Episode 111- Steph Davis and the taking the road a LOT less traveled

 

Steph Davis is a professional climber and base jumper who lives in Moab, Utah. Steph grew up on the east coast and originally pursued music and literature. Then she moved out to Colorado to get her Masters and briefly pursued a career as a lawyer before climbing pulled her onto a totally different life path. She’s been a professional athlete and has made a living through climbing since 1996 and later skydiving and base jumping. For Steph, climbing is a metaphor for life:  “You have to do what feels right, what lights you up. Do your best always. Conserve. Never waste anything. You can only have what you can carry: choose it carefully, make it last, take care of it. Appreciate what you have for as long as you have it. Be ready to do without it. No matter what happens, deal with it. Adapt, instantly when necessary. Take care of yourself. Try to help. A lot of times you fail, sometimes you succeed. Either way, you’re never the whole reason for it.” Steph speaks professionally about fear, risk and resilience (see her recent TedTalk here) and has witnessed a lot of traumatic accidents, including the death of her husband Mario Richard in a wingsuit base jump accident in the Dolomites. Why do we need risk in our lives? How do we balance the risk and reward? How do we learn to live again after tragedy? What non-physical training can we do to support performance? How can we reduce accidents in airports? This is a fascinating talk with a fascinating person. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

  • Steph discusses the difficulty of describing what she does for a living…
  • How to make a living as a professional athlete
  • The plusses and negatives of being a minimalist
  • The “dirt bag” lifestyle- let’s not glamorize it too much
  • People who jump off cliffs- they aren’t what you think
  • Walking a completely different path
  • The risk and reward
  • The death of her husband Mario Richard
  • Why do some people pursue such high-risk activities? Is it the escape or something else?
  • Dealing with tragedy
  • Non-physical training
  • Minimize your life!
  • How do we reduce accidents?

Mentioned in this episode:

GEOS, Global Rescue, IMG Signature, Garmin, Base jumping, Wingsuiting, Climbing, Rebecca Rusch, Jody MacDonald, KAVU, Alex Honnold, Jeff Shapiro, Dean Potter, Graham Hunt, Sean Leary, MSR, Ruffwear

 

Episode 110- Juan Sebastien Ospina “Seb” and Piecing it all Together

 

Sebastien Ospina “Seb” has been chasing all things paragliding for years now. Seb works the tandem scene in Interlaken year round; has been chasing the world record in the Sertau in Brazil the past few years; is a regular on the podium at very high level competitions; is frequently at the top of the XContest every year; and has been an XC instructor with Pal Takats and Mike and Stu Belbas with Verbier Summits. Seb is from Armenia, Colombia and his story from being fascinated with the sky as a little boy to becoming one of the worlds great pilots is a fantastic story in itself and in this podcast we dive into the tactics and secrets he’s developed with the help of Thomas Theurillat (ONEDAY coaching, and Chrigel’s coach and supporter for many of his X-Alps campaigns) to play a better game, and how we bounce back from the times it doesn’t work. Seb has a terrific attitude about flying and he’s always the guy who’s wearing the biggest smile: his thrill and passion for the sport is infectious and inspiring. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

  • Seb discusses ONEDAY coaching with Thomas Theurillat and how it is affecting his flying
  • Preparing the mind for flying and tools to improve
  • The importance of journaling and mindfulness
  • The right headspace for success
  • Mantras and tips for flying well
  • Being “zen” and cool when you’re flying. Try to be cool!
  • Breath
  • Fly the shit out of your glider before you move up!
  • Stuff the lower hour pilots really need to practice- ground handling, pitch control, observation
  • The breakthrough- flying Brazil
  • How to be consistent in comps
  • Is flying tandems commercially good for your personal flying?
  • Getting into comps
  • Top landing Mont Blanc
  • Chasing it in Brazil- tips for flying in the wind and for flying long days
  • Sink in the flats

Mentioned in this episode:

