Episode 129- Piedrahita, Wild Stories, Accident hindsights and more with Steve Ham

One of Steve’s incredible illustrations…

Steve Ham’s fascination with flying began with hang gliders in 1981, which subsequently ended any attempt at a serious career path. In 1991 Steve discovered Piedrahita in Spain and began a crusade to put the site on the world map for flying and competitions. During the 90’s Steve organized and ran some of the most memorable and successful comps of the decade, including 4 World Cups, the Europeans, the Hang Gliding World series and multiple national events. Steve still holds the site record from Piedrahita and has at various times in his long career held many other records in Spain and the UK. Steve has represented the British Team several times over a long competition career starting in 1990 and the latest in 2007 in Australia; and has notched a number of wins at comps around the world. He was the comp director in the tragic 2011 World’s competitions in Piedrahita, probably the most notorious event in the history of paragliding which resulted in two deaths and several reserve throws on the second day. The fallout from that event radically changed paragliding and resulted in the ban of Open Class gliders. In this episode we revisit the tragedy in Piedrahita and get the full story on what happened and how the “writing was on the wall”; we hear about his fateful accident after the comp that lead to him becoming a talented illustrator; several other accidents both hang gliding and paragliding over the years; Steve’s “flyguiding” in Piedrahita; the craziness of Manila in 2007, and plenty of entertaining stories. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

  • The 2011 World’s in Piedrahita- what went wrong and all the fallout from the comp
  • Piedrahita gets on the map
  • The Open Class and Serial Class and comparisons to 1998
  • Fly on the wall goes bad
  • The history of comp gliders
  • Revisiting the weight issue and size of gliders and “weightless” style comps
  • Saving Piedrahita
  • Accidents and takeaways
  • The craziness in Manila in 2007 and Eva’s flight over 30,000′
  • Maintaining a good attitude at comps
  • The liberation of leaving competitions
  • Running a comp and covering costs
  • Red Bull X-Alps
  • Becoming an illustrator
  • Kiwi’s “road to Macedonia” series
  • Meet directing and flying in comps = bad idea
  • Stupid decisions and complacency
  • Looking back at a long career
  • How our acceptance of risk changes in the comp environment


Mentioned in this episode: XCMag, Russ Ogden, Ozone, Gin, Ed Ewing, Alex Hoffa, Richard Gallon, CIVL, Eitel von Muhlenbrock, Mads Syndergaard, Francisco Vargas, James “Kiwi” Johnston, Tom Payne, Seiko Fukuoka, Brett Janaway, Bruce Goldsmith, Godfrey Wenness, Eva Wisnerska, David Dagault, USHPA, Miguel Gutierrez, Alas Del Hombre, Jocky Sanderson


Steve’s coronavirus illustration for Gavin’s column in XCMag

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Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of Cloudbase. Mayhem a couple of things of housekeeping before we get into this one. The first is some of, you know, I tested positive for COVID and a week and a half ago. Don't know how I got it. I've been training pretty hard for the XL books and have been spending some time in the gym. So that's one maybe likely spot, but I have been very fastidious about washing my hands and wearing a mask from the beginning back then, March with this whole thing. So point here is just to stay vigilant.

I got it. No, a few days before the president did, and we've all seen a fallout from that and then make more than 30 people in that Rose garden deal that they had tested positive, which in one day it was more than Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Korea combined. So they say more than 90% of the U S still not been exposed. And I can tell you this thing is, is it's no joke.

And it, you know, you, you also have to go through the kind of emotional side. It's pretty scary. It's you feel kind of like now casts, there's the shame side of it. And you know, I'm obviously pretty healthy training, pretty hard for the XL ops and you know, it took my feet out from under me, for sure. So be careful be fastidious. I think we're in for a long haul here. Doesn't seem like there's any miracle around the corner and a certainly be much better to not get it if you can.

So be careful everybody. The second bit of housekeeping is I know you don't come to this show for politics, but I think it's my show say what I want and we've got a big election coming up. I know many of you listening are not very, you won't be voting in the selection, but this election is the big one for this country and for the World. And there are certainly a lot on the ballot and I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, but you know, there's all, there's a lot.

There's a lot coming down in the wire on this one and we just had four pretty chaotic yours, and you're not too excited about the status quo. And you're worried about things like biodiversity and nature and climate change in education and morality, racial justice, income inequality, the American dream snow. And I don't think it's too much to say even our future or on his, on the ballot this year and not just for the president, but for all the down ballot races that are very, very important.

So please make a plan to vote. They say, if you have a plan you're 20% more likely to vote. It's less than a month away. Voting is a already happening in many parts of the country, early voting. If you need some help with registration or just to make sure you're a registered, there's also, you know, there's a lot of vulnerables and suppression and all kinds of stuff going on to keep people from voting. So make sure you're eligible and you're registered go to patagonia.com forward slash election's for all kinds of resources on that and make a plan either through absentee or on the day, or drop off balance mailing, make a plan and make it happen.

Lot of people have died here around the world for the right to vote. It is our civic duty. We got to do it. That's how our representatives listen. And please, this year, please vote. Beg your grandma begged the kids that don't think it matters. Get your friends to go get a big party to go where your mass and go vote. And I'll, I'll leave you at this quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson before he go to the polls. And he said, the greatest thing about science is it's true, whether you believe in it or not.

So science is also on the ballot this year. Let's go to the polls and vote. Thank you. This in his, with Steve, Ham a British pilot. Who's been in the game since the very, very beginning was a real passionate hang glider, had a bunch of Accident and transitioned into paragliding, his run and Ben, a meat director and Ben involved in more than 60 competitions, including a really big comps. Like the world's in a Europeans in a bunch of World Cups.

He was really the, the person who put Piedrahita and Spain on the competition map and has over the years been on the British team and a number of times, and has held a number of records in the UK and in Spain and just fascinating. And most of you probably know him more recently by his incredible illustrations. He had a pretty bad Accident after the 2000 of the really famous 2011 comp. And Piedrahita with all of the tragedy in which we go into in depth in this, in this conversation, but he had his personal Accident.

And after that, that a real thing, he screwed up his arm and still has pretty little and had mobility and movement in that arm and became an illustrator after that. That was something he could do with that arm. So, you know him for his amazing illustrations, he illustrated all Achilles a great articles about his road to Macedonia in his world's attempt that he didn't cross country magazine. And then he illustrated my coronavirus column back in ECC, mag the spring, which was really fun.

And he did one to the Alaska expedition as well. So he's done a bunch of stuff for me and we've never met. So I'm really wanting to, to get him on the show and talk about Piedrahita and what happened there. The, the writing was for many people was really on the wall. This was right after the venture, one of the two liners. And this was when the R 11 came out and Jen had a similar two liner Wang, and a lot of pilots pretty excited about flying it, but didn't have the skills to do so.

So that world's event on a day to day in Peter heater went really pear shaped and to fatal accidents and several other reserves. And the fallout from that really changed paragliding. As we know it, that ended the open class instigated the CCC class. There was all kinds of interesting things that happened with a serial class after that. And so, yeah, a lot of fall out, a lot of changes that was Steve's last, like the last competition that he ran.

He has been a meat director since, but anyway, some great stories. It takes us a while to warm up in this one, but near the end, he talks about a bunch of great stories. So please stick with it to the end and some great history here. In great advice. And I really enjoyed this conversation now.

Speaker 0 (7m 26s): ,

Speaker 1 (7m 41s): Steve, I've been really excited to have you on the show. Ed reached out months and months ago after you did the, the awesome illustrations for the coronavirus article that I did for the magazine for my column. And I've, you know, I, I, I'm very protective of my Australia PWC helmet bag. That's got your awesome illustrations all over it. I've been, I'd love to meet you in person. Some days you've been at this for an awfully long time.

I actually didn't know how long until you sent me that great email yesterday with a bunch of your history with Hang Gliding, you've been at this from the very beginning and I really want to get into all that, but I thought we might, or a very interesting point in your history and in a history in the history of the sport might be to ping off, right with Piedrahita in 2011, you were the meat director there at that. World a, that was so tragic and really, really changed the dynamic of the, of the sport.

And there was a lot of fallout from that. And I just thought to rope people in, you know, obviously the pilots that listened to the show than a minute at this game for an awful long time, remember indelibly the 2011

Speaker 2 (8m 57s): Event, but many of the people that are new to the sport, maybe not so much. So let's start with the 2011, your role there. And you, as we talked about a little bit before we started recording here, you kind of have many of you thought the writing was on the wall there before that even started.

Speaker 3 (9m 17s): Yes, we did. Well, I w we always suspected there might be a possible problem because I'm running out in the spring before the event of the event's in July, which is sorta peak of conditions here at Piedrahita. Mmm. And the people would of been starting, trying to use a new gliders on the air before the and been very successful. But during that spring, in some of the new guidelines are coming out in of course, the pea, the CIB change the ruling on Gliding for 'em open class and, or the glider Mo, or most of the gliders, which have been flown in the previous season, or the three liners were now a lot of no longer a certified under the new rules.

So we had the situation where many pilots, although they were happy on their previous year, three line of comp diner, they couldn't actually fly them because the manufacturer didn't want to spend the money to do the tests once again, because of course, many of them are you glad is at, and they wanted to tell the new guy this. So not a price that comes with the event with Nutanix, which hadn't been flown. The, the new rule was they had to have them at least 30 days before the collection happened, but what were the possible bad weather?

And a lot of partners turned out with fair at a lot of time. And we also started hearing the stories of people saying, these guys are just fantastic. You know, this they've just really, you can't deflate them, but when they go, they go and then the energy was so, so vast and people couldn't deal with what was happening to them. So maybe one was just, even with a minor deflations, people were three in the reserves. So we started to get a lot of reserves being thrown in nearly part of the, the season and even some big names know.

So Alex Haffer, who was the European champion back in the early two thousands where he, he had Lance in broker's bank and other important people, you know, not just, you know, people sort of mid ranking part of it, the good part. So a lot of concern coming in and when the went on parents to know the other, that's a concern. I spoke to Russell Alton, he's a good friend for 20 years.

And of course it makes with those and very knowledgeable Ramona, all of these aspects involved in testing the calories. And I did ask him, could you please perhaps to have a briefing on the first day with, in front of all the pot incident, literary safety rating that we were to do to tell how to actually find these guides and more importantly had to recover. And of course, Russ would be, what is it? It's very lonely. I don't want to teach teaching granted and these are all In good pilots.

