Episode 198- Going Big in…Israel? A flight to remember with Eliya Zemmour

Eliya Zemmour is an Isreali-born climber, endurance athlete, hike and fly guidebook author and…formerly incarcerated conman, but that’s another story to be told soon on the podcast! In this show we take a deep dive into his recent 228km flight from the southern tip of Israel past Jerusalem, which broke the country record. Flying in Israel isn’t without it’s difficulties (tricky borders, sea breeze, no fly zones) but for the adventurous conditions can be amazing and the scenery mind-blowing. Come along for the ride!

Here is Eliya’s record breaking flight on XContest: https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:Eliya/11.03.2023/07:04

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Transcript

Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloud-based Mayhem. I have a really cool show for you this week with an Isreali born pilot, Eliya Zamore, who is now living in Switzerland, but still goes back to his homeland pretty frequently to knock out flights. And on his last trip, he broke the country record Smasher from way down south to way up north. And we dissect the flight and talk about how he found the launch.

And there are some difficulties with flying Israel. Obviously the borders are no-go zones with Jordan and Syria. And I, I got to get a lot more geographically aware having this talk and I pretty much just looked at X contest and looked at his flight and looked at the countries around him and Egypt of course. But it was fascinating and beautiful and it's not without its difficulties, but if you're, if you're willing to give it a go, it's pretty special.

So yeah, we talk about his, his flying in in Israel and how he got into it and how he thinks about going there and the seasons. And I think it's all pretty inspiring stuff. I have no housekeeping in this one. Just got back from a very adventurous ex Alps where it was covering a lot of it there. And I know many of you reached out and said you enjoyed that and it was pretty wild and pretty incredible pace this year and tons of fun.

And hopefully I have a job there in the future. I decided not to compete again and do that cuz it was a blast. I really enjoyed it. It was cool getting in the air with everybody every day and went straight from there to shelan for us nationals and just got back from that. So I need some sleep. That's what I'm gonna go do. Enjoy this show. Cheers, Eliya, welcome to the show. We've been trying to put this together for a few weeks.

Thanks for your patience. And I thought I'd be talking to you in, in Israel, but it's looking out your window. You're not in Israel. It sounds like you're, you're in shaman, huh?

Speaker 2 (2m 24s): I'm in lovely shaman. Hey Gavin, how is it going?

Speaker 1 (2m 26s): Fantastic. It's going great. Thank you.

Speaker 2 (2m 29s): Great, great. Thank you very much for having me.

Speaker 1 (2m 32s): You bet. You bet. Understand the weather's turning and it's shaping up over there. I'm gonna, I leave again on the flight tomorrow to come over and, and be in your part of the, your part of the woods. But you've been getting some good flying lately.

Speaker 2 (2m 46s): I had a couple of, of good flights, not too many actually. This is in April and May. We're not very stable and seems like kind of winter was dragging longer than usual here. But the last day, one, two weeks were quite back into normal routine and it's getting better and, and I'm hoping to do a bit more flying.

Speaker 1 (3m 8s): Excellent. Yeah, I saw the first 300 K Fais go down about a week and a half ago. There was some nice ones over in Austria and some really good, good flights in the vallas and it looks like things are shaping up. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (3m 20s): I mean it's amazing. I mean every year I I I look on the flight and I see like, you know, it's getting bigger and bigger. It seems like, you know, more and more pilots are able to crack the 300 kilometers and it's pretty amazing. I mean, the level right now in Europe is just insane.

Speaker 1 (3m 38s): Yeah, it's really incredible. I just watched the world, you know, the consistency of the top guys, especially the French this year. Holy smokes. They're just, they really put it together. It's, it's very impressive. Do you compete as well?

Speaker 2 (3m 50s): I'm not doing a lot of competitions to be honest. I was tasted, I, I tested actually for, for a while and I mean, it's, it's great to get better and you learn a lot, but I'm, I'm not really, I, I don't like flying in a goggle, so I'm more trying to do like adventurous flying and going cross country.

Speaker 1 (4m 16s): So you're, give us a little bit about your history and why you reached out and what are we gonna talk about today? I'd like to hear more about certainly flying in, in Israel and, and yeah, what's, what's what's your, what brings you to the Mayhem?

Speaker 2 (4m 32s): Well I basically, I, I grew up in Israel. I am a, I'm an Isreali and, and French, but I spent my childhood in, in Israel. And then around the age of of 19, I moved to, I moved to Europe and then I started to, to do a bit of, a bit of mountaineering, a bit of climbing. And at some point I started to do some, some flying. I got back to Israel approximately six, seven years ago.

