Episode 162- Clemens Ceipek and Flying Gliders, Seeking Understanding, and playing Chess in the Air

Clemens Ceipek is an Austrian Sailplane pilot who lives in Boulder, Colorado. He’s the president of one of the premiere gliding clubs in the world and runs an absolutely terrific website dedicated to spreading knowledge and improving pilot ability called “Chess in the Air” that is filled with fantastic in-depth articles that cover the full gamut of flying. Why do some pilots improve very slowly and others get good really fast? Clemens says it’s in the approach. We cover the value of using the Condor flying simulator, studying theory, understanding forecasting as well as many of the topics Clemens tackles on his website: assessing risk, complacency, reducing attrition in new pilots, creating sufficient margin, goal setting, flying in rotor, using the correct bank angle, thermal entry, identifying triggers and convergence, flying SPECTACULAR lines, the most common mistakes that end badly, and a ton more. This was a really, really fun talk with a super passionate sailplane pilot who approaches the chase seriously. This one will make you ponder the possibilities. Enjoy!

Clemens has an EXCELLENT YouTube channel that is really worth following: https://youtube.com/c/ChessInTheAir

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Topics we discuss on the show:

  • Getting into it
  • Accidents- 90% can be eliminated
  • It’s all in the study and planning
  • The Condor simulator
  • Flying lines and not turning
  • Wave
  • Setting goals
  • Competition
  • How to see the sky
  • Flying fast
  • Flying SPECTACULAR lines
  • Perlan
  • The Sierra Nevada
  • The ultimate crossing

Mentioned in this show:

Gary Osoba, Soaring the Sky, Chuck Fulton, Chrigel Maurer, Eduardo Garza, Stewart Midwinter, Klaus Ohlman

Bonus Content- Thermalling!

Delashmutt. This first one is on Thermalling. Hope you enjoy!

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 161- Peter Zaccagnino and Adventure, Aviation, and taking risk

Peter Zaccagnino is an aviation Hall of Fame pilot; 4 X Air Racing Gold Champion; has flown over 23,000 hours in more than 270 aircraft, flight tested more than 685 and even built three of his own. Peter’s company, High Performance Aircraft Group manages several corporate jets, provides his clients with custom-tailored, high-intensity world tours, and performs flight test services for several manufacturers, including the U.S. and foreign militaries. He’s also the film producer of multiple Discovery Channel productions and starred in a lead role in the “Dangerous Flights” series.

His book “Relevant” is a “Behind The Curtain” Thriller inspired by true events that reveal eye-opening top-secret encounters and the greatest lessons in leadership. His latest book, “the New Cold War” was just published and is receiving rave reviews.

Pete’s philanthropy includes the Wounded Warriors, the National Ability Center, various orphanages in Central and South America, and Christian Service projects for children in remote locations worldwide.

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Topics we discussed on the show:

  • How Peter got into the whole world of aviation and how it all became his passion and life
  • Becoming a test pilot and managing risk
  • The importance of asking why
  • Racing airplanes and winning gold
  • Aviation Hall of Fame
  • A private flight around the world
  • Time to ditch, and making it work
  • Being held at Gunpoint with Rifles and AK-47’s in Pakistan and dealing with “unique” situations
  • Just solve the problem
  • Weather and aviation
  • Travelled to every Country in the World except one
  • Preventing orphans from getting kidnapped in Guatemala
  • Working with kids and veterans
  • Best and worst places Peter has travelled
  • Got detained and bribed by Nigerian authorities
  • The “Dangerous Flights” series and the Dead Man’s Curve
  • Avoiding bad outcomes- creating (and following) a playbook for success
  • Peter’s books and the future
  • The power of quantum computing and how it could change the world (for the better, and possibly for the worse)
  • Tapping your creativity

Park City Aviators website link

Relevant: A Military Thriller Inspired by True Events link

The New Cold War link

Peter takes the win

Bonus Episode- Gavin McClurg interviewed on the Soaring the Sky Podcast

st of the "Soaring the Sky Podcast" dedicated to sailplane flying, but he reached out to me recently to talk all things flying to get a paraglider's perspective on doing what they do but with a very different aircraft. We had a blast and the conversation went into some really fun directions, including the Red Bull X-Alps, Alaska and a few scary moments I've had over the years.