Blue Fly Vario, Dave Hanning, Stian Volstad, Mike and Stu Belbas, Verbier Summits, Viv Fouracre, Livia Gilstrap, Anze Priztov, Ben Netterfield, Yann Gallin, Andy Read, Wendy Pepper, Miguel Gutierrez, Bowen Dwelle, Alas Del Hombre, British Paragliding, Guy Anderson, Chris Bevins, ONEDAY coaching, Thomas Theurillat, Charles Cazaux, Patrick Von Kanel, Yael Margelisch, XContest, Chrigel Maurer, Alistair Dickie, Maxime Bellemin, Hugh Miller, Cross Country Paragliding, Russ Ogden, Adel Honti, Nick Neynens, Mitch Riley, Bruce Goldsmith, Jeff Shapiro, Will Gadd, Josh Cohn, Ozone, Mark Watts, Red Bull X-Alps, Rafael Saladini, Samuel Nascimento, Marcelo Prieto, FlyWithAndy, Ken Hudonjorgensen, Red Rocks Flyin

Episode 109- Reducing the Carnage with Will Gadd and Jeff Shapiro

Accidents are ubiquitous in free flight but recently there’s been a huge spike in fatalities in our sport and in this podcast with Jeff Shapiro and Will Gadd we aim to take on the subject of risk and where we get it wrong sometimes- and why. We take on a lot in this show, but here’s a little teaser: How well do you understand your own head? Is pushing the limits necessary to learn? What can go wrong and how much margin do we need so we can play another day? Mistakes are necessary to learn, but the ground is hard and unforgiving, so how do we fly with that knowledge and still excel safely? How to have appropriate goals at appropriate times. What’s the end game? Why aviation is unique compared to other high risk sports because of gravity and the ground. The dangers of forcing your will on the day, rather than just flying what the day provides (“Fly the day, not your desire”- Nick Greece). The three stages of combat veterans and how it applies to free flight. And a ton more. This is one of the most important shows we’ve ever produced, I hope you’ll share it with everyone you know who flies or participates in high risk activities. Be safe everyone.

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Show Notes:

  • The 5 hazardous attitudes in Aviation
  • The positive power of negative thinking
  • How well do you understand your own head?- Expect error.
  • Thinking of and understanding the consequences tends to allow you to live longer
  • The importance of having a visceral connection
  • Understanding the difference between someone being negative and someone giving good advice and how not to misinterpret the two
  • Flying is a high consequence sport with a lot of complexities- so you better understand that up front
  • Gravity and speed
  • Fly like the pilot you ARE, not the pilot you want to be
  • Every flight we make is a very personal decision for each of us. Fly the day, not your desire.
  • Combat veterans go through 3 stages. The first stage with novices haven’t seen much and assume nothing will happen to them. The second stage is when a more experienced veteran realizes the dangers and will train hard to try to avoid getting hurt. The third stage is simply realizing that no matter how hard you train and how good you are still means you might not come home. So it’s recognizing that these sports are just dangerous. It’s not resignation, it’s just being real about the risks.
  • Operating from a place of fear is not a good place to be
  • The line between fear and doubt isn’t always very clear.
  • Most aviation events happen in a chain. They are rarely just one thing.
  • “You gotta be stupid enough to launch and smart enough to get it back to the ground.”- Nate Scales
  • Keeping track of the (typically 3) things that are likely going to kill you. Respect the relationship of the stuff that will kill you.
  • How to create a culture of safety. 

Mentioned in this episode:

Will Gadd, Jeff Shapiro, Cody Tuttle, Casey Bedell, Cross Country Magazine, Nick Greece, Josh Cohn, Nate Scales

Bonus Episode- Ken Hudonjorgensen and “Winguistics”

This content is only available to Members of the Cloudbase Mayhem. If you have subscribed to our newsletter or have supported us in the past through PayPal, Patreon or another way you should have an account all set up with us and you can login below (username is typically your email). If you aren't a member, all we've ever asked for is a buck a show so please if you can join now! Can't afford a buck a show? We want all our content to be available to the flying community regardless of your financial position, so just send us an email and we'll sort you out.

