Episode 81- Damien Lacaze and Touching the Void

Damien and Antoine dial up the Trango Towers

“During their six-week expedition to Pakistan this summer, Damien Lacaze and Antoine Girard traveled more than 1,500 kilometers in just 14 days of flight, making the second highest flight in the history of paragliding, bivouacked at more than 6,000 meters and attempted the ascent of Spantik, which rises to more than 7000 m. It was an adventure at the extreme boundaries of what is humanly possible.” – Alpine Magazine

Damien Lacaze has had an incredible couple years. He was Benoit Outters supporter in the 2017 X-Alps, the only other team to reach goal in Monaco and he flew EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT in the race with Benoit. But that was just a warm-up for the main event: a monster 1500KM vol biv with a big mountaineering objective in the Pakistan Himalaya. In this episode Damien recounts one of the most harrowing and yet magnificent and inspiring adventures in the history of the mountains, let alone human flight. Enjoy- this is flat out AWESOME!

DO NOT MISS Damien’s amazing three part story of the expedition- it’s an incredible, jaw-dropping story:

Episode 1: https://alpinemag.fr/le-survol-des-geants-episode-1/

Episode 2: https://alpinemag.fr/le-survol-des-geants-episode-2/

Episode 3: https://alpinemag.fr/le-survol-des-geants-episode-3/

 

And another great article and photos on the Advance website.

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Show Notes:

  • 2017 Red Bull X-Alps- Damien was Benoit’s supporter (the only other athlete to make goal in Monaco in 2017, in second place behind Chrigel). And he flew EVERY flight with him!

  • Why their team did well and what it’s like to support an X-Alps athlete.

  • Dicey flying on Day 2 of the race

  • How the team met and how the expedition took shape

  • What gear was used and how did the team decide what to bring?

  • Things go bad right off the start when Antoine lands hard day one

  • Problems on the climb of Spantik- including Antoine getting a bad case of Cerebral Edema

  • A close escape

  • Flying at 7900 meters in the biggest mountains on Earth- how does it compare?

  • The size and scope- how to compute MASSIVE?

  • Flying without oxygen- how did the team deal with acclimatization?

  • The mental side- how to deal with the unknown?

  • Making big decisions when you can’t fuck it up- rescue is not possible

  • How to come back to the “real” world after such an undertaking?

  • Damien discusses the difficulties of leaving on the expedition when he has a 6 month old girl, his first child

 

Mentioned in this episode:

Jayne Desantis, Foundation for Free Flight, USHPA, Willi Canell, Tony Lang, Marko Hrga, Doug Sharpe, Benoit Outers, Red Bull X-Alps, Chrigel Maurer, Antoine Girard, Gaspard Petiot, Cross Country Magazine, Maxime Pinot, Tom De Dorlodot, John Sylvester

 

Episode 80 – The History and Future of Hang Gliding

 

Hang gliding is arguably the first “extreme sport” in human history and its influences radically changed the world. Drawing inspiration from Leonardo Davinci, Otto Lillienthal built the first foot-launched hang gliders in the late 1800’s. His wings inspired Octave Chanute and his assistants to make thousands of flights at the turn of the last century on the shores of lake Michigan which led to the Wright Brothers’ remarkable inventions- and humans take to the skies. Orville and Wilbur Wright’s flights in the early 1900’s are still hard to wrap your head around. Imagine picking up a 150 pound glider built out of bamboo, balsa and muzzen cloth in 30 miles per hour of wind and actually soaring! Their flights in 1911 wouldn’t be matched until the early 1970’s! Their passion for flight lead to the rapid development of powered aircraft which had a massive impact in the devastating air campaigns of World War I and World War II. Interest in unpowered flight returns after the Wars and the arrival of Francis Rogallo and his genius leads to Hang gliding as we know it. Suddenly we can chase the birds, fulfilling a shared dream that has existed from the beginning of human history. The sport goes crazy in the early 70’s, over a hundred manufacturers get into the game, performance gains go through the roof, but then so do the accidents. In the late 70’s the Hang Gliding Manufacturers Association creates a certification process and the sport becomes more interested in safety than just getting off the ground at any cost. Gliders continue to innovate at an insane pace and incredible distances are flown- the first 100 mile flight goes down, then Larry Tudor flies 200 miles, then 300 but as wings get more and more sophisticated and fast, they also get more difficult to fly and importantly- to learn. In 2012 Dustin Martin flies an unbelievable 475 miles in Texas, the farthest anyone has flown on unpowered aircraft but the future of hang gliding is anything but encouraging. What’s next for the sport, and has what’s happened to hang gliding foretelling of paragliding’s future? This is a remarkable tale told eloquently by the legendary Bruce Weaver from Kitty Hawk Kites, the president Wills Wing Steven Pearson, the former president of USHPA and former world record holder David Glover, the “Dark Prince” Larry Tudor and the current world record holder, Dustin Martin.