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 160- Soaring Birds with Hannah Jane Williams

Hannah Jane Williams is a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz, Germany. For eight years she’s been studying soaring birds across the spectrum to figure out why birds do what they do and when they do it in the air. For birds, soaring is a delicate game of balancing energy and reward. Flapping takes energy. Energy requires food and getting food has risk. Do birds practice? Do they ever soar just to play? How often do birds make mistakes? How do they map the sky? Do they use other birds to evaluate climbs, find lift bands, and take better lines, or is it all instinct? These are the questions Hannah has been trying to solve- and because free-flight pilots are as well, Hannah and a team of fellow researchers who all work with soaring birds around the world are also now studying what we all do in the air. We are all in fact trying to be birds, and we can talk so studying what we do is helping connect the dots with Hannah’s research. If you’re like me and dream of doing what we do as efficiently as our winged brethren, you’re going to like this show.

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Show Notes:

  • Hannah discusses her project and how she got into studying soaring birds through movement ecology
  • What do the birds see?
  • Tracking migratory birds and getting the data
  • Connecting through data and getting to know the birds
  • The albatross and energy use with the large birds
  • Thermal soaring and strategies
  • Land and sea birds
  • Do birds play? It’s controversial
  • Every decision an animal makes balances trade offs
  • Making expensive decisions
  • What bird is the king of soaring?
  • Decision making in the sky

Mentioned in this episode:

Cross Country Magazine, Max Planck Institute, Malin Lobb, Emily Shepard, Olivier Duriez, Sergio Lambertucci

Hannah Jane Williams gets into the simulator. Hannah works with Emily Sheperd and Olivier Duriez on the Soaring Birds research.

Bonus Episode- Mitch Riley tells a paragliding story

Logan Walters (creator of USAHIKEANDFLY.com) has been sitting down with pilots who have good stories to tell in a YouTube series we are going to release as bonus content for our subscribers. His latest is with Mitch Riley. Mitch raced in the 2019 Red Bull X-Alps, represented the US in the Worlds in Macedonia in 2019, is an Ozone team pilot, and is an excellent advanced paragliding instructor and very passionate pilot. Enjoy this fun talk!

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 159- Visualize the day

Heading into the sky? Take a moment to visualize it going right.

This week we’re doing something a little different. It has been proven that our minds don’t know the difference between a real experience and visualizing an experience. Olympic athletes, race car drivers, elite ski racers, golfers- you name it, the best of the best across the sport gamut visualize themselves doing their thing. It takes practice, but the results are proven. Going out and flying to improve is still the best way to get currency, but if you’re hurt, or the weather is bad, or you just don’t have the time to go flying, doing a little visualization is nearly as good as the real thing. In this episode I take you through a very simple 20 minute visualization practice that I hope helps you achieve safer and better flights. Come back to it often and see how training your mind can help you reach your goals.

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Episode 158- Kirsty Cameron and Stacking the Odds

Kirsty tackles the flats of the UK

Kirsty Cameron has been a member of the British team many times. She’s been flying high-end 2 line gliders for over 10 years and put a ton of energy and time into competition flying since she began flying in the late 90’s. This year with travel being difficult and her 4 year old son vying for more her time Kirsty decided to dedicate her flying time to chasing big distance at home in the UK. She nabbed a couple records this year (see below for the links) and has found a new, super fun outlet for getting her flying fix. It hasn’t all been a smooth ride for Kirsty and she’s been caught out a couple times by being a little too determined. When should we push and when should we give up? When should we step up…and down? How do you notice when you’re being complacent? When something isn’t right, what’s the solution? Kirsty has been at this game for a long time and we had a lot of fun talking about her remarkable journey. Enjoy.

The record flight Kirsty discusses in the show is here:

We didn’t talk about these, but Kirsty said she particularly enjoyed these two, one was a super fast 80k triangle, in exceptional conditions for the UK and the other was a magical flight down to the South Coast, ending with us picking up the end of the sea breeze convergence.

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Show Notes:

  • Kirsty discusses the British wins at the World Championships in Argentina
  • Breaking records at home
  • Doing distance in the UK- AIRSPACE!
  • The decision to step down from the Enzo to Zeno
  • Reserve toss in St Andre
  • Being a mom and flying and currency
  • Flying is selfish- how do we find the balance?
  • The best flights and what makes them the best
  • Mistakes and breaking it down
  • You’re a nutter!
  • That’s a launch?  What???
  • The good thing about getting the beat down
  • Dealing with getting crushed and sucking
  • How to compete and how to find a competitive edge
  • How deep should you dig?
  • Does free flight make other aspects of your life better or worse?