The Flying Gear Post

Window? Assessing our rather bleak options above Chur with Tobias (Team Italy 2) during the 2019 Red Bull X-Alps. Photo Vitek Ludvik

As 2019 comes to a close I’m trying to wrap up some loose ends. One of them is to fulfill a request from many of our podcast listeners to review and talk about the flying gear I use and why. For transparency, I’m sponsored by many of the companies I’m going to mention and obviously I can’t possibly personally fly everything on the market. I choose the gear I fly firstly because it’s the gear I’d choose anyway and I can hand on my heart promise my opinions are not being altered because of the sponsorship relationship. These are my truthful opinions. My flying is mainly focused on three different forms of XC- Race to Goal competitions (World Cups, etc.), hike and fly races (Red Bull X-Alps), and vol biv expeditions (Rockies Traverse, North of Known, 500 Miles to Nowhere, etc.). The gear for each of these forms of aviation doesn’t always cross over very well so I’ll cover the gear I use for each.

Let’s talk the small stuff first as that’s the gear I get the most questions about:

Instruments (Vario, GPS, Satellite tracking, etc.):

For hike and fly I only carry three electronic devices: My iPhone, XCTracer Mini II GPS (the Mini III is now out and I look forward to the upgrade!), and the Garmin InReach Mini. Of those three, the Garmin InReach is of course the most important for safety and is beyond the scope of this article as to the why as I’ve gone over this countless times in the podcast and in other blog posts. GET ONE! If you don’t have an InReach you’re putting your family and flying community at massive unnecessary risk.

The XCTracer mini II (and the new mini III) has a solar cell (and is now available with FLARM), pretty much never needs to be charged unless you’re using it for 12 days straight in the X-Alps and using it as a back up tracker for when you are walking and is just an incredible audio vario in a tiny, light package. More than 50% of the X-Alps pilots used the XCTracer in the race in 2019. The XCTracer seamlessly connects to your phone, is loud enough to hear in any condition, totally customizable and just an awesome piece of kit (and paired with your phone makes uploading igc files a breeze). The new XCTracer Maxx (out in Feb 2020) has a readable B&W lcd (perfectly readable in bright sunlight), has Flarm integrated, lasts 60h on a single battery charge, weighs only 120g and has all the features the solar powered XC Tracers have.

The new XCTracer Maxx, out in Feb, 2020. Order now!



For the Iphone I run the FlySkyHy app (similar to XCSoar and XCtrack on Android), which is a super powerful flight computer that integrates airspace, waypoint files, offline maps, has totally customizable screens that allow you easily see whatever data you want (map view, side view, etc.), makes entering tasks a breeze when racing AND a lot more. The app still lacks some handy things in a dedicated race instrument like the Oudie (for example an audible alarm when you can go on glide to goal given current conditions rather than just relying on L/D) but Rene (the app developer) is fantastic to work with and he’s constantly making updates. Running FlySkyHy in the X-Alps easily saved me from hitting air space several times when other pilots flew right in and got huge penalties.

 

For Race to Goal competitions and when I don’t care about weight I add the FlyTec 6030, which is a pretty old flight computer now but just still very hard to beat. Bombproof, reliable, easy to use for those like me who are technologically challenged and has awesome tone settings for coring thermals. All the comp pilots I know who use an Oudie or similar all fly with two, which to me means they don’t trust having just one (but for any comp flying you ALWAYS want a backup, in which case when flying with the XCTracer you’ve already got one)…

I never go anywhere without my Anker 10,000 mAh external battery which is the lightest there is with so much punch and plenty of power for long flights so my phone doesn’t die when flying or during retrieve.

Radio

Yeasu FT-60 with the Thermal Tracker PTT (best there is in my opinion). I don’t carry a radio in the X-Alps, but a radio is a critical piece of gear, right up there with the InReach, especially when something goes wrong. Should be part of your pre-flight checks the day before- batteries charged, ready to go.

