Episode 40- Bill Belcourt Your Questions Answered!

And here it is! The long-awaited show hosted by Bill Belcourt, dedicated 100% to your questions. We asked fans of the show to send us any questions related to flying so the Yoda of the sky, Bill Belcourt could answer them in the unique way that only Bill can. We talk about how to deal with turbulence, creating better headspace, how to mitigate intermediate syndrome, how to gaggle fly, how to deal with negative people in a positive way (ie avoiding ground suck), when to leave a thermal, techniques for landing backwards, how to pick the good days, team flying, when to launch in a thermal cycle and a LOT more! Enjoy!


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Show Notes (Questions that were asked):

  • Fabian Perez:Can you talk a little about thermaling when reaching top of the thermal, some tips when to leave the thermal and go on glide? How these strategies change when you’re XC flying and when you’re in a comp? Even in a comp, when you’re in a gaggle and then how is it different when you’re leading or left behind and now flying by yourself. I always have trouble deciding when to leave, I never know if I left too early or too late?Can you share tips, techniques; BKM’s for when you’ll land backwards? First, is don’t get into those situations but if you’re in it, then do you go full speed bar until you touch the ground and then collapse the wing? Or do you prefer to have one leg out to try to turn and run to the wing while collapsing it? Any other approach?Can you talk about tips to check the lines? How often? Easy ways to do it?Gabriele Bonafini:

    In your opinion the mindset of a pilot can affect his feeling with the air and especially with turbulence? Recently I’m having some bad trouble at home and since that moment I don’t feel as comfortable as before in turbulent air.. Any recommendations for feeling more comfortable when life is not going smoothly? Should we just not fly?

    Negative people (pilots in this case) can affect our sport negatively and in every flying site there are a lot of them, they show you the negative part of our sports for example:

    “if you have a pod harness you’ll surely have a twist in case of collapse ” or they see the wing from EN C to CCC class as killing machines. They want to transfer their limits to you and this is obviously a bad thing. How to avoid this crowd and negativity?

    Derek Musashe:

    As a pilot with 60 hours under my belt and slowly progressing into XC flying, are there any tips you might have that can help me (and other pilots like me) avoid or at least mitigate the “intermediate syndrome.”

    Blayde McIntyre:

    It would be interesting to hear about picking your days and picking lines/flying styles for different conditions. How to approach learning about meteo and using XC Skies as a tool for example?


    Matt James:

    1. Talk about team flying. I am a ten hour pilot that flies with a pilot with four years experience. We want to fly cross country together in the spring. Just as often as I hear about flying with others to make good distance I also hear about pilots taking off and splitting up (maybe see other later 20k downwind). I want advice on how to fly together for the best results.


    1. I hear about these amazing places like Valle de Bravo or Roldanillo. Where are the epic places in the U.S. for Pacific Northwest pilots to thermal fly Dec.-Feb.?


    Eric Toshalis:

    For those of us who have to budget the days we can fly, maximizing the potential to bring our wing up into good air is crucial (i.e., when time = money, too much parawaiting can really drain spirits and resources). So, on those days you have set aside to fly, what’s your process for assessing the weather in the morning before you pack up and head to launch?

    What sites do you visit 1st/2nd/3rd, what do you look for, and how do you triangulate those data to make a reasonably confident decision? Basically, I just want to learn what a seasoned expert’s weather-assessment process is when making the decision to get out of the house and up in the air.

    Brian Morrison:

    When to launch in a thermal cycle?

    How to avoid / prevent a collapse on a thermic takeoff?

    I assume these two are related?

    On an alpine launch (not a dedicated site) When to forward or reverse launch, (assuming one is equally proficient at both) what are the primary factors that influence that choice?

    Assume one either sinks out or gets spooked and needs to land mid day and it’s either thermic or windy or both in the valley what is the best way to mitigate risk and not get throttled on the landing? Apart from active flying, any tips or approach techniques to prevent collapses when getting bounced around on final?

    Thermal mapping / visualization?   Is it really visualization or is it feel?

    Or a blend?