They should know, but I'll tell them any kind of course, he stood up and went through this lots of hand gestures. You know, this happened the other day. I was not looking Ham. I was living here at the pilot's in love and happiness there a dog, really, you know what, no, we have to do that. World was a black line, was all of this with all of the other and a story was that the Gladys, any the low test, and then you, the video of the, of the test pilot or recovery from those events.

But of course it didn't always have to recover. We just hopped out the video of recovery on three or four occasions, a party. And then I asked Russell in a little more and more of what were you going to do? And he said, well, we're hoping for the best open for the best. So we've went to this event hoping for the best, for all the pilots, but that's, it was a pretty scary scenario we had

Speaker 2 (13m 4s): Steve are the majority of the pilots? Was this the R 10?

Speaker 3 (13m 9s): No, this is the, our 11 the year before. So this is the, our 11 and you of course, June, and then a number of other manufacturers. They also had their versions of, to liners the, the kilos with the boomerang on the left. And on the first time we had no incidence and Peter's recognized for its convergence fine. So you get very strong convergence lines over flat lands, and you do huge tasks here quite easily.

And firstly, it was an excellent day. We had a repeat of a task. We did way back in 1995 at one of the early PWCs we did here. And that was like a World at that time, back in 95, gliders just didn't fly very far. They were sort of very much so a fishbowl, a task in the PWC when I announced this task of 175 kilometer, a task, you know, people say it's impossible. Remember Russia got on coming in to me and saying, you're crazy.

There's a positive thing. What for Richard? It was cause he bombed down on the way. But we actually got, I think about 60, 70 of the pilots is a good part in the field, two, the goal and some of the purest things of connecting with a lot, but moving on the other, the other, this task, a successful tasks, no problems even got there. There was huge repercussions though the next morning, because on that in PE the raids that we through the first six, five with five as Heidi, like name was a day with perhaps three and a half thousand 4,000 meters.

And unfortunately it's a six to five kilometers than the anesthesia team and down to 3000 meters for the majority of the second part of the flight. And although after Russell did his talk, did a very long explanation of the airspace now with the audio visuals, a lot of people by seeing a space. And so that was, that was a big the session on the next morning. In fact, you know, I think our, those 60 people to make goal, I think actually know on the six people made in 1995, but I think it was 120 at a of the field of under a 50 made a goal.

And then I think about 25 30 of those we had to can them. And so I think I was rung up at three o'clock in the morning by the Mexican team thing. It's of course we deleted that to the whole team. So they weren't very happy a bank. That was one, well, the problem in a going in to day two. And then of course on day two, we had to reign back with, we had another fantastic veteran write a nice forecasts with high base, but we don't want to go into that airspace.

So we did a relatively short task, a just to add a nice 65 Ks with a few little, a bit of a flyer on the value before and on that and ask her that's when we heard the two Accident the day with not a strong ones in a very, a day, a little bit similar to that before, but it was more of a blue day, a perhaps a little bit stronger, a little more dry is a bit more of a little more rough, but the sort of tasks are the sort of conditions that we have here throughout the summer. You know, I'm usually guiding guys on B class guiders C class gliders in this, the sort of the milk from we do and flying to Atlanta 55, 60 Ks.

And it's no big deal, but of course for people find these gliders, which are a little bit twitchy, a little more tricky to patrol back in those days, then it became very problematic. Of course, we had the two fatal accidents with Itel in front of the school and also just getting into goal of just trying to lose Hunter. The goal, we have three other people throw their shoes and it just trying to lose high of a goal. People were having then the extent of a deflation they had, but you know, people were throwing their at their residents quickly because they knew they wouldn't be able to get out of those, those problems.

And then of course, where the two, a fatality is no one of them, a from a fiscal of ideas, he was, he was before the start of getting very benign conditions coming back from her, a priest Stargate turn point. And I think there was a German pilot who flew through with the same. I almost jumped ahead of him relatively smooth. And unfortunately he, what happened people with a, from a physical violence, he had an incident in, he ended up being an, a four store trying to hold the store.

But the last minute I think that the firm, I think from witnesses that Gliding trying to recover from him, he must've let up a little bit in it's the song. And he was essentially no feel a straight away we had a pilot landing near him and he thought he was, yeah, he probably died. Not at the moment. And the other ones, the other case was with from Chile. Well, he was actually probably on the final goal of alongside of a friend of yours.

And I think they were 2000 Ander meters on a blind eye and he took ahead. Of course, they thought it went under the very, very quick, the spiral dive. And this less began, the reason why we now carry two parachutes in a category, one competitions, because it appeared that you got one arm trapped. So we couldn't no, the, the is throwing hand. So he wasn't able to access the, the shoot and then, sorry, the sPower down to 2000 down to the ground and a property killed instantly once the game.

And of course, with these two fatalities as well, then of course the whole Panorama kind of rewind competitions changed as you probably know for a, quite for many years there, of course, even though with a world class, even that was the world championship a, we didn't actually have no a lot of media going in to the event, but of course, after the accident, then we heard just about every radio and TV company in Spain hovering around in a, trying to report on events.

And of course the, the CIB after a day or two of deliberation on the side of it to a cancel the rest of the competition and we had flown enough tasks for, to be validated. And then that was essentially a banning of the open class glider for a number of years until the competition class was sorted out. What became the CCC class a couple of years.

It took some time after the sea. It's a tragic event. Of course it hit me emotionally in a terrible way as he probably did Calvin. Who's my, a safety data and many people here now that was then for me, that was the end of the running competitions. And it was going to be my last event. And we'd run perhaps 60 to 70 international events since the early nineties. And yeah, it was just, just too much really to comprehend in other, it just didn't seem worth going on there doing more events, you know, as time went on, of course in a time he was all et cetera, et cetera.

And, but I really kind of moved away from a minute following events and taking too much interest in what was happening as far as competition design and development went to the next for a few years after that. So I don't know too much about all ins and outs of the subsequent development of the CCO, a competition class. But I do know there are a lot of people who really love it. God is the, the, our 11 for example. And then there are people that have a Belgium pilot came on quite recently, you know, he's still got his, he bought another second animal, but not war as so many people love those partners.

And of course in the right hands, they were exceptional clients. You know, maybe we'll say they were almost plus B more performance than some of the guys may have the date. I don't know because identify modern competition diners at the moment, but certainly because a lot of problems in international for the events everyone's had to do that, then the fly Siro class and that of course the zero a class. Now we been through this whole Cyril class many years before in 1998.

And then fortunately we live, it was very much really hearing exactly the same scenario for me. It's 1998, which is my first kind of one event that we organized Europeans rates that we'd had previously some fairly, very successful PWC and interned national events now to be done. Swedish nationals is a door to exit prudish, many, a times fashion that's a lot of course. And we did these three PWCs and the pilots on discovering paeds right at the merits.

The, especially in the European part is cause before, about 1984 of the, most of the PDC tasks were in Europe and they were very much of a fishbowl, a task 40 50 Ks, and occasionally 60. And then here in 95, we were suddenly doing these huge tasks because we were able to lines of conversions. And even with the guidance at the time we did 140 cam return, 60% goal of this big, 175 and lots of exciting bangs and a so we wrote, so the, the flame Weeber that he's written with a sort of on the map and popular, and we had an, a lot of people wandering through the Europeans.

So we did Europeans and unfortunately it was time or whatsoever, you know, there's a lot of environments and things were being pushed. You know, I was listening to Kiwis Podcast the other day he was talking about, you know, this is time as well, where Gliding was to begin, get a little bit problematic and difficult to fly in a Accident in many coms. And then once again, we, we, once again, we had our first kind of rewind competition and it was just at this cusp of when gliders were becoming very, very problematic.

And then we had a fatal accident and it was actually midair soon after launch. So you couldn't really say, was it anything to do with a glove? Is I don't think so, actually, cause actually the Accident that day was instigated by a, a, a pilot flying J a M what would of been the DH for you two, three back in those days, which would of been like a C class, a client a and he had, he fed on top of another Gliding and they went both my down to the deck.

So it wasn't really the, the fact that it was dangerous gliders, but it was on top of all the other accidents and competences that time, which then brought about the possibility of the syrup and that with a lot of arguing from a, especially in the way, it's always very much, if the Messiah's trying to push these forward. And in some countries such great Britain, they went sort of unilaterally decided we're gonna fly Cyril class in the United nations in a number of countries did that, but an unconscious didn't, which then gave some imperative ready for you.

If you're going to world's events and some people to find a CRO in some people fly out in class, what you kinda, you kinda kind of imagine who's going to win. So the CEO class on the dose struggled along for quite a few years and it became this and then was successful in many ways because it did give people that option to take a slightly less risky route. And also if we go back to the nineties and maybe even earlier than the two thousands, there was some really nice open glass light.

It's the real hardships are the ones who ran really, really well, but you couldn't get your hands up because they were reserved for the, the, the factory factory pilots. So it's also cool to a certain amount of resentment that people can get in the good luck and couldn't get these good lighters. But that was another kind of worms back to the nines. It's a really bad to a 2011 when we got the same problem, but this time this took the definitive action that and said, that's enough and see what class in me.

But of course the CEO class gliders assume kind of resemble very much the, the open class gliders in a few years. Right?

Speaker 2 (25m 50s): Sure. And I, I remember the, the fallout from that, you know, with the, a lot of the kind of lighter pilots, the amount like Tom Payne and more mad cinder guard, there were, there were a lot of pilots that just, that was kinda it, you know, then Peter heater was, was it when, when they banned the open class, a lot of the pilots that are lighter, which of course makes me really feel for the, the, typically the women pilots who are really light, just, they just didn't feel like they could compete anymore.

Cause they didn't have that open class possibility. And it, it was, it was very discouraging. I know for, for many, I think feels, I mean, it feels like that's kind of come around now and it's not so much as, as big of an issue. I mean the weight thing is always been an issue, but I mean, it must, it must have just been emotionally, not just from the, not just from the, the tragedy of the two deaths obviously, but just everything else. It must've just been quite a soup that you were in.

Speaker 3 (26m 58s): Yes, it certainly was. I mean, well, going back to the, the waiting is a little anecdote from the us on the first day of the, the world's here or that we only had one Chinese pilot that year and it with a girl, I can't remember her name, unfortunately, thanks. She's a very lightweight as for me to about 40, 40, 45 kilos and most teams we'll come with assistance. We usually had to pay to pay for her. And most teams we'll come with one or two assistants. I believe there's the Chinese had four assistants, one pilot, but it was this girl she had, she was kinda of a huge amount of a ballast.

She was fine. She was fine on our 11 and a Carver who was my safety, a direct. So he's very, he's a very, the rules are the rules. And he had his, had a weighing machine in to take off. There's a lot of hammock in a very professional sort of way machine. And you'd like to wait before, and this, this girl obviously walking it to take off with being carried by four strong Chinese assistants kind of caught his eye. So I'm for safety in inverted commas. He took in a way that, and they said we can't carry all that back.