I started to visit a bit more Israel more regularly and I started to, to go over there with my glider and see what I can do. And then I discovered it's quite a, quite an interesting place to fly in for many reasons actually. You have a lot of sun over there, so it's a great destination if you're trying to escape from, from the winter in Europe with more than 300 sunny day per year.

I mean, you can do quite a lot over there and it's very versatile. Yes. So it's, it's, I mean, doesn't matter if you're a beginner or an expert, you can always find something interesting to fly over there. So in, in just, you know, half an hour from Tel Aviv, you have this lovely beach soaring, which is very, you know, kind of social, social flying just along, just above the boulevard.

And it's, it's quite lovely and, and you can know it's, it's kind of a cheap airtime and it's very nice blue land. You go for a beer, the north is completely different than that. You have a beautiful lake of the north and, and you're flying above a green meadows and the south will look completely different. Right. And the south will be a full on desert and, and very remote, very wild and a lot of places to explore over there.

So it's a, it's, it's quite interesting in that aspect. It, it's, it's a big menu for flying and, and you can just decide how you would like to spend it over there. The other interesting part, it's, it's, it's, it's a very small country so you can, you know, within two, three hours of driving you can pretty much cover the entire, the entire country and visit different areas and each one of them will look like completely different country.

Speaker 1 (7m 8s): And what, what is the season? Is it year round? Because you're, you're quite a way south, you're, you know, south side of the med and I would imagine it's, it's relatively warm year round, is that right?

Speaker 2 (7m 19s): Yes, you can fly over there year round. I mean, I have to say that, I mean, to begin with whatever I know about Israel, it's only from the months I'm visiting over there, which is normally year round in November, December, and then a bit of March before I started the ski touring season in Europe. So that's kind of my experience over there in Israel. And it's, it's, it's very interesting if you would like to go big shoulder seasons are the best, I would say around April, may and

Speaker 1 (7m 51s): Okay,

Speaker 2 (7m 52s): During the summer it's, it's getting hot with a lot of west wind and it's very consistent. You might not be able to go quite big in terms of distance, but you will be able to, to fly every day somewhere.

Speaker 1 (8m 8s): Hmm. And what are, what are the challenges of, you know, what are the things people should know before setting up a trip and going there to fly? What, what are the, what are the, is there, is there tough airspace? Are are the borders, you know, could you fly over the border for example, into Jordan or is that just no way you gotta stay

Speaker 2 (8m 28s): In the country? No, yeah, it's not going to be a very smart idea. It's, I mean, politically it's a bit sensitive, so don't try to do anything stupid like flying close to the borders. You have a, in the north, the border with Lebanon, Syria, and that's, that's a bit of a sensitive area in the south, it's close to, to Egypt and, and the east you have Jordan, I wouldn't get too close to the borders. It's, it's sensitive, it's a sensitive system over there.

But I, I think that the first stop over there will be to speak with the local community. The local community of the, the, the piloting Israel are super supportive and they know a lot about, you know, where you can fly and where it's not going to be a very good idea. It's, it's, you know, it's, it's a very, it's a very young sport in Israel and most of it is not regulated. So I I there are no very, there are no hard rules of what you can do and what you cannot do.

You just have to use your common sense and try not to fly above, you know, military bases or, or airports, basically things that you wouldn't try to do as

Speaker 1 (9m 42s): You'd have to worry

Speaker 2 (9m 43s): About anywhere. Exactly. Pretty much.

Speaker 1 (9m 45s): And what, what are the conditions like? Is it, are you launching off, you know, how high are the mountains? Is it, what, what would you compare it to? Is it like flying in Greece, that's kind of what I'm imagining in my mind, or Macedonia or, or is that totally, is that totally wrong?

Speaker 2 (10m 1s): I'm not sure about Greece. I never flew over there, but it's not similar to anything I flew before. I mean, it, it is a flatland, it is in the category of, of flatland, but it's not behaving like Colombia. I mean in, in Colombia it works textbook, right? I mean you, you get into thermal, you, you maximize their altitude and you glide out, you search for the next thermal and, and you keep going right in, in Israel the flying style is, is very different it seems because of the predominant wind, you always have to work with the wind.