 

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Show Notes:

  • KittyHawk kites and the beginnings
  • Otto Lillienthal and then up to the Wright Brothers. The first “hang gliders”, taking from Divinci and Lillienthal
  • “Sacrifices must be made!”
  • Octave Chanute carries on the legacy of Lillienthal and the Wright brothers take notice
  • Wright Brothers Innovation and inspiration- thousands of flights go down before they add engines!
  • Changing the course of mankind
  • First time soaring- on a 150 pound glider, in 30+ mph wind with bamboo and a kitchen curtain!
  • Francis Rogallo- the lightbulb goes off. NASA and the space race
  • National Geographic and the birth of Wills Wing under Bob and Chris Wills
  • Wills Wing- from the Boom to accidents to the decades of decline
  • The space race and how it affects Hang gliding and free flight
  • David Glover and Rogallo and the “Killer van”
  • Steven Pearson and the birth of Wills Wing and the crazy boom of Hang Gliding in the early and mid 70’s
  • Hundreds of manufacturers form around the world, performance increases and the accident rates goes through the roof
  • Distance flights starts to hit, and the Dark Prince- Larry Tudor flies 200 miles, then 300 miles…
  • Zapata “fucking” Texas- chasing the longest flights on Earth
  • Dustin Martin and Johnny Durand battle it out, and Dustin goes farther than anyone ever has on a hang glider. The record still holds.

 

Mentioned in this episode:

Miguel Gutierrez, Rob Kells, Chris and Bob Wills, Steven Pearson, Mike and Linda Myer, Larry Tudor, Benny Abruzzo, Ben Abruzzo, Dean Potter, Gerry Katz, Trip Millinger and Gene Blythe, Steve Moyes, Don Partridge, Joe Bostik, Gerry Forberger, Manfred Ruhmer, Bobby Bailey, Moyes Dragonfly, Campbell Bowen, Bill Moyes, Brad Cushner, Mark Knight, Icaro, Moyes Gliders, Aeros, Pete Layman, Gary Osoba, Frank Brown, Davis Straub, Alex Ploner, Bruce Weaver, Nick Greece, Leonardo Davinci, Ted Boyce, Pete Layman, Gary Osoba, Dustin Martin, Johnny Durand, Bill Moyes, Pete Brock, Zac “Zippy” Majors

1959 Wind Tunnel Test

 

1976 on an SST

 

Bamboo Bombers

 

 

Chris and Bob Wills

 

Rogallo’s Daugher Carol on a Rogallo design, 1968

 

David Aldrich

 

Roger Flying Jockey’s Ridge

 

Francis Rogallo on Jockey’s Ridge

Watch this amazing film, “Playground in the Sky” that documents the beginnings of hang gliding:

 

Episode 79- Felipe Rezende and breaking the mold

Felipe Rezende is a fascinating individual. His roots in surfing and windsurfing and growing up in the Sertao in Brazil and his background in architecture, surfboard design, and kitesurfing wing design lead him down an unplanned path to paragliding and eventually designing paragliders. Now based in Sydney, Australia Felipe is five years into FLOW Paragliders and their designs and wings are getting some serious attention. Felipe is also a really accomplished pilot. He was on the Sol team for years, regularly races on the PWC circuit and has done some wicked big XC flying. In this episode we discuss why we are sometimes in the “flow” and confident and everything is just clicking and why at other times we can’t seem to get anything right, and how we can maybe improve the odds to be in the former. Felipe talks about how important it is to visualize how a wing flows through the air and how understanding fluid dynamics, which he learned through surfing and shaping lent to not only flying better, but lent to designing better wings. Felipe’s story is fascinating, hope you enjoy!

