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The Icarus Cup: France's Free Flying Festival

The Icarus Cup: France's Free Flying Festival
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If it flies without an engine you’ll find it at the 36th edition of the Icarus Cup

The only free-flying festival of its kind in the world took place, as it has done for last 35 years, at Saint Hilaire du Touvet in South East France. The Masquerade Contest alone attracted thousands of spectators but it’s more than a simple carnaval. The practise of free-flying allows paragliders and other modern-day aviators to test their skills in tricky conditions. Paragliding has exploded over the last 20 years and the sport took centre stage at the Icarus Cup.

Today, for an investment of under 2000 Euros, and of course having been through training at a specialist paragliding centre, anyone can turn the Icarus dream into reality

According to Jean Paul Dubillon, one of the godfathers of european paragliding “The Paraglider itself is an extremely simple piece of kit. There aren’t many risks involved, but it can be a dangerous activity which demands a certian competence in the air and a good knowledge of the weather.” Training centres and expos are also plentiful and learning centres about flying licenses, which vary across Europe, are readily accessible. You can even test your own flying skills in numerous flight simulators and discover new methods that become more radical as the years pass, inching that little bit closer to the dream of the famous character in Greek mythology, Icarus, who wanted to fly like a bird. Airships and hot air balloons also filled the skies demonstating new technologies, one of which was an electrically powered dirigible. There was also the wingsuit which multiplies the jumpers time in the air by three. The most extreme Wingsuitors continune to push their limits as they plummet earthwards, living their own Icarus dream…