Flying Active Volcanoes

Flying Active Volcanoes

Speed flyers Kristan Fischer and Lawrence Alexander take wing from active volcano in far-east Russia

Posted on 18.06.2019

Flying down the side of a sulphur-breathing volcano, reaching speeds of more than 100kph and melting a parachute in the process — this is the sport of speed flying.

Inspired partly by paragliding and skydiving, speed flying — which has been gaining popularity since the mid-2000s — is all about getting to the bottom of the mountain as quickly as possible.

For Sunshine Coast-based speed flying pilot, skydiving instructor and outdoor guide, Kristan Fischer, it is another exciting way to explore remote places.

“It’s an exhilarating feeling, and it’s an interesting way to be able to go see the world,” Mr Fischer said.

“Just being able to make your own tracks, running lines and in the back of your head thinking that maybe no one’s ever been here before — that’s definitely a massive driving factor.”

Key points:

  • Speed flying evolved from the sports of paragliding and skydiving, emerging in the mid-2000s
  • Sunshine Coast-based Kristan Fischer uses the sport to explore remote places around the world
  • Speed flying, like all other forms of flying, is regulated in Australia, and pilots must be licensed by the Hang Gliding Foundation of Australia

Mr Fischer and friend Lawrence Alexander travelled to the untouched wilderness of remote far-east Russia in August 2018, in search of adventure and speed flying opportunities.

Their destination was Kamchatka, a peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean to the north of Japan.

“It’s essentially Russia’s version of Alaska — it’s full of active volcanoes, the largest grizzly bears in the world,” Mr Fischer said.

“We went and got lost there for about three weeks, just mountaineering our way up volcanoes and flying off on our speed wings.”

Speed flying, like all other forms of flying, is regulated in Australia, and pilots must be licensed through the HGFA.

“There are hundreds of flying sites registered by HGFA all around Australia,” Mr James said.

“You can’t just pick a mountain and go jump off it.

“If someone was interested in getting into speed flying, a great way to do that is go and do a tandem paragliding flight and find out about the process through a registered training centre.”

Tessa Mapstone
ABC News





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