So took the banner software. No, of course that made her completely unsafe. So then she subsequently took off, flew out, had the inflation through the reserve and had to, had to recover from the tree. So the, some of these rules were, which were implicated about cause it's true. I do, I carrying a lot of weight when you crash, then it can be a problem. But of course, there with those particular lives and they needed to be weighted up obviously to be a way to be safe.

So there was a lot of anachronisms really on the, on the whole safety thing in hopefully, you know, things are better now.

Speaker 2 (28m 44s): Yeah. I mean, its, and again, it's the it's it's when you look at the range, you know, when you have a, you know, big, heavy, strong guy, that's carrying them, the max and you know, he's up with the 32 versus the, the, the Chinese girl that you're talking about. I mean, it's just that, you know, you're for, for one person that's quite a bit of weight for another person it's more than doubled, but it's, it becomes really challenging for takeoff and landing. And obviously for landing, you know, after you've just flown a comp and you're tired and yeah, it can be real risky.

I don't, I can't remember if that was a contributing factor in Seikos Accident and I think when she broke both of her ankles, that might not, I, I can't remember if that was an acro thing or if that was just from her being totally loaded up and I have to reach out find out. But yeah. I mean, I know that I'm just for my own personal experience, you like in Alaska, well,

Speaker 3 (29m 42s): Carrie and all that weight is it's tough when you land or it's tough if you don't have the

Speaker 0 (29m 48s): Wind. Yeah,

Speaker 3 (29m 49s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you know, if you want to find those glances in that case, you have to wait up it's for me, it was, it was having the carrot, the weight of the mountain, rather than the, you know, you can always dump it before you, before you land, like its kind of you, but yeah. I mean it's one of these eternal questions, I think Brett Jonah way, you know, he came here, he's come up with this new format for a competition of which I cannot tell you the whole details or the explained it to be quite well early this year.

And last year she's been interesting what the wait is competition as to what he calls it, the event in. Yeah. Yeah. So, cause it's always been a bit of a bugbear with Bruce as well. Cause you know, Bruce probably weighs around 65, 70 kilos and I know he has, his observation was in there with a big push guys who are winning, especially in the early days. And I knew, and I think it came less important. You're in the, in the early nineties, people were sort of flying a huge gliders, 32 square meters, carrying vast amount of water just cause it gave him a big edge.

And in Bruce's where I was obviously aware of that as we all are. And so maybe for January, I think he's trying to get some form of approval from the CIA VL. So a guy who knows and maybe that's a good, maybe a good direction to go. And it was, it was your decision to stop running comps. And literally because of what happened in 2011 or was it just, it was, it was probably going to be, that was probably going to happen anyway after running 60 something cops.

Wow. I kind of eased off a little in some years before. The reason why we ran the world was in 2011 was really to save the site because if you're not running, you know, we have the, we have a problem now which goes back a couple of hundred years, curiously in Africa, I'll explain why, but basically the, the size of a pea drains, although the bath Piedrahita and does, and actually be long to be the writer because about 200 years ago, the, the, the juke of Alba who is a local aristocrat, who's got, he was building a palace here and honestly you can squeeze enough taxes out of the local serves.

And he went to a nearby village and to get some money or for a building supplies and a in return, he said, well, you can have as much as amount if you can gather by running with a flock of Danelle now with a, a bunch of goats. So trippy tall, you know, this, this other guy for the nearby town, it took away most of the names, including the takeoff. So Piedrahita nine doesn't own. The Manti is this near vice more videos does. So on. We started to now, or this, these events back in the early nineties, the problem you had hold the keys, reasonable, very, very keen Townhall for us to run the events.

It didn't actually belong to them to take off. Of course we were landing in Piedrahita Mmm. And all of the infrastructure was in Peter's rater, but this small, a bit of about 14, Hamilton's a there the ones who had to take off and they wanted to some benefit from us using their site. So there's all sorts of things going on. And eventually the provincial government stepped in and they built a bar or to take off and they recondition the take off at a certain amount.

So the village could profit from it. However, that was enough. And I remember on the very first day of the first PFC in 1994 in the practice, they actually, they came a takeoff and they borrowed, they put it by a wire across, right across the middle of the takeoff and leading a sabbatical about 10 meters for a takeoff run in front of the Bible. What was going on? You crazy? And of course we had all these international partners for the amps with these guys, tried to kill us a Bible by wireless on the table, and then further and further negotiation in the, now with the politics as with the politicians.

And he was sorted to a certain extent, but unless, you know, but by running events each year, then of course the time that we were quite happy seeing a tourism coming in, but then as we eased off a little bit, During after about 2000, we had a big program that's run in to the year of 2000. They wanted to, they wanted to put air generators, wind electricity, windmills across a takeoff. And obviously we didn't want that. It wasn't gonna be very good apparent line. The timing wanted, this is not very nice for any, any form of tourism, but of course the, the village there's a little village had to make a lot of money from this.

So they suddenly became very, very ethical ecologically aware and wanted their clean energy and the 30,000 euros per year for the each will. And so there's a bit of fight. You know, we had a big struggle and at the demonstrations, marches, roadblocks, and eventually kind of one to ask, and we didn't have the, a windows, a sword, but for many years were in the, had to fly. We would, although we had, we had supposedly had the legal rights of flying the tape off.

The owners could go to the police stations. They ended up they're on our land. So they by Wild it up. So we were actually going in taking off over this new, a new bar they've been put on. And for many years, no, the whole thing that went into and a bit of a collapse Piedrahita and to get the things going back again, to get the town hall and fringe, the government on our side, who was better than the world championships. So Amy went to a bit of the world championships and we got it. And of course that allowed a huge infrastructure.

We didn't have 3000 square meters of AstroTurf. The bar was rebuild. And so the positive aspects of the world championship was the fact that we've now got a fantastic takeoff in a great infrastructure. My lost the world class world champions idea of with the British team was in a Manila in, in, in Australia 2007, Bruce, Juan. And, and I thought, wow, I did quite well because I won a couple of events before in a minute 11 got to be when it says opening events and the New Zealand national level in there as well.

And if I'm ever going to do anything good, he's going to be here in Manila in this world because I'd been to other worlds. And I didn't do particularly well, to be honest. And I was going okay, no unfortunate. What was it going to? Okay. No, because we had pretty poor wet as often happens to so many minutes and that's fantastic venue. And then along in the world championships and poor golfers for us, and we all had these really suboptimal, bad weather that most clients storms or the week before we had the experience with the aviation SK.

If you remember the girl that went up into the, into the CUNY, in to 10,000 meters, cause I was there, I was actually just underneath there and I mean, that's another, and that was just crazy, crazy day. You know, it was an open that there was an open distance. A competition we got through was running right in the way before. And I said, I was stopping the state for us to leave. I went off period. It's a bit congested for me down on. I thought, no thanks or go across. And it was open distance.

You'd go on and everything. We wanted to breath it with. No one's going to get towards that. Be congested guys could not be crazy. So they're going to follow me. And I look back and everybody went the other way directly to this sink. There's a big client, but I kept off of my, a, my other roots, but of course was a battery of, I ended up getting low. And by the time I got back up again, I drifted on downwind and I was kind of going in the same direction as everyone else. Meanwhile, there's another big congestion school at about 20 kilometers further to the right of track. And I was kinda speeding up and knows, and doesn't want getting a little, a bit lifting up.

And then there's to tune. It's a very large unit. Since Tarik humans, we were beginning to coalesce and there's still gaps. And I was just flying straight through. Most people were still climbing and I, I kinda got to the NHS for it, the sort of clumping where the door shut behind me. And it was just solid clad and I'm not particularly bright person anymore. And I just can't tell me, pushing, pushing, pushing God beyond that. And looking back, you know, you can see the show and there were people that were just climbing underneath it. And there's only about three people ahead of me.

I think everyone's trying to get higher. I didn't worry about the height. I think David was ahead and two or three others, but as I was pushing into a balloon, I, it got louder. I could seal the, the wind was changing. It was all being whoever at the back into the, the Q and a. So I didn't take any clients who would of just drifted back into the time. I landed very quickly, but by a task packed up, pacing down with rain and a young crazy. And it, of course there's lot of stories that day. And I went to find some, some shallots.

And then when the rain, the stuff we'd kind of put a team leader, Stefan Marshall, and the last coordinator you had was above that Shaq in there pretty much where I was watching those people rather foolishly take time into the CUNY and a, I was Dante. And then the week after a minute. So going back to my last competition, I thought I might do quite well. But unfortunately it was pretty sure whether, and which would of been so bad cause I'm British kinda used to buy the weather and mincing around,

Speaker 4 (39m 31s): But I was flying.

Speaker 3 (39m 33s): Bruce's knew I'm fr for it. It was Gordon is a, there's a real banana river. There's a one to eight aspect ratio, glider. It's a three line and it didn't have any possibility of big earring or I think you could be lying. But Bruce said, maybe not as it a little bit exciting. And, and it was a competition with 70 cloud know, you kind of couldn't control your height very well. So you don't, you'd have to sort of take big routes around in cloud or a fly extraordinarily fast.

In hopefully you're in here at the same before you going to play so well, the good days, bad days, there's a whole, a British thing. Are we doing okay, the fact of life for the last three days four, the end of the event, we were actually where on the podium as a team, we would have been on the podium and Bruce with winning and then I'm with all, okay, now I have a sort of, yeah, I was pretty bad. It's the 20th, something else, her bad and awful. And my mom looking at a lab do and actually in my voice in it, but I wasn't, I wasn't too embarrassingly bad.

And we were going to be on the paid. Him was a British team and it was bad weather. It was, the end is looking like is to be a bad way. I mean, it may rain for the piano for the last day cause, and Bruce will win. And you know, I think there's the worst possible thing you can do is the competition is the hope for bad weather. Of course. So then the next day, of course the weather is good and you're all de-motivated cause you think, cause you don't want to fly. And then we had to find both, I think it was myself, Mark and Russell. We all just have bought a boat, Bruce superstar managed to get it, to go to the world.

And a, the rest of us had a good old cry because we were no longer on the podium, but, and then we had really, really s****y results. So I thought, well, I haven't really shared, so I'm going to stop doing this. Or I did, actually, I went to, I think I did the pre I did the pre was in, in, in the, in the, in to that and nine, but it was all sort of on the down the Hill slope for me, then a ready. And, and then of course it got focused on trying to get this World thing together.

