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.

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

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Episode 103- Chris Gursky and Don’t Let Go

 

Hang On. That’s what Chris Gursky had to do for the longest 2 minutes and 14 seconds of his life on his first ever Hang Gliding flight. In what has been dubbed the “Swiss Mishap”, this American got a little more adventure than he was looking for in Interlaken when his pilot forgot to clip him in. This is his truly amazing story. You’re in for a doozy. Enjoy!

 

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Show Notes:

  • Laurent recounts his history of flying since 2001 and the genesis of the Vercofly
  • How the VercoFly works
  • How to get into hike and fly
  • Tips for being safe in hike and fly races
  • Minimum ability level to have to participate in the VercoFly
  • Laurent recommends some of the MANY hike and fly races in the Alps
  • What to know before you go fly in the Alps for your first time
  • 3 things newer pilots tend to screw up
  • Want to be safe? Fly a lot!
  • Listen to your inner self
  • Advice for staying safe
  • Laurent recounts his one accident

Mentioned in this episode:

Nick Greece, Wolfgang Seiss, Chris Gursky

Episode 102- Laurent Borella and the Vercofly

Chrigel plays up in the Vercofly, 2019

Laurent Borella began flying in 2001 and very quickly afterwards changed his entire life to accomodate more free flight into his world. He is an instructor at Twistair in Switzerland and eleven years ago his passion for cross country and hike and fly lead him to create the VercoFly, an annual 4 day hike and fly race/adventure in the Wallis region of Switzerland that is simply brilliant. Using 8 mountain huts around Laurent’s home town of Vercorin the athletes hike and fly without a supporter and stay in the huts at night. There is no set course. The score is decided by the number of huts you reach combined with the number of kilometers you fly (scored on XContest). Each day the three longest flights accumulate so strategy becomes critically important. You have to reach all the huts, but you ALSO have to go big and try for FAI triangles for better scores! There are two categories- the Competition class for expert pilots and the Adventure class for lower hour pilots who want an awesome adventure with less pressure. At night you enjoy an excellent meal at a hut overlooking the wonders of the Swiss Alps and you get to enjoy the camaraderie of the other participants and the best of all- you don’t need to carry anything but a little water! This episode will inspire you to chase adventure but also has a ton of great information for newer pilots; how to fly safe and stay safe in the Alps; how to approach and minimize risk; listening to your inner voice and a lot more. Enjoy!

 

Laurent Borella

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

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Show Notes:

  • Laurent recounts his history of flying since 2001 and the genesis of the Vercofly
  • How the VercoFly works
  • How to get into hike and fly
  • Tips for being safe in hike and fly races
  • Minimum ability level to have to participate in the VercoFly
  • Laurent recommends some of the MANY hike and fly races in the Alps
  • What to know before you go fly in the Alps for your first time
  • 3 things newer pilots tend to screw up
  • Want to be safe? Fly a lot!
  • Listen to your inner self
  • Advice for staying safe
  • Laurent recounts his one accident

Mentioned in this episode:

Michael Witschi, Chrigel Maurer, Patrick Von Kanel, VercoFly, Laurent Borella, Jura Fly, Gruyere Fly, Millets Cup, Tom De Dorlodot, Honza Rejmanek, Pierre Carter

 

Watch Chrigel in the 2019 Vercofly- THIS IS AWESOME!!