So try to choose your takeoff according to that. And once you get into a climb, I think that the best thing is try to stay in the thermal and try to, as, as while you're in it, you will realize that the thermal is staple is is wondering and, and you just, you know, being over there, you, you realize that you already did like 20, 30 kilometers until you lose it and then you start to, to search again for a thermal. I haven't seen this in, in any other places in the world.

I haven't seen this in Colombia, definitely not in the Alps, not in Mexico. So I, it's something that you need to be able to, to understand and, and adopt your flying style according to it. But once you get it, you can do lovely distance. The other interesting feature that you have over there is that there is a often convergence between west and east. And if you will be able to, to find that wave, you will be able to, to do, you know, you can go big over there.

Speaker 1 (11m 45s): Oh, so what, what, what's the record there?

Speaker 2 (11m 49s): 228

Speaker 1 (11m 51s): And that's yours

Speaker 2 (11m 52s): And that's mine. Yes. That's, that's actually quite a reason from, from last night.

Speaker 1 (11m 57s): Kinda a loaded question. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (11m 59s): It was, it was a very, a very interesting flight from, from last March actually. It was just magic, magic conditions and I was just in the right time and in the right place to do that. And

Speaker 1 (12m 13s): So I'm, I'm looking at a map, take me through it. Where'd you start, where'd you end?

Speaker 2 (12m 17s): So that, that weekend there was, there was a south wind. So I figure out if, if I want to go big, I have to pick up something in, in south. I mean, I, I think it started, it will be good to, to start by just describing it. It's a bit of a limited country in terms of size. It's very small from a west to east. I mean the country is very, very narrow. It's 60 kilometers. Yeah. So if you wanna go big, you have to go north to south or south to to north where you have approximately 400 kilometers valuable of area play.

And that weekend it was a south wind with Cloudbase approximately in 2,400 meters. And I figured out if I will be able to find takeoff around around the, the south part of the country, then I will be able to go as north as I can. So a few months before that I was visiting in the country and I went with my girlfriend into just biking tour and I managed to, to venture in the, in the mountains in the south.

And I found this lovely south facing cliff and I just, you know, threw the coordination into my mobile and I said, you know, if I will tackle the right conditions, I need to check it out. And, and then I went to and completely forgot about it. And when I, when I came back, like the first weekend I was there and suddenly, you know, the perfect forecast for that. So I was preparing myself and by three o'clock in the morning I was driving down to the south, which is, you need to understand it's like really full on a full on desert.

It's quite remote, not a lot of population over there. And, and I got,

Speaker 1 (14m 14s): I'm looking at pictures right now. I just wanna describe this to f folks who are listening. I'm looking at ELO at the north end of the Gulf of, how do you call that? Is that a Cuba, is that the, is that the gulf of a Cuba?

Speaker 2 (14m 26s): Aba, yeah, aba, that's what, that's the Jordanian side. Aba The Isreali side is ala

Speaker 1 (14m 32s): Ala, yeah. Okay. Ala I'm looking at pictures of ala now those mountains look pretty big and man, is it dry? Wow. But the mountains look pretty sizable there.

Speaker 2 (14m 42s): Well, not compared to the Elks, just looking at pictures. Yeah, but I mean,

Speaker 1 (14m 46s): No, no, no, but

Speaker 2 (14m 48s): Yeah.

Speaker 1 (14m 49s): Oh, it looks beautiful.

Speaker 2 (14m 51s): It is, it is beautiful. I mean this is the closest thing that, that you can imagine if you will fly above the moon. It's it's pretty neat.

Speaker 1 (14m 59s): Yeah, it's amazing. Okay, so where, where, what was the name of the, the area that you started down there? Am I in the right zone? Were you, were you that far south or, or north of that area?

Speaker 2 (15m 9s): Yes. So approximately around the kaba, I mean, you, you will see that there is a, a cliff that basically crossing from south to north. And on that cliff I found a north, a south facing, south facing wall. And I climbed over there and, And, and the forecast was just completely misleading. You know, I got to the takeoff and just back wind inversion just completely different than forecast and okay, you know, that's the way it is.

And I, I realized I'm will not be able to do much with it. I just went running and I camp that night on a, on the takeoff. And the following morning that was when the actual proper forecast, they came into realization and already pretty much in the morning at like nine o'clock it was working already and I could see birds above me and the, the wind was already, you know, you you, you could feel that it's working quite well with 25 kilometers per hour.