And I thought, well, that's going to be my Swan song. As far as you know, I wanted to go out again with a fantastic exceptionally then, you know, things going to be flowered everyday in a big Epic tasks and everything you want to composition that. And I was going to be low. There's a suicide and a mass in me that I actually, and of course it didn't turn out anything like that. A tool that turned out to be the tragic nightmare in a, and it turned out to be one and was to make sure we we've already discussed. I was in a pretty bad way of that year. And then a and then I had a really bad acid and myself personally Accident and yeah, just nothing spectacular in a while.

The really bad, Accident just stupid things that I matched and mashed myself up really badly shattered my right arm and ah, the left knee in paying for it a five, five years of a pretty bad pain now. And I lost, lost the use of my arm pretty much, you know what? It's still locked in. I've got my rate and much movement on it. But for some years, for many years I was able, I was able to fly, but I went back to flight B, class gliders and yeah, couldn't con couldn't really consider a flyer in a competition, Lenin in a kind of stand out or the habit.

And I actually began to re is how much I liberating, not fine. Competitions is a, because of course when you fight a competition, you're a pretty angry at most of the time. Cause nobody, unless you win, it's a pretty yeah, annoying experience sometimes because a there's a lot of pressure and a, if you don't do well, you can be, get pretty p****d off.

Speaker 5 (43m 26s): And

Speaker 3 (43m 28s): As a meter running competitions also, you've got, you know, 150 people that are on though, pretty p****d off on all the time as well. Cause you know, there's only one guy wins at the end of the end of the competition. So it was in a way liberating for a few years, but then, you know, of course the town all here, Hey, what's going on? We need, you know, we need competitions. And luckily other people kinda stepped up a lot of the chapter, which was in the, the other organizers in the world.

He wants to carry on running Spanish events and things. So although I wasn't, I started doing him the meet a briefing, and then I got roped into doing in a toss up and became pretty much that's the director of, for a number of events here, but I was always a little bit reluctant and shall we say, and, but then a few years ago I was running up, buy some nice people in Columbia and asked me to help with any event in the role in a year.

So I went there and that was it. That was a different experience. So it was, it was more of a funny event and most of the people were happy most of the time, which is refreshing and

Speaker 2 (44m 45s): Such a consistent place. Isn't it? I mean, you get the, I think people are happy when they get the fly every day. And that's the nice thing about roll the Neos. You just get pretty consistent weather.

Speaker 3 (44m 54s): Yeah. Also I think a lot of people are, they're not really feeling a bit of this. These were open events, sort of fun events. And of course there was in the serious guys and a lot around, got a lot of merit guys and on the whole people were really nice and they were really good about it. And I thought, yeah, I actually do kind of miss this and do the scan if the, ask me again and they did this year and I think one other time, so who knows, you know, who knows?

Speaker 2 (45m 22s): No, one of the problems we have with comps in the States is no one can figure out how to cover their costs. You know? So they, they have to charge a lot of money to do it. And then so then that often affects people signing up. Cause they're pretty expensive. And you know, we just, we don't have the, the sponsors that help cover the retrieve costs or the gas costs or the vehicle costs or the personnel costs that kind of thing. I mean, it's just, we we've never really figured it out. Like, you know, Miguel and his whole I'll ask Del Andre team has done in via or sounds like you've done and Piedrahita has that.

Speaker 3 (46m 1s): Oh no, no, no, we haven't done. That's been the, the big problem. We've never, ever had a sponsor beyond what we've had to rely on the town hall and the provincial government throwing some money. And I did actually, you have, you know, you've heard of red bull, I guess obviously the red bull, they sponsored us in the ER, it was a PDM, a C or the Europeans back in the mid nineties. Do you know, what do you know what they sponsored us with? Where they turned that with a guy, a couple of cars and some girls in bikinis hanging out red bull and the lenses, a tent.

And I think, I think we've got two crates for Bob got to Craig's the rental down a bit. And I had to pay, I had to drive the, I had to drive the 10 back to the drink and you was a big box, you know? And then for example, in one of the reasons I stumped doing the PWC, we had some very successful PWCs here and in 19, but after 1919. Yeah. And I wrote mentioned a depth in the Europeans no, the Europeans is a very kind of one competition.

It's a very expensive event, a run. And we ran it once again with the money from the provincial government, with you, how much does going to cost him the PVC across a lot of them. And if you do it correctly with all the bells and whistles or the hospitality stuff that you have to do, but after 98 and that events with the another tragic death, I wasn't so keen, but the 10 of them were pressuring me to run then a PWC event.

So I was in the PDLC committee at this time. I think I was, I started with the PDMs committee and a nine 95. Cause they wanted someone to give a bit of input. Cause most of the committee is people that carry guns in the hands of Ballinger and maybe was mainly pilots who were, and they were looking what pine is one, which is great. But of course, sometimes, you know, you need to, actually, the guys were putting a neck at to run the event with the organizers. They were, they felt that they, they need to get some input from there. So I was on the POC and I requested running another event.

And Peter is, although I didn't really want to, so we got a POC for in 1999 and the Pantanal was yeah, yeah, we'll back you up. You know, and I said, this is gonna cost a lot of money and we've got to pay the COTA PWC. No worries know we got loads of people with an asked for a sponsorship. Great. Cause you know, I'm completely rubbish in any form of fans trying to get sponsorship, but you go ahead and knock yourself out. Great, fantastic. And so we went ahead with, we went ahead of getting everything going. The extra fee started coming in and I think its about a month before I went to the town hall and unfortunately they'd had the relation in the meantime in some of the council, there's a change and I say, Hey, how are you going on with all these sponsors?

And ah, well I think we're going to cancel. I think we're gonna cancel because we can, yeah, we haven't find anyone kind of a month or so away. The morning was in pink. People had the flight's books and we had to go ahead and then we had, so what we had, but the, we had yet for a few months. So I spoke to and he was going to be my TD for that event. And Fred a screamer and Mandy were going to be the scores so that in those days of that, it was just a very small now things have changed and the PDMP now and they have their whole team and the organizers is a very good apart and putting up the, some of the shared infrastructure, but in those days with a slightly different, but you know, I would normally have to pay for their flight.

It's a cross. And I said, Hey, is that your name jumping in a car, all coming in one car, you going to stay in my house and then we're going to cut costs in of course we had to cut costs and you might think, well, huh, would it be great if you ran for half the week and we could, we could lose some trucks, some, and of course it turned out to be, you know, every single day what's flyable and good to, or the expenses were there, but we ran the event and a lot of hassle, we kind of broke even, I didn't lose money for a lot of hassle, went on a stress with a parent, but with what the potential to of lost a lot of money.

So that was the end of it for me, for running for the PW in peak in PDAC without, you know, actually, and I actually had the written thing, stamped sign and seal it in the town hall at the time. So when we went to the World, I made sure that the mayor of Piedrahita came with me to Austria with some of the counselors and we did the presentation together and it was all seen as then being the organizers or the local club at the front.

So they were going to get all the kudos and they would pick up all the bits of course as well. And that way I had them sort of trapped on the second time for the world in 2011, but there is a waste we've never had a apart from those two kinds of, to create size of red. But when I shouldn't shortchange with them, it was too crazy not to cans, sexy girls with bikinis on the date. That was ah, the sum total of are a sponsor

Speaker 2 (51m 14s): Of sport. And I think Miguel could teach us on a lot about that side of it. He's he's obviously got it pretty figured out, down in Mexico, although with coven, it's proving challenging for, for everybody obviously, but okay. Well, two things you said that I need to bring you back to you and you also, you wrote this in your email to me as well. You had this Accident that, that did your arm In did that, did that leave to the illustrations or were you an illustrator already?

Speaker 3 (51m 43s): No, I wasn't in Australia where a, had a great interest in a, in Australia and I's, but I'm as a child, I'm the person. But I got, since I was 18 a kid, I was just so motivated by flying and stuff. And that just kinda got in the way of everything else ready. And then suddenly, yeah, I lost interest in the competitions and that, and I had this sort of arm, my right arm and I am right handed and it was just like, it belonged to somebody else.

Now I've got very little movement in it and I thought I'm going to do some rehab education. I stopped trying to draw it. It was quite painful and it was true that really sort of already a and then it started to get better. And I find by having, having a board at a right angle, I could use, I could slide my arm across a drawer and there by sliding the, a, the pen across the, you know, it's not going digital, which is much, which is even slightly at the screen. And I can, I start it messing around with animation, which is something I wanted to do for years as well.

And, and I think I've put something up, a little thing about the evolution of Paragon, the hind money and a, from a cross compromising soil. And he, at that time, he looking to inject it a bit of sort of current in a strength and cartoons in the magazine. And he said, I tried to do some illustration. And they had this idea of doing a piece about the motif, the huge range of personalities within sport I'm with the, within that range of, off of the people, the sport, there are many stereotypes.

And so there would of been a little Stories he drives each month and I was writing those stories for 'em. I think you probably did a couple of years of those too. It's for Ryan and his team. And then Matt again,

Speaker 6 (53m 42s): Treated for, for all of it, for Kiwis, you know, a gun for the world's. That was, those were, those were really terrific.

Speaker 3 (53m 52s): Yeah, no, I really enjoyed them. It's that's a Kiwi a know that it was a struggle at the beginning with him, cause a he's a force of a sort of personality and he was really fired up on the whole, the competition thing, you know, and I had met him back in the nineties and you'd been on Piedrahita and I've been seeing him over the years and he's very gregarious, a extroverted guy in and then, but I never really seen in him too much line and he'd always be turning out.

He turned up in the world in Portugal, he was covering on events. And of course he did that. Wow. He talked about his first piece of XC magazine. The article did for the world in Grenada that back in year 2000, how was it that event? And it was, I thought that was one of the best things I've ever read as far as that was the best to have a review of a, of a paragliding event. And she's fantastic. And ah, of course I'm going to make some major or the other events, but it was never a be flying. He was often involved in his writing and stuff.

When I met him, he was reporting as opposed to flying in the event. And then now here it is 50 53 and he's stay in this competition that, and of course he sent me, he sent me there, the, the story and ah, of course I'm searching for, to find some angle in a bit of humor. There's a cause I'm not just going to, I'm not doing this sort of a direct report is I'm taking any little remark in mind making, going off in a complete, a complete tangent with my, with my mind that Sawyer and I'm just going to be, and of course I picked up on the whole psychedelic thing and you know, we had quite a tight deadline and I was working, you know, I probably did 200 hours or something.

