Frequently Asked Questions
I'm a Hang Glider Pilot - can I join a Fly-In?
The events are geared towards Paraglider pilots because that's what I (Kirsten) know and am confident overseeing. I'm not an instructor, and apart from a helper on each event, I am largely organising these events by myself. I have factored in the logistics of moving paragliding equipment around but not larger hang glider equipment. The flying window will likely to be different for hang gliders and at this stage I am not keen for the group to separate (with such small groups).
If you are a HG4 or HG5 pilot and are keen to join us please contact me and we can chat about it.
If you are a HG5 pilot and keen to get female Hang Gliding pilots involved next season, please contact me so we can get you involved this year and make preparations for next year.
What is a Women's Fly-In?
A Women's Fly-In is all about getting a bunch of women pilots together and giving them the opportunity to get to know other women pilots whilst (hopefully) getting some airtime. Women represent less than 10% of all paraglider pilots and it's common for us to not know too many women pilots in our local clubs.
We tend to be smaller, shorter & lighter than a lot of our male pilot buddies, and sometimes we approach challenges a little differently. A Women's Fly-In is not about separating women from men. It's about the opportunity to gain inspiration from other women pilots, sharing our solutions, our tricks & tips that only other pilots trying to solve the same problems will understand. It's a great environment to ask all the questions you may have been holding back on. The goal is that you are more confident when you return back to your club, hungrier to progress your skills and are a resource for newer women pilots to lean on in your home environment.
I wrote an article about the Women's Fly-Ins from a previous season here which will give you a good feel for how the events are run.
Is this the new Women with Wings?
Women with Wings was a fantastic concept that successfully increased the number of women participating in our sport. The individuals who generously gave their time to make this event happen over several years have moved on and for the past few years there has not been anyone to pick up the event. This is unfortunately going to happen whilst there are so few women in the sport :)
I have felt motivated to do something about increasing the number of women progressing their skills in paragliding, and this format of short, small events was created by the NSWHPA in 2018. They invited me to run the events and I found that this kind of format works well for me. Women with Wings was an annual event attracting 40-50 people. As the organiser, I just prefer smaller groups and shorter events. Altitude with Attitude is picking up where Women with Wings left off.
If someone wants to pick up the Women with Wings event, there is totally space for you to do this!
What is it about a women’s fly-in that makes it such a great event?
Being able to articulate this is one of my biggest challenges this year! It’s not really enough for me to say everyone who has attended one has had an awesome time. You might be thinking “maybe those pilots are not like me”. It’s not enough for me to say hanging out with a bunch of sky-loving chicks, having a laugh, talking about flying, asking questions we haven’t been brave enough to ask in other environments is simply unique. You might be thinking “I don’t need that - I’m ok with asking questions of anyone, regardless of their gender”.
The thing is that in such a male-dominated sport it’s easy to forget what its like to have that banter, those jokes, that lightness that only materialises in a female group. I AM that person who doesn’t worry about gender - I have worked in male-dominated work places and participated in male-dominated hobbies all my life. I just get on with it because I happen to like traditionally non-female things. This doesn’t make me less female. Just my brain is wired to like different things. Sometimes I find myself in a social group with other women who like more traditional female hobbies and I feel out of place. This makes me gravitate back to my preferred hobbies and workplaces.
The thing is that there are a whole lot of women in this sport who feel the same way. And hanging out with them brings the best of both worlds. I get to joke, laugh, talk about flying in an all-female environment and come out feeling better about my place in this sport. I have an incredible support network that builds every event we run, and I often find myself wondering where the hell all these amazing women came from. I admit my main social circle from paragliding has developed from competition flying. I also see now that competition flying is not for everyone and we are sorely missing events that continue to develop that social network for people who don’t want to fly competitions.
Who is Altitude with Attitude?
Altitude with Attitude was created by Kirsten Seeto. The events are organised by Kirsten Seeto and are (partially) financially supported by the Sponsors (remaining finances from ticket sales). The events are run by Kirsten Seeto and one other PG5 pilot. See this link for more information about the organiser.
Is Altitude with Attitude run for Profit?
The ticket prices cover about 40-50% of the cost of each event, with the remainder being covered by our sponsors.
The cost of each event includes accommodation, meals, retrieves (where relevant), towing (where relevant), ticketing costs and leadership costs.
Leadership costs include:
- A modest project management and event leadership fee for myself
- An even more modest fee for my helper
- Transport costs for me and my helper to and from the event
- Food and accommodation for me and my helper during the event
Any leftover funds at the end of the series will be returned to the sponsors or used towards next season's events. This is a condition of the sponsorship provided.
Why do you pay yourself?
I have seen a lot of generous people in our community freely give their time to provide excellent events that have significantly contributed to my progression in this sport. I have also seen these people burn out and get jaded over time because at some point they feel that they are giving more than they are getting back. This then makes it hard to find other people to take over and continue the events.
I think it's important to run events in such a way that the continuation of the event is sustainable. The organiser needs to be able to justify the time it takes to create the events, they need to find it easy to find helpers, they need to be able to hand over the reigns to another person in the community and make it a reasonably attractive undertaking.
Whilst I wouldn't be involved in such an initiative if I didn't feel passionate about the cause and adamant such events can improve female participation in this sport, I also wouldn't do it if I didn't get some financial compensation for my time. The organisational time is significant and eats into the time I have to earn money doing what I do professionally.
Feel free to contact me directly to discuss further.
Couldn't you run these events more cheaply?
Yes, I could. We could camp and cook our own food. We could hitch-hike instead of using retrieve drivers. I do this often when I am free-flying. But I've been doing this for a few years and am confident about all I need to do to prepare for such trips.
The point of these events, however, is to remove a lot of the barriers that exist when we are trying to move out of our comfort zone and stretch ourselves. A lot of our participants have families and/or are professionals and don't have the time to do all the logistical preparation for a long weekend of flying. Some of them are not sure they want to invest in all the camping gear and equipment to keep chasing the wind.
These are not luxury events but they aim to be hassle-free events. The aim is to get pilots out there, experience a paragliding trip and decide if this is something they want to continue to pursue.
Can I bring my male partner along?
I get it - you want to share a paragliding weekend with your significant other who (lucky for you) happens to be a paraglider also. But the point of these events is to take some time out of the normally male-saturated paragliding environment and see what happens when we temporarily remove that (totally valued) side of the community.
For some women, its amazing what they realise they can do without the expectations or perceived judgement they feel normally. Even if you feel like it won't make a difference to you, please understand that for others it can make a huge difference. It's not about removing men from the sport. Its just about taking a break and being more confident in your own skills when you jump back into the wider community.
So give him a weekend pass to go do... whatever it is that they do when you are not around. And be open to understanding what paragliding looks like with a whole lot less testosterone involved :)
What happens if it's not flyable?
I kind of regret calling these events fly-ins because the events are still extremely successful even when we don’t fly. You might have worked out by now that the actual flying is a pretty small part of all the time we spend on our sport. Its obviously the goal, but there is so much to learn in the way of instruments, forecasting, chatting about the technical aspects of flying that if we don’t get to fly there is still a huge amount we can still do. Also - nothing will stop you from making new friends and developing a support network that will continue to benefit you long after these events. Don’t get me wrong, if its flyable, we will fly. But the main value is from everything we do on the ground.
So in short, the event doesn't get cancelled or postponed - we go ahead regardless :) OMG - a flying event you can count on!!
Can I pay by Direct Debit?
I'd really rather you use the PayPal link - you don't have to have a PayPal account. You can use your own credit card via that link. The reason is that the ticketing system takes care of a lot of the admin for me and it only works if you use the system.