Episode 125- Breaking the Asian Record with Soheil Barikani

Enroute to the record across Iran…

On the 2nd of August the summer of records continued when Iranian world cup pilot and instructor Soheil Barikani flew his Gin Boom 11 nearly across the width of Iran 430km, a new Asian free distance record. Imagine getting on a plane to fly to the launch and flying home! This talk covers quite a bit of ground, but mostly it’s going to make you want to fly Iran! Big strong air, tall cloudbase, big mountain ranges, spinning turns across one of the most fascinating cultures and landscapes in the world…I had a blast talking to Soheil and learning about their 6,000+ strong flying community. The lines in Iran are just starting to get tapped, keep an eye on these pilots who are pushing the possibilities.

Here is Soheil’s track log (note there were several other big flights from the same launch that day).

 

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Show Notes:

  • CUASA and the Red Rocks Fly In
  • The big air and big possibilities of Iran
  • X-Contest
  • Teamflying
  • Risks and dangers
  • Weather changes/ climate change
  • Visas, be careful where you fly, the seasons of Iran

 

Mentioned in this show:

Nick Greece, Gin, Cross Country Magazine, USHPA, PWC, Stacy Whitmore, CUASA, Rafael Saladini, Donizete Lemos, Matty Senior

Getting tall in Iran!

Episode 124- Owen Morse, professional juggling (and joggling!), and a new HG World Record

Owen Morse breaks the out and back world record- 222 miles

On June 19th of this year Wills Wing pilot Owen Morse ticked off something he’d been chasing for six years- a new out and back world record. Owen flew an incredible boomer from Walt’s Point in the Owens out off the end of the White’s- AND BACK, flying 222 miles. A huge flight in some of the strongest air on Earth gave us plenty to talk about, but Owen also has maybe the most interesting job of anyone I’ve ever met. He’s a professional juggler (where he holds world records for things like juggling chainsaws) AND he hold several world records in the sport of “Joggling”. Sound hysterical? It is! Owen runs and juggles. And he’s damn good at it. He’s done the 100 meters in 11.6 seconds while juggling three balls! He’s run it in 13+ seconds while juggling 5! He and his buddy Jon Wee have been working together for 32 years as “The Passing Zone“, a comedy juggling duo who have played for the Queen; been on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (twice); and Jay Leno (among MANY others); were in The Addams Family movie; have twice been on America’s Got Talent, and regularly perform with Penn and Teller. They juggle a lot of things that are on fire, running chainsaws, rat traps, and throw knives at gorgeous women- and get paid for it! These guys are absolutely awesome and you must must must check them out. We had a really fun talk about flying, juggling, choosing cool life paths, making people laugh, and chasing your dreams. Owen was granted the USHPA Presidential Citation award in 2009 for his hang gliding display at the John Wayne Airport, as well as purchasing (along with Len Szafaryn) the property at Andy Jackson Airfield so free flight could continue there. Enjoy!

Watch Owen’s incredible Ayvri tracklog here: https://ayvri.com/scene/6vk1zgy9jx/ckbnvb0w300013e5rhjv415x9

Watch his launch and landing on the big day: https://vimeo.com/434377178

His recent Penn and Teller appearance: https://youtu.be/uPjhb1e-qJ8

Joggling ridiculousness:  https://youtu.be/H_f27jQ5n1o

Chainsaw juggling world record:  https://youtu.be/drlZBOQJ4os

 

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Show Notes:

  • The record goes down after 6 years of chasing it
  • Mindset and training
  • Flying the mountains
  • Dealing with the pressure of performing in front of huge crowds
  • Putting a hang glider in the John Wayne airport in 2008 and getting the USHPA presidential citation award
  • What focused practice and training can do
  • Being able to stay in the air for 10 hours
  • Racing the sun, not other pilots
  • How flying has affected Owen’s life
  • Flying and leading a charmed life

 

Mentioned in this show:

Cody Mittanck, Penn and Teller, Johnny Carson, XC Magazine, George Stebbins, Tom Weissenberger, Larry Tudor, The Passing Zone, Jonathan Dietch, Dave Turner, Chrigel Maurer, Will Gadd, Covid-19, USHPA, juggling, Zac Majors, Jonny Durand, Andy Beem, Joe Greblo, Rob McKenzie, Jon Wee

Episode 123- Best Towing Practices and Safety

Cody Mittanck and Gavin McClurg on tow from Hebbronville, Texas. Photo Greg Bryl

I just spent three+ weeks down in southern Texas chasing a world record with team members Cody Mittanck and Donizete Lemos, and our tow techs/ retrieve drivers Greg Bryl, Greg Cusick and Ricardo Costa. We had marginal weather at best, which leaves the world record hunting for another year, but we did a ton of tows in very strong conditions and we all learned a ton (and thankfully we did get a few pretty awesome flights). This podcast is dedicated to towing and towing safety in an interview I did with the “eWinch” inventor, Greg Bryl with Miami Paragliding. Greg is an expert tow-tech and his knowledge of tow systems is vast. We used his all-electric winch in really rocking conditions and were all blown away with it’s lightness, ease-of-use, and redundant fail-safes for safety.