And I took off from there. I mean the, the first hour were kind of a rodeo and it was, you know, a lot of work to, to keep the, the, the glider open above my head. But after an hour I managed to go into 1,400 meters and I said, all right, let's, let's glide to the north. And it just worked like a magic everywhere I was gliding, I just found the thermal at the end of the glide. And, and the more I progressed into, into midday, you know, that the altitude is getting better and better and, and there is some point in the flight where you need to make a decision whether you stick into the road just flying above the road or you're just going into a very remote part of the country where it's, you know, if you bomb out over there, you really are going to, to have like a proper expedition to get out of there.

Right.

Speaker 1 (17m 7s): Are you flying up the, are you, are you just looking at these roads? There's a couple north south roads and you're, you're pretty much right on the border of Jordan, I'm imagining, are you going up the road kind of lotton and Yahel and perran? Is that the

Speaker 2 (17m 22s): Suki? Exactly, exactly. So if you continue without so far, wow, exactly. So if you continue without road, it's pretty much a safe flight. So if you bomb out, you can always hitchhike somewhere. But until you get like, you know, 30, 40 kilometers after that, the road is going either either to the west or or to the north. And in the middle you have, you know, a piece of desert that's called thin desert, which is quite remote. And you would like to go over there only if you pretty sure that you can clear it out.

Speaker 1 (17m 58s): So are you, are you basically heading towards the Dead Sea then in this, in this part of the flight?

Speaker 2 (18m 3s): Yes. You're heading into

Speaker 1 (18m 5s): Oh wow. Yeah, it's, wow, that looks amazing.

Speaker 2 (18m 9s): It's, it's pretty, a pretty cool area to fly above. It's, it's just super wild. Wow. But, but I was super lucky that

Speaker 1 (18m 16s): Day. And you're by yourself.

Speaker 2 (18m 18s): Yeah, I was flying solo. I didn't have any partners with me and but, but conditions were perfect. I couldn't ask for any better conditions and, and it was just a lot of surface just, just going up very easily and somewhere around around, I dunno if you, if you see that village over there, I encounter the beautiful inversion, which is basically a wind coming from the south and from the east.

And once I was on that, it was just a highway, you know, just put a speed bar and, and just go as, as far as you can. Wow. At that point, you know, any, any nylon bag would, would go pretty, pretty far.

Speaker 1 (19m 8s): Yes. Start hucking balloons outta your harness and try to beat 'em.

Speaker 2 (19m 13s): Exactly, exactly. So it was, it was a lovely feeling from that because, you know, the, the flight became super easy. It was easy and was just, just maximizing and, and you know, there are some flights that you're very much, very much aware of yourself and, and you're in control, but you're always kind of, you know, you're very on it and some flights you are in a state of hyper flow. You just, it's almost like you can look at yourself from, from a side,

Speaker 1 (19m 43s): Can't do anything wrong.

Speaker 2 (19m 45s): Exactly. And and I think that at that point I was just in a, in a really flow state. Everything was on automatic pilot and for three, four hours I was, I was in that zone and it was just mind blowing. I mean, you fly and, and at some point you're crossing above, above Jerusalem and, and you see that the Dead Sea just, just to the east of view and, and you're crossing this, this amazing part of the country which is full on desert.

And then you go into, into the more, you know, populated area. And it's, it's very interesting. It's very interesting. So I, I just At some point, you know, it was still winter, winter time, so approximately around three o'clock I started to feel that thermals are getting a bit weak and, and you need to, you need to be careful where you're going to land over there. I mean, some parts around Jerusalem are, are not the best place to, to land just because it's, you know, politically a bit a bit complicated over there.

So you want to be able to, to go into, into the valley area of, of the Dead Sea and, and land over there, which is bit more calm down. And so approximately around three o'clock I started to realize that from here on there is a good possibility I'm going to bomb out. And then I was starting to kind of, you know, take my flight more to the north northeast and I just took my last flight over there. It was lovely.

Speaker 1 (21m 24s): I'm having trouble understanding the border here. Is that, is, is, is half of the Dead Sea in Jordan, is that what that is? Or is that a fairy route? I can't tell what's going on here. Is it?

Speaker 2 (21m 34s): Well you're many people like you're going to be very much confused about the borders over there. You know, it's a very gray area. It's, it's part of it is disputed, right? I mean this is what's, I mean, part of it will be sure what you call like the the Palestinian territory, but, but that will be the part which is somewhere in middle of dead Sea then toward of Jerusalem.