PLEASE- our feathered friends in Indo need your help. Our community lost 7 pilots recently in the Earthquake and the Cloudbase Foundation is leading the charge in trying to raise $60,000 for their families. This is urgent- if you can help out, any amount goes a long ways. Click here to learn more

 

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We also accept donations via cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin

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Show Notes:

  • Gavin recounts a story of nearly dying in a waterfall back in his kayaking days and some thoughts on “listening to the voice”
  • Felipe recounts how he got into flying and how he learned to fly in the Sertao in Brazil
  • Flying the Sertao- it’s not for the faint of heart and a great place to cut your teeth
  • Team flying magic
  • How surfing and shaping surf boards lead Felipe to flying and designing wings
  • Glider design
  • How do we get more performance out of wings going forward?
  • What goes into building a glider- design software, prototypes, certification…
  • Gliders are getting better and better, but it’s not safer if you look at the accident numbers- why?
  • What do the future’s paragliders look like?
  • RASP safety system in gliders
  • How can the certification process be improved?
  • Why make paragliders?

 

Mentioned in this episode:

Hugh Miller, Ed Ewing, Cross Country, Cloudbase Foundation, Ozone Paragliders,  Sebastien Benz, Rafael Saladini, Donizete Lemos, Frank Brown, Sol Paragliders, Che Golus, Bruce Goldsmith, Nova, UP, Ozone, Niviuk,  Flow Paragliders, Luc Armont, Tao Berman, Chrigel Maurer, Bill Belcourt, Goran Dimiskovski, Garmin, Marko Hrga Hrgetic

Episode 78- Cade Palmer and the Ultimate Pursuit

 

Infinite warped, photo Cade Palmer

Cade Palmer is a speed test pilot and designer for Ozone Paragliders; is one of the most accomplished aerobatics pilots in the world; flies tandems professionally in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; regularly sessions some of the most awe-inspiring terrain on Earth with his paramotor; of course flies small planes (and jumps out of them!) in his free time; flies RC planes and lives year-round in a van with his girlfriend and fellow air junky Becca Bredehoft and their dog Talla in pursuit of all things free-flight. In other words- he’s got the life most pilots can only dream. Cade learned to fly when he was only 19 years old and has found a way to make it his year-round pursuit. In this episode we tap into Cade’s vast knowledge of small wings and tackle some of the subjects I’ve been dying to ask him for a long time. Can you learn to speed fly without learning paragliding first? How do you teach risk and consequences to a new student who hasn’t been involved in extreme sports in the past? Why are baby steps so important? How do you stay within your boundaries if you don’t know where they are? How do you learn to respect a sport like paragliding when you’re new and don’t understand the risks. How do you learn the most advanced maneuvers safely? Is #vanlife all it’s chocked up to be? Why is finding a good mentor so critical…and how do you find them? I think you’ll find this talk inspiring, interesting, at times serious and throughout- makes you want to go fly. Hope you enjoy!

You can follow Cade in Instagram @paracade and Becca @turquoise.sparrow

And follow their van build and adventures @aves_sin_rumbo

Or their website: sustainablevanlife.com

PLEASE- our feathered friends in Indo need your help. Our community lost 7 pilots recently in the Earthquake and the Cloudbase Foundation is leading the charge in trying to raise $60,000 for their families. This is urgent- if you can help out, any amount goes a long ways. Click here to learn more

 

A buck an episode, that’s all we ask.


Support me via Patreon
We also accept donations via cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin

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Show Notes:

  • Cade recounts flying off a volcano in Guatemala
  • Cade recounts getting into flying and why
  • Finding mentors and why they are so important
  • The speed world grabs Cade and tandems pad the wallet
  • Why do mistakes happen and how can we reduce accidents?
  • Test pilot- what they do, how it works, how wings get made
  • Could the certification process be improved?
  • Baby steps baby- why a set progression is so critical
  • Want to learn to Tumble? There’s a LOT to learn first
  • Why are some pilots drawn to acro vs xc?
  • Speed flying is about launching and landing- so seat time isn’t nearly as critical as it is with PG
  • There is a safe way to speed fly- so why are there so many accidents?
  • How to stay within your boundaries
  • Van life- how good is it and what are the downsides?