 

Mentioned in this episode:

Russ Ogden, Seb Ospina, Theo Warden, Robbie Whittall, Chrigel Maurer, Pepe Malecki, Guy Anderson, Adel Honti

 

May 9th- Elan To Ely

Episode 157- Jonny Durand: riding Tsunamis, chasing records, comps and learning

The exact size and magnitude of the Morning Glory still remains a mystery // Mark Watson/Red Bull Content Pool //

Jonny Durand is a long-time Red Bull sponsored hang gliding pilot who’s been ranked #1 in the world multiple times. We’ve all seen the incredible footage of Jonny flying the “tsunami” morning glory phenomenon that sets up in Northern Australia, but Jonny has been chasing the sky crack in many different ways since his early days more than 20 years ago. He’s chased the world distance record in Texas and Brazil and came up just shy of the record from Zapata on that fateful day back in 2012 flying with his friend Dustin Martin, who still has the record at 761 km; he competes in race to goal comps regularly around the world, and has recently taken up paragliding. In this fun chat we dig into Jonny’s amazing run over the years; how to pick good lines and feel the air; comp tactics that matter; how to keep up on lower performing wings; how critical eyesight is for successfully flying comps and big distance; being a beginner again on a paraglider; what it’s like being a Red Bull athlete; and of course flying the morning glory. We had a blast with this one. Enjoy.

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Show Notes:

  • Jonny discusses the differences between flying hang gliders and paragliders
  • Superman doesn’t fly sitting down!
  • Being a beginner again
  • Comp tactics- know your opponent and watch EVERYTHING
  • The ultimate freedom
  • Dad learns in the Owens
  • Flying a world cup on a paraglider with 5 hours
  • Flying his first comps
  • Chasing opportunity and having nothing to lose
  • Moyes Gliders and living the dream
  • A perfect April fool’s!
  • Jonny gets the call from Red Bull and goes to Brazil
  • Being sponsored by Red Bull- obligations and results and keeping your eye on goals
  • The fun and risks (forest, crocodiles!) of chasing the Morning Glory phenomenon
  • Chasing the longest flight in the world, and coming up just short
  • Reliving the day in Texas in 2012
  • What’s next?

Mentioned in this show:

Dustin Martin, Nick Neynens, Felipe Rezende, Jeff Shapiro, Godfrey Wenness, Will Gadd, Mick Fanning, Sebastien Kayrouz

 

A portrait of Jonny Durand, 2016. // Michael Clark/Red Bull Content Pool

Episode 156- Eduardo Garza (Team Mex 1) and into the Crazy

Eduardo prepares to launch near Mont Blanc in the 2021 Red Bull X-Alps

Want to listen to some crazy, crazy stories? Eduardo Garza (Team Mex 1) competed in his second Red Bull X-Alps this year. Like all of us, he experienced conditions that weren’t very reasonable. Eduardo has also competed in two X-Pyr’s, and he’s done all of it while working full time in a very intense and demanding engineering job. Most X-Alps pilots are full time, sponsored professional athletes. Their work is flying paragliders. And most of those who do well in the race also live in, and regularly compete in the Alps. How does Eduardo go about finding an edge against the best in the world given limited time and resources? Eduardo takes us well beyond the live tracking so we can see, feel, and hear about some of the madness of the 2021 race. What does it look like to push past your limits? Come along for the ride, this one is a ripper!

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.

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Show Notes:

  • Eduardo discusses training changes between 2019 and 2021 and time constraints
  • Can you play this game conservatively? The answer is no.
  • Day 5 of the race- leaving Lermoos
  • The importance of your team and training
  • The beauty of the locals
  • The beauty of the place answers the “why”
  • Gavin launches off the Castle:

 

  • Eduardo discusses what it’s like to fly in the Alps compared to home
  • Eduardo discusses the difference between going into the 2019 and 2021 races and the pace of the race
  • Eduardo goes to sleep. In the Air. For a LONG time.
  • Flying in hail. Strong hail.
  • Throwing the reserve. Or not. Maybe.
  • Flying in dicey Foehn and flying FAST
  • Strategy in the heat of the moment
  • The disadvantage of not being a local
  • Advice for pilots thinking about applying to the X-Alps- it’s not what you know from Live Tracking
  • What’s next- how to fill the hole?

Mentioned in this show:

XCMag, Chrigel, Red Bull X-Alps, Nelson De-Freyman, Ben Abruzzo, Aaron Durogati, Laurie Genovesie, Theo De Blic, Nicola Donini, Skywalk, Yael Margelisch, Robbie Whittall, Jason Wallace, Maxime Pinto, Monarca, Anton Salusky, Calef Latorney, Peter Greis, Bianca Heinrich

 

Team USA 1 (Gavin McClurg), Team Mex 1 (Eduardo Garza), and Team USA 2 (Cody Mittanck)