    Mikolaj Uskrzydlony:

    How should we approach scouting a new mountain start?

    Thorlak Nielsen:

    how do I approach a new flight in a very very remote area? I live in Greenland. And I would love to fly some thermic conditions, and we only have this area a long ways inland. All the city’s are located on the coast of Greenland.


    How do you repel down from a tree? What kit should you carry?


    You’ve had a long career from first starting to use a paraglider as a descent tool from an alpine climb in the 80’s to racing world cups and flying open class gliders. When you look back at the last 25 years of flying if you could change anything, what would it be?


    You mentioned this summer when asked about your opinion of flying competition gliders that “you need the performance 95% of the time, and you need the safety 5% of the time.” Clearly that is advice for a very specific pilot. Can you elaborate on wing choice- what people should consider when potentially stepping up to a hotter glider?


    I know you lamented the loss of Open Class gliders, and the loss of companies pushing that end of the spectrum. Is the CCC class a good compromise? What would you like to see happen at the manufacturing end of the sport?


    What advice did you get or wish you would have gotten back when you were a 50 hour pilot? What advice would you give for the newbie today?


  • Mentioned in this episode: Hugh Miller, Ed Ewing, Cross Country Magazine, Gillis Bengsston, Cody Mittanck, Kevin Lee, Thermal Tracker, Garmin, InReach, Russ Ogden, Kevin Brooker, Fabian Perez, Gabriele Bonafini, Thorlak Nielsen, Mikolaj Uskrzydlony, Brian Morrison, Eric Toshalis, Matt James, Derek Musashe, Blayde McIntyre


Episode 39- Antoine Laurens and a Lifetime of Life Lessons

Antoine Laurens on the Sierra Vol Biv in 2012- see the full video here.

Antoine Laurens began flying in 1992 when he was just seventeen years old. He’s lived a life of adventure and flying has been a way of life for the last two and half decades. One of the world’s great vol-biv pilots Antoine crossed over a 1,400 km route of the Himalayas (the film trailer of the “Himalayan Odyssey” can be seen here) and was part of the small team I joined in 2012 when we flew from the south end of the Sierra range to the Oregon border. He guides vol-biv trips in the Alps and in the Himalayas with the Himalayan Sky Safaris team (Eddie Colfax, Jim Mallinson, and John Sylvester); is one of the best Waga pilots I’ve ever seen; has flown thousands of tandems; and thousands and thousands of hours without a single accident. Antoine’s experience around the world, passion for adventure and his incredible passion for free flight is infectious and his thoughts on improvement, training, safety, vol-biv, top-landing strategies, landing in strong wind, planning and a LOT more are lessons we can all learn from regardless of our level. A special interview with a special friend and mentor, please enjoy this episode with Antoine!


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Show Notes:

  • Antoine recounts how he learned in 1992 and having his first “incident” which made him realize the importance of ground handling
  • Becoming an instructor and getting into guiding and tandems
  • Travels in India and discovering vol-biv and the flying possibilities of the Himalayas
  • Antoine recounts his 44 day vol-biv of the Himalayas – nearly 1400 kilometers
  • Where to do your first vol-biv, and skills you should have before your first trip. Gear, attitude and skill level are discussed.
  • We recount the accident with Brad Sander and lessons learned from the Sierra bivvy
  • How to maintain the passion
  • The most common times for accidents in most pilots level and how they can be avoided
  • Going with a guide- why you should really consider doing flights with experts
  • Tandems- are there downfalls?
  • The problem with flying- you cannot stop, so you are committed!
  • Toplanding strategies and strong wind strategies- identifying the right time to land and the importance of patience
  • Landing in strong wing (landing downwind strategies)
  • Mentioned in this episode: John Sylvester, Eddie Colfax, Jim Mallinson, Nick Greece, Eric Reed, Brad Sander, Oriol Fernandez, Toby Colombe.


Surfing the Sierras from Offshore Odysseys on Vimeo.

