“Flying through the blue sky is the most amazing experience ever.” David Stock of Stocky Air wasn’t exaggerating with this claim on his website. I am currently floating through the air, 1 kilometer above Mayrhofen, and am completely overwhelmed. How can you beat this feeling? Beneath my feet is an incredible mountain panorama with snow-capped peaks. I can see for miles, deep into the Ziller Valley, and I am surrounded by an incredible tranquility, such as I have never experienced before. Just imagine, I am sitting in midair!
“Are you good with heights?”, David interrupts my rapture: “Do you like rollercoasters?” I don’t say no and am suddenly overcome by the craziest feeling, the most amazing flipping of my stomach that I have ever experienced! We turn sharply right, then immediately sharp left, and suddenly I know what it’s like to be weightless! Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in a car has nothing on this. One thousand butterflies flutter through my body.
But it doesn’t stop there. Beneath the parachute, we spiral like a spinning top in the air leaving me smiling widely and screaming and laughing at the top of my lungs. I am flying like a bird through the sky! Paragliding is amazing!
We resume a calm flight and the parachute glides gently through the air as if nothing had ever happened. I relax comfortably in my seat and let the panorama sweep past me. One look at my feet confirms to me once again how surreal this experience is: it looks as if I have pinned an aerial photograph of Mayrhofen to the soles of my shoes. We are so high that I can’t possibly estimate the distance to the ground- everything looks so small beneath me.
My flight today was with paragliding pilot David Stock („Stocky“), the founder of the company Stocky Air. From the moment he handed me his CV on a postcard at the time of booking, I had complete trust in him. It seems as if he has spent more of his life in the air than on the ground! He’s flown over 20,000 times, has been the Tyrolean and Ziller Valley champion, has competed in almost every paragliding competition there is and is even a world-record holder. Is Stocky really still human? Or maybe actually more of a bird?!
I booked my flight spontaneously at the Stocky Air stand in front of the Pilzbar. When the weather is good for flying, they can always be found here in the area between the Penken and the Kombibahn lifts. Less than half an hour from the first “hello”, we were ready to fly. Armed with the huge paragliding rucksack we walked enthusiastically behind the Pilzbar which is one of the take-off points for paragliders. Here, the parachute is carefully laid out and the passenger securely attached. To take-off, the paragliders run, with the chute behind them, some ten meters down the mountain. This gives the necessary boost which lifts them, as if by magic, into the air.
Paragliding Tandem Flights Stocky Air
Stocky Air was founded by David Jürgen Stock in 1994. After successfully competing in national and international competitions for five years, the passionate paraglider “Stocky” wanted to turn his hobby into a career and founded Austria’s first tandem flight company based in the Ziller Valley. David Jürgen Stock grew up in Mayrhofen and has completed over 20,000 paragliding flights.
The flight described in this article is from the Action Mount Penken to the valley and lasts 15-20 minutes. It can be taken with or without the dizzying aerobatics described in the article. If you would like to fly for longer, flights are also available from higher take-off points. Maximum body weight is 120kg and there is no age limit. Here is Stocky Air’s price list:
- Small Flight 80,- (5-10 mins flight time, Start Altitude 1200m NN, Descent 600m)
- Super Flight 100,- (15-20 mins flight time, Start Altitude 1900m NN, Descent 1200m)
- Mega Flight 120,- (20-30 mins flight time, Start Altitude 2000m NN, Descent 1400m)
- Glacier Flight 150,- (25-35 mins flight time, Start Altitude 3200m NN, Descent 1700m, Flight Location: Hintertux)
- Adrenaline Flight 130,- (centrifugal forces up to 3 times your body weight!)
- Thermal Flight 160,-
- Distance Flight 290,- (20-40 kilometer in 1-2 hours. Example: flight from Hintertux glacier to Mayrhofen)
If you have any further questions for Stocky: ask him during your next flight!