Helmet

Helmet I use the Sup’Air Pilot helmet. It’s the only super-light (360 grams) helmet that has the EN-966 certification, which is required for the X-Alps but is also super comfy and the one I use for all flying. I prefer flying this helmet with Smith skiing goggles with chroma-pop lenses instead of sun glasses (eyes don’t water). If I flew more comps and didn’t care about the weight, the Charly Loop would be my choice as I don’t like full face helmets (and would eliminate a ton of wind noise that you get with the light-weight helmets).


Mind and Body

Wait a minute, this is supposed to be a “Gear” post you say? Taking care of the mind and body IS GEAR in my world. We can’t fly well (and certainly not safely) if we aren’t physically and mentally tuned. My trainer Ben Abruzzo and I did a TON of research and work on diet and supplements that I have written about extensively in previous blog posts and articles but for a quick review I had a ton of problems with inflammation in the 2015 race which we solved in 2017 by optimizing fat metabolism (OFM). This wasn’t full-on Ketosis, just a diet heavy on fats and protein (especially organ meats and meat on the bone) and light on carbs, and a major restriction of sugar. Here’s my basic recipe:

For training days and going hard (ie HR is generally going to be high and you can’t digest well and can expect stomach issues if you eat too much), when I need fast recovery and need to keep my brain sharp I use Vespa as a catalyst to access my body fat. I use it at least once a day and for hard days as many as three times a day (ie during the X-Alps). This applies to just flying a big day as well and during regular race-to-goal competition as the brain burns A TON of energy and flying is massively taxing on the mind. Bonking in flight is not something you want to happen, and neither is bombing out on a big day. Follow this link and use the code “2020” to get 10% off for Cloudbase Mayhem listeners!

I also ALWAYS have within reach when I’m training and flying (when flying I drink at the top of every thermal and eat at least one time per hour) a few ONNIT supplements:

  1. Daily I take Total Human. Read the ingredients and you’ll see why. Essential minerals, amino acids, vitamins and herbs to keep the colds at bay. This stuff is amazing and keeps your immune system strong, which can take a beating in the winter, traveling or when training hard.
  2. Also daily I take Alpha Brain. Alpha Brain is like “another gear for your brain”. It’s a Nootropic that supports memory, focus and mental speed (things that are pretty important in flying!) and it’s made from Earth-grown ingredients. Awesome stuff.
  3. I add Mineral electrolytes during any physical exercise or long flights.
  4. Onnit’s Protein bites are RIDICULOUS and BY FAR and away the best protein bars out there. Believe me, I’ve tried them all. Again- look at the ingredients. I’ll eat one of these every hour in flight.
  5. Other things in the Onnit line up I use heavily during hard training loads: Joint Oil, Elk Bars, Warrior Bars, LOVE their Powerfood Active, and I’ll go pretty hard on Glutamine when I’m doing a lot of miles and Creatine when I’m in the gym a lot and in the “bulk” phase of my training.

 

And maybe the most important and most-used piece of gear I never go anywhere without is my Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar GPS watch. When I’m training I add the chest HR monitor for precise heart rate data but the metrics tracking with the Garmin Fenix 6X (and the solar version means you almost never need to charge it) is unsurpassed. Coupled with their Garmin Connect App and the MANY sports you can track (you name it- backcountry skiing, swimming, hiking, running, and yes- paragliding!) Ben can easily and instantly see exactly where I am, how much recovery I need, and where we need to focus when I’m in training. Physical fitness is one of the most important things to not only flying well, but making your body durable…which comes in awfully handy when you land a little hard!


Camera and Fun

The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is my go-to action cam. WAY better mounts and camera than GoPro and WAY more user-friendly. Just not in the same category. And for the ultimate thrill the VIRB 360 is pretty fun if you want to really impress!