 

Mentioned in this episode:

Cloudbase Foundation, Cross Country Magazine, Becca Bredehoft, Chris Santacroce, Carson Klein, Jake Walker, Chris Hunlow, Michelle McCullough, Nick Greece, Robbie Whittall, Nik Peterson, Jamie Lee

 

Let’s fly!

Episode 77- Comp Tactics and Strategies

The gaggle at the PWC in Australia, Feb 2017. Photo Jimmy Huang

We’re bringing you a live show from the road this week at the Argentina Nationals. I sat down with veteran comp pilots JP Robert Vandenbegine (Canada and Belgium), Chin Chien Huang (aka Jimmy from the US), and Francisco Mantaras (Argentina) to discuss the A to Z of comps. These guys collectively have decades of competition experience and we dove into pre-race strategies, how to get a good start, gaggle flying, finding good lines and gliding, safety and cautionary tales, tactics for winning a task vs winning the comp, instrument use, speed bar use, hand position and using the B’s, how to get into comps and why and a whole lot more. We’ve been getting a lot of questions from listeners on comps- this should answer a ton of questions. Enjoy!!

 

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Show Notes:

  • Gavin takes us around the world to the best places to fly month by month
  • The crew discusses strategies before the race starts and their race background
  • Fitness and flying
  • How to get a good start
  • Gaggle flying
  • Gliding and finding good lines
  • Flying with the B’s
  • Speed bar use, instrument use, tactics
  • Comp strategy for the day vs for the week

Mentioned in this episode:

Miguel Gutierrez, Alas Del Hombre, Bill Belcourt, Chris Galli, Cody Mittanck, Francisco Mantaras, Chin Chien Huang, JP Vandenbegine, Gareth Carter, Andre Rainsford, Chrigel Maurer, Yassen Savoy, Luc Armont, Russ Ogden

 

On Glide. Photo by Robert Vandenbegine

 

 

 

Episode 76- The Ask Me Anything show! And a fun little story of a Big day:)

running fast at 17,000 on my way to the North American foot launch record- July 15, 2013

This show is broken up into two different parts. The first recounts a story that many listeners have been asking for- the North American foot launch record I set back on July 15th, 2013. As we head into fall it’s likely the record will hold another year, which is pretty amazing given the talent and dedication of so many pilots in this part of the world who have been pushing really hard. It was a remarkable week- nearly 1,000 km in three flights, all of them one personal best after another. But the big one is a pretty wild story in pretty extreme conditions in huge terrain on a very marginal day at best, and one that probably should never be repeated. Top speeds of 115-120 km / hr in the flats is one thing, but flying over 6 major mountain ranges from Idaho deep into Montana at that speed is certainly living on the edge! The second part of the show is dedicated to your questions for the “Ask Me Anything” show. We discuss how to assess new sites, the advantages and disadvantages of pod harnesses, safety compromises with light-weight gear when it comes to harnesses and reserves, listening to your gut, shaking off the rust after not flying, reserve best-practices and what might be coming in wing technology, front mount reserve best-practices, how to keep your hands warm on cold days, keeping your legs from getting tired when pressing speed bar and a lot more. Please let me know if you find these non-interview format shows valuable!

 

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Show Notes:

  • Gavin shares his experience at Garmin HQ at the athlete summit and some of the new cool products
  • Gavin recounts the record foot-launch record set back in 2013 from Sun Valley 240 miles to Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana
  • Gavin takes your questions!

