For once, Veso Ovcharov is back home in Bulgaria, where he's recovering from a slight (non-paragliding) injury and reflecting on a fairly epic year of aerial adventuring, in which he visited over a dozen countries in pursuit of friendly sky.
The stat he's most proud of? Despite all that travel, he claims he's spent more time under his paraglider than in a plane – and given the tricks he pulls off in the video above, we believe him.
"My favourite spot was definitely Pakistan," says Ovcharov. "We were surrounded by 8,000m mountains, flying at 6,800m, and it was just an incredible feeling!"
I spent more time under my paraglider than in an airplane!
Coming in with a close second was Hawaii, where conditions allowed he and acrobatic partner Peter Loncar to fly nearly every day. The tricks you see are not easy – they take years of experience and hours of practice to pull off, and the risk is high. Even with all the above-the-wing manoeuvres, Ovcharov only had to throw his reserve chute once this year, when he got tangled in a wing 200m above the ground. "I threw the reserve, and landed less than five seconds later," recalls the pilot.
After an epic 2013, in which he visited over a dozen countries, he's sure to have some 'high' expectations for 2014. Up next? Bulgaria, Namibia, California, and Turkey. But in the meantime, buckle up, and enjoy the 'world tour' above – it's a wild ride.
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