Footwear

Salewa makes killer shoes that are light and work great in a pod harness/pressing bar and for grinding out hard miles on the trail. For road use I need shoes with a bit more cushion (my goto are Brooks). I used Salewa’s Ultra Flex Mid Goretex training shoe for the wet stuff in the Alps during the race (which work great with micro spikes if you’re in hard snow); the ultra train 2 for nearly all trail running or just normal flying or anytime you need a comfy, light shoe that has support; the lite train when I want super light; and the Speed Beat GTX when I want support and goretex (ie it’s going to be wet).

 


Harnesses

COMPS: With the caveat that I have not flown the Genie or the Exoceat, the Kortel Kanibal Race 2 is in a league of its own for racing, or flying big distance if you can drive or gondola to launch (like all comp harnesses- it’s heavy!). It is the only harness with a super user-friendly “dynamic stabilization” system that makes glides more efficient (the Woody Valley XR-7 tried to copy the Kanibal but I didn’t feel it was very safe to use, especially in combat situations as you have to take your hands off the brakes to engage/disengage). The Kanibal Race 2 is like flying a Cadillac. Two reserves, awesome removable flight deck, super comfy and supportive seat, great 3 step speed bar, and all of the little things you want and need in the perfect place: ballast dump, inReach or audio vario mount on the shoulder, hydration passage for your camelback, SUPER protection, most aerodynamic of all the race harnesses with a huge fairing (best polar and makes twisting up less likely after a collapse), drag chute pockets both sides, radio pocket…this harness has it all!

Vol Biv: For vol biv the magic balance is light but durable and enough storage for all the necessary gear- bivvy or tent, stove, hiking poles, sleeping bag, food and water, camera, safety kit, pot/stove, etc. See my complete vol biv kit gear list if you want a checklist! The Kortel Kolibri is absolutely the MONEY for vol biv. It’s the harness Antoine Girard has been using on his big high-altitude nutters and it’s the harness I wish I would have had for the Alaska Traverse and the Rockies Traverse (and all my Vol Biv expeditions). At 2 kg in the Large size it’s barely (300-400 grams) heavier than an X-Alps harness, has plenty of storage for bivvy kit, has awesome protection and yet somehow they have also made it much more durable than what you would expect in a harness this light. The construction looks like Kortel has some folks from NASA on the team- it’s just brilliant. A warning: light gear is all the rage these days but please understand the compromise of flying light gear. It’s expensive, it’s fragile, you’re usually giving up a seat board (hammock harnesses make wing handling a lot less precise, although exclusive to Kortel their split-leg design compensates for this to an extent), and you’re giving up a LOT of passive safety. My buddy Ben broke his back flying the Strike, if he’d had more cushion under his butt he likely would have walked away. Listen to the “Ask Me Anything” podcast with Max Jeanpierre from Kortel for more details on harness design and compromises with light harnesses. 

Interested in Kortel and live in North America? I am a dealer and will happily get you set up!

Hike and Fly / racing: I have have flown a lot of the “uber light” harnesses on the market. In the 2015 and 2017 X-Alps I flew the Sup’Air Strike (the 2017 Sup’Air harness was awful and in my opinion unusable), and in the 2019 race I flew the SkyWalk Range X-Alps after deciding the new Ozone F-Race wasn’t ready and still needed some refining. I flew the retail version of the Range, but SkyWalk also made a specific X-Alps version that was about 300 grams less (which they didn’t offer to me)- but also a LOT more fragile. The Range is a terrific harness and the “permair” system is fantastic for packing as the harness gets really small when you deflate and provides very nice protection, but I refuse to fly SkyWalk because their customer service is…lacking. I did some moderate damage to my Range in the race (which I purchased, something quite unheard of for X-Alps athletes), sent it to them to repair, they kept it for 3 weeks and then instead of repairing it suggested I just buy a new one and said it was “unrepairable.” I had them send me the harness back, did the repairs myself in under an hour and it is now in the hands of a friend who loves it. Not cool Skywalk! Kortel has a “Kolibri Pro” that isn’t available for retail, but for my future hike and fly races this will be my harness. Like the Kolibri- brilliant, comfortable but ridiculously light.