 

To see the Skywalk pod tests:  http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=53367

To see Nick Neynens front mount reserve throw we discuss in the show:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwvpDy1m4hI&feature=youtu.be

And to see a GREAT blog post about reserve throwing best practices: https://flybubble.com/blog/how-to-deploy-your-reserve-parachute

Mentioned in this episode:

Garmin, Virb, InReach, Brody Leven, 360 camera, North American Foot launch record, Steven Kotler, Reavis Sutphin-Gray, Nate Scales, Matt Beechinor, Mike Pfau, Mitch Riley, Niviuk, Nik Hawks, Chris Santacroce, Jeffrey Ferrell, Superfly, Ben Abruzzo, Bruce Marks, Daniel Kahneman, Honza Rejmanik, UP, Triple 7, Flow, Russ Ogden, Rodrigo Cidad, Nick Greece, Eagle paragliding, Jocky Sanderson, Rob Sporrer, Passion Paragliding, Tim Ferriss, Stilian Blagoev, Matt Henzi, Nick Neynens, FlyBubble Paragliding, Daniel Schmid, Marko Hrga Hrgetic, Fabian Perez, Tom De Dorlodot, Karel Koudelka, Tom Sliepen.

 

Flying King Mountain in the Big Lost. Photo Jody MacDonald

 

 

Episode 75- Dominic Rohner and Chasing the Dream

Dominic flying the Rift Valley in Kenya

I met Dominic nearly a year ago in the Sertau in Brazil and I’ve been wanting to get him on the show since. This one starts with a great (and a little harrowing!) paragliding story in Switzerland that leads us to discuss some safety stuff that cross country pilots really need to implement, and just keeps getting better. Dominic has been flying for 21 years, recently sold his share of a very successful school (Paraworld) in Zurich and has been living the dream- traveling the world in the pursuit of the skycrack. From Tanzania and Kenya to Brazil to Colombia Dominic takes us on a journey that only a paraglider and some imagination can do. This one is filled with great advice, many laughs, a few solid warnings, fantastic travel stories, the heuristic decision making process, and does what any good free flight talk should do- get you STOKED to go flying! You’re going to dig this- enjoy!

“I like flying, I like being with people, and I like drinking beer so I need to start a paragliding school!”- Dominic Rohner

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Show Notes:

Discussed in the episode:
  • Dominic discusses a pretty scary incident near St Moritz, Switzerland we discuss the takeaways- are there times you shouldn’t throw your reserve?
  • Acro training and cut-aways
  • Dominic takes us around the world and defines the magic
  • Flying into Guerrila country:)
  • Flying in Tanzania
  • Dominic discusses his school and travel business, paraworld and their unique approach
  • The world of acro and training and why acro is important
  • A risk pilots should avoid…and one they should take
  • What are the most important skills to tackle and master in the early days?
  • How to find a good school and a good instructor
  • Little things you should do that make you much safer- mentors, practice, SIV, reserves…
  • How acro helps your head, and what wing to learn on

 

Mentioned in this episode:

Aaron Durogati, Erik Reinfeldt, Odrej Prochazka, Michael Witschi, Cody Mittanck, Josh Cohn, Miguel Gutierrez, Alas Del Hombre, Monarca, Eric Reed, Stefan Wyss, Horacio Lorens, Felix Wolk, Michael Gebhart, Nik Hawks, Mitch Riley, Pal Takats, Theo De Blic, Niviuk E-Gravity, Jocky Sanderson

 

Those special moments…take off madness in Kenya

Want to Learn Acro? Start with the right kit.

Full stalls with the EGravity are hard to get wrong

Let me be clear. I am not an acro aficionado by a long stretch. After learning some of the basics- SAT’s, asymmetric spirals, big proper wing overs, etc I took my first acro course in 2012 with Jocky Sanderson in Oludeniz with the goal of dialing in deep stall and learning helicopters. But my instructor, Johan said attempting to learn helis with only a week would just be frustrating and suggested we focus on the dynamic stuff- loops, SAT to loop, dynamic full stalls, etc. At the time I was flying the Niviuk F-Gravity and doing the dynamic stuff on that wing is a blast- it’s a wing that has a lot of energy.

Fun for the whole family!

