Episode 149- Dilan Benedeti and learning to deal with gravity

My training took place during one of his SIV clinics with a bunch of very new students so I got to watch his team and his methods in action and came away super, duper impressed. In this episode Dilan shares why we don’t have any kind of standardized training in the US and much of the world and why that needs to change; why so many pilots quit the sport too soon; why so many pilots choose the wrong wing during their progression; the dangers of “risk homeostasis”, especially in free flight; why having a school AND selling gear creates so much conflict of interest (and why this isn’t allowed in many countries); why the US instructor system is so flawed; and why having a basic understanding of psychology is so critical when you leave the ground.

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Episode 148: Red Bull X-Alps 2021, Gavin answers your questions!

This year’s Red Bull X-Alps, if you could put it in a word- scary. We didn’t have a single “standard” day of flying with light wind, nice cumulus, and good base, unless you count the Prologue! We had incredible heat the first three days, low base, wind and stable conditions, then the thunderstorms started, strong Fohn from the South and North, window-breaking hail, severe lightning and really, really strong wind for the remainder of the race. Every athlete I spoke with at the awards at the end had a look of just going to battle. For the first time in my four races, the bad weather got everyone, regardless of where you were on the course, and it didn’t let up. There were times when all 12 pairs of my shoes were soaked. After a good showing in the Prologue and going into the race pretty beat up from a crash at the end of May, and carrying the remainder of a flu into the race, which later turned into some kind of pneumonia (we’re not sure, but it was ugly!) and having a terrifically bad start, Team USA 1 started clawing back.

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Episode 147- Special Red Bull X-Alps Podcast with the Salewa athletes

I sat down for a special edition of the Cloudbase Mayhem directly after the Red Bull X-Alps Prologue yesterday with my Salewa teammates Paul Guschlbauer, Aaron Durogati, Markus Anders, Chrigel Maurer, Simon Oberrauner, and Tommy Friedrich to find out how they are feeling going into the race, what they are most concerned about with the course, how they take care of their body for 12 days of pounding, how they train, what they changed coming into this race, funny stories from previous editions, critical gear choices and a lot more. We all had a blast with this and we hope you enjoy. The race kicks off Sunday, we hope you’ll follow along and cheer us on!

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Episode 146- Maxime Pinot and turning up the Volume

In this episode we discuss how Maxime approaches training (physical and mental), his thoughts on just making better decisions instead of doing SIV for pilots who don’t have the money or time, how to manage your emotions, how to thermal and glide better, dealing with the “mental pain” that sometimes comes with flying, finding the opportunities from mistakes, the importance of visualization, and we look back at a couple key moves that made all the difference for Chrigel in the 2019 race.

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Episode 145- Standing on the shoulders of giants with Mitchell McAleer

Mitchell McAleer properly crashed a hang glider on literally his first flight in the early 70’s. But he shook it off and was in the right place at the right time and had the right mentors and right attitude and eventually became the winningest aerobatics pilot in history. Southern California was one of the true meccas of hang gliding in the 70’s and 80’s. It was the home of UP during their reign with the Comet, remains the home of Wills Wing and was where Mitch took on the sport in his teens and remains today after nearly 45 years of obsessed flying. Mitch has an encyclopedic memory and this podcast is a fascinating and at times totally unbelievable stroll down memory lane.

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Training for the Red Bull X-Alps

The May/June Issue of USHPA pilot just came out and there’s a thorough article about how Team USA 1 approaches training and preparation for the Red Bull X-Alps. In a month we’ll be competing in our 4th race. Here’s what we’re doing now, and what we’ve changed from previous editions.

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Bonus Episode- Bastienne Wentzel interviews your host!

A few months ago I interviewed Bastienne Wentzel about her book “Paragliding, The Beginner’s Guide” and at the end of the interview Bastienne turned things around and interviewed me for her magazine about the upcoming X-Alps, my history in flying, preparing for this campaign vs previous campaigns, why learning is so addicting, flying and family, making a living through flying (sort of!), the book (Advanced Paragliding), why the X-Alps and flying itself is so addicting (and could it be without the risk?), comparing the Alaska Traverse and the X-Alps, what the spectators miss in the race, the most memorable days, how to eat for the race, dealing with the physical trauma, the wonderful impact of the fans and a lot more.

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Episode 144- Jeff Longcor and (mostly) Inexpensive Mistakes

Jeff Longcor has been flying only a few years and has a full time job, which makes getting hours tough, but he’s completely enamored with the sport and has been chasing it hard, sometimes too hard. Jeff has made some inexpensive mistakes, and a few expensive ones. They’ve all provided volumes of learning, and his desire for the sport is as high as it has ever been. In this show we dig into all the little things that add up to help us all become better pilots, and in the end- better people.

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Episode 143- Matt Scutter and SkySight Soaring 101

Matt Scutter is an Australian competition sailplane pilot and software engineer who leads a team that runs the popular global soaring forecast platform Skysight. Unlike other platforms that use existing weather models to produce interactive forecasts for free flight enthusiasts like Meteoparapente and XCSkies, SkySight uses their own supercomputing systems to gather a wide range of weather data to create their own daily models. Initially designed for sailplane forecasting SkySight is now a go-to platform for paragliding and hang gliding forecasting as well.

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