Wings

 

COMPS: For racing and when I’m going for big distance, I’m LOVING the Niviuk IcePeak EVOX (their CCC glider). Niviuk struggled after the game-changing IcePeak 6 to keep up with Ozone and to some extent Gin and didn’t have a competitive CCC glider from 2016 through 2018. I flew the Ozone Enzo 3 most of the 2017 competition season and it’s an awesome wing. Stable, fast, predictable- there’s a reason so many comp pilots are on the Enzo 3. The EVOX has the same glide speed as the Enzo 3 but I feel like it climbs better and it’s definitely more “searchy” in light air. It’s less stiff, maybe a touch harder to keep open but I love the increased feel that is so typical to Niviuk wings. If I wasn’t sponsored by Niviuk, it would still be the comp wing I’d choose. There will be a new IcePeak EVOX released for the Superfinal in March 2020, and the prototypes that were flown in the PWC in Argentina by Tim Rochas and Louis Goutagny in November looked like they were really, really sweet.

BIG DISTANCE XC: The Niviuk Peak 5 was just released (January 10th, 2020). I haven’t flown it, but Olivier promised me it wouldn’t be released unless it had better performance than the Zeno. A tall order, and from my talks with their test pilots- they pulled it off. They took the plan form of the EVOX and just scaled it back a bit to provide a proper BIG XC machine that will undoubtedly be my choice for when I’m just going out flying and trying to send it big. Have a look at their website- this is an awesome looking wing.

 

VOL BIV, HIKE AND FLY: I was not in love with the Niviuk Klimber at first, but it has really grown on me, especially for bivvy as it’s super light, easy to pack, and really manageable on the ground. But when I don’t care too much about weight, I opt for a light version of the Peak 4. This isn’t really fair, as this isn’t available to purchase, but I prefer 2 liners and I just really prefer Niviuk wings and they were kind enough to make me a few of these (a light version of the Peak 4 for the Alaska Traverse and the 2017 X-Alps). I’m super excited about the Klimber 2, which will hopefully be released this spring and the Peak 5 which will be a bit of a game changer in the EN/D arena.

 

Gavin McClurg (USA 1) seen during the Red Bull X-Alps, Day 10, France

Have a great 2020 everyone and if I’ve missed anything let me know.

 

Episode 108- Deniz Burnham and flying EVERYTHING

Deniz Burnham flies seaplanes, helicopters, hang gliders, paragliders, paramotors, and sometimes- jumps out of them!

Deniz Burnham is an Alaskan resident who just happens to RUN an oil rig. Not work on an oil rig, she runs the show. She’s the only female on the rig and has worked in some of the most remote places on Earth, which would be more than enough to fill an entire podcast on its own, but as this is a free-flight podcast we reached out to Deniz to talk about her rather adventurous relationship with free flight and her passion for flying just about everything that flies. Deniz pilots seaplanes, helicopters, paramotors, hang gliders, paragliders, sailplanes and from time to time- jumps out of them (or walks on them!)!

In this fascinating talk with a fascinating person we talk about staying safe when you don’t have the time to build up “currency”; flying recreationally vs commercially; the pursuit of knowledge; how to recognize poor decision-making; the art of auto-rotation in a helicopter; why flying hang gliders top them all; the risk of the chase; seizing opportunities and passing the torch and a lot more. Enjoy!

Follow Deniz on Instagram. 