 

Since then because of where I live I rarely get an opportunity to practice acro and when I’ve done it the goal isn’t to become a rad acro pilot but to become a safer XC pilot. After the X-Alps in 2015 I made a goal to get totally dialed on deep stall, tail slides and spins so I could more safely get out of trouble flying in dicey conditions. After speaking to some of the greatest acro pilots in the world on the podcast (Pal Takats, Theo De Blic, Ondrej Prochazka, etc.) it became clear that learning these more technical maneuvers that require a much finer touch on a freestyle wing is really hard. These guys all said the same thing- want to learn Acro? Get a low end B wing! A freestyle wing like the F-Gravity is twitchy and jumps at mistakes. Tail slides are easy, but the next progression is deep stall and helis and it seemed like every other attempt at deep stall would end up in riser twists and one in four would have a cravat.

My acro partner Cody Mittanck could see that I was struggling, even though I clearly had good wing management skills and could acro and full stall all day. He made the same recommendation as the acro jedi’s I’d spoken with on the show- get a low EN B wing to learn.

 

tail slides are a walk in the park

Wing manufacturers have also been listening to this advice and I was thrilled to get my hands on the new Niviuk E-Gravity which is built specifically for learning acro. It’s a certified B wing, infinitely more forgiving of mistakes than it’s cousin the F-Gravity but still energetic enough for all the playful stuff- Misty’s, dynamic full stalls, SAT, Rhythmic Sat, loops, wing overs, etc. The deep stall range is much, much wider than on higher end acro wings and after my first few stalls and tail slides I started playing around with doing things wrong just to see how it behaves. I’ve yet to have a cravat- in fact the shape of the wing and the line plan makes me think a cravat might be close to impossible? More testing is needed, but I did some pretty silly stuff and muffed up a ton of helis and never once had a riser twist or cravat. Was I nailing helico? Far from it. I’ve got a long ways to go, but it was a lot of fun landing after every run with a big smile and wanting more rather than trying to talk my heart down from being pinned for 5 minutes.

 

In summary- if you’re like me and keen to learn some of the more technical acro moves and also like me and have a limited playground, do yourself a favor and get the right kit. It’s sexy getting a bad ass acro wing, but you’ll pay the price trying to tame it. Everyone I’ve spoken with who has helis dialed says it takes hundreds and hundreds of attempts just to get close. You can get lucky every once in awhile, but to really nail it you’ve got to have a lot of time, a lot of patience and the right tool.

Episode 74- Theo Warden and Winning BIG

Theo launching into the record books

Theo Warden is only 19 years old and just took home two wins that would be truly amazing in a career of competition flying, let alone from someone who’s just getting seriously into the game. Theo took home gold at the Europeans in Portugal in August, then chalked up another win immediately afterwards at the British Nationals in Krushevo, Macedonia.  Two of the toughest comps in the world, two back to back wins. How in the world did he do it? This is the emphasis of this podcast- digging into all the things that go into winning. Theo began flying the day after his 14th birthday, after the British rules reduced the minimum age from 16 to 14. He’s been part of the British juniors mentoring program that Russ Ogden, Guy Anderson and a few other top British pilots set up a few years back which is clearly having incredible results. We talk flow state, being disciplined, the importance of having fun, dealing with pressure and keeping it simple. I can’t wait to see what this young Jedi pulls off in the years to come. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

Discussed in the episode:
  • Theo discusses his rather brief flying resume and how he got into it
  • The British juniors mentoring program and “boot camps”- what’s involved and how it’s turning young pilots into amazing competitors
  • The headspace for winning- HAVE FUN!
  • Flow and getting in the zone
  • The key- being relaxed and just enjoying the game
  • The importance of feedback and analysis, but not getting bogged down in the negative
  • Trimming gliders and some key points- how big a difference does it make and how often should you have your glider checked?
  • How to approach the future after so much success.
  • How Theo progressed up to the Enzo 3
  • What now?