Accident huge amount of time if in the space of these two to two weeks to get these out. And then he rang up these really high grades. It's Tracy know I'm going to a Hunter Thompson and you're gonna in my, in my, a strength in there and he was really fine up. And I said, yes, great enough to have this stuff here, which I'll stay at my cross on the Saturday now. So I got home cause I was down and walking the dogs when he caught me and I sent them to me by email. And then I thought he's going a lot of these and nothing came back and it was quiet radio silence, Hey, maybe you didn't like it.

And then ed, ed Ramy grant, I got an email from Brittany I'm in the pub with Kiwi he's mad, he's really p****d off. And that, of course he didn't want the whole psychedelic thing to the brought in. Of course in that first edition there was, you know, there's, tryptamine frogs on his head and I know it was just magic mushrooms here and there. It was just, and he wants to be seen as a very serious person because he was going to be, well, he wants to be selected for the paralleling team.

He, the, one of these I presume to you about is, you know, psychedelic in a writing career, but he was trying to keep that very secretive and they seemed, and anyway, luckily, so the talked in Dan and then a, and he ended up and I really actually enjoyed and he put on a kind of really automatic is a little altar, a cartoon, Oh, that really surprises me at knowing, knowing Kiwi that surprised me, I guess, what it all comes down to isn't isn't it is, you know, we all have egos, especially as pilots, we're all pretty cowboy in independent and think we're the smartest thing ever, you know, and then our ideas going to work.

And so I guess, I guess he still firmly falls in that he has an ego, I guess, and like we all do so that's interesting though. I would've thought he would have kind of celebrate it. I tried to get him going on that route a couple of times in the Podcast and he just, there was no reviews, I guess, I guess he wants to be interesting, cause it's such a big part of his life, a bigger part, really. Yeah. And I think at the end of the really appreciate that and he really enjoyed it. And then in the end he was, he was trying to feed me with ideas for cartoons and, you know, he had this whole, this whole Ralph Steadman leaving Las Vegas style image, which we were going to do.

It's the last one, which never, you know, they were, we, there were some for lads with that particular, the answer for days, for some people, the Federation, some people with in line, some of their shine did, which trying to write to explain actually was linked to my, I did well, there was one particular picture and because keyword was annoyed at one particular event because he was pushed off the podium by a doctor who was flying in the event and I'm, you know, I'm pretty against the, director's fine.

I can't really see how you can do both of those things. In fact, I did actually do that myself once and I, I, well, here's in them. That's not in my Accident Stories we back in 19, 1994 on my first PWC, you know, I was a pilot, not flying, wasn't a fly. I was also on a mediator. So it was been a slight as a pilot and a score, but I wasn't kind of be involved. And I had a TD, which was half of your remote and at the time, and we have this a task and there was a seal of a route to the previous year, this big fight and in 93, and I've got what was then the European record, which was quite big.

And those days, I mean, those days to get records or in Europe, anything over a hundred was like big stuff. And I did about 160 Ks. And I ran long is a CUNY in a convergence line, which, which Johnny finding during the stupid. But I survived the, in like the, the big flight and a year after it'd been to kind of similar conditions and we had to cancel the, to the task. But as I was trying to get that, my guy went to pieces on me and I ended up with things, spin. I had a, B the whole thing was all twisted up and I was like, spiral spiraling down and then control more twisted up.

So I had to throw my reserve reserve and luckily it opened. And then I started going up at the reserve because of course it was Q and M and then the client is sort of started flashing around and over the Gliding kind of started flying cars was heavily carotid, the last sort of on the photo of yourself. And then I downplay, which was very, very convenient. And a as I down in place, and I was actually very close to gold at this time, being a maker, trying to, well, I better say something cause they will then go watch your and M although the absolutely terrifying, I thought with the parents of out when I'm not actually descend and I'm going to actually survive.

So I better come across. It's a bit of a year. And I though thinking of what would, what would, would a Spitfire part of that say as he was just about the bailout? You know, so I had, I read, I thought we're at this. I was going to say this right spot of trouble, but it seems to be okay now coming down. Okay. That's what I was going to say, but I kinda got a hold of my radio. Okay, bye. Now I had the guidance gala, the app when I was coming down in the reserve. Yeah. There were lightening bowls and things bouncing off to the, to the Eastern us, to the left.

It was sunny, but I, when I was going down, which is convenient and a man to say these anymore, the words and I realized my tongue was so dry and so expanded. I was, and then I hit the cuss from,

Speaker 7 (1h 1m 53s): And then I went off

Speaker 3 (1h 1m 57s): In the cross is very, very brave or a very noble at all. And I kinda hit the ground going to be fast just a few times. And I went, who ran this sort of custodial in France. And I was dragged classes field at a rate of knots. And then luckily there was unfilled. The next deal coming out, didn't have a fence, but it was a, some flowers, a plant field talk, some plants. So that sort of broke the, the speed of mine. I'm going to travel.

And then shortly after actually the jockey Sanderson sort of turned up cause he was in gold and he jumped in the car and rushin came and he was at first on the scene and yes, well that was, that was a miss. Do you think I was a meter actually. And I was in the sky and I made it, yeah, that was very embarrassing. Kind of do both jobs is a very effective and anyway, and also, so we talking to him, I was trying to think of pilots reaction to me dieting.

So we're talking about key where he was a little bit disgruntled with this particular meter, trying to think of, well, how can I, how can I portray what pine is thinking for me to actually, and I cast my mind back to that events in 2011, not the day of the accident or the day before when it, all of those pilots had a fantastic bank, got to and then the meet director told them, sorry, you've got to zero for the deck. And they didn't like you very much at all.

Or the briefing in the next day. You know, there was the old word of fascist bastard, that sort of comment. And so when I came to draw, you know, what's often an embodiment of a meter, a picture of a sudden that Jack booted, the high she's tired, which had no resemblance, it wasn't character of anyone in particular. It's just the character of a fascist dictator of a 1930s dressed up in a sort of meet the kids with, with the map behind him.

And I think in the background, there, there was Shannon with two people who have for us as aspects infringements. But anyway, that didn't go over very well with a particular meat director in a New Zealand who pushed key off the, off to the podium because of that perhaps began to that drawing. And perhaps the key was belligerent to at times, then a little thin kicked off where the Federation and then Kiwi got a little bit rightful about a bit round about that journey.

And because of that and Maxine had to make an apology. And I think that kind of pretty much put it down or on the, on the series que the, the, yeah, he did actually, he wrote the last one did, of course the whole series was called the road to Macedonia. But by this time the world is a mess they're in it already gone. And keyword spent some quite some time. He was a bit late on getting the, the work at home because he broke his arm.

In the meantime, it's a risk of rise. So thing's got a little bit then a little bit heated and ended up with the certainly ready, but I really enjoyed the whole thing. And it was, it was great to be within there. Of course, you know, it's devastating to hear about his son. Who's already demise.

Speaker 2 (1h 5m 31s): Yeah. That the weekend before we were flying in Nevada together and he, I I'm very intimate with that whole a story you just recollected. Cause I of course heard it. I heard an for all about it from him on his side of things.

Speaker 3 (1h 5m 45s): Oh, I'm sure. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (1h 5m 47s): But he was, it was real interesting because I'm thinking this last year, I'm pretty sure he did 11 or 12 comps. I mean, he just went from comp comp comp and it was really kind of over, I mean he was actually losing interest a little bit in burning man has gotten kind of corporate and big money. And in that thing that had kinda been a big chunk of his life for over 20 years. And so he was, he was really putting a lot of effort and time into comps. And I, he made a crack where in Nevada that he, he, he kinda, he came up and joined us mostly just out of boredom in the, and that, you know, he wasn't, there were no cops and he was like, God, it's just, you know, I, I don't have, you know, none of the psychedelic scene is happening right now cause you can't, you know, be together in large groups and none of that stuff's happening and none of the comps are happening.

I just know, I dunno, doing myself and he was, he was laughing at himself cause he say, I just, I'm, I'm surprised that the comp scene has become such a big part of my, you know, Free time and entertainment. And in what I'm pursuing is that my I'm I'm going to orient this towards a question. Has, was for you being a part of the comp scene, you know, all those decades. I mean, this really, wasn't almost from the beginning in your hand Gliding days and, and on through, you know, looking back, would you have done, would you have put more emphasis on something else?

W w w are you, are you, would you have changed anything looking back

Speaker 3 (1h 7m 26s): If I changed, not crashing on the numerous occasions, that's for sure. But you then often get advance or any of that, but yeah, I used to make a high amount of real having a crushing angler, but you said to the crash that it isn't in the wreckage tends to save you on the home, on the whole, well, the normal that's the case, but I don't know why, I'm not sure what I would have changed. You know, I've never been to Mississippi wealth and I wasn't really able to follow the whole competition thing to my design.

I would, I would have flown in a lot more events than I did. It's the financial constraints, but just too much, you know, I was able to go to many events by being a teen in the nineties. And most of the events I went to, I was going there working as a, as a teen as a week for the PWC, which has the wrong word, Xamarin Riga than took on the pretty, made his own during the two things. But I, of course I have to work here on the summer. So the summer season is pretty much close to Nissan, most the comps now in Australia and what I would like to have done more, but I wasn't really a route for me, it a route for me to do so.

Here's the flyer guiding idea. Of course, from here from June to August is when I work season and then the rest of the year with it's no good at all, where for, for cross country. So, you know, during the summer I couldn't compete. So I don't know if it's, who knows how we're changing the Ham perhaps I should've got a proper job and when I was younger and done that, but this I, I do with my people that can do both, you can have a proper career and also do that paragliding and then be able to put their flying aside and have a normal family work life.

And I was just never able to do that. You know, so obsessed from an early age that yeah, just went along this whole poverty-stricken, you know, whatever in the flying thing. Yeah. Here's an idea

Speaker 2 (1h 9m 37s): In your, on your website. It said, hang gliding, ruined any serious career path and, and you, you studied duology in physiology and then you got into Hang Gliding sounds like pretty soon or the kind of the same time you're coming out of school and, and you obviously chose the, the career path of, of piloting. You know, that, that was a while back Steve Ham you and I, or in the same department or you're when it comes to getting a little older on the tooth, but it's a, any regrets.

Speaker 3 (1h 10m 7s): No, I know. I mean, highlighting was just so important to me. You know, I had a, you know, when I started, I had the, one of the Pilates in our club, like with Mark A. Craft, it was always my guru who's now I think his, one of the French exceeding many times over the last few years, well, you know, he used to say, you know, I remember thinking if even if someone said, you know, this is going to kill you within the next five years, it would have been difficult to stop. You know, it was just such, such an obsession, such a bus.

