Flying Berry - Vesi Velcheva
17.11.2013

The new berry in the berry jam – Veselka Velcheva
She has started as a model but later she found the exciting side of the extreme sports
Today Vesi is flying with Paraglider . She had climbed up to the base camp of Mount Everest (5 364m) and Kalapatar (5550 m )

WB: Hi, Vesi. Welcome to the Wildberries crew .
Hello and thank you!  - It’s an honor  to become a wildberry :)

WB: Introduce yourself in a few words.
 Veselka Velcheva  ( Vesi ) , I come from the  wild north-west of Bulgaria  :))
I love nature , colors, crazy people , The Moon and The Sun .. The Danube ! I do a lot of things , but I will not go into details right here .

WB: How it all began ? How did you start flying ?
 Well, somehow I always had a curiosity to see what it is .. Were interesting to me as a child all those bungee jumping, colorful parachute , surfing the air after jumping off a plane with a board .. Just wanted to know what it feels like. I was too young, but undoubtedly knew that I would try this one day. And because, of course, I was not allowed such things in my tender age I left them for " when I grow up "  So .. yes, it all started with curiosity. If this is missing , I guess extreme sports and everything around them just stay away from your life.

I was 21 when a friend of mine introduced me to two tandem pilots and lifted a whole van to fly at Sopot (a nice flying spot in Bualgaria) . There I met Veso Ovcharov * . It was fun being around these people. And after a while I wanted not only to fly in tandem. Vesso refused another instructor to teach me.  He told and showed almost anything  to me but wasn’t easy ha-ha -ha.  I learned ground handling in Nepal with one of his blown acro wings. The first acro wing of Veso !  After I learned to control the glider at the ground, I bought my personal equipment and at the spring of 2009 I made my first flight of a hill near Sopot .

* Veselin Ovcharov is a Red Bull acropilot and professional athlete,. In early September this year Vesso, managed to set a new world record for infinity tumbling in line with Serbian acro pilot Petar Loncar.. They jumped from an airplane at  13000ft. above Primorsko and achieved to perform the manoeuvre "infinity tumbling" 181 times synchronously side by side.

WB:  What's it like up there?
It is always very strong feeling… Sometimes more, because of the views and the conditions under which you take off. Complete fusion with nature, the ” woooow”  effect is always there after a smooth take off, the feeling of control ..

WB:  Why do you think people are created without wings?
 I think people mostly are giddy to shame. If we were made to fly with wings and bird control we would be convinced that there is nothing grander and greater than us. The lack of this possibility keeps us at the ground.

WB:  How does it feel to fly with the birds? How do you feel when a bird lands on your hand?
 Yes, it is great with the birds... You have the opportunity to fly with them, though not fly like them, but gentle seated in a seat ha ha ha , but this way you  feel  flying and the world around , as with anything else. A bird of prey landed on my arm while flying, happened to me many times. In Nepal we teach rescued vultures that cannot be returned back to the wild, to fly with us. It is called parahawking. There is so much to say about this... I promise ;)



WB:  What can you compare flying to?
 Here I suppose I should answer - falling in love! And yes, you can say so.  All expressions of love. But flying is flying ..You need to be there fully - 100% of you are required. It’s not healthy and almost impossible to fly while “floating in the clouds” unless they are real clouds… :D

WB: Have you ever had any extreme situations where you had no control?
Oh yes and honestly I got quite scared, but it didn’t make me quit… I’m going to tell you the story.
This flight was a late afternoon in Brazil. Presumably when the conditions are supposed to be very quiet. Then the sun was setting and the earth, which was heated throughout the day, released huge by size and strength thermal. The whole fields which I was flying over, released this hot air balloon and it started to climb up .. So did I, but…so fast! Those conditions, the good pilots would accept as a wild berry pancake - the cream of this job .. But I don’t have this experience and hours in the air behind my back. Latter I was told that it was a thermal speed of about 9 meters per second. This is a lot… I saw how the horizon changes.

At that time my friends, the acropilots were training tricks and one of them, who apparently performed a trick not successfully, flew past me with a much wrinkled wing sinking extremely fast. Imagine - I gain altitude up to 9 m / s - he fell with much greater speed past me) I felt like a rocket.. No, it was not fun. But I didn’t lose control. It's great when you control the things, but when things start to control you and you start to think that you don’t want to be there… You better be there..!  I had no other skills to lose height but with "big ears" – I changed the profile and the shape of the wing, so it collapses and turns the glider into a something like a parachute. That makes it sink better than glide.
But I had no gloves and the fine lines started to cut painfully my skin. As soon as I released  the ears  to relax my hands, the thermal lift was bringing me at the start position... It was a large and long struggle .. Having finally landed successfully, I was very happy haha . Immediately me and the boys jumped into a  rescue operation . The boy who passed by me sinking badly had thrown reserve and landed in a field with coffee and bananas behind some barbed fences.  Of course, he was well. I did some other flights, but after Brazil I did ​​a long pause ..
Most recently, in Turkey I  had a very crazy situation, from a little - different caliber .


