BELOW YOU'LL FIND A SAMPLING OF RESOURCES TO GET YOU STARTED AND INSPIRED (even if you're a guy ;-). DON'T STOP HERE. THERE IS A SKY OF OPPORTUNITY AWAITING YOU.
Lightweight wings, female role models, and a huge sky to explore are just a few of the reasons women can feel good about getting into this sport.
With such a small flying community here in New Mexico, organizing resources for women pilots is more important for clubs like ours.
We all face our own unique challenges in learning to fly, especially in the beginning, but sexism, gender-stereotypes, lack of numbers of women, and other barriers can sometimes prove to be an eventual tipping point for some to think they are not cut out for a sport for which they are truly passionate.
Sandia Soaring Association is dedicated to ensuring these extra barriers are broken down so that women interested in flying can and do pursue their dreams, and fly.
We hope to develop more resources and provide opportunities to women locally that can make a difference in growing female pilots in our sport. If you have questions, ideas, or something to add to this page please contact us. This small page is just the beginning of what we hope to provide.
Pictured here is Joanna Di Grigoli, a world-renowned Venezuelan pilot, distance record holder, flying guru, and friendly Instagrammer, whose interview you can find here on Gavin McClurg's Cloudbase Mayehm Podcast.
Help us add to this list. Contact us with other resources to add here.
MAGAZINE AND VIDEOS BY JOANNA DI GRIGOLI
Editor/Translator for Cross Country Magazine (en Espanol)
Joanna has been a distance record holder (flying further than any pilot from New Mexico ever has). She is a world wide competitor from Venezuela for many years. She, additionally, helps edit our international community's magazine, Cross-Country. Check out the magazine to learn more. She also does regular flying from her home, and if you follow her an Instagram you can see how she balances flying with other parts of life (just like we all do). She, like many prominent women in our sport, is down to earth, and approachable via her social media.
A leader in our international community, Joanna lives in France.
PARAGLIDING WRITINGS BY KIRSTEN SEETO
Kirsten (here in the center) is an Australian champion pilot, writer, and has several good pieces on Fear vs. Risk Management and other relevant topics. Her writings are good examples from women in the world of free flying (paragliding)
SHARI HOOPER'S VIDEOS
Utah Pilot with great videos
Shari has created one of the most extensive libraries of paragliding videos in the US. She is a great example of someone that loves flying regularly in her backyard mountains of Utah, and isn't out to compete or break records. Most of us are just like Shari, 'cept she's great at videos!
INSTRUCTION AND XC CLINICS BY KARI CASTLE
Instruction, Trips, Blog, Tandems
Kari is a leader in free-flight in the US. She is one of the most influential pilots and instructors in the US. She has hosted large competitions, been an international competitor, and runs a school with women only XC clinics. She is based out of Owens Valley California, which is known as one of the best known areas in the nation for flying, but she also travels frequently, leading flying trips to many cool places, largely on the west coast. She is both a hangglider and paraglider pilot, although, like many pilots largely does paragliding now. She was one of a handful of sponsored hang gliding pilots back in the 1990's and set standards all over the world for what we see today in our sport.
Check her blog, and this interview by Gavin McClurg on Cloudbase Mayhem.
in which Kari notes that her winning the overall Sandia Comp in 1993 (men and women) was one of her favorite accomplishments.
INSTRUCTION BY CYNTHIA CURRIE
Instructor, Tandem Pilot, Adventure Athlete
Another well-known instructor, Cynthia balances being an adventure athlete and flight school owner. She is based out of California as well. Although she's closed in winter, she does tandems, instruction, and trips. She also skydives, and BASE jumps. But, watch her videos or follow her on Instagram, and you'll see someone that is down to eart living a simple life, yet pursuing her dreams.
INSTRUCTION BY KAY TAUSCHER
Peak to Peak Paragliding
Kay is another instructor based out of Boulder Colorado, and does instruction and trips. She has been flying since 2000. She is also a Nova Paragliders team pilot.
VIDEO MEDIA BY ANDRIA LEA
Andria Lea produces some great video content and posts regularly on Instagram. Perhaps more importantly, her videos show us the progression from beginner to experienced pilot. Andria's videos show what tow-launching is like, which is what new pilots in New Mexico typically do. She is also interactive on Instagram. Being a journalist, she presents her content in an understandable and accessible manner.
She even shows us how to become a tandem pilot.
MOVIE OF SOLO TRAVERSE BY KINGA MASZTALERZ
Video of an honest and inspiring personal journey across New Zealand's Southern Alps, Solo. Watch it here.
Watch the whole thing!
She writes about the video, "Emotional roller coaster during a solo vol biv through New Zealand Southern Alps. In December 2017 I packed my paraglider, camping gear and food for two weeks and went into the mountains. On the way I more than doubled my previous national record. And it was just the beginning of a beautiful adventure..."
She has also competed in paragliding's hardest race, the Xalps, and is now residing in New Zealand.
She also started paragliding due to an injury that prevented her for climbing, which she explores in other videos, including an interview on paraglidingtalk.com found here
MOVIE OF A TRAVERSE OF TAJIKISTAN BY CHRISTINA KOLB
Christina is a champion acrobatics pilot and Advance Paragliders Team Pilot, that also goes huge in this amazing traverse in Tajikistan with her partner.
INTERVIEW OF CHAMPION KIRSTY CAMERON
British XC Record Holder (among other titles)
Kirsty Cameron flew 233 kms, 20 km short of breaking the 253 km British record set in 2012 by Richard Carter. She is one of only 3 pilots to ever log a valid flight of more than 200 km in the UK.
FLYING AND COMPETING BY MANY WOMEN LIKE BIANCA HEINRICH
Bianca competes and flys with the best
Bianca Heinrich is an example of the many women that fly regularly, all over, and don't necessarily publish media on their own, but are well-known in our community. She was a Team member in the X-Pyr with her partner Eduardo Garza. Eduardo is a great flyer as well, and a competitor in the X-Pyr and X-Alps races in Europe. They both were part of the New England Team in the Chelan. This photo is of Bianca with her friend and fellow pilot, Lisa Dickenson at the Rat Race, which is one of the US events that many folks do as their first race (although these ladies did it as just one of many).
Bianca and Eduardo did a fun trip across the Alps in 2017, which is in his blog, linked below.