Matt Beechinor during the shooting of 500 Miles to Nowhere. Photo Jody MacDonald
Nik Hawks returns to the Mayhem in response to the pilot survey we put out a couple months ago to take on a whole bunch of topics you, our listeners asked for. We broke this wide-ranging show into four main parts- Nik’s answers a bunch of questions about his own sometimes frustrating progression and how he’s had to adjust his own expectations in the sport in order to avoid being a “dangerous pilot”; I answer questions from Nik about a recent interesting discussion he had with a new pilot on launch; we revisit some of the takeaways from the Kiwi SAR effort in Nevada; and finally Nik interviews me about the upcoming Red Bull X-Alps, my own progression choices over the years, what makes a “dangerous” vs a “safe” pilot, gear choices for hike and fly and a lot more. We had a ton of fun with this show and hope you enjoy it!
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- Survey results:
- 60% of our listeners fly less than 100 hours a year & almost 80% identify as intermediate or beginner.
- Most listeners into XC
Questions for Nik
- How many hours do you have now?
- Why hasn’t your progression been faster?
- why don’t you fly more?
- why don’t you do more SIV?
- What’s your longest XC?
- Do you consider yourself a dangerous pilot?
- What “needs to change” in the world of free flight, if anything?
- If you had 8 weeks over the spring and summer to do any flights anywhere in the world, what would they be?
- What would you tell your 50 hour self?
- What do you wish the new pilots on the hill would do more?
- How have you handled reckless pilots on your hill?
- Biggest eye opener/change of approach or attitude from when you first got into flying vs now. IE – what were the early misconceptions (“I’d like to race in the 2019 RBXA vs the reality”)
- Tips for finding a good mentor? And…what makes a good mentor?
- Top three frustrations in your progression
(local P3 new pilot w/100 hours, questions)
- self taught, started flying at beginning of lockdown
- kited solo for a month
- flybubble, GoPro everything then ask another pilot for feedback, read the Art of Paragliding and other books, researched online stuff
- launching lee side into 18 mph wind thinking it was fine, got lucky
- “I’m often the lowest pilot, and lately I’ve been sinking out without warning. If the wind shuts off, I’m fucked.”
- tips on sidehill landings, because that’s where I get hurt
- is it better to pick a safe spot and aim for that, or is it better to figure out the wind and land into the wind?
- wind direction without indicators, how do you figure it out?
- multiple intermediate syndromes
- there’s not just one time that you realize you don’t know shit. It happens over and over.
- I hurt myself on a launch after 60 launches and realized I got lucky 60 times
- I’m psyched out on landing; every landing is an event now and it used to be something I looked forward to
- I only get one shot at the “tricky” landings, which makes them even more nerve-wracking.
- I have at least 50 landings “on the carpet”, but I missed twice and now I’m psyched out about it
- I can stick 5 out of 10 landings on the box at Torrey. I don’t want to practice those at Torrey because then people will think I’m incompetent.
- breaking hours up to ridge soaring (10 hours) & mountain hours (90 hours)
- Should we have seen him?
- What were our lessons learned?
- gear (having a tertiary location backup)- 2 min tracking
- comms, command, control (Telegram was amazing)
- community really rallied. Was Kiwi that special, or can we expect that every time? USE US FIRST!
- What was the best part of the SAR for you?
- Other than Kiwi crashing, if you could change anything, what would it be? : Awesome Glass, SLOW Scans, SLOW down.
Questions for Gavin
- Are you still doing your kite surfing business?
- X-Alps: How will this one be different for you?
- Thomas Theurillat
- Operating mindset: “Everything to Gain, Nothing to Lose”- seeing opportunities instead of risks
- It’s a GAME, treat it as one
- Mastery approach vs external achievement
- Process goals- eg packing/unpacking, food, recovery, mobility, visualizing, etc.
- Whats the best possible outcome right now?
- Bode Miller
- Having different gears- climbing, gliding, surviving, decision making…
- I know you’re not a gearhead, but…what are you flying & using both daily and for X-Alps?
- wing- Klimber 2
- harness Kolibri Pro, Kortel pack (260gr), Independence reserve (280 gr)
- flight deck- XCTracer Mini (solar), InReach Mini, iPhone (they make us bring the FlyMaster Live)
- misc- SHOES, SOCKS, z-poles, gloves, goggles, speed sleeves.
- You jumped into 2 liners quickly but tell most people not to. What makes you different?
- What piece of kit would you love to see that doesn’t exist yet?
- Safety- location, and back ups in flight (cut away for XC pilots)
- Three words to describe the safest pilots you know.
- Confident, Fly the good days, Jedi’s with their wings on the ground
- Three words to describe the most dangerous pilots you know.
- Overconfident, Ignore the 5 hazardous attitudes of Aviation, don’t fly with enough margin for their ability, Flying a wing beyond their capability, using a rating to rationalize their ability
- Describe to me what it feels like when you hook into a thermal. Be as descriptive as possible, and (as odd as it sounds) don’t worry if the words don’t make sense.
- Let’s imagine you hiked up to launch and you meet a CBM supporter who’s a newer (50 hour) pilot. You can clearly see that both of you have arrived too early to fly, and no one else is there yet. The pilot asks you, “What are you seeing out there?” How do you respond?
- “On The Hill” Segment: What’s one thing an intermediate pilot can practice the very next time they fly? (just thought of this, would be a cool way to end the show or include each time)
Mentioned in the Show:
Will Gadd, Flow, Cedar Wright, Malin Lobb, Maxime Pinot, Thomas Theurillat, Chrigel Maurer, Marko Hrgetic Hrga, USHPA, Jeff Shapiro, JK Smith, Kirsten Seeto, Arthur Markowitz, Bruce Goldsmith, Armin Harich, Theo De Blic, Ozone, Cross Country Magazine, Kiwi, Bill Belcourt, Reavis Sutphin-Gray, David Hunt, Kurt Niznick, Meshtastic, Keith Cockrum, Ben Abruzzo, Kortel, XCTracer, inReach, Garmin, Vespa, Matt Beechinor, Sebastien Kayrouz, Ken Hudonjorgensen
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:44:47 — 84.2MB)
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