn’t anywhere to by food or drink on any of the flying sites but usually a few minutes drive will get you to a shop or a gas station but taking some packed lunch does make things easier.
On a “normal” day you will start on the Eastern side of the island, often at a flying site called Mala (or Presa de Mala). It’s about a mile form the beach and is a big ridge. As the day goes on and the sun changes position it’s not uncommon to move to one of the flying sites on the west side of the Island, often one of the take-offs on the Famara ridge. Just in case you don’t know about Famara, the scale takes your breath away! You’ll take off inland and have to really work to make transitions over gaps until you finally arrive on the coastal cliff. From here you can float all the way to Miradore (26 km round trip). It is absolutely stunning to fly above the cliffs, listening to the waves crash against their bases nearly half a mile below.
There are two things that make Lanzarote a little challenging, the flying sites are quite difficult to find and, nearly always involving the network of dirt tracks that criss-crosses the island and trying to decide which flight would be best. At any given time there could be three or four sites that are flyable but trying to pick the best is difficult.
Because many of the flying sites work on localized effects, you can easily have a gusty 25 mph wind blowing at Costa Teguise and 10 miles up the coast you could easily find a 90 degree change in wind direction and a steady 14 mph wind. The difficult part is in reading the weather and anticipating what will happen. You will see changes in conditions over a small area that you wouldn’t believe!
There are 3 parts of the island where you definitely can’t fly; the volcanic park (Timanfaya), the airport ATZ, and the protected area out in front of Famara. If you’ve been to the island before, you might have flown a site near the village of Soo. We used it for many years and then suddenly about four years ago, the police turned up, said it was a prohibited area and fined one of the local pilots.
The major sites are Mala, Famara (there are five different take-offs that we’ve used), Mirador and Macher with loads of less used ones.
Paragliding at El Cuchillo
Who’s it good for
Conditions are usually a combination of both thermic and dynamic with inflations being quite snatchy and it really isn’t a place to get dragged so good ground handling is important. There are a few training sites that work for beginners but you’ll get much more from Lanzarote if you’ve done a little bit before coming; ideally you should have your EP. If you’re more experienced you’ll get to play in amazing thermals, maybe even nail the Famara ridge. If you’re out there on your own, you need to be pretty slick at top landings (beware of rotor issues behind some take-offs) because getting back to take-off and your car can be problematic without a lift. Unquestionably, you’ll get more out of Lanzarote from some local guiding.
Lanzarote sunset
What if it’s not flyable
Oh my god, where do I start? There is so, so much to see and do on Lanzarote. Here are my top five recommendations.
La Garita beach (Airetta): It’s a great beach with crystal clear water and no dangerous currents. The snack bar on the beach (the one nearest to the town of Airetta) serves outstanding food, ice cold drinks and is very inexpensive. The water temperature is great.
Jardin de Cactus (Cactus Garden): Honestly, I’m not very interested in cactus (actually, not at all) but this place has a completely surreal feeling about it. It’s one of the many public buildings that Cezar Manrique designed and they’re all stunning but I picked this one because it’s rather less visited than most of the others.
Graciosa Island: Ok, it’s not Lanzarote but an island separated by less than a kilometer. You can get the ferry over from Orzola at the north end of Lanzarore (four crossings per day). There are only a few specially licensed vehicles on Graciosa and it’s an ideal place to rent mountain bikes. The ride to the beach on the opposite side of the island takes about an hour and a quarter but is well worth the effort; it’s completely deserted and utterly pristine but don’t forget to take lots of water and a packed lunch.
The walking trails: The island is covered by a network of walking trails that are well route marked and the tourist office can supply comprehensive route notes. My favorite is the trail from Playa Quamada to Papagayo. It follows a stunning coastline and takes about four hours. You probably won’t see another person along the whole trail. There is lots of ups and downs so by the end of it, you’ll be feeling it.
Cave Bar at Lag-o-mar (L’Oasis de Nazeret): Come on Friday night but don’t expect it to fill up until around midnight. It is like no bar you’ve ever been to before; incredibly stylized with a very pronounced Manrique feel. The bar is built into a cave in a cliff and the architecture has been fused with the natural. By midnight on Friday nights they’ll be playing salsa house music, there will be lots of people dancing.

John Welch and Flight Culture have been taking groups to Lanzarote for the past 20 years and will be returning in January 2016 from 7 – 14 and 14 – 21st. If you’d like to join us, please let us know as soon as possible. If you’d like to learn more,
visit flightculture.co.uk/learn-more/trips-abroad/
e-mail [email protected]
or phone on 07833 107902