Sunday, August 31, 2014

Philippine Paragliding Team

Paragliding Team Philippines
What joy it is to fly. But to fly and represent your country and compete with some of the best paragliding pilots is even more gratifying.  At the recently concluded  International Paragliding Accuracy Championship ( IPAC 2014)  15 of us Filipino paragliding pilots were able to do so.

Pilot Ian Veneracion proudly flying our Philippine flag at the openeing ceremonies of IPAC 2014
Held at the SAFI ranch flysite in Maasim Sarangani Province, IPAC brought in some 40 pilots from Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Germany and Spain.  The Philippine team was composed of pilots from Manila, Sagada, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Sarangani.  A majority of us had flown in Sarangani the previous year in a "Fun Accuracy" competition so we were familiar with the flysite. But for the majority of the foreign pilots in the competition, flying in Sarangani would be their first time.  That was why I thought it was pretty impressive that they were able to garner the top positions in the competition despite it being their first time to fly in the Philippines.

Accuracy landing entails that a pilot take off and land at a designated target on both feet.  If a pilot falls before the wing is on the ground, he or she is penalized for it.

Monique Ignacio landing 

To win in this competition your foot must touch the center of the target upon landing. An electronic target pad is used to measure how close you are to the bullseye. For a spectator, being able to land dead center may look easy, but I can assure you it is not.  Our take off point is some 1,000 feet above and controlling your wing can be tricky if strong winds and thermals happen. You may be approaching your target and then a sudden gust off wind right before landing can quickly push you back making you miss your target.  You can also easily overshoot your goal by miscalculating your approach.  Personally I think "timing and feel" is as import as your landing technique.  Much like in golf where if your timing and feel is wrong, you miss your sweet spot.

The gorgeous Sarangani Bay is a sight to behold as you fly
Paragliding is a sport dominated by men.  It was encouraging for us female pilots to see however, a growing interest from more women taking up this exciting air sport.  From 15 pilots representing the Philippines, Five of us were women including the youngest Filipino pilot Dids Veneracion who is only 13 years old. Amongst the top scorers in the leaderboard from the other countries were also female.  In fact Indonesian female pilot Liz Andriana came in for 3rd runner up.

Asians have become a force to rekon with in paragliding competitions lately.  So it didn't come as a big surprise that the top prizes in this accuracy landing competition went to Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia.


Lis Andriana (Indonesia 3rd runner up) is surrounded by the Ms. Earth beauties who graced the IPAC award ceremonies


67 year old Yoshiki Oka (Japan 2nd runner up ) showed everyone that paragliding has no age limit


Luis Liu  of Taiwan wins the top prize

It was a fantastic week of flying for all of us.  Blessed with good winds and new pilot friends to share the skies with.  Until the next International Paragliding championships!

Go Paragliding Team Philippines




1 comment:

apollo manlawe said...

good day! pwede po bang gamitin ang picture with Pilot Ian Veneracion para sa aming news na ipa-publish namin sa aming website (http://nro12.neda.gov.ph) at sa aming newsletter (Regional Development Updates)?

Ilalagay po namin ang photo source.