Episode 38- Jeff Shapiro and cracking the code

Jeff dropping in

Jeff Shapiro returns to the Cloudbase Mayhem! We sat down with Jeff in episode #3 of the podcast a year and a half ago right after Jeff lost a number of his closest friends to Wingsuit basejumping and had an amazing talk about risk, danger, gratitude, life, love and the art of living a life of adventure. At that time Jeff was just learning paragliding after a lifetime of hang gliding and “high risk” sports so we wanted to catch up and find out how his progression has gone. What’s different other than the aircraft? How have his thousands of hours of flight helped (and potentially hurt) learning cross country with a paraglider? We talk about risk; revisit his decision to wingsuit jump again; delve into what it’s like to be a beginner again as a professional athlete and why learning is so necessary to joy and happiness; how to “crack the code”; how to manage fear and realizing perspective can be changed; controlling a glider if you have dramatic riser twists; unpacking learning a new activity and a LOT more. Jeff is an amazing human and articulates the beauty of our sport in a way very few can. Please enjoy this amazing episode.


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Show Notes:

  • Jeff revisits his past and how living with risk is acceptable- and necessary
  • Being a beginner again and detaching from ego and identity and how precious it is to let go
  • Learning and growing as a person- why it’s so critical
  • Paragliding- the meld between alpinism and flying
  • Comparing the mix of knowledge and the “dark arts”
  • How a paraglider as an aircraft allows so much more adventure than a hang glider- Freedom!
  • Fear is something that keeps you safe, but managing fear is critical- remember to have fun and remember that perspective can be changed
  • Methods to relax when things are stressful
  • Flying within your means- understanding your own skillset and mindset
  • “Cracking the code”- what’s on Jeff’s wishlist?
  • Why alone time is so important
  • We revisit Jeff’s losses in the Base world. Why Jeff has decided to jump again and how he justifies the risk
  • To not do something you’re passionate about because of fear and doubt is unacceptable because it would have to apply to the rest of your life- don’t deprive yourself of being you.


Episode 37- The Groundhandling Podcast

Ground handling is the cornerstone of being a good, safe pilot. But of all the most important foundational building blocks you can practice it is often the most neglected. For many pilots “groundhandling” is pulling the wing up and getting off the hill. This is only the first step. Many of our listeners have asked for a specific ground handling episode and now here it is! Nik Hawks, former Navy dude who passes his time climbing Mt Whitney in sandals and running mellow events like the Leadville 100 and sailing from California to the Caribbean on a J22 contacted me after seeing the Rockies Traverse a year ago inspired him to learn how to fly. He’s thrown himself into the game with both feet and taken on the practice of ground handling seriously. But as a new pilot, he quickly became confused with the mixed information regarding ground handling. In this episode we turn the tables around and Nik takes my seat as the interviewer and we dig into the art form. We also talk about SIV and other methods that greatly increase our risk to safety margin.

Nik hosts his own adventure podcast called PaleoTreats and he and his wife make paleo based edibles that are TO DIE FOR. They are going to be a big part of my nutritional fuel and ammunition for the X-Alps. Nik had me on his show a few months ago, it’s a really fun listen and if you’ve ever wanted to know about some of the wacky shit I’ve participated in over the years and what led me down this cloudbase mayhem road, have a listen. Make sure to check out the show notes below for the links to some of the films and otherwise we mention in the show. And PLEASE check out Nik’s site, he’s an inspiring dude putting out awesome content and his company, Paleo Treats is something really special. Enjoy!

A buck an episode, that’s all we ask.

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Ground Handling Exercises with flyincanarias.com from Christian Fernandez on Vimeo.


Show Notes:

  • What does “good” ground handling mean?  Is some “dragging” inevitable? Is there some kind of progression beyond “stable over head, then helico”?  What’s in the middle of that?
  • Would you say that treating GH as almost a necessary evil to flying progression does disservice to all pilots?  If so, why do you think that it’s viewed as just a “stepping stone” rather than a fundamental?  I think this is a key point, as when I see expert pilots take off they don’t seem to want to ground handle a bunch first, its almost as if they’re too cool or that GH is for beginners.
  • What is (or should be) your ratio of ground handling to flying when you first start, say for your first 50 hours?  51-100, 101-500, 500+
  • I hear a lot of “go slow when you’re learning” from all the pros on the podcast, how does GH fit into that?
  • There’s a huge eagerness to get in the air and fly, but it seems like a bloody dangerous sport to be eager for.  Why do you think so many people ignore getting good at GH?
  • Is there any value in buying a separate GH wing that is smaller/faster/more maneuverable?