Speaker 1 (22m 4s): Okay. Yes. Okay. And and what are the, I mean, could I just come to Israel tomorrow and go flying, you know, hook up with the locals and go flying? Is that safe or, or do I really need to understand, I mean, were you thinking a lot about how, where you were going and where you were gonna land or as long as you kind of land on a road or nearby a road, you're all right.

Speaker 2 (22m 30s): So I mean, you need to be able to, to get in touch with the, with the community because you are going to get quite a lot of information about a takeoff takeoff area, which are, you know, pretty critical in a, in a flatland flatland zone. So I, I think it's a, it's a good idea to, I mean that will be the, the first stop, but within that, I mean, do your homework, you know, read the maps and try to, to understand where you're flying and what the wind is doing that day and like within that, within that boundary.

I mean, you have a lot of area to play with, but Yes, absolutely. I mean you can pack a glider tomorrow morning and, and just go and fly over there.

Speaker 1 (23m 15s): Wow. I just, I'm, I'm loving looking at the maps here, just imagining it all incredible. I, I can't, for some reason X contest is, is blocking, I don't know what's going on, but I can't pull up your flight. Where did you end? I'm looking at your flight, but there's no map or anything. It just shows 2 28 6k, but it, I don't, I don't know. I've reloaded a million times. I can't, something's wrong with ex contest right now, but How, how, where did you, did you get past Jerusalem?

Speaker 2 (23m 41s): Yes. Not by much. I landed just after.

Speaker 1 (23m 47s): Okay. I see it. Oh wow. That must have been so cool. And tell me what, you know, the, the Isreali flying community is big, it was this pretty inspiring to the community. Are there lots of people chasing it now and trying to beat your record? Are they going back to that same spot or how many people fly in here? It is, it finally came up. I see it. Okay. How many people fly in, in Israel? What, how big is the community there?

Speaker 2 (24m 12s): I think that you have approximately 400 active pilots, so I wouldn't say that it's a very big community, but it's very active, so

Speaker 1 (24m 23s): I thought it was bigger than that. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (24m 24s): Okay. That they're flying around the, I mean, year round. And I have to say that the, the, the level over there is pretty, pretty good. I've seen as well, you know, Isreali pilots that never flew in the Alps and then they're coming to the Alps and it's completely different terrain, right? I mean you need to understand how to fly in the, in, in big mountains. So they, they, you know, they give it a go and they get it, they get it because you, they, they know how to tackle, you know, a lot of wind and they know how to, how to, how to, you know, the takeoffs in Israel are sometimes know the easiest and they're able to to fly pretty well.

So it, it's quite, quite incredible to, to see that the majority of the classical routes are actually not necessarily in the south. There are more in the north where you see a from, you know, from the west, if you see a bit of north to Tel Aviv Zon, you can cross from there toward the Kineret. That will be a lovely 70 kilometers, 70, 80 kilometers and you have a lot, a lot of flying going on around the ri as well.

That completely in the north from the Tavo, which is around the Galilee area, that's also a very popular flying area. And, and if you don't have a lot of wind that day, you can really be creative and, and go many directions. But, but you know, you, you need to remember that the during, you know, from May until October you have pretty predominant west going on.

So you, I mean, within that period of time you can only go east. So it's, it's something important. And

Speaker 1 (26m 13s): How, how much of a sea breeze, how much of a sea breeze effect is there? Is that just a daily occurrence?

Speaker 2 (26m 19s): Yeah, it's very, it it's very present over there. You need to think about your takeoff in, in those terms. You cannot, it's not like in the Alps where, you know, as long as you don't have a strong wind, you can pretty much go anywhere and, and take off. You really have to think about what's the meteorological wind and, and work with it on the other end. You don't have the wind valley system, which is pretty awesome.

Speaker 1 (26m 44s): And is there, do you tow there much or is is it all foot launching?

Speaker 2 (26m 49s): It's all foot launching. There was an attempt to, to work with, with towing a bit. I think that it's not being done anymore. And, and actually it's, it's pity because I think that's, especially in the south where it's a bit more challenging to, to find, to find a takeoff, especially around be chev. I think that would, you can do wonders with, with towing. Mm.

Speaker 1 (27m 10s): Yeah. It seems like a good towing place. And would the roads be conducive to that? You know, how much traffic, are there dirt roads that you could use for, for towing?