And of course I did get off. I did give up handbags. I didn't fly hangers anymore, which is a kind of curious, but of course it, the end paragliding to go. But yeah, it was just such a, it's just a such demand on you on, you know, to many people suffer this, you know, you can't be happy. There's a drug, like a crack cocaine in any of those other things. It creates a dependence. I think I'm over the worst of it. Now I'm sort of in rehabilitation. I can actually, you know, chill out on the, on a good five a day in and not worry to much about what I'm missing, but yeah, in the early one of us younger than it was, it was hard to go and go to a normal job in Christ.

It looks like a good day out there. And I'm inside here on it, trying to earn some money. So when I finally got the opportunity to, I was picked up by, in any way in the bank, 91 to come out to Spain to set up their, the, their dealer network. And so for me, that was a blessing, you know? Wow. And finally now in do some work with them whenever you left. And of course it didn't work out at all. Cause it was fun. It was a disaster airway importation for me to spend at work at it.

But then I soon moved into, I recognize discovered Piedrahita if you like him and saw the merits it's for anybody else did. Cause there was no one really flying and there's no effective takeoff apart from just taking off from the, the actual side of the road. And by developing the competitions, doing the fly guy on him, then it will start to work and it wasn't income in the world and it's got better and it's, it's been fine. So I've enjoyed that. And I'm still flying after all these years. And now I don't do the PR I don't do the competitions and that was a big bus, but it was also a big disappointment, as I said before, but trying with a group of ways that people to visit with them, they come out, they're often same people over a year.

So it's like fine everyday with inmates going in to see. So what could be better? You know, it could have been better this year, but it's hopefully next year will be a back to normal. But the whole, the whole industry is obviously suffering. And so it hadn't been, luckily here we were able to scrape through and get on the month for most of the month of July and August, we were able to fly with a restriction and, you know, we had reasonably, I'm a fighter those coming in to here.

So not so bad. Of course now things are getting worse again, but it doesn't matter cause it's bad weather it for us and say, it doesn't matter for word in Madison, but for our Steve Ham and Piedrahita, it's a no longer important for the next few months.

Speaker 6 (1h 13m 27s): The, is the chunk of the work they're in Peter heater for you tandems or instruction or both?

Speaker 3 (1h 13m 35s): No, no, it's it's I do do tandems. Yeah, but that's very minor kind of I'm we're mainly working with, so I'm going to meet the pilots, you know, usually its a B class C class guys, people are flying XC already and they just can't be for a holiday and they want to go see, so I'm sorry, not a problem. It will be a restructure combination flying with them and I'm going to treat each of those. I would pass if you were a competition, you know, we do a very detailed Meteo brief and talked through the potential flight.

We're going to do our and our, all the problems. So then we're actually flying. We don't have to be, you know, I'm not radio-controlled the people at any stage, you know, we're just making strategic decisions or comments about the weather around us and what's happening and how we might adapt. But in another there's no turn left to right. It's it's like finally the medicine that, that user interaction in which you have,

Speaker 2 (1h 14m 33s): Can you elaborate on maybe, you know, one or the two? Cause you talked about the Accident with your arm and not the delve into the darker side to much in this talk, but I think we can often learn from, from Accident and it sounds like you've had a few look at what are, you know, what, what, what was the cause? What were the takeaways? How could you, how could you help people not have the same thing happen to them?

Speaker 3 (1h 15m 1s): Whew. Well, I said, I said with hangup, I had sort of, I was going through and a million, like it was getting in a fashion cause I was just young keen and less the consequences weren't that bad or the whole when I crashed the thing. So, and so I had a very, and I think when you're, when you haven't, when you're younger, you haven't got this proclamation with Craig and his might kill me, you know, you kind of, you're able to learn more effectively. So you're learning code when you're reasonably brave and not to worry about the, the consequences is a very good, so I, I think I've got Hang learning.

I got pretty good, pretty quick with hang gliding because I was black a day to the two, the two of the problems. Yeah. I landed up some. Yeah, I had, I actually had a, some very near misses. I was, I guess you've been at bill Moyes, the Australian, a famous guy World he was very kind of what you went through. I was, my first beer came Gliding compliment had to go to the Forbes event and we went on CBL internet, this like God Hang Gliding and he's a, he kind of likes palms and he kind of took us under his wing and he took us up to his holiday home in a somewhat North to Sydney and Newcastle.

And we went time with him. Now he's telling was a quite a bit Carrie's thing. In my opinion, he waves very exciting. Basically he tie along the line of washing line to, to speed. Then you coil up this line, this rope on the edge, on the beach, you clip onto the hang glider. And he had some sort of, it's like a motorcycle throttle cable going up to a click on the, on the nose. And then you said, lift leg, he'd go herring off on this fee. And then when the line goes, there's no more a line and being here or for the use of a client that, and you'd be flying it to see.

And there's of course there's no radio. And I think when you go, hi, and I say, you opened with all your legs around. And that means building that release and a way you had this circumstance where we were very high going in to see this in a dolphins in the Bay. Beautiful. And I go that he's down there telling me his amazing and I pulled the clip to take, to get rid of the line and it just jammed and just the limes attach to the parent, the handler and I had a kilometer or so Alliance is going to have to see no radio, no idea what to do.

And I stopped my legs at all. I think bill kind of realize what happened and what are we going to do? You know? Cause of course I can't attach the line. It's obviously getting low at the time. I'm going to the water now to be darting to that water. And the lucky there's a, like a sand bang further out and he kind of throttled back and he just lowered Lola with this with a tall line, a line where the line on, on this sandbag and at that, and there's a friend of mine, Chris Jones in the books and bill being an Aussie bloke, he wouldn't let Chris five because fruit, Chris is a vegetarian, he had long hair.

So be it will be an Aussie bloke. Now you can fly making a point we put and a curse at the building, got a little bit concern that, you know, if you might be kidding in that day, but the, the next day through the bill was in another, did have an accent, but mine, the one were on the beach. Bill goes Haring off on the speedboat and the lion's name whipping away. And I'm, there's a bit of a long shore dress. It was taking the line of one way. And then as the winds coming off to the rice and the speed boat was going straight on which way do I Pointe the halo the line?

So I've pointed at the wind, I'm pointing you the boat and I'm taking this really quick. It's the lion whipping away and a half of the three and on my maps was off anyway. Well, a bit mentioned to Chris in a boat. He watched what happened now, no, no event to take a crop Accident. And he, I was facing away both at Brian's got a broken, I was dragged threw off the beach because it, the notion of the boat putting on the line and total it, the glider through the day.

But bill wanted to show me that, you know, he likes, you know, the school of hard knocks I guess, and they came back to it, you know, why did you do wrong? There's a point don't know, what'd I do wrong point in the line. So that's what you need to take point in the line. So I learned that I'll never forget that, but I've never been on a speed boat, right? So that was, that was the model and comfortable around my, another parts that day. And then I did have a product, good handwriting Accident cause I'm still thinking I'm feeling crashing or perianal crashing.

And then the Spanish nationals back in 1991, and I just started bringing it right away. We were at the second phase of the nationals in the song, which is a big, is a park in Alpine environment from the North of Spain and the parents and his great place, a fantastic place. And it's not so good for Ham because there's no worry to laugh. It's a very, very tricky for the money. And it was a little bit like that competition, which I'm Cuban mentioning Granada. There's a huge in that people, I mean crashes.

And then my turn, the microphone was actually getting these or the days when we didn't have GPS, it's now you have to put a pin in the map when you land. And that was actually just on the wrong side of the mines from God. I just have to get up and go. And I try to, if I fly down in the Valley, it will be further away from the goal. So I would just land on top of the magic and it wasn't right at the top of that. And there's a b***h a bit further down and I thought I'd do on these flight in the Orlando in the world is where you'd kind of fly it. The mountain in any kind of terrible things, sort of fly up flare in.

And I didn't know it very well and crashed us cast smashed on itself. Couldn't properly. Cause I would've hit the hit, this drystone wall 40 and 50 Ks an hour or whatever it was. And so I was concussed put a big hole through my cheek, through to my teeth shoes, facial lacerations, all of the skin ripped off of my neck. My ear was hanging off a laceration in my eye and I was unconscious spring on ribs, knee and a and M and it was this and that radios now.

And I came red and not so good, you know, and, and I had the guys wearing a nice air nose line for errors that you'd say one way is it's. I use those as sort of bandage on my face and it to hold my things, to get us. And I've been Mike, my sheet wasn't flopping around and I knew that this video is a bit further down. So I started walking. It was all seating up and not at the door, a little going to answer to him nearly fainted and put them in looking at me for this time. The, the priest turned and he studied.

I thought he was giving me the nice ride. He was. In fact, in retrospect, I think he, I think he was catalogue in your speaking. And a, and that was a pretty s**t Accident and I ended up being taken to a hospital, a local little clinic and they were, and I'm of the faith. They say to my thing, how about 30 stages in my face, no anesthetic. And then they put, they put a cast on the home with him setting bone. And in the next day, when I came in and changed, at least I remember he was there, did some x-rays and he was holding my head.

He was rotating my head and he said, we're not quite sure if you've got a broken neck or not taking your, my, my head, which was really concerning. And, but that was pretty much then for me, for a while, cause I couldn't care of the things. So that's when I really started getting into the paragliding side of things. Cause it was pretty nice. We were very good at that stage. It was easy to carry up a Hill on in to Rick and I wasn't so tough on thee.

I noticed that began to get a little bit nervous about landing hand glows after that. So I think for me being like, ah, I'm a superhuman and I, you know, I'm never gonna, I'm going to be OK, whatever AMS. And then I thought, Hey s**t, that's a big wake up call a night. I was then from that day on. But a lot of more cautious, probably my learning curve went then on hand Gliding, but then I start of the paragliding and a half and then initially a parallel. It, of course it's terrifying because I think collapses all the time, which anglers intend to do.

And, but we're seeing Ryan and find that that's okay sort of in of course, many things. And there is, you know, I have one classic one where I, where with PWC and corn in it. So once again, I wasn't flying over to the competition as the TD, but I'd find the course and we had a very, very good meteorologist or so we thought, and he said, or a no problem is a day in the store. I'm going to stay in Switzerland, no problems. You may see some big injustice, but absolutely no problem whatsoever.

And I was just hot after flying a bit at the chorus, cutting corners, having a go in and looking at this huge or to ingest this cloud just, just hot over the last turn point I ran away down and I ran. The dancing is a little bit big in a moment the lightning broke and Oh hell no, we had the whole competition in the air. Everyone trying to get down. Of course the gust friend came through and everything was getting hoovered up. And I was just with my back to the village full bars or we will get blown into.