More flying related questions.  Some of these might sound stupid or too basic or easily Google-able, but I’m guessing for your brand-new-to-flying audience (like me) they might address the “There are no stupid questions” idea along with the mess of sorting out the *right* Google answer.  🙂

  • where are the breakdowns for hours flown = expertise in your mind?  I hear you say 50 hour and 500 hour pilot a bunch to refer to rank beginners on up to intermediate, are there any further break downs of that?
  • thoughts on really working to fly without instruments for as long as possible in order to develop that feel for the wing, for thermals, etc?
  • what does the “perfect” progression look like beyond the first flight school?  I get the P1-Pwhatever, but if you wanted to build a truly excellent pilot, I’ve been thinking about the following:

Flight school 

GH::flight ratio of 5::1 for the first 20 hours, 

an “intro” SIV (which may be different than a more advanced SIV?)   

another 30 hours of 5::1 flight/kite

then the 2nd SIV 

then an hour or two of basic acro

and then start to push into XC with a solid understanding of the wing, dynamics, recoveries, and reserve throws under your belt.

  • Over and over on your podcast I’ve heard that the mistakes come from not just pilot error, but easily preventable pilot error.  Is there a way to build a better system of teaching & learning to address that?  Maybe a mantra for flying?  
  • How have you not had any big accidents yet?  You’re flying big lines on an advanced wing.  What are your methods/rhythms/mantras during flight prep, takeoff, flight, pre-landing, landing?
  • What’s the difference between a 2 liner and a 3 liner?
  • What I’m hearing on “when to move up a wing” is basically “never” after an advanced EN-B wing for the “regular” pilot.  Why do so many people ignore that?
  • Paragliding in general seems like such a “feel” sport, but the attraction (at least for me) is that it’s a very technical sport in the sense of technique completely trumps fitness and strength.  Can we talk about how you learn the technique of something when it’s almost all “feel”?


Here’s my list of what I’m working on, lately I’ve been putting in about an hour a day, 5-7 days a week:

-Build a wall

-Prep for forward (layout, lines check, riser routing, CLEAN launch with kite absolutely straight over head)

-Prep for reverse (same as above)

-Cobra launch

-Spin L & R 180°

-Spin L & R 360°

-Holding position (standing still and keeping wing overhead)

-Moving left, right, forward, and backward under control

-Climbing, both objects and hills (I used my truck until I cracked the windshield.)  🙂

-Launch from rosette

-Kiting facing forward w/ kite forward

-Kiting facing forward w/ kite reversed

-Kiting facing backward w/kite forward

-Kiting facing backward w/kite reversed

-Collapses of one side, fly the other in control, inflate at will, facing both forward & reverse

-Big ears, forward & reverse

-Stall & recover, forward & reverse


-Kiss the ground with a wingtip, side to side, under control

-Kiss the ground then collapse the ground wingtip with A, then reinflate

-Frontal symmetrical collapse

-Helico via running start, up to 5’ high, hard on brake on one side, full weight on other, hard on opposite B (just saw this, haven’t tried it yet)


All of those (of course) depend on how much wind you have at your practice site.  No wind means lots of forwards.  🙂


UK Film Tour and Master Classes with Gavin announced!


Cross Country Magazine is hosting three film tour dates in the UK in April (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th) and two masters classes at Jocky Sanderson’s Flight Park in the Lakes District (8th and 9th) where we will have a full day of instruction, flying, talking about the X-Alps, expedition packing, vol-biv, equipment and a lot more and then a film screening of North of Known. Here are links to all the details:

April 5th, Fly Sussex.

April 6th, Bristol.

April 7th, Keswick.