Speaker 2 (27m 20s): In, in the north? Yes. In the Northeast, not very much in the south. In, in the south it's a bit like flying in very remote area. I'm talking like India or, or Pakistan. I mean, you need to be ready to, to fly with, you know, BV gear and to be ready to spend the night out and make sure that you have an inReach and everything. That's, if you're planning to go big in the south, some areas, if you're going to bomb out, you might have a very good chance to, to spend the night out and, and like walk for 20, 30 kilometers.

Speaker 1 (27m 55s): God, I love it. That's awesome. I mean I don't, I I would imagine most people listening are like me, that that blows them away a little bit. You don't think of Israel being really super remote. I think of it being, you know, very populated and, and like you said small and, but I'm, you're right. I mean I'm looking at the map here and you've got, you know, you've got the, the population center around Jerusalem and then it just goes into full desert.

Speaker 2 (28m 22s): Exactly, exactly. And, and there are two main, main features over there, which, which are really, really cool. So one, one will be the, the debt sea area, which is, you know, first of all, beside the fact that you're flying in the lowest, lowest place on earth that's, you know, minus 400 meters. It's just stunning. It's a stunning area. And I mean you cannot do big cross country from, from the Dead Sea because of the inversion over there and everything is very, very stable, but hike and fly wise.

Wow. That's, that's I think this is really a nice place to explore. And then you have another feature which is, are the, the craters. The craters in Israel are just, just massive balls in the ground. You know, some of them are in a, in arad use of, of appro approximately like, you know, 20, 30 kilometers where this is like flying in the moon and it's pretty high. We're talking about 900 meters above, above sea level.

And it's working pretty well in the, in, in the shoulder seasons. And, and the beautiful part of it as well that you can, I mean if you're willing to walk a bit, you can from, you can take off from every part of the crater. You just need to walk and just find the, the proper edge against the wind. Sorry, a bit, take the, take the altitude and, and then you can go somewhere

Speaker 1 (29m 50s): Just now you, it finally came up on X contest. Did you have cloud support all day?

Speaker 2 (29m 56s): Not much. Not much actually that day. I mean, that specific record flight I did last March, I, I had like completely blue day. But very often if you have conversion, you definitely see this from, you know, across the Arava desert from, from a la all the way to the, all the way to let's say, it's very easy to see that conversion. And yeah, I mean the thermals over there, especially around the also generating a a lot of clouds.

Speaker 1 (30m 30s): How, how far do you think you could go, what's, what's on the table there? Could you fly southern border to northern border or, or reverse, I mean, could you get all the way to hafa, for example? It's not too much farther than where you went, really. I guess you could, I

Speaker 2 (30m 45s): I I I think that it maybe

Speaker 1 (30m 46s): That's, no, that's probably too much. That's probably too far to the west though. You'd probably hit the sea breezes you got up there, right?

Speaker 2 (30m 52s): Could be. But I think that if you pick up a day, which is not very, I mean not to a predominant west wing, west wind, then I think that, I mean, you can go pretty far. I mean you have to remember that in March I was still working on a, on a winter clock, so I was, you know, by, by three o'clock I was already pretty much with a weak sun. If you are looking on some of the forecast in, in May and April you'll be, you'll be able to see Cloudbase in 3000 meters and, and, and north wind or south wind, which are pretty good for flying.

And you have another three, four hours of daylight. So if you take my flight and another three, four hours, you yeah, you can, I think that you can do the 300 meters. Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 1 (31m 43s): Yeah, 300 kilometers, yeah, like Nazareth or something. That'd be pretty neat. Go in and Nazareth. Oh, amazing. You, you talked about, you know, just how some flights, you can't really do anything wrong, you're just in flow. Is that something you've experienced a bunch rarely and if, if, if, if so, and when you do experience, is it something you can, if you've found, you can kind of induce and, and you know, do something in your mind to get you into flow?

Or is it it just happens?

Speaker 2 (32m 17s): It's, it's very, it's very different from, from one flight to another. I mean all of my, you know, big flight, I can, I can, I can attest that I was, I was in a flow mode. I had another three, I mean I had another 200 kilometers flight, a triangle in fish last year. And I, and I was definitely in that zone. I had 200 kilometers a week and a half ago from an sea. And I, I experienced that. I feel like when, when everything is turning into automatic pilot and, and you just let the wing fly and, and you stop calculating too much and you just put your fears aside, this is when you can really maximize your performance.