I am convinced after this trip that with a good winch and good tow-technician, launching via tow is much safer than foot launching and gives the free flight world access to incredible flying in conditions when terrain flying would be too risky. If you are currently doing any tow launching, or plan to in the future give this podcast a listen.

Interested in purchasing an eWinch? Get 10% off using this exclusive discount code during checkout (valid for 2 months after publication of this podcast, July 17, 2020): cloudbasemayhem

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Show Notes:

TOW SAFETY

4 main areas: rig safety, pilot knowledge/skill, attachment, and conditions
RIG SAFETY:
  • rig: almost any rig can seize/bind or otherwise put too much tension on the pilot.
  • With payout you add the power of the car – pay-in may be safer in this regard
  • so care should be taken to eliminate that as much as possible
  • use a weaklink: it’s a double-edged sword b/c you remove some risk factors while introducing others; if recommend no WL, probably hasn’t towed enough
  • use lower pressure in initial phase of tow; watch the pilot closely, etc.
  • have hook knife at rig
  • if rig binds and brakes WL close to ground, better to overbrake and stall the wing and fall down than pendulum into ground
WEAKLINK:
  • even if it’s weak, it will not break in time if rig seizes and goes from paying out to static line with the car moving and full car power applied to pilot. So don’t fall in trap of thinking a weak WL can’t get you in trouble; use a strong enough WL and change it OFTEN, especially in high winds
PILOT:
  • must hold wing overhead enough for tow to start safely; strong wind –kiting skills, weak wind — must run backwards or forwards to create airspeed and keep overhead;  must fly wing at all times and stay on course, including running out launch; must have hook knife
  • must manage cross-wing (see Conditions below)
  • also here: weak winds, driver rolls to take up slack as pilot walks back towards car; strong wind — leave slack or keep tension down so that pilot can run towards wing to pull it up (or better yet- use cobra launch).
ATTACHMENT:
  • no tow bridle on market that’s satisfactory in all respects. some let you put the pin ring through the loop so can’t release – bad; some don’t allow you to release easily at full tension and/or at no tension; some have metal – not ideal, some don’t attach to glider/beaners the right way, etc.; gotta make sure you use your model correctly
  • speed assist: like WL, good and bad. good: it auto-corrects heading of wing so that new pilots don’t’ get too far off course; also lets wing pitch back less; cons: accelerates wing so less climb and less altitude/more runway, at high angles pulls down – not good. overall, good for newbies, and most others can do without it later in their towing
CONDITIONS:
  • you can tow in weak cross or strong straight-in wind, but not in strong cross wind (unless expert). driver use less tension in stronger winds, a bit more in weak
  • managing cross-wind: if crossing from right, wing will want to fly right, so drift left and align the tow force with direction of wing; if see bow, drift down-the-crosswind to take out the bow; stay more or less square to the line; on launch and pulling up wing in cross: if crossing from right, be ready to pull left brake and immediately drift left after lift-off; have no bow in line and you’re good
  • releasing from tow: taking both brakes in one hand is recommended, but if good bridle that can release at high tensino and no tension, can just take hand off brake and release

 

 

Mentioned in this show: Sebastien Kayrouz, Thomas Theurillat, Cody Mittanck, Donizete Lemos, Cedar Wright

Episode 122- Storytime with James “Kiwi” Oroc

James “Kiwi” Oroc is a journalist, photographer, artist and pilot born in the small South Pacific nation of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Since 1998 he has been pursuing and reporting on the cutting edge of extreme sports in more than 40 countries around the globe and has written three books- the non-fiction cult classic Tryptamine Palace, The New Psychedelic Revolution and the just-published fictional Under the Influence, 20 Tales of Psychedelic Noir and has been flying paragliders since the mid 80’s, when gliders had 7 cells! Kiwi and I sat down together in Texas (we’re here mostly unsuccessfully chasing big distance!) to do what I’ve wanted to do for years- have him recount some of the insane stories he’s been witness to in his last 35+ years of flying. In this episode we hear about the early years in Jackson Hole, time spent doing the absurd (not just flying) with Robbie Whittall; learning how to “thermal” (tongue in cheek); flying off Cotapaxi in Ecuador; Many, MANY close calls; bringing flying to MTV sports; theft of a glider leading to saving a life; the history of Edel and Pro Design and all many legends back in the day; competing in the first-ever PWC (with more than 250 pilots!) in Venezuela in the 90’s; the early crazy days with Richard Gallon, Othar Lawrence, Chris Santacroce, Will Gadd, Dave Bridges, Josh Cohn, Miguel Gutierrez, Bill Belcourt, Bob Drury, Raul Rodriguez, and many others all over the world. Light a fire, pour yourself a glass of wine and soak in the stories!

