Some daring hang-glider pilots have been getting a bird's-eye view of the Yosemite National Park in California.
GV & LV Hang-glider pilots jumping off cliff edge and gliding (5 shots)
SV & GV Hang-glider gliding (2 shots)
Initials PK-AMN/AH/BB/1844 VS 19.45
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Some daring hang-glider pilots have been getting a bird's-eye view of the Yosemite National Park in California. But it's a sport not recommended for the average tourist.
Once they have jumped off seven-thousand-feet high (2.133 metres) Glacier Point, there is nothing between them and the valley below but cool mountain air.
The sport is called hang-gliding because the pilot hangs in the air, strapped to a single horizontal dacron sail, with a wingspan of up to thirty feet (10 metres).
To achieve the best possible flight, the pilots remain close to the cliff to get the maximum lift from the walls before descending to the valley below.
But there are restrictions. In Yosemite, park rangers supervise take-off and make certain that all pilots sign a legal release; they check that the hang-gliders are safe -- and that the pilot knows how to handle the glider in a stall.
Flights last from ten to fifteen minutes from launch to landing ... and the pilots enjoy some breath-taking views.
However, the National Parks service has been considering calling a halt to flights in their reserves. Although enthusiasts say their sport is safe, several pilots have been called in the past few years.
But the pilots point out the risk is all theirs. They demand nothing from the Park ... and rely only ??? skill, luck, and the skies for their daring flights.