That as well. I mean, how, how it works for me when I'm overthinking it, when I'm, I'm not listening to my instincts when I am trying to, yeah, basically just overthink the day or set up too much expectations then, then this is, yeah, well just, I'm not performing so well and, and somehow just I'm trying too hard or thinking too much about it. It's not, it's not working that well.

Speaker 1 (33m 28s): When you think about flying in Israel, it sounds like you travel quite a bit. You're down in Columbia, you've experienced flying in different parts of the world, you know, it's just not something we hear about too much flying in Israel. Would, would Israel be a destination you would go to fly if you didn't have the history there and the, and that you hadn't grown up there? Is it, is it, is it warrant that kind of, is it, is the flying that good that everybody should know about this and start getting over there and, and sending it?

Speaker 2 (33m 58s): I mean, I wouldn't go to Israel and try to break my personal record, right? That, that's something I wouldn't do because I, I, I cannot say that, you know, every day is, is a magic day. I mean, it comes, you have like, I don't know, like 10 days like that in, in, in season, but okay, if you would like to, to find a cool country where, you know, you, you, you can maximize your, your, your airtime and still enjoy exploring a country on, you know, air and ground.

I think, I think it's, it, it, it is something to look at. I, I wouldn't go over there if I didn't have the, the connection I have with Israel, I have to admit. But because I have that connection, it kind of forced me to do, you know, try to maximize my airtime in Israel and, and my nature. I, I like to go and, and explore, explore areas and I went over there and saw what I could do with the, with a power ggl and I came across those, those beautiful lines.

So that was inspiring for me. I mean I, I'm always trying to do something which is a bit off the beaten route. I mean, if, if I did something, I'm trying to go into another area and try to do something a bit different.

Speaker 1 (35m 16s): Is it a an appropriate place to maybe do some, some bivy or is it just too dry would or maybe bivy with car support or something?

Speaker 2 (35m 25s): Probably with the car support, but it's not the best place for bv simply because you have a limited area of takeoffs. Yeah. You don't have a lot of mountains over there and, and the few that you have, it's, it's a bit, you know, sometimes problematic to, to go over there. I mean, for example, you have the Ramon in, in the north, but you need to have authorization from, from the military to take off over there. So I, you know, I wouldn't, and sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't.

So I wouldn't count on it. And let's say if you, if you take off from there and, and you bomb out somewhere in the, in the center of the country, I mean, to hike to a takeoff might, you know, be a bit of a, a bit difficult. So Mm. What I do recommend is hike and fly. Hike and fly days, especially around the Dead Sea is just magnificent. It, it's, it's very beautiful and it's remote, but not too remote.

You, you still have, you know, the, the highway which is kind of crossing, crossing the Dead Sea south North. But it's a, it's a beautiful hike and for people especially that didn't, didn't taste the, the desert that could be, you know, quite, quite a kick.

Speaker 1 (36m 47s): Have you spent much time in nearby Jordan? I hear wonderful things about Jordan. I've never heard of anything about it for flying. It looks, it looks very flat, but do you know, have you flown in Jordan? Do you know much about Jordan?

Speaker 2 (37m 0s): I so when, when you, when you go flying in the Dead Sea, you always see that the Jordanian side, right, which is you, it's not flat at all. You, they have mountains of 2,500 meters over there and it's, whoa. Yeah, it's just crossing Israel really from north to south. And I think that you can do amazing stuff over there. I I never flew over there actually, I was planning to go over there for, for a small expedition with a few Swiss friends. The problem over there is you need to get special authority to fly over there.

I got in contact with the local community in Jordan, but it seems like they're just very pessimistic about what kind of a, you know, pyramid you can get to, to explore the area. But if, if we put aside, you know, the, what you can do with, with the author, just focus on the, on the flying part. I think it's, it's super interesting area to flying.

Speaker 1 (37m 58s): I mean when you, when you look at Google Earth, you know, compared to Israel or Egypt, I mean man, it's a long distance between places. There's, there's not a lot of towns and stuff. Yeah, it just looks, it looks vast.