To find out more about Kiwi or his incredible books, visit here.

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Show Notes:

  • Starting to fly in Queenstown on 7 cell gliders in in the 1980’s
  • Learning how to “thermal” in Jackson Hole, Wyoming:)
  • Becoming the Spin Doctor
  • The early craziness
  • The first PWC in the world
  • The Valle discovery
  • A whole bunch of carnage and leaving the sport
  • The early wings certifications
  • The Legends
  • The early days of Ozone
  • The carnage in Spain in the 2001 Worlds
  • The dream of the Serial class
  • The early days in Bir
  • Flying in a reenactment of an ancient battle near Cuzco, Peru
  • Xavier disappears
  • The carnage in Piedrahita
  • “My imagination has never kept up with the reality of paragliding”
  • The 2 Liner revolution and chasing big distance
  • Breaking the New Zealand distance record in Brazil
  • The flying tribe

 

Mentioned in this show:

Queenstown, Robbie Whittall, Nate Scales, John Patterson, Kurt Kleiner, Jon Hunt, Nick Greece, Andre Agassis, Hans Rey, John Yates, Josh Cohn, ProDesign, Mitch MacAleer, Greg Smith, Dave Bridges, Alex Lowe, Chris Santacroce, Othar Lawrence, Xavier Murillo, PWCA, Richard Gallon, Raul Rodgriguez, Miguel Gutierrez, Bill Belcourt, Monte Bell, Larry Tudor, Will Gadd, Bob Drury, Russ Ogden, Matt Taggart, Andy Hediger, Cross Country Magazine, Hugh Miller, Jim Mallinson, Eddie Colfax, John Sylvester, Jeff Crystal, Peter Chernowski, Guy Anderson, Garmin InReach, Matt Beechinor, Matty Senior, Steve Ham, Chris Mueller

Photo Phillip Bethge

Episode 121- Stefan Bernhard and Mindset

Stefan Bernhard

Stefan Bernhard has only been racing paragliders for a short time and was recently ranked in the top 15 in the world. In this episode we find out how a former German Air Force fighter pilot has taken the skills he learned flying in the military and now flying civilian aircraft to free-flight, and the many things missing from most of our own education. How much should new pilots rely on passive safety? Free flight is an “extreme sport” so why do we try to dumb it down? What lessons in tactics and strategies cross over from flying military jets to paragliding? What’s missing in our flying schools and what should we change? The danger of having easy access to an extreme sport and not getting the right answers, the importance of calibrating your mind to flight, expectations vs reality and a lot more. I think you’ll find this talk incredibly informative and inspiring. Enjoy!

Stefan is an instructor for Jocky Sanderson’s Escape XC. Find out more here.

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Show Notes:

  • German Air Force pilot
  • Starting with Hang gliding in the late 80’s
  • Leaving the sport
  • Combining family and work to pursue free flight
  • Professional training in the Air Force vs how we are trained in paragliding schools
  • The danger of having easy access to an “extreme sport”, and not getting the right answers
  • How to make good decisions
  • The importance of calibrating your mind to flight
  • The risks of pushing too much passive safety vs making the pilot safe
  • Expectations vs reality
  • A revisit to the “ground suck crowd”

Mentioned in this show:

Alex Robe, Manu Bonte, APPI, USHPA, Jocky Sanderson, Escape XC

 

Bonus Episode- The 2019 Red Bull X-Alps (Installment 3)

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 120- Lisa Verzella and Understanding XCSkies and Weather Forecasting

 

Lisa Verzella flew hang gliders for over 20 years (many of those competitively), has been flying paragliders also for over 20 years and is a professional meteorologist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She competed on the US World’s team in 1998 and 2008 in hang gliding. This show is in two parts. The first is our typical audio podcast that goes into Lisa’s vast and fascinating history of chasing airtime, and the second is a video tutorial of a deep dive into XCSkies and Lisa’s full weather flow (ie all the stuff she uses before she gets to XCSkies to identify good days to go flying). The learning here is VAST- this is truly an information packed show. Get out your paper and pens and build your weather forecasting knowledge!

 

Useful links that Lisa mentions in her weather flow:

A great internet weather resource, TropicalTidbits.com.

