Paraglider pilot photographs Empty Quarter

Empty Quarter – George Steinmetz from George Steinmetz on Vimeo.


You haven’t heard of the Empty Quarter, and that’s why paraglider pilot and freelance author and photographer George Steinmetz traveled there.

The Empty Quarter is one of the most remote deserts on Earth and includes portions of Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It has been crossed only a handful of times, according to the photographer’s website.

“The Empty Quarter is larger than France without a single permanent point of water or human habitation,” New Jersey-based Steinmetz writes on his website. “It’s both the world’s largest sand sea and one of the hottest places on earth.”

The result of several trips by the National Geographic and Geo contributor is a coffee table book of photographs taken by him from a 30-mph paraglider. The aircraft consists of the paraglider wing, a back-pack mounted motor, and a single-seat harness that ties the three pieces together. It packs into three bags weighing less than 72 lbs and fits into standard baggage for most commercial aircraft, Steinmetz explains in his website. See Steinmetz’s website for more photos and a video on how the book was photographed.

By Alton K. Marsh/AOPA

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