Speaker 2 (38m 12s): It it is, it is vast. It is. And but, but you know, it's not a boring desert. It's not like all, all of it is like the Sahara and just boring dunes. It's, it's very, very technical terrain. You have like gorgeous and, and you have a lot of cliffs and some of it is dunes and, and some of it is just rough terrain and it goes from a 1000 meter above a above sea level into minus 400 meters. So it's just, you have it, it's a very versatile terrain.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Speaker 1 (38m 46s): I, I, I was recently watching a documentary on the, the, I think it is the, yeah, here it is. The King Solomon Royal Nature Reserve in Saudi. I mean, you look, I'm looking at it from space right now. It's just massive. That is incredible. Yeah, it's a neat part of the world, isn't it? I I it's a, it's a, it's a part of the world that, you know, on this side of the pond, we don't discover, we don't get, we don't get to that part of the world very much. And I had, I had a couple clients on my boat, you know, when I back in my boat days that were from Israel and they, the way they spoke about it just, just sounds magical and, you know, the, the, the sea and the, and the Dead Sea and the, and the towns and the food.

I'd go there just to eat.

Speaker 2 (39m 36s): Amazing. It's hard to compete with the, with the food in Israel. It's pretty awesome. It's pretty awesome. And, and you know, yeah, it's pretty awesome. You can visit in the beach and just, you know, just enjoy a bit of a, of a easy life or you can go down in the side on, on the south or or biking or trail running and it's just a, a lovely playground. It's a lovely playground. So it's a, something that I think that we can look further into it. And, and in that sense, I think that as a community we need to look a bit more on, on the Middle East altogether.

I think that there is much to explore over there. I mean it's, it's an area that gets a lot of sun and it's not that flat as we, as we tend to think. I mean there are many places where we can, where we can take off and, but you know, it's, it's going off the beaten road. You need to be able to, to, to have a mindset of, of exploration. So forget about the car and, and use your legs and, and try to think creatively about the different lines and, and study the weather patterns over there, which is another issue.

I mean, the forecast in that region is not, is not necessarily the best because I mean, you know, the more remote is that the less measurements you have. So the forecast is not necessarily very reliable, but it's consistent. I think it's consistent because of the, of the sun.

Speaker 1 (41m 1s): Ah, man, you've inspired me. I, I'm excited. Well, Eliya, thank you for sharing about your flight and your experiences there in the Middle East and I hope the folks listening will get inspired to hop on a plane and go, go explore some of this. I mean, I'm just, I've spent most of this time just looking at the map and spend around getting familiar with the area. The, the closest I've come really is, is Turkey. I've done, I've done did a World Cup there and I've, you know, done the Ola Denny's things, but I haven't done any of this stuff to the south and, and not, and except, you know, Morocco and places further south in Africa.

But it it looks like a lot of fun.

Speaker 2 (41m 40s): Yes, yes it is. I did actually, I mean in the last four or five years where I was spending a bit more time exploring that area in Israel, I, I thought that it will be a good idea to have like a small guidebook for hike and Fly and that's available, available for free online. So just search, hike and Fly Israel. And there are, you know, some, a few possibilities of what you can do over there. I think that that could be a good start.

But you need to remember, it's not all, it's not, it's not all pink. I mean sometimes you will, you know, you'll get to a take off. It will be just going to be too strong or it's, or it's going to be not exactly according to the forecast or, you know, the, the, the, the border over there is is not something that you want to tackle with. The funny thing is that actually I think that the best lines because of the West Wind will be to take off somewhere from, from the Golan Heights, just go, go east.

But in that case, and, and, and if, if you look on on, on on the, on, you know, the Cloudbase around the Syria, it's pretty, pretty neat. So you can take off over there and, you know, land in Damascus And that's probably possible almost on a daily,

Speaker 1 (43m 6s): It seems a little dicey right now.

Speaker 2 (43m 8s): Exactly. I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it. I'm not recommending it. I'm saying it's possible. I'm not saying don't, don't do it, although it's very tempting over there. So it's, I I wouldn't recommend it. Yeah,

Speaker 1 (43m 20s): Yeah, you gotta do a little bit of study on the maps and the borders and everything before you go, but that just looks, it looks fantastic. I just pulled up some pictures of the Golden Heights. It was gorgeous. Every,

Speaker 2 (43m 30s): Every weekend the local community are gathering somewhere and trying to fly together. And I think that it'll be smart to, you know, in the first visit over there, at least do that you get with, with a few, a few of the locals that will, that will, you know, get you to, to have a briefing on the, on the site and what you can do and what you cannot do and just fly with them a bit. And perhaps in your second visit over there it can be a bit more, a bit more adventurous.

Speaker 1 (44m 1s): Adventurous. Yeah. Cool. Eliya, thanks man. I appreciate it. What, what a fun talk and it's good to see your smiling face and dream about the Middle East and thanks man, appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (44m 12s): All right, Gavin, have a good one. You too.

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