Flights above the ruins of Sondor, Andahuaylas


grafik_inca grafik_inca Sondor was a cult place of the Chankas, people that ruled in central Peru after the decline of the Huari. For many years they had bitter fights with the Inkas before they were finally conquered in the 15th century. The ruins are the remainder of the largest known temple of the Chancas. After climbing 500 steps one arrives at the summit of a pyramid, where on a massiv stone altar sacrifices were celebrated, but it served also astronomical purposes and was further in use under the Inca regime.

With reliable wind, a nice ichu meadow for launch and lots of space for landing this is an ideal flying area, which in addition permits to see some history from above. Attention though, since there is a high voltage line across the valley. The height above the landing fields is only 150 m, but this is absolutely sufficient considering the strong dynamical wind. Launch time depends upon daily wind force and may change from one day to the other, if necessary wait until five o'clock for calmer air. Backward launch necessary.

Alternative near Andahuaylas: Cerro San José, 3450 m. Thermal flight, easily reachable by bus, launch not simple due to the shallow slope, but pilots of Lima have made already cross flights there. When I was there I saw no chance for a reasonable flight, so I descended by foot.



Sondor. View from the launching spot at 3300m into the valley. The first plain below is only 150 m away, an ideal landing area. The valley extends however further down, until it reaches the river Apurímac, the speaking lord (quetch.). The wide opening of the valley to the northeast results in an even, strong wind, that allows unlimited soaring above the ruins after launch at eleven o'clock or later.


Flying over the ruins of Sondor. Flight altitude and distance is limited here in the valley, because of the strong wind. Duration however can be large, sometimes it is even difficult, to get down again. In the center of the temple plant the large altar made of raw pieces of rock. The launching spot is about at the same height as the driveway below.

More about the meaning of the monument in the article about



Landing below the ruins. Toplanding should be possible, I did not try though. To the right in the picture the flank of a small mountain and in its shade a 25.000 V high voltage line. The last mast of the line, before traversing the valley is still visible at the left side of the mountain on the hill. This is quite close to the launching spot. The line is hardly recognizable, neither from down below nor while in the air. During my first flight I flew straight into it, too careless, so please watch out.

From the diary:
"After my arrival I played a little with my paraglider, the wind was still too strong for a start, but it gets weaker towards the evening. Then half past five I finally take off. Even a few "helpers" have appeared. Immediately there is nice floating above the ruins. One can stay in the air arbitrarily long time. When the wind decreases even further, I fly a little bit to the west, because I'm smart and know where to find the best upwinds... very smart indeed, I suddenly stand still in midair. What's happening? I look upwards. It sparkles flashes twinkles: "Hey Gerd, you're hanging in a power line!" I talk to myself. In the first moment there is no fear, that comes later, it's rather interest, the thought, how is this going to continue. It is rather high above the ground so I think at once (not without vanity, noting how suitably well equipped I am) of my 20 m emergency rope. But the sail moves again in the upwind, so I twist the lines with both hands and pull the paraglider by its control lines to one side. Up above it continues to glisten and gleam quite lively and then suddenly the whole ground comes all the way up to me very very fast...

After the impact the breath is gone for a while. Then I move fingers and toes and I am overcome with blissful feelings: Everything's still there, I live, apparently no broken bones. Then right in the next moment, I explode in outrage: How can one, one single human being be so unbelievable stupid, that much stupidity would be sufficient for ten people or more. Of course I had seen the power line before my flight, of course I had set myself rules as always before the flight, where to fly, where to land and so on. But during the long day I had lost the concentration and forgot it. The gentle launch helpers have approached in the meantime (one of them says quite seriously: 'I thought you had stopped in air to take a few photographs. We saw the flashes...' ... hmm, very funny though ...) Then I pick up my stuff and limp to the fields nearby to fold my damaged flying saucer..."


Repair after the high voltage flight. In the back a genuine stuffed condor. Only in the Colca valley, weeks later, I will get my paraglider that close to one again. The next two flights at the same spot at Sondor were then substantially better.




----------------------------------------------- With a paraglider above the Inca roads -----------------------------------------------