© Christopher Gooding
PARRSBORO – It was four days of finding flight time and for Pegasus Paragliding’s new owner the opportunity to showcase the region.
This year’s Festival of Free Flight had a traveling roadshow appeal to it, as participants branched away from the Fundy Shore region to explore more of Cumberland County during the May long weekend event. Flight conditions were forever changing, Patric Stettler, Pegasus Paragliding’s new owner, said, but it brought the paragliding community together while showcasing his new home.
“As of right now, it’s been a real nice social gathering,” Stettler said as a paraglider approached their landing in Wentworth. “I’m really happy to see so many from our small (paragliding) community could show up, and new fliers, too.”
Stettler’s background bounces between his birthplace of Switzerland and Canada’s West Coast, where his love of paragliding was also spilt between the two before moving to the East Coast. Living near a Swiss cable car that provided him mountain-access to paragliding launch sites inspired him and co-organizer Michael Fuller to expand the festival to include the scenic sites of Wentworth and Cape Chignecto to the festival’s schedule.
Watching as another operator takes flight over Wentworth, Stettler and those on the ground watched intently as the paraglider moved over the trees. A gentle descent, Stettler said, could mean bad news and land the operator in trouble. But with the day warming, the operator turns into a warm pocket of air giving them lift and raising them above the tree line into the blue sky above.
“He did it,” Stettler said. “That’s great stuff… people here are used to ridge flying.”
On the ground, veterans and newcomers to the sport mingled with curious onlookers oblivious to the challenge the operator just faced, but the clapping and cheers add to the spectacle of man defying his station in life and taking to the sky like a bird.
Moving away from the weekend, new enthusiasts can look to the Pegasus Paragliding, Atlantic Canada’s only paragliding school, to satisfy their palette if the festival has whet their appetite. The school offers both instruction in the sport and tandem flights, with a new course load beginning this weekend. For more information visit www.pegasusparagliding.com.