And then the whole night is when pieces in, went before it went completely behind me. And I was falling at the sky from a a hundred meters. And then by there wasn't a recover, but by a pure luck, by pure luck, the Gliding one side of the cable television cable. And I went in the other side. So it kind of bungee jump bungee then onto the ground quite safely, no glider. I just swung down and under these cables and a, well actually I did take the tip of my glove off cause I kinda saw a flash past the concrete posts and it just, it broke my foot broke my fingernail.

So that was it. I broken thing, a bad Steve that was In coordinate solo in the, in Italy.

Speaker 2 (1h 25m 30s): The one that Belcourt, this sounds really familiar was that the one that Belcourt through his reserve and then got pasted on the fence

Speaker 3 (1h 25m 38s): That may want to be lots of people. My wife, she was firing, she was pretty in my life. She was spiraling down and tried to get Dan. And she ended up in the Lake and had the swimming shore as the geo Harlene or the Scottish woman loaves people with slapping in to the drain. Luckily lot of boggy ground around the lakes there and there was nine, nine people would of thought he may have been. Bill did that. Yeah, I think it, he was, he was low and you

Speaker 6 (1h 26m 4s): Know, gets a kitten, smacked all over the place and the Gus front and then through, and then his reserve was on one side of the fence and it was blowing so hard, but he was on the other side of the fence. So you imagine like a chain link fence. So it's just basically sucked them up into the, it was blowing so hard that, and it ended up just braking the fence over kind of pasted against this thing. And I guess there were some Italians out on their porch looking on with interest in a, quite a funny story,

Speaker 3 (1h 26m 36s): The eyes, it was of think it was, it was remarkable and nobody was seriously hurt. Nobody was hurt. Everyone got down. And so many people had a big Stories to tackle and a big one was hurt. And, you know, I took, I lost half the lines of my glider, but a Hey that was nothing compared to what could have happened. Of course, 2000. And when I had my big Accident my program in which you really hurt me, but up until then, you know, the usual sprained ankle as the things like that, but apparently had been reasonably nice to me, but there you go.

What can you say to people? Yeah. Yeah. You're not invincible, take it easy and then fly something within your own capabilities.

Speaker 6 (1h 27m 22s): We haven't, you know, it's all still there. There's I mean, In, I was on the, I was on the rescue, but we still, they haven't really released the full, full details of QE. Cause they're still trying to figure out exactly what happened. So I won't go there at all. But the real takeaway for, for me and this, this actually came from, from Josh Colin, and he's always very thoughtful about these kinds of things, but it was just a very good reminder of the fact that we and our gear have limits and we need to be aware of them and, and not, we don't know yet it's to gear side of, of Kiwis, but it's, you know, what I do know is that, you know, he was definitely, he'd been a little bit tired.

He was kind of tired down in Texas. He was tired on the weekend before I saw him and In in Nevada, it's a huge air place and very remote, but very much like the sear as the listeners on the phone, out in the Owens, in its kind of like that. And you know, so you just have to be, I think you just have to be mindful of every day where you are, you know, and I think with Kiwi, it was, he definitely wasn't as robustly, you know, energetic as I've seen him in the past, you know, I think he was definitely, you know, you he'd just gotten his book published and you know, there's probably just a lot of things going on in his life where, you know, maybe sometimes it's okay for flying to be a distraction, but not always.

Speaker 3 (1h 28m 59s): Yeah. Yeah. He was, was it 55? And I think most you've got to appreciate, and as you go your reflexes in the long run, they weren't you going to all of that. And you know, I certainly, I know, you know, I plateaued years ago and I'm going down in skills really. And I assume, you know, that my sitting on his brakes, I want, and I'm for that reason, I'm, I'm not paying to try to fly things which are beyond my capability. I try my hardest to keep out of situations, which might stretch me.

And, but of course it every now and again, of the thing that you do end up in those, the circumstances at the way, the can change or you, you might get low in a place you didn't expect to be low or the landing zone. It's a good, so we're in a row it's presented with circumstances, which might be just beyond our limits and sometimes Lux in our favor, but often it's not. And a, the way you need to do is put things in a stack of the odds in your favor, by flying now with the right equipment, getting the right skillsets, you know, doing SIVs, all of those things that you need to do, which can be a little bit around some of the time constraints and finance.

But I know it is, it is, it is an extraordinarily dangerous sport that we do, and it's very fulfilling, very enjoyable, but in its, I'm going to be, it's the consequences of making a mistake when your having a bad day can be a long lasting, very, very painful or, or a festival it's a great place. And I think Steve, it's a very good at the end, but thank you for sharing all that.

You were kind of rolling on some stories there. I think we need to tap back into some more, at some point does a terrific, but thanks for sharing the, the 2011 comp, I don't know that everybody's heard the full story there. So it was great. That was great to hear that. And thank you for sharing your life of flight with us. It's been many, many decades here and I hope there's more to come with a thank you. Thank you for having me just notice where at 90 minutes in.

So that was a really good spot to end, although we don't need the end. If you have any, anything else to add or throw in that you want to like, let's do it now and we'll slide it in. I just thought I wanted to end on that one. Cause that was, yeah, I think we've covered. Hey, we've heard a lot. We've been, we've been asking. I think so. Yeah. That's fine by me.

Yeah, go. How did, how did that Accident go? What happened? So it was, you know, I live in a few K's from the village in a log house and on the call, a few nearby land field's, which I quite tied of their okay. And it was there when all the gliders of all of my clients had just landed and it was, it was becoming stormy. And I thought, well, I'd rather than land or land in my own house and go out for coffee and see the dogs.

And I just set up to go into this field. I floated into hundreds of times and of course, cause of the storms, which were just, no, the winds is the wind's are a little bit squirrelly and a different approach trying to lose a bit of hindsight in a steep turn, a slang, a mantra for, I think it was at the time and I just tip stored in, I didn't know. And so I had to recover, but by then I dived into an area which is now my highest is sort of out of the boonies, but there's some other houses nearby and I was sort of flying over to someone's has the cables and things.

And I got near the road and I was sort of head, I was sort of boxing by cables. So I had to sort of rather hit the cable, maybe a neck height. I just had to forestall the glider, you know, over the road, 10 meters, something like that. So I just forced sorted out the concrete, which is I had to hold it. So it wouldn't spin out. I had my hands down and that went in heavily and I just, my body class kind of have my hands down and stop it spinning on the link or the force men threw my right arm in, it just shattered.

It was an open fracture and a lost the elbow. But in terms of your membrane, which the membrane, which goes on between the cubicle in the radius and that never heals. So I've lost the rotation in the, in the arm. And I don't really ask the team on my trashed on the Hang like the back of the day. And I also had two other accidents, some skateboards when I'm a kid. And so now it's just taken the painting over the years and I took some tenders out in the shoulder. So it was all focused on the one on the eye, but it's really bad injury.

And so a section, lots of nerves. So I had lots of parasympathetic pain, which, you know, I mean, went away at that, went away a couple of years ago and it's still shared, but it was just one of those accidents and embarrassing answers, you know, nothing heroic about it. You know, it was one of those ones which you wouldn't, you know, it's like, it was, I was thinking I hate to die coastal soaring. Yeah. That would be embarrassing. It's like one of those accidents where Christ trying to land on her a reason you okay.

Day near your house, c**k it up because your skin tips for the glider in a, but yeah, it was, it was a hard one and it was kind of on top of all that emotional s**t I had from the World and yeah, w wasn't a good place of quite a few years already, but luckily I was still able to fly at the night, the next season, you know, and I had, there was at least flying and I was able to find able to still work in a second in a worst, but a lot of the time she does, but not very much.

Now, she, she was a Spanish champion event in 98 or the us, but she had a cancer diagnosis about a three, four years ago. So that was a big setback for her. That was also on us. We won't wait, we've got kids or to enter a team. And of course, once the kids came through now and then she was pretty much stopped. She started again, she has been doing s**t on a few flights this year and you're just evening coat that evening stuff, very gentle, but she hadn't built a fire in her. She was to be with a cane, but you know, she's a minister to keep a happy to say, she's got off the a and still, unfortunately I'm still a little bit now on the drug, but in some, no so much as I was, obviously you are as well.

You are where you've got a different story. You're a very much of an extreme, are you going to do to be doing is I'm going to be an XL sex? Yeah.

Speaker 6 (1h 36m 56s): I've signed up for one more. I really didn't think I was going to after the last race, I, you know, the, the 2015 and the 2017, I mean, I was already thinking about the next one during the race, you know, it was just like, God, this, this is just so fun. This is so outrageous. And I love my team and you know, it was real obvious. And after 2019, it wasn't nearly as obvious. Partly there's a number of things, you know, I didn't like all the way points. So the thought that was kind of ridiculous. I, we basically all just kinda followed each other around it.

Wasn't you just couldn't make moves like you could earlier. And then the other, just a big reality was, you know, obviously I'm not getting any younger, but it's it, the, the, the pace is just getting outrageous and you know, it, you know, it was real obvious to me that it wouldn't matter how much I train. I just, you know, I'm always pretty fast on the ground, specially for the way I'm built in, like, I'm not belt like a Google Bower. I'm not tall and lanky like a marathon runner, you know, I'm kinda of like a wombat and a, and I'm older and I've got terrible knees, you know, but I, I can, I can maintain a very good speed, but it was, let me get the point.

The, the point was in 2019, I, I basically had the best race I've ever had in terms of just everything, you know, the team and the strategy and the training and the physical prep. And we just, you know, we'd kind of figured it out and yet it was still just, just kinda the middle of the back. You know, I, I placed 12th and back in 2015, it was, it was eight. And at that, I guess that gave me this like, false hope that, Oh, well, you know, if I work really hard at this, I can, you know, so anyway, I got wrapped up in the numbers rather than just the awesomeness of it, because it is just awesome.

Yeah. But the reality was just like, God, I, you know, that these younger guys are just getting better and everything's getting faster. And, you know, it's, it's becoming less and less adventure and more and more just crazy pace. And so anyway, I, I wasn't as excited coming out of this one to, to do it again. But then of course, you know, you have a year that they get about it and bond rate and talking to your team and because the team, my team that they're really excited to do it again, it is, it is just really fun.

So I'm trying to figure out, you know, how to separate more from like attainment and more, just a, just the process and sew in a sense, I have quite different goals going into this one, which may end up being quite freeing and, you know, allow me to do even better in the end, but I'm trying not to have that. You know, it's one thing to say, well, I don't care about the results, but I'm, you know, I'm trying to have that, not be near nearly as important, I guess, is what I'm saying.