April 8th, SOLD OUT.

April 9th, Jocky Sanderson Flight Park

For more details:  http://www.xcmag.com/2017/02/gavin-mcclurgs-big-weekend-uk-tour-april-2017/

Hope to see you all there!

Episode 36- Nick Neynens and the art of Vol Biv

Nick celebrates finishing the X-Alps

Nick Neynens began paragliding a decade ago after his love of the mountains drew him to the sport. In 2015 he capped off a passionate and steep trajectory of flying a lot of vol-biv around the world with a 10th place finish in the Red Bull X-Alps. He famously did a lot of the race in sandals and shunned any kind of formal physical training before the race. By flying incredibly creative lines, staying positive, and having a ton of fun Nick charged from the back of the pack after a tough first day to making goal in Monaco. In this episode we explore the world of vol-biv, talk about Nick’s experience in the X-Berg and X-Pyr races and of course his X-Alps experience. Nick recently became a full-time meteorologist and we talk about how his weather knowledge has helped his own flying, including recently breaking the open distance record in New Zealand. I invite you to check out Nick’s flying blog, ShareMyJoys– it’s filled with fantastic reports of flying in the high mountains of the world and his own very unique take on this incredible sport we all love. His approach to flying and training isn’t traditional, but it clearly works and his positive and fun attitude is contagious in the best of ways. He also gives some great trips if you’re keen on heading out on your first vol-biv trip. You’re going to enjoy this one.

A buck an episode, that’s all we ask.

Support me via Patreon

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Show Notes:

  • Nick talks about how he got into vol-biv and some of his expeditions around the world.
  • Training for the X-Alps- an unorthodox approach.
  • Why New Zealand is one of his favorite places to fly.
  • Wing choice- choose your weapon
  • Ground handling- we revisit this most essential skill
  • How Nick’s meteorology background is impacting his flying
  • Where to begin flying vol-biv and tips for people doing it for the first time
  • Injuries- how to avoid them.
  • X-Alps- justifying the risk
  • Should you fly with a vario? Instruments discussion and how they can get in the way.
  • The importance of being in a good headspace- can you find it?
  • What separates the elite from the rest? Why are some people so much better? The importance of reflection for progression.
  • Nick’s most memorable flight.
  • Mentioned in this episode: Cross Country Magazine, Hugh Miller, Ed Ewing, Tom Lines, Louis Tapper, X-Berg, X-Pyr, Ferdinand Van Shelven, Chrigel


Nick sending in New Zealand

Episode 35- Christina Kolb and becoming a complete pilot

Christina throwing down!

Christina Kolb is the current female world acro champion and one of the few women in the world who has perfected the Infinite tumble. In Annecy this year she won the female class and was 18th overall- an incredible achievement. In this episode we visit and revisit the cause of many accidents and how preventable they are, how to learn acro, the importance of SIV and ground handling, why altitude is more important in many cases than water, best and worst advice, how to reduce stress on launch, and a lot of advice for beginners and how to avoid the “lemming affect.” We revisit some common themes of the Cloudbase Mayhem in this episode but getting it from a female perspective sheds new and important light on the mantras that always need to be revisited. Enjoy!

A buck an episode, that’s all we ask.

Support me via Patreon

Subscribe to the Cloudbase Mayhem Podcast on Stitcher Radio, Google Play, Tune In, or ITunes!





Show Notes:

  • Christina talks about some of the accidents she was witness to recently in Chile and how they could have been avoided
  • How and where and WHY to learn acro
  • Safety and more safety
  • SIV- why do it?
  • The worst advice Christina has ever received and why
  • The importance of ground handling
  • How to reduce stress on launch
  • Advice for beginners- the lemming affect and how to avoid it
  • Mentioned in this episode: Cody Mittanck, Jocky Sanderson, Mads Syndergaard, Tom Payne, Chrigel Maurer, VIMMFF


Save the Date! North of Known coming to a Theatre near You!

