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Paragliding and positive ageing

16/01/2012

Around this time last year I was on holidays in Bright, Victoria, Australia. It was there that I discovered paragliding and was smitten, and keen to learn. My delight faded when told by three instructors that I was too old to learn to fly a paraglider. My experience as an unrestricted private pilot licence holder carried no weight with those instructors – none whatsoever. I was too upset to even consider a tandem flight, at that time. My argument, which was quite heated, stressed that I accept full responsibly for my life and would sign a disclaimer to that effect.

Anyhow, all that’s changed, as I’m accepted for a 2-day paragliding course this weekend in Bright. Here is the programme:

Saturday 21 January 2012

  • Meet at the office for administration and equipment familiarisation
  • Travel to training site
  • Learn how to inflate, control and land a paraglider (ground handling)
  • 1.00-pm break for lunch
  • The afternoon includes short flights from a 30m hill or a tandem flight with an instructor – students fly the paraglider.
  • Flight debrief and issuing of flight certificate.

Sunday 22 January 2012

We conduct solo flights launching from sites 300 to 500m above ground level.

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2 Comments
  1. How old are you? I'm just learning and I'm 54 years of age.

  2. Hello TraderMike,
    I'm sixty nine years old. Or, as French and other Romance languages put it, I shall have sixty nine years. (Of course, a Zen Buddhist would add the gestation period and conclude that I'm nearer 70, wouldn't they.) Anyway, ignoring those Zen people, having these four-seasons-times-sixty nine on my person feels heavy, but it seems I am far from alone. We oldies may be a majority soon in Australia. The hair is going white, the teeth wobbling a little and the memory fumbling. Gabriel Garcia Márquez in Love in the Time of Cholera charts Dr Juvenal Urbino’s slow demise and death through his urine flow. The trappings of age, once the sole property of my father and his generation, are now all mine.

    I know that age is more about psychology than physiology. It’s about more than my body or how many years I've been on this blue orb; it’s about how I think, act, communicate, work, socialise, recreate and love. That’s why I see ‘young’ people in their seventies and ‘old’ people in their fifties or even forties – because years on the planet is only part of the age equation. Of course there is a physical consequence of time but I do not accelerate the ageing process by ageist thinking, poor choices, stupid behaviours, irresponsible diet, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, listening to morons who tell us to grow old gracefully. “Fuck that. I’ll grow old disgracefully thanks.” ~Jan Frazer

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