Here is the long awaited video of Dustin's and my Record breaking flight. I would ask that if you watch the video and like it that you donate just a few $ to a pilot that had a bad accident and is needing our help. He is a fellow Moyes boy and one of the nicest guys you will meet. Please send anything you can even if it is only a few dollars every one of them will count.
Well today looks like our real first day of a record with good winds and reasonable lift. Yesterday was also good but considering we had about 8 inches of rain over the weekend it was still a little wet in places making light lift.
It was still a very hard decision to not fly knowing that a 600km flight was possible, However it is unlikely that you will be back to fly the next day which was forecast to be even better.
As I wake up this morning with a text message from Gary at 5:30am it reads this is a great day followed by another fantastic day on thursday. I am excited and could barely sleep all night as it was.
It really reminds me of when I was attempting to fly the Morning Glory sitting in a town with nothing to do until it is the day. When that day comes your excitment levels jumps dramatically and your head is running non stop with good and bad thoughts.
Is it possible to fly 800kms in a hang glider, what happens if I land early and have to watch the others live on there spot trackers all day, Is today the day or is it tomorrow, How early should I be launching to not leave to late but be able to stay in the air.
So many questions and unfortunately no one knows the answer until the day. This could be it how early will we launch, how long will we fly for, who is going to go the furthest with all these top pilots here, well all your questions will be answered in the next 14 hrs so stay tuned.
Watch us live as we attempt to break the current World Distance Record of 700kms
Well after a 3 hr flight yesterday around the airport getting to 9,000 ft agl I was ready and nearly prepared for the WRE. After a few days of prepration there was only a few things left to complete the WRE here in Zapata.
My first was to have a practice flight down the course line and get familiar with the lack of landings, lock gates and air space that one has to deal with on a record flight. I had my Spot trackers and also wanted to test them out as they are a huge asset to safety and being found here in this harsh environment.
Gary, Me and Davis
We woke up this morning to thin clouds drifting over with what seemed to be reasonable strength and direction so I thought I would make my first attempt. I was prepared to launch early and see if I could stay up and drift slowly down the course line.
We had some issues and I was unable to tow until 10:30 am which is still about the time that most of the record flights have started here in Zapata. I decided on setting a distance to declared goal flight to Big Springs 621kms away. I was first up and started heading on course all alone through the locked gates and mesquite ridden forest.
Preparing to launch
After about 30 mins in the air it was obvious that the wind had backed off and was averaging about 10kph. This was going to be a long day ahead of me as I basicly had no wind to push me to my destination.
I decided that I at least needed to get past Laredo where the airspace was just so I knew my way around and then look at conditions again. After the first hour I had only done 42kms which was not so bad considering the wind strength.
On tow behind Russel at 10:40am
I wanted to keep going as cloud base was rising to over 4,000 ft agl and some streets were looking good in front of me. I pushed on getting some good climbs of 6-700fpm and thought if this keeps up or gets even better there might just be the slight chance of making the distance.
After another hour or so I had only reached the 110km mark and did some more calculations. I now knew that given my winds and average speed my goal was unachievable and 4-500kms was all I was going to be able to fly.
With better days coming I decided to call it quits at 120kms and land next to the road where Timothy was waiting for me.
Packing up under a sky full of pumping clouds
Glauco from Brazil was behind me and kept flying making it to around the 200km mark before giving up also to the lack of wind. He landed 3 hrs after me so it was clear it was not the record day and we now need to wait for the wind.
All in all it was a great day out here in Zapata I arrived back at the pool and had a few drinks and watched big black bottom clouds at around 7-8,000 ft slowly drift past me.
It is so hard to be on the ground when the sky looks so good and even harder to make the decision to land with a sky full of great clouds.
There is not many places in the World where you land early because you think you can only fly 500kms for the day. Welcome to Zapata this is one of those places and I am sure that in the next week or so you will be reading about some very long flights.
To stay tuned for all the latest updates and to watch me live with my spot check out the links below.