Gavin McClurg flying past Denali during the Alaska paragliding traverse. Alaska Range, Alaska. Photo: Jody MacDonald


Film Synopsis: North Of Known”, a Red Bull Media House Film documents professional paragliders and Red Bull X-Alps competitors Gavin McClurg and Dave Turner attempting a full, unsupported traverse of the Alaska Range by foot and paraglider, across North Americas highest mountains. The team faces endless extreme weather, starvation, grizzly bears, uncrossable rivers and countless glaciers in one of the worlds most remote and inhospitable mountain ranges. After 37 days 2015 National Geographic “Adventurer of the Year” Gavin McClurg completes the expedition solo and becomes the first person to traverse the Alaska Range by paraglider, fulfilling a dream he’d been chasing for six years.

I’m taking North of Known on a short film tour starting February 18th. Here are the tour dates and venues and links to the event pages on Facebook, which have the links to buy tickets in advance. I’ll give a little fun backstory to the film before we start (film length is 52 minutes), then a Q and A afterwards. The film premiered at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in November and just recently won “Best Documentary” at FLIC in Montana. I hope you’ll join me, I promise these will be fun evenings and I promise- the film and footage will blow you away! A portion of the proceeds at all of the events will benefit the Foundation for Free Flight. We expect all venues to sell out, so make sure to get tickets in advance.

Vancouver Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) Saturday, February 18th. This is the final night of the week-long festival and we’ve got the prime slot. Tickets can be purchased here. I’ll be introducing the film and tell a little backstory of how it all went down. Here is the VIMFF trailer, a LOT of these shots are taken from North of Known:



North Bend Theatre (Seattle and Issaquah, WA zone), Sunday, February 19th at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Click here to purchase tickets, and here to view the Facebook Event pageDirections to the theatre.

Velo Cult Bike Shop (Portland, OR), Monday February 20th, 6:30 PM. Tickets $15 at the door.

Hollinshead Barn (Bend, OR), Tuesday February 21st, 6:30 PM. Tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Knight Management Center (Palo Alto, CA), Wednesday February 22nd, 7:00 PM. Tickets $10 at the door. Directions to the theatre on the Stanford Campus.

San Luis Obisbo, CA. Thursday February 23rd, 7:00 PM. Venue TBA.

The Sandbox (Santa Barbara, CA), Friday February 24th, 7:00 PM. Tickets $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Ticket purchase link coming soon. Directions to the Sandbox.

San Diego, CA., Saturday February 25th, 7:00 PM. Venue TBA.

San Bernardino, CA, Sunday February 26th, 7:00 PM. Andy Jackson Airpark. Tickets $15 at the door, after a fun day of flying! See here for event details.

Episode 34- Tom Payne and Insights into our world

Tom Payne having an epic high day at 4500M over the Bernese Oberland in the Alps


Tom Payne competed in the 2009 X-Alps and was Jon Chambers supporter in 2011 and 2013 and edited Jon Chambers book “hanging in there” which documents Jon’s X-Alps campaigns. But the X-Alps is just a blip in Tom’s long, passionate, decade’s long career in paragliding. He’s been a major player in the comp scene and is well known across Europe for flying big, creative triangles. He created a tool many pilots use, XCPlanner (and if you don’t, you SHOULD!) which led to him getting a job at Google. In this episode we dig into Tom’s analytical mind and his unique view into flying that every pilot can learn from. We talk about his rather brutal 2009 X-Alps campaign; what the end of the Open class meant for his career and the sport; how the place you choose to live impacts your progression; how to approach training and how you can learn the most from the bad days; the dangers of chasing numbers (we discuss the potential evils of something like XContest); how to break the 100 km barrier (hint hint- planning!); how Tom’s support of Jon Chambers helped get him into 4th position in 2013 and how conflict resolution is one of the big keys to doing well; why Chrigel dominates; the importance of SIV; maintaining passion after you’ve ticked all the boxes; safety; and a LOT more. Please enjoy this wonderful episode with Tom Payne, we cover a lot of ground.


A buck an episode, that’s all we ask.

Support me via Patreon

Subscribe to the Cloudbase Mayhem Podcast on Stitcher Radio, Google Play, Tune In, or ITunes!