So, you know, I'll still train really hard. And I think we'll still have real, a lot of fun. I honestly, I don't know that we're going to get to go do it. You know, I think they'll have the race, but I'm not, I'm not very confident. Americans are gonna be able to even travel over there by then, but we'll see hopefully, but

Speaker 3 (1h 40m 9s): Was a shame. Doesn't, it's just such a remarkable thing. In for me, as it's a shame, it's like one of the ultimate sporting events and which you can do, I think, you know, In, but it, hasn't got to the media interests as you ready, just like many things paragliding on the whole people. Don't appreciate it. You know, that is such a fantastic injure. This whole example, the thing is, I mean, what they are doing a lot better as far as a sponsor of the most at the end, but it's, if you compare to like motorcar racing, which is so tedious, and it's got all that exposure and now you've got this real, a real adventure now with like the complexities tactics, you know, spectacle, and nobody's interested in that.

Speaker 6 (1h 41m 0s): Yeah. And risk and all these. I mean, you know, when you think about just like ultra thought, I always describe it to people like, well, think, think ultra-thin every day, but for 12 days, but you're carrying your pack and you're flying a ton in often really dicey conditions, but they still don't really get it. I mean, that's, that's the thing. It's just, it's not relatable. It's not golf. You know, people can't relate to it, I guess, but, but it is, you know, I can't remember what your question was. Oh, I mean, I'm definitely, you know, so I, I just a little girl, she's three a and you know, I, I am definitely, I'm a little concerned actually going into this one because I'm noticing that I, you know, you know, there's just physical things.

Like my vision is not, you know, what, it was even two years ago, my vision is gone, you know, I'll be 49 in this next one. And you do start to have a much different approach to risk. And, you know, I think that that will, hopefully that will kind of evaporate during the race. Cause you, you get in these weird mind where you just, you become very strong in your mind at, during the race and you know, you've trained for it and you just start really believing in yourself and you, you, you fly in conditions that I think typically would be pretty nerve wracking and you just got it.

And I, and I don't, I don't, I'm not even saying, I don't even think there more dangerous. It's just because you really are in the right Headspace for it. But you know, like your, your, your story of in doing the fly on the wall and, and you, you get in this head space where you're not going to screw it up. And, but at the same time, it's like, yeah, but it's still, it is wicked dangerous. And so I, I, I don't know that I'm maybe I'd be in the same Headspace of it without my daughter and still be struggling with that just because that's what happens when you get older.

But certainly that my daughter having my daughter is, is spotlighted it

Speaker 3 (1h 43m 5s): More for me.

Speaker 6 (1h 43m 7s): I really want to come home now these days, I think, you know, that does your stuff's up. Like you said, it's not something you're thinking about when you're 20.

Speaker 3 (1h 43m 18s): Yeah. I mean, it's, there's a lot of risk of that because yeah. I mean, that's what we didn't speak about it in the talk, but in here that there has a competition pilot ones, or as a meet the right to be, you've got to understand that people's acceptance of risk for their, the way they fly changes dramatically. When they're put under in a competition environment, you know, they would start taking these insane risks, which they would not normally take, of course.

And for what reason? Cause you know, there's no big prize money in his, any kudos. And at the end, the day of that kudos doesn't go very far because you know, I'll be often they ask this question, okay, who knows who the world champions at the moment, or to ask that competition part of this and event. And there's a lot of head scratching in a, you know, why do they think that it's worth taking a risk because they're, you know, they're not gonna be remembered. In fact, they might be remember for a few weeks, a day, kill themselves during the event, but in taking a risk of winning these competitions, it's not worth it, but people do.

And it's just the way the humans are making you put them in a competition environment and then people push themselves a little bit more than they should normally ready. And that's, I'm going to be problems.

Speaker 6 (1h 44m 37s): It would have been a good one to, to talk about that. Although we are now I'm still recording. So we can, we, we can maybe throw that in. That's an interesting lesson, isn't it? Because its it's a real, we, you know, we've all heard that a bunch of times like, Hey there's, there's no, there's nothing. There's not even glory. Let alone money. You know, literally like you said, you know, most people will, most people in the sport have no idea where on the world's last year and, and no one cares. And so you, yeah, you have this real problem with ego.

Cause it does, it does really happen in the, in the ex ops. You, it happens all the time and that's I think a different driver for sure. A lot of that's just, you know, the lack of wanting to walk more and I mean, it's, there's a lot of things that really do make you do silly stuff, but over and over again. But like I said, it's, I mean, this I'm toying with saying something really stupid and dangerous here, but there haven't been, and there's been a lot of accidents in the exiles, but there hasn't been the, the ultimate Accident there.

And I think that's just because the, you know, you do, like I said, you know, you do train a lot for us are the people that are naturally resilient, you know, they're, they're able to bounce better and, but you just, you just given us funny frame of mind that I very often can't get in when I'm just normally flying. And, and I think when we go to competitions, we're, we're offloading even more responsibility. You know, we're not even paying attention of a weather. We're just, I think we're often really then flying on ego and, and desire for the podium or something that is really not why we should be doing it.

Speaker 3 (1h 46m 21s): Yeah. Well this is all, there's a lot of herding instinct as well. Isn't there where people are flying. You have to be very, very careful with a task design because of anyone's phone, a few cons we're realizing at some stage of most people have Stories about, Oh my God, we had to fly into this term point, which was in this Valley and the rotor. And we were risking in our allies to complete the course and they didn't cancel the task. So we had to do this. And then you often to hear this story, especially in the early days when they had to have, when there's no GPS is then and they had to use a building or something and sending a gimbal into quite conflicting spaces and a lot that's happened.

So you have to be really careful as a mediator director, whereas on the, to anyone on a task, come with you to make sure that, you know, you've designed a task, which isn't going to be in any way problematic. And then you've got to realize that if it is problematic, these guys on the whole, they're going to, they're not thinking rationally and they're going to do it anyway. Right? And there's many cases where, you know, you're flying, I'm flying in with Mark Watson is a event and we did have a take to auntie who is in a Israeli, a windy day with a mistrial was blowing.

And in France, it's an Android. We went to a song, the song, which was a place where you could find just the babies and there's a little magic bubble there, which is also windy, but they set the task further down the dorm. There's a written dorm, use a range out of the magic bubble. And a, I was flying along on a reasonably after the front with my Wild son, I thought, okay, well that doesn't help. When we get to the, in this fact that, you know, we're not stupid enough to carry on into a real mountains. We're just going to land air all of the same points. And we got there. And when in the auction go in and they ended up having to land an unpleasant place for them, the maintenance, because coming back is the heading, which was impossible.

And people, one person tried to count and it was just short task, very, very bad task that, and of course, if would of had a normal sensible, if we to rationalize it a little bit better, we'd have just landed in a nice, safe, easy place. And nobody got any points if somebody died and it was done fantastic maybe in the, in the next home, because you're not constrained by too many certain points and you are flying more on your own and you have to sort of make, you probably may have to make a lot more decisions on your own rather than just following the herd.

Then perhaps it is safer the competition for a month

Speaker 6 (1h 48m 52s): And you have this. Yeah. You do have more of a longevity approach to at all. It's all, you know, you're never thinking about Monaco during the race. You're just thinking about the next move the next minute or the next move. And I think it is about, you know, I mean, you recognize if you, if you wreck yourself or even just roll an ankle, you're a racist over, you know, so I think there is a, there is a bit of, there is a bit more of a preservation side of it, but then there's also just, I mean, there's been, we were laughing in a day and telling stories about it.

There's just so many times where you do things that, you know, I can still stand by them now, God, I, you know, I really have felt like I haven't done anything that risky during the race, but if you were an outsider, looking at some of the things I've done, you'd go or what are you you're, you're crazy. Then you're, you're telling yourself a complete lie. But I said, you just get in this frame of mind where, you know, launching

Speaker 3 (1h 49m 48s): Cross and 40 K an hour is totally reasonable. You know, you've trained for it. You've got that move. It's not really that reasonable. It's a at the us. And the other one is just how many times I've flown down a Canyon that had nowhere to land, you know, in my mind, once the XR. So I have to keep going. There will be a place to land. There always has been. And at one time there wasn't my land, it in the trees and bald in my wing and back at it and kept going in and it didn't even slow me down. It was kind of a high, it'd be a high adrenaline event, just landing in the trees.

It was just funny. You'd get in a weird, you know, very, very cool. It, I think that's the addiction part of it. I mean, I think a bigger part of the addiction is like you said, it is a drug and it's a very, very intense drug for 12 days. You know, you're basically inflow for 12 days straight and there's not that many ways to get there. And so I think that's why we're all addicted before. Cause we liked that flow channel state in the XL, which is like a, you know, you're, you're in, it's a springboard into that state that, and then a day you just get to stay there the whole time.

Speaker 8 (1h 51m 1s): Steve

Speaker 3 (1h 51m 3s): Oh, not in a good on to that risk taking is a perfect example. That's World trying to use in where a key we did the art school. I think it was one of the last, last days for forecasts. I think it was about 78 Ks an hour, just 500 meters above the tops. And we were up on the city station and it was just awfully windy and the cast was going to be canceled, but the Spanish, they thought they'd have a bit of fun.

Cause so they went ahead and said now, and they started doing in the briefing and saying, okay, these are the conditions. Now we just want you all to stay, you know, just try and stay low today. You know, it shouldn't be too terribly. And of course we don't want you to go to the valleys cause it's blowing under the carpet. There's an error in the valleys and, and they, didn't just a strange to at least task Tom's briefing. And of course there was some people are the Spanish trying to kill us and they were taking their notes.

And then one of the Swiss guys brought up and you can't do this. And, but the Spanish, it was a joke, you know, but they just carried on through it and you'll be okay now. And people are getting really angry. They're really uptight when of course they should be, cause know it was, it was launched because we're in the league, but it was blunt. He was honing down and just the buff. But in all of those people, you know, it was joke and everyone thought it would be my finding this, but that was the task. And you guys started getting the gear ready.

And of course I'm only joking very, but the fact that people are, this is extraordinarily dangerous. This is beyond anyone's capabilities. Well, the other people did it. I better get ready as well. Crazy.

Speaker 1 (1h 53m 1s): I hadn't heard that one. That's great. Well Steve is a real honor that we'll have to do this it in person some days soon. I'd love to fly with you with all this code is behind us. We put this off a year and our rear rear up and go flying together. But thank you for your terrific illustrations and a thank you for giving so much to this sport over the last 30 something years.

Thanks man. I appreciate it.

Speaker 3 (1h 53m 34s): No worries. Hopefully you're recovering very quickly from your COVID experience and we wish you well, thank you. I appreciate it. Yeah. Okay. Alright, bye.

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