Paragliders Fly Over the Yakima Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Paragliders Fly Over the Yakima Valley

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SELAH, Wash-- Paragliders come from all over the state to launch from Baldy Butte in Yakima Canyon. They soar with the birds, if mother nature cooperates.

Matt Senior spreads his wing.

"Then when it's time to go everything's ready and we can go flying," said Senior.

Paragliders get lifted into the air by what's called a "thermal."

"As the ground heats up the air above it heats," said Senior.

This creates an upward draft of air. Pilots catch the air and corkscrew up into the sky.

Once high enough they coast as far as they can, then look for another thermal to gain altitude.
If conditions are right, they can travel for hours, reaching distances of 70 to 80 miles.

They monitor the wind and read the clouds.

"Try to avoid getting under something that looks like that," said Senior as he points at a large cumulus cloud.

"Pilots that like the big air and like to go long distances need to fly either in spring or summer where you get considerably more heating from the sun," said Bob Bunger, Paragliders pilot.

Friday's predicted thunderstorms made for short flights. If you want to learn more about local paragliding go to the Web site: www.nwparagliding.com 

Or head to the canyon, the group will be there this weekend.

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