Show Notes:

  • Tom talks about single surface wings and his recent flights with the new Niviuk P Tandem- a 3.1 kg wing
  • Tom talks about a cascade that should have ended in death. We talk reserves and probabilities.
  • What ending the Open class meant for Tom’s career and the sport and how it decimated the competition scene
  • The new CCC class- does it solve anything?
  • How Tom got into flying and his immediate obsession with the X-Alps.
  • Want to get good? Live in the right place- close to reliable flying.
  • How to approach training- be KEEN, be HUNGRY, live in the right place.
  • Tom talks about his 2009 X-Alps campaign and where it went wrong.
  • How to train for the X-Alps
  • XContest. Is it all good? The dangers of chasing numbers
  • Flying is a technical sport, so who does it appeal to and why?
  • How to break the 100 KM barrier. Hint- planning!
  • Supporting Jon Chambers in 2013- and helping him get to 4th position. An inside view into the X-Alps.
  • How SIV saved Tom’s life and why it’s so important, and what it really teaches us.
  • How to maintain your passion for flying after you’ve ticked all the boxes
  • Safety- what Tom’s learned after a couple decades of flying. Number one rule- make the right decision whether or not to take off.
  • Risk homeostasis theory and how we should be thinking about it when it comes to flying
  • Mental preparation for the X-Alps and just flying
  • Mentioned in this episode: Cody Mittanck, Bruce Marks, Jon Chambers, Chrigel Maurer, Ed Ewing, Alex Hofer, Ben Abruzzo, Hugh Miller, Toby Colombe, FlyEO, Russ Ogden, Dave Turner




Episode 33- Hugh Miller and Flying Psychology, X-Alps, Chrigel Secrets and MORE

Hugh Miller flying the flats of the UK

Hugh Miller began flying at the age of 15 and has been a household name in the sport since taking over Cross Country Magazine back in the 90’s at the age of 21. He does most of the EN C and D wing testing for the magazine today and just last year won the UK League in a career that spans decades. This talk could have gone on for hours. We cover a huge range of topics that are pertinent and valuable for any pilot at any level- exposure to risk in competitions; how to improve regardless of your level; tactics for flatland flying; the importance of flying intuitively and following a “hunch”; when to move up to a higher class wing (and when not to); developing unconscious feel; developing a mental picture of the sky; the importance of preparation and goal setting; is paragliding getting bigger/ safer/ younger/ more accessible?; the power of psychology in paragliding and breaking the negative cycle; the importance of holding back to get better results; Chrigel’s magic and what the rest of us can learn; X-Alps- what’s awesome, what makes him nervous and should we be combining aviation and sport and a LOT more. Listen to this one when you aren’t distracted and listen to it more than once- there’s a lot here. Enjoy!


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Show Notes:

  • Hugh recounts learning full stalls and spins before pilots used reserves
  • High discusses the value and the dangers of competition flying
  • Flatland tactics and strategies
  • Wing choice- 2 liner or 3 liner?
  • When you should and shouldn’t move up on a wing and why
  • Flying intuitively and unconscious decision making
  • The importance of following a hunch and how to develop unconscious flying
  • The power of adventure in the sport
  • Paragliding psychology – breaking the negative cycle
  • The importance of holding back- advice for the new and intermediate pilot
  • What we should be doing flying at trim in rough air
  • X-Alps- what separates the top guys from the rest?
  • Chrigel’s magic and what we can learn from his execution
  • The 3 modes of flying- thermalling, planning, gliding- how to stay focused
  • Mentioned in this episode: Cross Country Magazine, Niviuk, King 7, Dave Turner, Jocky Sanderson, Paul Gushlbauer, Bruce Marks, Jerome Maupoint, Barney Woodhead, Headspace, Nate Scales, Intermountain Wide Open, Guy Anderson, Kelly Farina, Matt Beechinor, Mark Watts, Chrigel Maurer, Russ Ogden, Ed Ewing, Will Gadd, Tom Payne, Honza, Jon Chambers, Kirsty Cameron, X-Contest, Nick Greece