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Say hi to the clouds for me

Appeared in Country Air 1/2012

Von Autorin Sigrid Krügel

“Kleinheppacher Kopf” means “Kleinheppach Head,” a hill where paragliders - they call themselves “head hoppers” - have been launching their craft since 2001. The hill rises to 452 m and when the wind is right, it is festooned with colorful parachutes.

Wine from Kleinheppach is, well, not really internationally famous, but several bottles were exported to Java in 1826 (a local man had emigrated) and arrived unharmed. It inspires loyalty. So the vintners were not amused when club of young men with colorful nylon parachutes applied to the municipality for permission to use the vineyards as a launch pad.

Grüß mir die Wolken 16636_rkw5555.jpg

The application took seven years to be approved. “It was a hard fight, but we won,” Anton Zimmerle says. The winemakers were against it. The environmentalists were against it. “They said it would disturb the big raptors, but everybody knows that’s not true.”

The city council was also skeptical. The paragliders would start on top of the hill and land at the bottom, next to the road. Wouldn’t that cause accidents? And what if the loose earth at the of the hill started to slide?