Here are the direct links I would use for Upper Air and Satellite, if you’d like to replace or just add these to the others.

https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/?model=ecmwf-ens&region=us&pkg=mslp_pcpn_frzn&runtime=2020051212&fh=12

Satellite:

https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/sat/satlooper.php?region=atlpac-wide&product=wv-mid

Upper Air Analysis:

http://weather.utah.edu/index.php?runcode=2020050712&t=gfs0.25&r=WE&d=SY

-click on Current

-shows (clockwise from upper left): high/low pressure; uplift; sfc pressure/precip; 700 mb winds/RH sfc to 500mb

National Weather Service:
www.weather.gov

-surface chart: https://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps

-satellite: https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/content/visible-and-infrared-imagery

(takes a minute to load, slide scroll bar down for latest timing)

-Radar (use local home NWS page)

-Forecast Discussion (use home NWS page, scroll down to find product)

-Soaring Forecast (if available on your home page, under Aviation)

XC Skies:

xcskies.com

-$4.95/month, well worth it!

Lisa Verzella, Meteorologist National Weather Service Salt Lake City

hang glider and paraglider pilot

lisaverzella@gmail.com

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Show Notes:

  • Back in the early days of hang gliding
  • Competition hang gliding, and the world’s team
  • The transition to paragliding from Hang gliding
  • Eagles in the Flesh, Erik Kaye
  • The wild bunch vs the community as a whole
  • Getting a handle on the big picture of weather and increasing possibilities and lowering risk
  • Finding narrow windows
  • Getting more airtime from understanding weather
  • Flying becomes your life and how to juggle it all 
  • Hang gliding vs paragliding
  • Dealing with turbulence and best practices for longevity
  • CUACSA
  • Safety tips and risk mitigation

Mentioned in this show:

Kari Castle, Linda Salmone, Ken Hudonjorgensen, Honza Rejmanek, Gavin Morris

Episode 119- Yael Margelisch and building confidence

Yael on final glide in Brazil, breaking the world record (531 km).

Yael Margelisch began flying ten years ago at the age of 19. She’s an Ozone and Swiss national team pilot, has been on the podium ten times on the world cup, is the first woman to fly over 500 km and owns the current female distance world record of 531 km, previously held the women’s FAI record (263 km) and is gunning hard for a 2021 Red Bull X-Alps campaign (she supported Michael Witschi in 2015). Suffice it to say she’s chasing it hard! In this episode we discuss her acro training and a recent accident, working with Thomas Theurillat with OneDay coaching, chasing the world record and the mental game of going big, how to fly “free”, developing the right mindset for a world record, how to focus on the process instead of the numbers, and a lot more. Enjoy!

 

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Show Notes:

  • Corona and flying
  • Throwing a reserve and bouncing off a car
  • Fear and fear injuries
  • Mindset and mental training
  • FLOW and accessing the flow channel
  • X-Alps academy
  • Physical training
  • What’s most worrying about the X-Alps
  • Comp flying approach
  • How to take chances
  • The “book of rules”
  • The pace of the Red Bull X-Alps

Mentioned in this episode:

Ozone, Coronavirus, Clement Latour, Chrigel Maurer, Thomas Theurillat, Aaron Durogati

 

Episode 118- Charles Cazaux and Focus

 

Charles Cazaux began flying when he was 15 years old. Shortly after that he became the first person to enter the French juniors program that was created to build exceptional pilots who would represent the country on the world stage. Needless to say the program worked very well indeed for Charles! He’s been on the French team every year since 1998, he won the Superfinal in 2009, won the world championships in 2011, holds multiple world records and instructs SIV and cross country with Seiko Fukuoka for the Airlinks Academy. In this episode we learn about the French juniors team and how they approach training and a safe progression; how the team identifies pilots with potential; how to train for competitions and the importance of focusing on progression rather than results; tricks to stay in the game (focus); what he’s learned working from Thomas Theurillat; how to become a complete pilot and a lot more. Enjoy!

I spoke with Charles on March 22, just after the lockdown was instigated in France and other countries in Europe banned flying.

Watch the AirLinks Academy SIV videos with Charles and Seiko on YouTube

Follow Charles on Instagram @kzoairlines

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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:

  • The French Juniors team
  • How to stay focused and efficiency
  • Training with Thomas Theurillat and dealing with pressure
  • Love of the air
  • SIV training and becoming a complete pilot
  • SIV on comp wings? Absolutely- but start slow
  • How much SIV and how often?
  • Pursuing mastery
  • How to be consistent
  • Advice to newer comp pilots- focus on the process
  • How to mentally prepare before a comp and visualization
  • Fitness and flying
  • Finding the routine
  • CALM- be calm
  • Pitfalls to avoid

Mentioned in this episode:

Honorin Hamard, Seiko Fukuoka, Maxime Pinot, Ozone Paragliders, Russ Ogden, Juri Vidic, Maxime Bellemin

 

Bonus Episode! Weather Episode #3 with Gavin Morris

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.