Read more about his win here in Cross Country Magazine: http://xcmag.com/news/theo-warden-19-wins-european-paragliding-championship/

Mentioned in this episode:

Cross Country Magazine, Jocky Sanderson, Russ Ogden, Ozone paragliders, Guy Anderson, Ed Ewing, Idris Birch, Malin Lobb, Jack Pimblett, Antonio, Jack Bailey, Lawrie Noctor, Niviuk, Ari Sahlstrom, Louis Tapper, Craig Morgan, Aaron Durogati, Michael Sigel, Ari Sahlstrom, Steven Kotler, Antonio Burian, Jessica Cox

 

Europeans

Episode 73- Mitch Riley and X-Alps madness, Developing Mental toughness, Thinking Fast VS Slow, Growth Mindset, Discipline and More

Mitch flies in the X-Alps in 2017. Photo Jason Lombard

Mitch Riley has been chasing the sky crack as hard as anyone the last few years. He’s averaging 500-600 hours a year, instructs full-time for Eagle Paragliding, competes regularly, does commercial tandems, competed in the 2017 X-Alps and guides around the world. Mitch’s approach to training and improvement isn’t simply airtime- this is a mental game we play more than anything and Mitch has been a student of sports psychology and mental training and gives us a ton of tips on improving performance through concepts like thinking fast vs slow, flow state, mental toughness, fear control, using language to deal with fear, using words to avoid negative thinking, and much more. What risks shouldn’t pilots take vs the ones they should? How can most accidents be eliminated? Controlling the fear response and why most pilots will screw up a collapse recovery; the importance of visualization- how, when and why, the importance of training on the bad days; why to fly the challenging days; the need to show up; building endurance for long flights and a LOT more. This episode is packed with super valuable advice. ENJOY!

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Show Notes:

A bunch of useful links and info Mitch mentions in the show:

You can find Mitch via Facebook at Mitch Riley, and Instagram  @mitch.riley.84.  Mitch is doing instruction and running clinics and tours with Eagle Paragliding, eagleparagliding.com.  And he’s running the first multiday hike and fly comp in the US this September- more information can be found at faroutflying.com.

 

Growth mindset vs fixed mindset:  “Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential” By Carol Dweck

A fun read on flow state etc:  “The Rise of Superman:  Unlocking the science of ultimate human performance.”  By Steven Kotler.
Flow: Living at the Peak of Your Abilities“. By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Ph.D
Thinking fast and slow:  “Thinking Fast And Slow” By Daniel Kahneman.
Mental toughness, fear control:  “Unbeatable Mind: Forge resiliency and mental toughness to succeed at an elite level“. By Mark Divine
Endurance Psychology:  “How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle“. By Matt Fitzgerald.
Discussed in the episode:
  • Mitch discusses what went right and what went wrong with the X-Alps and what he’ll do differently in 2019
  • Thinking fast vs thinking slow
  • The three P’s of learning- Preparation, Performance,
  • Fixed mindset vs growth mindset
  • Mitch discusses his mentors and how Primoz Podobnik has really helped his flying
  • Fly like you know how- stop fucking around!
  • Mitch and Gavin discuss recent things they have learned that have really helped their performance in the air
  • Speed bar use on 2 liners vs lower end gliders
  • Regular mistakes most people make and how to correct them- correct your landing posture!
  • The risks that pilots shouldn’t take, vs the risk that they should
  • Using language to avoid fear and using words to make you more optimistic
  • How to eliminate most accidents- take offs and landings
  • How a lot of pilots screw up recovery because of fear- overcontrolling the glider. Fear response.
  • Techniques to control fear
  • Why to fly the tough days, why training is so important
  • Hours- you have to put in the hours
  • Patience- why it’s so hard to master
  • Gavin and Mitch talk about the need to slow down in order to go fast
  • Discipline- develop discipline if you want to do well in competitions
  • X-Alps strategies and how to improve

 

Mentioned in this episode:

David de Siebenthal, Evgenii Griaznov, Tom De Dorlodot, Mike Lester, Neil Michaels, Primoz Podobnik, Brad Gunnuscio, Reavis Gray, Michal Hammal (Kansas), Josh Cohn, Killian Jornet, Trey Hackney, Bruce Marks, Ben Abruzzo, Nik Hawks, Nick Neynens, Chrigel Mauer, Nate Scales, Mark Twight, Matt Henzi, Russ Ogden, Ferdinand Van Shelven, Manuel Nubel, Pal Takats, Tom Sliepen, UP Paragliders

 

Mitch just before the 2017 X-Alps