 

WB: Tell us more about landing ?
Half a meter from the ground pulling nicely the controls to bottom and “voalah” - you have landed ! Unless it comes to the landing varieties like treelanding , ditching , and more ...

WB: What would replace a flight ?
Oh, a lot of things. I'm not addicted .. If there are other fun alternatives .. Count me out!
But always depends .. I'm not very active pilot, but there are places over which I would like to fly so much .. Hardly anything would seduced me enough to let the wing .

WB: We know that you have been part of one of the most memorable paragliding documentaries "Infinity Himalaya" (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Infinity-Himalaya/145955578750860) as the main operator and photographer. Tell us more:
 I will only confirm and say that I am very proud of the boys and the film that we created, but more about "Infinity Himalaya" I will tell you further... :)


 

WB: Why do you think there are not many girls in air sports?
The reason is one - the air like a storm, seems terribly inaccessible at first sight - more than water , rock climbing .. It is very easy to associate with sports like tennis or skiing, for example. It is easier to imagine what happens to you even without any experience. Everyone has dreamed of flying, that comes to say everyone wants to try. Girls are getting more in Bulgaria, which can only make me happy. Generally, I can’t say there are not many ladies doing skydive or paragliding.. They are so many, but the sport abroad is more accessable. With the promo video that I shot in Turkey I hope to introduce the paragliding sport as a very accessible, female and interesting.

WB: What is the most exciting thing that ever happened to you in the air?
Falling in love lol , feeding Kevin and Bob (Egyptian vultures ) by hand while flying in front of the Himalayas in tandem ,  flying close to a waterfall , flying through a ford in the clouds – like passing through a magic gate , meeting friends in the air and saying hi. So exciting moments.


 

WB: I know you do a lot of travelling around the world. Tell us where?
U.S.A. , Nepal, many countries in Europe , Thailand, Brazil ... There are also other

WB: Tell us about Nepal.
I cherish Nepal! I spend there a total of about half a year. The first time I went for a month - I got almost 4 hahah The next visit I filmed “Infinity Himalaya” (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Infinity-Himalaya/145955578750860)  and I made an unforgettable trekking to Everest Base Camp!
WB:And for Thailand what can you tell us?
Well there is .... Heaven ! All such places in the world definitely inspire and make you fly !

WB: Last month you was in Turkey - what happened there?
It all started at X-Point ( a festival for music and extreme sports in Primorsko ) , the idea was to shoot something for GoPro. The proposal came directly from GoPro in the face of a boy who was filming me,  kiting my wing on the beach . Indirectly he knew me. He knew that I was part of “Infinity Himalaya”, that I am a pilot as well... He offered me to shoot .. something! It was a nice compliment from them to offer me cameras and all sorts of accessories to capture the "thing " - my choice . 2 weeks before the start of the Oludeniz Air Games (Turkey), I began thinking of this topic seriously and I started with a crazy organizing - operators, consultants, lists, scripts, logos and so much more .. Everything happened very cool and at the end of the day – very well arranged!  Yet I cannot believe what I managed for two weeks as organization of it all. I am very pleased. One of the ideas of this promo video, which I hope in a month to finalize, is to show the girls in Bulgaria, how accessible and beautiful this particular flying sport is.

Knowing about my plans , a friend told me about WildBerries, which came super inspiring for me and my team. So actually we found each other. I sympathize WildBerries so much !

WB: What is your dream ?
 I dream of The Sun, The stars...  family, water sports, art . I dream of businesses to develop and give me pleasure - like a beach bar

WB: What other sports do you practice?
bikeriding , running, playing tennis, frisbee in the park. Summertime I love kayaking on The Danube waters

WB: Say something to the girls that will make them want to try flying !
If you involve yourself with the idea of ​​flying - try it! Know that whatever you read and hear, if you have good preparation , the risk is quite exaggerated . . People very much get  impressed of dramatic situations and keep focusing on them. I'm not very brave by nature, but I dare to say that I was taught by the best  (in acro paragliding) - Veso Ovcharov and Horacio Llorenz - currently both having very successful career as RedBull athletes. From them I know that when choosing the proper conditions and have good training, not be overestimated as skills and abilities – the sport is safe and .. indescribable .. ! Should try..! :)

"photo © piero castellano.com used by permission"
www.pierocastellano.com
and vesi velcheva – personal files





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