The Royal Navy and Army unite in the mountains for Ex Algodonales Glide

Royal Navy and Army personnel travelled to the mountains of Andalusia for the Navy-led Paragliding Adventurous Training package.

The expedition was organised by Cdr Jerry Ovens, and attended by a range of ranks and rates, both regulars and reservists from the Navy and Army.

Both skilled and lower air time pilots attended the 7-day Adventurous Training exercise to give them further experience flying cross-country in thermic conditions, putting them in good stead to compete throughout Europe and South America next year.

Paragliders require thermic conditions to extend their flight and use them to gain height by turning inside thermal pockets of rising air caused by the uneven heating of the ground's surface, which then releases pockets of warm air that rise and condense at altitude to form clouds.

AB Kyle Fox said, "This was my first opportunity to break away from the hill and go cross country, which greatly boosted my skills and knowledge. We flew in the perfect settings from the beaches along the south coast to the mountains in the south of Spain."

Flying locations varied from high mountain sites to the low beaches on the south coast of Spain, with up to 3 consecutive hours in the air.

SLt Max Davidson said, "On our first flight, we achieved nearly 3 hours in the air above the Algodonales. This involved flying with up to 40 other pilots and the local wildlife in the air whilst keeping an eye out for the next thermal, which proved to be mentally taxing, and good preparation for competing next year."

Cdr Jerry Owens added, "Organising a safe exercise has been a challenge, but one that was truly worth it as each flight was unique and the experience gained invaluable. The highlight for me was spiralling up a thermal side by side with vultures and colleagues."

Despite the long days, the team still managed to visit the nearby town of Ronda, taking in the cultural sites, hiking up to the nearby castle, and receiving theory lessons on how to fly between thermals in a race, maximising speed and gaining the thermal advantage.

Paragliding is taught by the joint services centre in Bavaria as Adventurous Training and supported by the Royal Navy Hang and Paragliding Association. If you want to get involved, get in touch to learn more.

This was my first opportunity to break away from the hill and go cross country, which greatly boosted my skills and knowledge.

AB Kyle Fox