Though the weather conditions were not the greatest Saturday and Sunday, it was possible to fly well on Friday and Saturday in the evening at the FIA. Sunday was a day more suitable to enjoy the aerial shows, the films and the trade fair, under a solid gray sky that was a blessing in face of the high temperatures experienced the previous days.
The intense weekend offered emotional moments like the talk given by a group of veteran paragliding female pilots who shared their stories and anecdotes of the early days of free flight in Spain in the end of the 80s, when paragliders glided barely a bit more than a parachute and they used climbing harnesses.
Magdalena Serrano, who started flying back in 1988 and continues to date, was the voice of a video prepared collectively by the flying women, ¨Voleteras¨, where they went over the history of free flight in Spain with them as the protagonists. Later, Magda took over, along with other pilots like Emiko Morota or Magdalena Alcañiz, who´ve been two or three decades in the air, and they shared some of their stories from those pioneering times.
It was also great to hear Horacio Llorens talk about the risky adventure he did together with Ramón Morillas and Tomas de Dorlodot, flying the Himalaya section of Pakistan along and over such emblematic peaks like the K2, over 7000m high. ¨The ground is lava¨ they said, and the possibility of landing in those unfriendly landscapes in the middle of the gigantic eight thousand meter high peaks could result in death.
And there were more thrills later when Blay Olmos stamped his footprints at the ¨Walk of Flying Stars¨, after parachuting to the site from a paratrike. Blay isn´t just a high level and outstanding paragliding pilot with podiums and records on his back, he is also a seven-time hang-gliding Spanish champion and European sub champion, as well as a parachuter and BASE jumper.
Another protagonist of this FIA El Yelmo was Ramón Morillas who, besides presenting the film ¨Flying between Giants¨ together with Horacio Llorens, plus winning an award at the Air Film Festival, he also performed paramotoring exhibitions every day and still had time to host the party singing with his band, ¨Los Monchies¨, Saturday night.
Big time shows
Regarding the shows, during the weekend the FIA showcased outstanding paragliding and paramotoring pilots, together with BASE jumpers, an acrobatic plane, a helicopter and even an amazing Eurofighter aircraft of the Air Army that shocked the entire landscape of the Sierra de Segura with its high-speed maneuvers.
Only the awaited acro-session at the Castillo de Segura was missed, since there were finally no conditions to launch from the tower or lift to stay near its walls Friday afternoon after the opening of the FIA. Only two acro pilots were able to fly over the audience gathered at the castle after d-bag jumping from paratrikes. Then, we enjoyed some paramotor acro maneuvers, an exhibition by David Tejeiro (one of the Malaguita brothers), in this opportunity commanding their new helicopter and the acrobatic plane CAP10 piloted by Camilo Benito who was an impressive sight to see with his proximity passes to the castle and inverted flying very close over the heads of the audience.
Flying and atmosphere
Though good flying was only possible Friday, Saturday with the wind coming from the East, flying was mainly in that direction until the late evening, so it was possible to use the great El Yelmo take-off that this year debuted some lawn and looked better than ever. Bad luck for the Para-mountaineering and Precision contests programmed for Sunday morning, after a stormy night, there was no flying then.
The only ones who could fly were the paramotor pilots who came to the FIA eager to scout the surroundings making good use of the calm hours of the morning and afternoon conditions, they had great flights.
Between the films, the talks, the shows, the bumping into so many friends and the general ambiance of the trade fair, where there was even an improvised BGD encounter with the participation of the designer himself, Bruce Goldsmith, Saturday afternoon, it was an altogether intense and fun weekend.
We weren´t short of paragliding pilots’ ambiance either, since Saturday afternoon marked the end of the Pre-PWC and the Spanish Paragliding Championship where 120 competitors gathered to enjoy spectacular races flying over 400 km in total in 4 tasks. The award giving ceremony was fun and made way to the party that prolonged to the wee hours of the morning at the local pub in town.
The best of the FIA, without a doubt, is the great ambiance that can be experienced there, while we enjoy our biggest love: flying, which is certainly worth celebrating big time at this great Festival. We are already looking forward to the 24th edition of the FIA El Yelmo.