Well today the comp started with a 123km zig zag to the Esplanada. I did the 1st start with Andre and a few others and was leading the pack for the first 40 kms until I picked one bad line while the others hit a good thermal behind me. I tried to catch back up and nearly landed and just had to survive and make goal. Andre will win the day 35 mins in front of me and I should be around 10th or so.
It was so nice to be back in a country where you take off and the first thermal you get is 1200 fpm to 9,000ft. It was a great day but was easy to pick bad lines and it played to just watch from behind on many glides. I was very happy with the glider I was test flying today straight out of the box a RS 3.5 he will be a happy pilot tomorrow when he gets to fly it..
The weather is looking like a typical Brasilia with wind and clouds predicted for the next 3-4 days so it should be some good fun racing to be had.. I will try and get some photo's up later and unfortunately my GOPRO camera battery was flat today so no video..
Another day of sitting around as we watch big clouds forming all around us. It seems that it may have been possible to fly as there are pilots free flying around us. It is low base and would have been tricky to set a task in the right area without flying into rain though. Tomorrow is our last day and the forecast is only slightly better than today but Im sure they will send us up the hill to try for one more task.
Finally we get another task with the chance of storms we set a short 115km course with 4 turnpoints. It was pretty clear that you needed to do the first start in case there was a stopped task from the building clouds around us. the 150 pilots were all launched in less than 1 hr and it seemed that there was at least 130 pilots making the 1st start gate.
I had a great start nearly at the top of the group with Alex and Christian leading out just above me. We had a fast run down to the 1st turnpoint which was only 17kms from our start. I pushed hard coming back olong the ridge to the 2nd turnpoint trying to chasedown the Icaro boys. I was flying with Franz and Robert resinger and we were leading the big gaggle down the ridge with Alex and Christian just in front and higher.
We got to the 2nd turnpoint and I found a good strong thermal which nearly caught me back up to Alex as he seemed to have forgotten about the turnpoint. He had to go back and get the turnpoint before heading back to launch where we climbedup below Christian.
I followed the guys out into the valley under a cloud street toward the 3rd turnpoint. We had lots of shade in front of us and it was clear we needed to get as high as we could before making the glide out to the turnpoint in the shade. I came in below Alex and Christian about 6kms from the turnpoint under the last cloud. Christian was just leaving at cloudbase when I arrived below and Alex started to follow but stopped and kept turning. He stayed in light lift and watched Christian glide off as he whited out in the cloud. If only my camera had not run out of battey I would have been able to film it but I guess it was not meant to be.
I left just below cloudbase and headed out into the valley behind them. I was about 2kms from the turnpoint when Alex came back past me still higher with Christian lower infront of him. I knew that this was going to make a huge difference as they were able to get back into the main valley below the gaggle who were climbing. I did the turnpoint just in front of Manfred and Franz and we were now forced to stay on the Gubbio ridge in the shade. We hit a light thermal and circled as we watched Alex and Christian climb out good behind us. We spent the next 20-30mins low waiting for the sun to come out so we could climb back up.
Unfortunately for us the sun started back near the turnpoint so the whole gaggle of about 70 gliders behind us managed to get high and glide in above us before the last turnpoint. I did a long glide to goal from about 10 kms before the last turnpoint on a 21:1 glide. I was about 40th around the last turnpoint and decided to go straight line to try and beat some of these guys who had over taken me.
I managed to overtake quitea few on the final glide and finished about 1 min 30 seconds behind the 3rd place which was Manfred. Alex crossed the line first 1 second infront of Christian and about 7 mins faster than Manfred. Christian will win the day with the leading bonus and 95 pilots will make goal. There was 60 pilots that finished within 5 mins of each other so the landing field was complete chaos but everyone survived.
We were quite lucky to get the task in as there was some big over development around the outside of our courseline. It was a very interesting day and I have never seen such a finish in a hang gliding comp before. The weather for the next day or two does not look good but it seems we will fly again on friday. We now officially have a valid comp so there will be a 2011 World champion.