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Show Notes:

  • Staying safe without maintaining a ton of currency
  • The joy of the pursuit of knowledge
  • Closing the knowledge gap
  • Deniz’s favorite aircraft to fly and why
  • The best flight
  • The dangers of the chase
  • Maintaining the sport

Mentioned in this episode:

Coupe Icare, Larry Bunner, X-Flight

 

Episode 107- Larry Bunner, the X-Flight and flying in the moment

Glen Volk over the Okanagan

We’ve had a LOT of amazing talks on the Mayhem over the past bunch of years but this one is in a category of its own. Last summer Larry Bunner and three other very experienced Hang Gliding pilots (Glen Volk, Robin Hamilton, and Pete Lehmann) flew from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border in a series of tow and mountain launch flights over 21 days (1884 miles) and 11 States. They were supported by an amazing crew on the ground and allowed themselves lateral shifts, but all South to North travel was done in the air. This was an incredibly cool mission and it sounded like amazing fun was had by all, but in the course of the talk we also learn some terrific advice and hear some great stories from a pilot who’s been flying 45 years (accident free). Larry’s advice applies to everyone who flies (and there’s some life advice in this one that probably applies to everyone). What do all the best pilots have in common? How do you become “excellent”? How does flying change your life? How do we negotiate the inevitability of finishing projects? Do yourself a favor- DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

Please support the Foundation for Free Flight right now during their Matching Gift campaign!

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Show Notes:

  • Larry explains what the X-Flight mission was last summer
  • “To be excellent you’ve got to have an excellent plan”
  • What attribute do all of the best pilots share?
  • Larry gets into flying…45 years ago
  • How has flying changed Larry’s life?
  • How to balance life and flying
  • What the Hang Gliders know that paragliders don’t
  • The big negotiation
  • What happens when the big missions end?
  • Missions present, past and future
  • The 50 hour question…

Mentioned in this episode:

Robin Hamilton, Larry Bunner, Jayne Depanfilis, Foundation for Free flight, Rick Mullins, Glen Volk, Mike Degtoff, David Glover, Sasha Hamilton, John Enrietti, Bruce Goldsmith, AirTribune, Alistair Dickie, Patagonia, Matt Beechinor, Nate Scales, Willi Canell, Steven Kotler, Mick Howard, Greg Ludwig, Gary Osoba, X-Flight, Larry Tudor, Will Gadd, Christian Ciech, Jonny Durand, Jeff Shapiro, Dan Pointer, Wills Wing, Bowen Dwelle, Kevin Kristoferson, Ben Abruzzo, Aaron Beck, Jaro Krupa, Nick Greece, Antoine Laurens, Rafael Saladini, Marcelo Prieto, Dustin Martin, Bruce Weaver, Steve Pearson, Harry Martin

 

 

Robin Hamilton over King Mountain, Idaho

Episode 106- Your Questions answered (Bruce Goldsmith, Max Jeanpierre, Reavis Sutphin-Gray…)

Gavin McClurg flying near Denali during the Alaska paragliding traverse. Photo Jody MacDonald

This is another Ask Me Anything show that we typically release as bonus content but we got so many great questions that cover such a wide range of topics we’ve decided to release it as a regular show and for this one I went out to the experts to get the answers. Max Jeanpierre, a legendary comp pilot and designer at Kortel Designs answers several harness design questions (stability vs instability, seat board vs hammock, pod vs seat, lightweight gear and safety, etc.); Bruce Goldsmith (BGD) takes on the many disadvantages lighter pilots have and their attempts to solve it with the new “weightless” competitions and what they’ve learned trying to solve this ongoing issue. Bruce then answers a wide range of wing and line questions that came in:  EN certification and potential constraints to design; material science and what it means for keeping your wing in trim (some great tips here!) and what it all means for the longevity and performance of your wing; Reavis Sutphin-Gray takes on weather tips for newer pilots trying to fly in areas with limited weather resources; and we answer a question we get a lot- when am I ready to fly a higher performance wing?

This one is loaded with great information regardless of your ability. Please enjoy and keep sending your questions!

