Airspace insights and athlete updates around the airspace of Zell am See / Schmittenhöhe.
This morning, the lead field split in two groups. Three athletes decided to walk along the valley bottom towards Zell am See, then climb up there and fly from Schmittenhöhe. A group of chasers including Maxime Pinot (FRA1) made their way up on the hills last night and continued up this morning, to fly towards the north of the Zeller See.
The reason for this division is airspace. Airspace is basically the roads and signs of the air. It divides the air where all aircraft are flying in spaces for large aircraft, smaller ones and gliders without an engine. That way, they won't get in each other's way causing accidents.
Needless to say that all aircraft including paragliders need to adhere to these rules. If they don't, they do not only break the law but will also get a penalty in the race.
Around the lake of Zell am See, there is some complicated airspace where paragliders can not fly. This means for example that they can not fly over the lake but must navigate around it. Since it is not always possible to fly exactly the route you want with a paraglider, it is a risk to fly close to or even over airspace.
Therefore, the one group decided to avoid that risk and walk the whole way. The other group clearly had a plan to avoid airspace. It's looking like this gamble was played out well and is giving them a small head start.
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