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Show Notes:

  • When is it time to move up to a hotter wing with more performance?
  • Max Jeanpierre talks trying to find the sweet spot in Harness Design between stability and instability
  • Bruce Goldsmith takes on weight and the disadvantage of being small
  • Bruce Goldsmith and the “weightless” competitions and what they’ve learned.
  • Bruce Goldsmith takes on wing design, fabrics and porosity, line shrinkage, rib strength, trimming tricks, when to trim…
  • Bruce Goldsmith and line stretch
  • Bruce Goldsmith takes on EN Testing and if certification is helping or holding back design
  • Reavis Sutphin-Gray takes on weather forecasting for achieving soaring (thermal) flying
  • Max Jeanpierre takes on the advantages/ disadvantages of flying a pod vs seat harness and the inherent potential risks of flying a pod (as well as some of the risks of flying a seat harness you might not have considered).
  • Max Jeanpierre and the compromise of light weight gear

Mentioned in this episode:

Max Jeanpierre, Kortel Designs, Paty Letona, Bruce Goldsmith, Aaron Beck, Blake Pelton, Global Rescue, Reavis Sutphin-Gray, Cross Country Magazine, Ken Hudonjorgensen, Niviuk, Bruce Goldsmith Designs, Josh Cohn, Isabella Messenger, Tom Payne, Chris Galli, XCSkies, Windy.com

Episode 105- Tyler G and the critical Phases of Flight

Tyler G is on the board of the Canadian Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and he’s taken on trying to solve a tough problem in our sport right now: To create a syllabus and model for learning to speed fly safely. Speed flying, especially in North America is still totally cowboy and there’s a vacuum for information. And it’s taking its toll. Accidents, often serious are plentiful and the YouTube culture is driving the desire for the thrill but pilots are skipping the necessary educational steps. Right now learning is 100% dependent on who you are learning from, and many “instructors” are unqualified. Many just learn on their own, often with disastrous results. But the culture also resists ratings and regulation. Bottom line, change is necessary and Tyler is trying to figure out the best way forward. In this episode we discuss how new pilots should learn; how to find a good instructor; if learning paragliding first is necessary; speed riding lift access in British Colombia; why speed pilots should fly with a reserve; the dangers that exist at all skill levels; the lack of margin in proximity flying, creating an ecosystem of safety, and a lot more. This one has a lot of great info regardless of what you fly and what level you are. Enjoy!

 

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Show Notes:

  • The critical phases of flight
  • Air density and safety
  • The lack of syllabus for speed flying
  • Speed flying vs Paragliding and accidents
  • Developing a system- ratings and regulation
  • How to find a good instructor
  • The dangers of being self-taught
  • Fly with a reserve!
  • Preventing accidents in the early stages
  • Maintaining a margin
  • Dealing with the Legal System
  • the ecosystem of flying
  • Attracting the youth

Mentioned in this episode:

Cade Palmer, Patrick Hennessy, Jamie Lee, Rich Kennedy, Chris Grantham, Bernhard Kalin, Andrew Dunning, Michael Dunning, Will Burks, Cross Country Magazine, USHPA, Asher and Chris Zalchendler

Episode 104- Maxime Bellemin and Performance and Preparation

Maxime Bellemin is a name all veteran competition pilots know well. Not just because of his decades of experience and multiple wins at the national and international level but because of his performance coaching with the French team and his two incredible books dedicated to flying “Performance Paragliding.” The books are in two parts, the first one dedicated to preparation for flying competitions and cross country, the second an analytical approach to flying fast and far consistently. As an engineer Maxime likes to break down the many unknowns in our sport into numbers and his methods are ones you can grasp, practice and put into immediate use. What attitude do we need to win? How should we approach training? Gear? Speed bar? Thermalling? Gliding? Safety and risk? How do we balance our desire for flying and our families and jobs? I found his books invaluable and we had a blast with this conversation. Whether you are a newbie XC pilot seeking your first thermals or trying to win on the World Cup, there is gold here for every pilot. Enjoy!

Don’t have his books? Get them on Kindle RIGHT NOW!

 

DCIM100GOPRO

Support the Podcast

A buck an episode, that's all we ask

If you like what you hear, please consider becoming a subscriber to ensure our high-quality content continues.

See our donation and subscription options here.

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Listen to us on all the most popular podcast platforms: