Episode 31- Russ Ogden, a Masters Class in Paragliding


We’ve got a VERY special episode for you this Holiday Season. Ozone test pilot and world cup crusher Russ Ogden, one of the great living legends of paragliding and the inspiration for the Cloudbase Mayhem podcast and one of the most-mentioned pilots in the show gives us two solid hours that I am calling a Masters Class in paragliding. This is the most information dense episode to date that we’ve done and YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO THIS! There isn’t much we don’t cover here- being a test pilot; how wings are made, what wings are more difficult to make, reserves- square or round?; the “One Class” and the CCC class, comprehensive speed to fly strategies and how important are those instruments we love so much?; how to “sniff” out good lines; how to fly efficiently; the concept of discipline; what separates the elite pilots from the rest of the field; chasing world records; how to prepare for a competition; techniques to stop a frontal; the importance of SIV, the importance of stalls; why paragliding is still dangerous; getting through the intermediate syndrome; the Ozone ZENO; eliminating mistakes; dealing with fear; pod harness efficiency; seat board vs hammock harness; and MUCH, MUCH more!

I’d really love to hear your input on the podcast- what you love, what you want more or less of, who you would like to see on the show. Let’s have it! Leave a comment below and I’ll do anything I can to improve the show. Thanks so much for your donations and Happy Holidays!

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Show Notes:

  • Russ discusses his long history in the sport and what being a test pilot for Ozone is all about.
  • How are wings created? We delve into how a wing becomes reality.
  • What wings are more difficult to produce? You might be surprised.
  • CCC class vs Serial vs Open- what does the future hold?
  • The Texas world record encampment last year
  • What Russ works on in the “off” season
  • Speed to fly- an easy rule to follow, and how to fly fast
  • Sniffing out lifty lines- gliding, thermaling and more
  • How to fly efficiently- what separates the elite from the rest
  • How to prepare for a competition and should you?
  • Frontals
  • Reserves- rounds or squares? Fly with one or two? Weight range?
  • The importance of SIV, frontals and other safety issues
  • Why paragliding remains dangerous even as wings get so much better and safer
  • How to get through the “Intermediate Syndrome”
  • Bonus section: revisit the One Class, revisit the ZENO, reserves, learning wingovers and their importance, SIV, Seatboards, the Nova Phantom, Flapping to land, top landing, aspect and performance, how weight and size matter.
  • Mentioned in this episode: Ozone, Nova, Will Gadd, Cross Country Magazine, Isabella Messenger, Larry Tudor, Nate Scales, Nick Greece, Jocky Sanderson, Joe Krushe, Luc Armont, Andre Ferrera, Honorin Hamard, Cody Mittanck, Guy Anderson, Kelly Farina, Matt Beechinor, Bill Belcourt, Charles Cazaux, Mark Watts, Seiko, Dave Turner,  Pepe, Julien Wirtz, Xevi Bonnet, Cedar Wright




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Gavin: 00:00:08 Well, happy holidays everybody. Welcome to another episode of the cloud base mayhem. This one took us weeks to put together as always, huge thanks to Miles Connolly for helping me edit these. Before we get into this truly fantastic master's class and paragliding with the Great Russ Ogden. A few housekeeping items that I wanted to bring up. First of all, it's a near the end of the year and your donations go a long ways to making this possible. So consider given us a few bucks, which is tax deductible. You'll find that link on the cloudbasemayhem.com where you can send us those donations. Those of you that are donating, thank you so much. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. If you're not in a position to donate, not just spread the word this for those of you who listened to the Larry Tudor podcast, that was our most successful downloads yet, but I think we had about 7,500 downloads, which is nearly double what we typically do.
Gavin: 00:01:06 So yeah, spread the word. Get this out there. That's why I'm doing this podcast. And, there's so much great advice here from so many incredible pilots, so tell your friends that fly and give us a rating on iTunes or Stitcher or Google play or however you get your podcasts. Those kinds of things go a long way. But yes, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And, uh, yeah, like said, get, consider giving us a donation here before the end of the year and get a tax. Write off a few episodes back. We talked about a rescue we had here in Sun Valley a few back in August and I put out some information about insurance which I have learned that wasn't quite accurate. Most of us these days are flying with a delorm o Spot. Delorme has just been taken over by Garmin a few months ago. So that's actually going to change here in the next few months.
Gavin: 00:01:57 It's going to be a Garmin device, but through both of those companies, they offered a GEOS SAR and then GEOS Med Evac, uh, I, we had learned that Med evac covered paragliding but that's actually not correct. Neither of those cover accidents and paragliding. So if you're using these devices and expect a rescue from a paragliding or flying accident, a skydiving base jumping, that will not work with either of those so they're kind of useless to us what you need, and these are not offered directly from either the spot or the Delorme websites is what's called, it's still a geos service, but it's called the high risk search and rescue benefit, you can find that online. I have promised that I'll put up a blog post about this. So basically what you need is to, just to make sure you're covered, but you can get that service and then add it to your Delorme or Spot. So I'm actually working with Delorme right now to make that just available through their website so you can just buy it directly, but until that time, make sure you have the right one. Uh, for those of you in the US and Canada, make sure you also have a supplement through like life flight. It's only 60 bucks a year here where I live. Fantastic thing to have a comes in very, very handy if you need a heli vac rescue and then also when you're traveling internationally, you need something like seven corners. You can get that also through my website. I'll be providing a link for that. So one of the get you up to speed on that. Just be careful you've got the right thing.
Gavin: 00:03:32 We are also still taking questions from you, our audience for Bill Belcourt. I'm going to be driving down into salt lake here soon. I've got a bunch of great questions already in the can, but if you've got a question for the Yoda of the sky, please send them over to me. The through the website or whatever. Facebook, Instagram, however you want to reach out is fine. I've got those in a folder and I'll get those down to Bill
Gavin: 00:03:55 and let's see this talk. Russ Ogden, test pilot for Ozone. Uh, many, many, many time crusher in world cups. Just an amazing pilot is actually the. He was the inspiration for this podcast after listening to a couple talks he gave here back during the World Cup in 2012 here in Sun Valley. Just an inspirational dude and amazing pilot and amazing human than with Ozone for a long time. This is probably the most information dense podcast we have yet put out there. I implore you to stick through the whole thing and because it's the holidays, what we did with this one is Russ and I sat down for a good length of time about a month ago and did a recording.
Gavin: 00:04:41 And the next morning I got an email and said, hey man, I think I can answer a couple of those questions better. So we got back together a couple of weeks later and in that time a field and a bunch of questions that came through Facebook from you that were really terrific. So rather than string that all together as one podcast, what I've done is, as we've kept the main, the first talk is them kind of the main podcast, the main talk. And then you'll hear me come in and say thank you for listening and goodbye. Goodbye. And then there's going to be a little Christmas bonus about another 45 minutes, uh, that, that goes into all those questions in that one, I really implore you to stick through that because in that one we kind of revisit a, what he was talking about with the one class and CCC class.
Gavin: 00:05:27 We revisit talks about the Zeno. They're new two- liner wing. Uh, we talk about square versus round reserves. We talk about how to throw and we talk about eliminating the biggest mistakes from your game. Uh, the importance of learning wing overs, the importance of stalls, uh, the importance of SIV and dealing with fear, uh, the difference between boards and in Nazi boards. Are they better? Are they worse? We talk about the Nova Phantom. Nova is new wing. We talk about flapping the land and all of other things, aspect of the wing and two liners and recoveries. Uh, so that part of the talk is really super critical, but I just implore you to stick with this one all the way through the first talks about an hour and 15 minutes. The bonus is 45 minutes. I hope you enjoy this, uh, on this most excellent holiday season. Thank you. Two thousand 16. You were really terrific and you were a little bit tumultuous of course here in the states. But without further ado, please enjoy this most terrific conversation with the Great Russ Ogden.
Gavin: 00:06:39 Russ, a awesome to have you on the show. I think you've come up, we just put up, I think our 28th episode. I've got a couple in the can, but you've come up and just about every single one of these. And uh, you were actually the impetus to creating this whole thing. I don't know if you knew that or not, but when you were here in 2012 and uh, I was, I think participating in the second cop I'd ever done. Uh, and we didn't have the best weather after the PWC. You got up and gave this insane talk that went. I don't know if you know this either, but it went incredibly viral that I just happened to be recording. I got really lucky and recorded it and uh, yeah. So that's what started the cloud base man. Thank you.
Russ: 00:07:24 Well, it's good to be here. It's an honor to be here and that whole episode that we did in Sun valley was totally unexpected and great fun that was a little bit unprepared for it. Really. I didn't really expect it to be videoed or to be on youtube or whatever and I was really hung over that day as well because it was the day after we found Guy, so it's a bit hung over, but I figured it out by the end of it I think.
Gavin: 00:07:54 Yeah, no, it was, it was a great talk and I'd love to get into some of that, you know, two liner talk, here, at some point and actually, you know, by the way, I don't know if you've heard that one, but I had guy on the show a lot, I don't know, maybe a month and a half ago and it was so awesome listening to his recollection of those days because, you know, when we found and when you found him and he went to the hospital, we never saw him again for the most part. And so, uh, you know, I saw him later in the super final after he'd healed up. It's a really amazing story and so cool how that all came out.
Russ: 00:08:35 Yeah. It was an inspiration for all of this really, and a really amazing experience all around, I'd say, and the memories that I will never ever forget that for sure.
Gavin: 00:08:46 Yeah, yeah, for sure.
Russ: 00:08:48 Yeah. But it was, uh, you know, I mean, you say I found him. I did not find him. I think the whole community Sun Valley found him, you know, there was so much, so much energy and force that went into that set and uh, I really don't think he could've happened in any other part of the world. Um, and have so many people just give their time so freely and spend so much time and effort on finding someone and, you know, after the, as the days went by, I fully expected that as I think we all did, you know, just to be picking up a body and to find him, alive was just, just incredible. Incredible. I'll never forget us both being in tears a flying back in the, in the, in the helicopter. But uh, yeah, no, no. Very special memories.
Gavin: 00:09:35 Yeah, that's a bonus thing of being in a small town. The town still talks about it. That was quite an event. And just the happiest of endings, Russ, for those who don't know, who have had their head in the sand for the last maybe 20 years in paragliding. Um, can you, uh, can you tell our audience, just can you give us the rust? Ogden brief, you know, catches up to, you know, how it all started for you way back in the day. And uh, you know, I don't want to put you on the hot spot, but I'd love to hear about. Yeah, you're, you're, yeah. Can we get, can we get the two minute life story
Russ: 00:10:15 to me, that's the way I guess for me, my whole love affair with the air and the sky started to my dad who who was in the parachute regimen in the UK and did a lot of early, early sport parachuting, early free fall stuff back in the sixties and even dabbled a little bit with hang gliders back in the day as well. But they decided that it was just too dangerous back in the sixties and early seventies I think. So my first route into the air was parachuting and I did a handful of jumps when I was 16 or 17. And then my brother started paragliding, at university and as soon as I left university I knew that I have to do that. And, uh, I did a course after I left university, I did my course and moved to the area where it was flyable and became an instructor and then I, I taught paragliding, uh, with Sussex hang gliding and paragliding down in Brighton for, for 10 years before I moved over to France and work with Ozone as a test pilot, and that brings us all up to date!
Gavin: 00:11:25 Well, there's, there's a little bit more in there. There's a whole bunch of years on the British team and a lot of incredible results. We can get into that a little bit. But um, well we, I put up a, I put up a little, uh, a little post on Facebook about an hour ago on cloudbase mayhem that said I was going to be speaking to you and does anybody have any questions? So let me ask the first one. You live in France, is it, you just told me the name of the town before we got on, but it's your Greoliere, is that right? Okay.
Russ: 00:12:02 Yeah we live in Bar-sur-loup, which is where near Ozone offices are. So I'm just five, 10 minutes from work.
Gavin: 00:12:08 And your is your test site Gourdon, is that right?
Russ: 00:12:11 Yeah, we mostly fly Gourdon or Greoliere, we flew Col de Bleine today. Um, and then sometimes we go to Rocquebrune in Monaco. Um, but mostly it's in Gourdon.
Gavin: 00:12:27 Okay.
Russ: 00:12:28 Pretty much everyday in Gourdon.
Gavin: 00:12:30 Okay. Very cool site and It's one I flew quite a few years back.
Russ: 00:12:36 Yeah. Yeah. It's a great site because, um, it's, it's flyable all year round and it's pretty much all year round and it's also very good for us because the air is quite, it's a double edge sword actually, but the air is very rarely calm in Gourdon and it's always quite choppy. It's moving all the time. So it gives us a good, a good airmass to check the behavior of the wings, to check the feel of the wings, the solidity of the wings and so on in moving air. On the other hand, sometimes we prefer if it was a little bit calm so that we can get good, proper testing done in, in calm air. Because when you're testing in very turbulent air, then you're having to filter out the movements of the wing and the movements of the air, so that complicates things slightly.
Gavin: 00:13:24 I was going to ask you something completely different, but let's stick with that theme for the year. You've been a test pilot for Ozone, for how long?
Russ: 00:13:33 11 years now. Eleven or 12 years
Gavin: 00:13:35 and without, without giving any way, any of the secrets. You gave a really good talk here in Sun Valley about how wing is built. And again, I'm not asking you to give away any secrets of how you guys take that through, but you know what, what's your role there? How does that, how does that work? How does it, how does the new wing come to life
Russ: 00:13:59 Um, a wing comes to life from the old ones, from the wing that's its replacing. You can think of a of paragliding development as a continuous line. It's a continuous stream from model, from each version of each wing to the next. So for example, with the Delta you, we start with, we started with the Addict and the Vulcan and then with that evolved into the Vulcan involved into the Addict and then the Addict evolved into the Delta and the Delta 1 evolved into the Delta 2 and the 2 would eventually evolve into the 3. So it's a long continuous string. And um, so we basically, when we start a new wing, we know the type of wing that we want to make. We know the type of pilot that this wing is for. Um, so we don't really start from a clean sheet each time we start from the last prototype, which is the final version that gets sold.
Russ: 00:14:56 Um, and then it's down to the designers, Luz, David and Fred who do the design work and they create designs. We normally would, would start with three or four different routes, um, three or four different designs with slightly different parameters, slightly different ways to go to try and experiment new things. And uh, we will then work on those different lines of prototypes. And uh, eventually which lead down to the one that we want and the family of prototypes that we're, what is the most interesting, achieved most of the things that we're trying to achieve. And from that we then refine, refine and optimize it until we get to something that we're happy with and is passing the tests and he's performing better and it's good fun to fly and has good feel and it's solid and then we're ready with the finished product. Sometimes it happens quite fast. Other times it takes longer than we have want.
Gavin: 00:16:03 Do you, do you have a baseline? Okay. This prototype, you know, going from the Enzo 2 to the 3 or the delta 2 to 3, is that going to take 10 prototypes? 50 prototypes, is it, how does it just totally depends on what class you're working on?
Russ: 00:16:22 No, I think, well there's no hard and fast rule, but as a basic rule, the more basic that the wing is, the harder it is, and the more high performance is the easier it is. That's been the rule probably over the last 10 years. I think now it's changing somewhat whereby all the wings are getting more difficult to replace, because the wings are getting better and better so to make improvements becomes harder and harder. Um, but, uh, no, we've always dreamt about the one prototype wing, but I do not think it's ever happened.
Gavin: 00:17:05 And what's your opinion on things like the one class I know that, you know, things have changed pretty radically at the testing end of things in the last few years. CCC is going through some changes I guess. Um, what's your, what's your opinion on all that? Should we all be flying these and racing and remove the shoe and remove this kind of God you have got to be on the best wing or you don't have a chance or, are these great wings just way too rad to be given up on.
Russ: 00:17:40 Right? That's a tough one Gavin. There's different, there's different opinions out there. My personal opinion, I used to be quite an advocate of the serial class. I thought it was the right way to go. I think with hindsight, um, and uh, with hindsight it was probably not the best way to go and there's just so many, there's so much pressure in the competition world to make the wings goods that, uh, you always end up compromising something, which is not necessarily good for everyone else. My, feeling now is that we should go back to open class.
Gavin: 00:18:20 Okay.
Russ: 00:18:20 I think, I think for the, for the World Cup level, for the world championship type level, I think these, these for the really good pilots, it's better on open class wings and it allows more freedom for manufacturers to develop. It allows things to move on a bit faster as well. Less restrictions, less pressure on the lower classes.
Gavin: 00:18:43 Would it, would it allow enough manufacturers into the game? Is it. What I'm getting at here is that, you know, they're really, you know, right now there are three companies that are able to kind of work in this space. Obviously you guys are dominating that in a huge way right now. How much of your resources and time go into that level of wing versus the wings that make money and then tie that back to, you know, does it,
Russ: 00:19:14 It's probably a lot less than you'd imagine or a lot less than most people imagine. The core work is with EN-Bs, EN-Cs. Um, there are core gliders that the Rushes, the Buzzes, the Deltas, uh, they're the most important things for us. The mantra as well, the Enzo is a flagship. It's, it's very much for the elite pilots. And uh, consequently we don't get as much time as we'd like to work on those, but we're fortunate because we have, we have Luc who's really impassioned about it. He's really into making the best wings that he possibly can and passion drives us forwards is this department. But this year with this year we've been really concentrating on the Delta on, but we've had the love and the Zeno as well. We've had the last three, the last couple of months where we've also been able to focus a little bit more on the, on the Enzo but now that we've got a slightly larger team, when there's five of us, we can, we can split our resources slightly and uh, some can work on, on some wings and others can work on other projects as well.
Gavin: 00:20:41 How important is it for a company to have pilots kind dominating or doing really well on the World Cup? Does that, do you see a direct correlation with, with selling wings down the line. In this this talk I don't want to get us too skewed into just the wing side of things and Ozone. I really want to talk about you and flying and competitions, but I think people will find that interesting. Like does that, is there, is there a pretty close correlation? Because you see, I've seen the argument two ways. You know that if you're, if you're not developing Enzo and wings, then that doesn't get passed down through the brand versus you know, a company like Nova that doesn't play in the competition side of things and they're doing pretty well in the B and Cs, right
Russ: 00:21:29 Yeah this did extremely well, because they've got good products in the other range. I think having, a good competition scene, good competition, reputation is it helpful and it certainly helped Ozone take a step up that for sure, but it's not the be-all and end-all because the be-all and end-all is on the product that you sell at the end of the day and if you've got good products then you will sell and the more time you can spend on working on those core gliders, the better you can make them. So I think what makes a company successful or not comes down to the design team and the gliders that you can actually produce, if you see the path. You know, many, many factors have been very successful for short periods of time or periods of time. And then their success, wayne slightly and then comes back again with another good range or another good glider. And so every company has its ups and its downs and Ozone in the last couple of years, last few years I've been on certainly on the up, that's for sure. Difficulty and the keys to be able to maintain that, and that comes down to making good gliders and replacing good gliders with better ones, which is not always easy.
Gavin: 00:22:53 Russ, I'm going to take us completely sideways because I've got a question here that just came in on Facebook. And if I keep this up, it's going to keep making noise stuff and driving us crazy. So here's a question from Andrea Ferrera what I see it's from him and it sounds like his wife, first question from him being a new pilot with 70ish hours and only a couple of 50, 60k flights in the What's the best, what's the best thing to work on through the winter months and next season to maybe get to get into his first comp in 2018
Russ: 00:23:33 Fly everyday that you can. that you're on the hill and you're doing it, you practice your ground handling, you try to get yourself to the top of the stack and you try and spend time on top of the stack. And then once you are on the top of the stack, you then pump out in front of the hill as far as you can and then come back as low as you can get yourself back up again to the top of the stack and you repeat that. So what you can do is practice ridge soaring with a bit of speedbar, pushing the bar on the ridges and, nothing too crazy, too far, too low, but just getting comfortable using the speedbar. I think for most intermediate pilots, the best thing they can do is actually get more comfortable with using the speed bar because now with the performance that we have on our wings, using the speedbar for cross country is the way that you're going to maximize your days and extend the 50, 60k flights and break the 100k barrier.
Gavin: 00:24:35 I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on speed to fly because we had Josh Cohen had some really interesting thoughts on and I just interviewed Kelly Farina and his about his new book mastering paragliding. He had a kind of a nice thought. But what can you pass along from that? Because I think especially when you're at the PWC end of things obviously a very, very good use of speed bars is totally critical. Um, but I, I'd love to hear your thoughts on speed to fly and then I've got to get off Facebook as this thing is going to keep dinging. I got one more question and then I am gonna bail out.
Russ: 00:25:14 Well, I like to keep things extremely, very simple when it comes to speed to fly, I don't really use instruments per se to tell me my Macready settings or anything like that. I don't put my polar curve into instruments personally. I don't think it actually makes any difference whatsoever. Um, speed to fly is simple, if the days on, if it's good, you should be flying at least half bar. Um, if this is just normal crosscountry flying from the top of your thermal, you should be at least half bar going towards your next journal at least. And then when you know there's a thermal in front of you for example, you've got gliders or birds or something climbing or you've got a, the supporting and growing and you're, and you're relatively high in the sky and you're certain you're going to get another thermal. Then you need to be going at least three quarter speedbar. If you're on a high performance wing and an EN-D wing or a top end EN-C type wing, then you should be going full bar. And, if your, if you're really trying to maximize glides that, if you're going into wind, then I try to always match my normal ground speed, which is 38, 40k an hour, if I can, if I, if I'm covering the ground at 38k an hour into winds than I, no, I'm roughly doing about right. And any more complex than that and it doesn't matter because what's important is rather than looking at your speed to fly or your instruments, you should be sniffing out the nice lines through the air. That's much more important than focusing too much on your instrument. So I'm not a big instrument fan, I don't use instruments a great deal, occasionally it inhibits me slightly, but 95 percent of the time it allows me to free my mind and opened my eyes a little bit to the sky and try and sniff out the good lines. Always trying to getting the good line through the sky over the minimum amount of sink is far better than worrying about the correct speeds to be flying at.
Gavin: 00:27:18 I've often heard, and I certainly have noticed this in my own flying, I think the genius of like a Chrigel is exactly what you're talking about, is the gliding Matt Beechinor talk quite a bit about gliding in his podcast. I think as we get better, we realized that thermal is pretty easy and gliding is very difficult and is very hard to teach. But do you have some words on, on gliding, you know, it seems to me like, you know, the really, really elite pilots find those lines you're talking about more often than not. They're finding those seams, they're able to stay in them. You know, I, for one, I, I have trouble with certainly feeling that seam when I'm using a lot of bar because I'm, you know, my hands are a little bit heavy and in the Bs and uh, that's, that's something I've been working on. Talk about that a little bit.
Russ: 00:28:16 No, I get to keep it quite simple. Sniffing out the line.. If you get a good line then it's. Sometimes is relatively easy to stay on it as long as you can because you know, the lines kind of align themselves up or downwind. The trick is when you are not in the good line, is to be able to get yourself back in the good line. Now sometimes you're in heavy sink and you're in heavy sink because you're just about to hit a thermal or you just did a really sinky line and the key is to be able to recognize the difference between the two and I guess that comes with experience and just hours in the air, but often they found on a really bad line. I don't do a great deal of flying on my own. So I'm normally flying in competition. So I've normally got a, when I'm flying a cross country II am normally in a competition. So I've normally got 50, 60 pilots around me. So you've got a button the most better idea of, what the good line is and what the bad lines are. And you can see it visually. So if I'm on a bad line and I can see other people 100 meters or so to my right or left on a better line than I'll shift over there quite quickly. So there's a lot of sneaking around. Sometimes you shift one way and uhh it gets worse and you have to go back the other way. So there is inefficiency. To find the maximum efficiency, you have to be slightly inefficient. It's likely we've climbing, you say climbing is easy, but I think the hard part to be able to climb really well, like the really good guys, it's not easy and it requires you to sometimes be inefficient to be efficient. By which mean by what I mean is sometimes you're in the core and you think you're in the core and you think you're climbing great. But actually there's a stronger bit just 50 meters away. Um, but the only way you're going to get there is by always having a little sniff, always having a little search, changing your circles slightly. Now changing your circle slightly, it often makes you lose height as well. So there is inefficiencies in, in having that search, but you have to accept the inefficiencies to gain on the efficiencies. So you have to take that risk. You have to play that gamble slightly
Russ: 00:30:32 And gliding is very much a similar thing, you know, you have to, if you want a good line and try and stay on it, I'm on and if you know you are ini a bad line, then you have to assess whether you're about to go into a thermal or you're just on a bad line, in which case the best idea normally to fly in on a 45 degree line from your given track. And that way you'll still covering the ground in roughly the direction you want to go to. But you're just changing your position in the airmass.
Gavin: 00:31:01 Russ you gave me a bit of advice at the superfinal down in Columbia that has really stuck with me and I know you've given it to other people as well because you talked about it in Sun Valley, but your concept of discipline, um, can you tell the audience what you're, uh, what you're talking about.
Russ: 00:31:22 Discipline is about. It is all encompassing, it is probably, a better word is application, but he said disciplined applications. We all know the same stuff. We will read Kelly's book, we've all read all the books and if you haven't then you should do, you know. But everyone basically has the information. What most people don't actually realize is that the vast majority of pilots out there that been flying for two or three years, they know exactly the same as Chrigel for example.
Gavin: 00:31:53 Yeah.
Russ: 00:31:53 Um, I think they don't think they do, but actually they know exactly what he knows. It's just the Chrigel is much better applying what he knows and yes, has the discipline to always apply what he knows. The rest of us, we make mistakes. We make up, we make, we sometimes think we cleverer and, we try and over complicate matters. But discipline is about applying everything that you know. For example, speed to fly. If there's a good time in front of you, you know you should be flowing at full speed speed. You might be getting half speed because usually I'm not too sure. You don't say you might not reach it just in time, but actually you should just be going full speed. You may not be flying full speed because you don't confident on your glider, which means that you need to work on you're gliding, flying skills and so on. But I think discipline is about being, um, for me personally, it depends on the different pilots. Sometimes it's a naturally extremely cautious when they fly cross country and others are a little bit gung ho and push on a little bit too hard.
Russ: 00:33:00 So for me discipline was normally holding myself back was normally if I'm at the top of the climb, on top of the lead gaggle or something like that. I, I used to just go. A good friend of mine [] was brilliant at that. Used to be used to always get himself, he was he such a good pilot. He climbed so well. He'd get himself top of the stack. 100 feet above everyone else in the gaggle. and off he goes. We will kind of saunter up to the top of the climb after him and watch him down at death glide and we would just got in a slightly different line, get better and he lands and off we go now. I used to do that quite a lot, [] used to do that quite a lot and there's lots of pilots that do that quite a lot all at the top level and eventually you learn, actually sometimes the best thing to do, especially if you're in the second thermal, of a long race, is to be disciplined, just allow the others to come with you and then you glide with them and try and win the race at the end of the race not at the beginning of the race. So for me, discipline is about applying, applying everything that you know, every stage of the flight and not trying to shoot your load too early.
Gavin: 00:34:20 You guys all went down to Texas for the world record a couple of years ago and I know you have plans to doing that. Again, I haven't been, but I've heard, you know, I've heard this is not the greatest place in the world to a spend your time and you know, flatlands.
Russ: 00:34:38 Hebbronville! What are talking about Hebbronville is the most wonderful place I think I've ever been to a Subway and uh, they had a gas station and uh, and then a Subway. Yeah, we had Subway and I think that had, we had Subway pretty much every day. I think we're,... So it's heaven from that point of view but inhabited by wonderful, lovely kind, friendly people. And um, we had a really nice time. We met some really awesome people and uh, the flying there, we were a bit unlucky with the weather. We were there over the end of June, early July. So is the best time to be there, but we didn't really get the good flying conditions. But we managed to crack out some pretty good flights. We did food four flights in the 10 days or so that we were there. Um, the first day was, um, I, in fact, none of this. I don't think maybe David had done a tow before, but Luc hadn't done one and I certainly hadn't done one and Fred had not done one and um, so yeah, we have to show up from this air field and uh, that was the most horrific, terrifying experience of my life the first tow we ever did we. It was super windy. I was limit ok on the runway to be able to, you, you'd hoik the glider up and you got hoiked off the ground and whiped around and then pulled by this metal thing by a car along the runway. And all I remember of my first time was just being ripped up with the glider right behind me. And at the air was choppy, I mean proper turbulent and I was having to stop collapses while being pulled along with the glider right behind me. And um, I was absolutely crapping myself and all, I remember was, uh, was being told that whatever you do, don't, don't let the car get to the end of the runway because then the car has to slow down. Then the line goes slack. Then you've got more chance of getting stuck on the lines and that's all I could remember. I've been keeping it online, so come to the point where the cars come to the end of the runway. I was like, oh my God. And I couldn't let go of the brakes because having to keep the brakes, I was having to keep the brakes, my hands to keep the glider opened. It was that turbulent. And in the end I had to pull the release toggle, which is down by my, my lap somewhere with the break in my hand, he was too scared to let go of to break. So I pinged off in the end, I pinged off this tow in this a sort of spiral, the glider is really banked over. but the feeling of relief just to be in crazy choppy, turbulent air, but not being pulled along by something was with incredible.
Russ: 00:37:34 And that first day we flew, we flew 20k or something to the main road and landed backwards and horrific turbulence. And I landed right by where I thought with a gas station, but it was the border patrol checkpoint. And uh, that started the scene for the next few days, but the next few days we didn't get the very good conditions. We have quite relatively light winds and quite blue conditions. And um, and the first day Luc flew 465k and I flew 425k and I'm a little bit annoyed. I really messed up that day because I took one of the early launches and Luc was half an hour behind us. I think he missed the launch or after the relaunch or something. I can't remember what happened, but, he was a good 40 minutes or so behind us and ended up flying full 465. And so I had a half an hour good jump on him. But it was just survival in the blue the first part of each day. In fact, we would just quite low hanging onto whatever we could with our fingernails to try and eek out until we go into the good part the day. Um, on that first day I was looking at this amazing sky over to my right about probably 10, 15k to the north of me and all day I'm thinking I really want to be over there, but I'd never made the effort to go over there and just plowed on my whole way and it was just one of those days I found it really frustrating. I'd, I'd see a cumulus form and I'd get there as fast as I could and I would arrive and have one and a half meter climb and it took until about four in the afternoon until I finally got something like a 3 meter something really good.
Russ: 00:39:31 And then, at the end of the day, 5:00 onwards it just got better and better. And when you think, wow, this is the last line, the, Oh, there's another one and then you think, now, that definitely was the last one and no, there's another one and they just kept on going and going and going. And I actually, my feet touched the ground, just with the sun, just starting to touch the horizon. It was, it was incredible. I mean, did that, I did that three days in a row just flying the entire day, which I've never done before in my life earlier than the end of the day, but I'm absolutely epic flying on absolutely epic flying. But the real motivation to not land was, was the ground beneath. He was just horrific. There was no roads. It was 50 degrees. He told something that was frightful, snakes, cactus, everything down there will need to eat you or hurt you somehow in some way we'd been warned about [] as well. There was, there was, there was nothing particularly friendly on the ground and um, but the worst thing was the roads, lack of roads. There was one point where actually I don't know which is the closest direction the road is in. And um, there was some dirt tracks and so on. And the load, well those little nodding donkey things that they pull the oil out of the ground. Just little random ones in weird places and just amazing, amazing terrain and, but very, very quite gripping. Scary. Fortunately on the, on the days it'd be just the long cross country flight the air wasn't too turbulent because I think it's the air had been super turbulent than they would be full on experience. That's something definitely I'd like to do again.
Gavin: 00:41:15 I was just going to say, well you do it again and tell me about like the, the kind of, the reason for, for chasing these world records like that, is it a really more driven by this would be a great thing for Ozone to have or is this great excuse to get together with friends and go flying
Russ: 00:41:38 More of an excuse to get together and go flying and, and meet some friends and you know, Bill was there, Nick was there, and a handful of part of pilots came down and it was just, it was, it was just a really lovely few days. And to got a world record would have been nice, but for, well I can't speak for the others, but for me personally it's not massive driving factor for me. I mean, I love what these guys have been doing in Brazil, um, but after doing those few days in Hebbronville I would like to go back and try again. And if I didn't get a world record but did some good flying over a few days and I'd be really happy with it. Yeah. But the whole chasing the world record thing is for me personally is not really that important.
Gavin: 00:42:35 Your story of towing, I I spent a month down in Australia a couple years ago before Charles Seiko did their big flights last year towing. I find it very disconcerting on some days when you're dealing with all that heat and the flies and the, and the wind and the, and the tow rig breaking and it's really stressful.
Russ: 00:43:03 Subsequent tows I had after that first one were really nothing in comparison. It was just a, it was just the time that we were flying on that first day was certainly that bottom layer when, that we towed through was just for me, it was horrible. It's really scary. It's probably one of my scariest flying experiences.
Gavin: 00:43:29 I wasn't in a huge hurry to go back and I know there's people that go every year that does, but it's a, yeah, you know, your long drives home with Kangaroos all over the roads and, and uh, you know, it's a pretty serious undertaking. It is. Yeah. No, it's great
Russ: 00:43:48 It is a serious undertaking. But it pales In comparison to what you and Dave did this summer. Um, it did pale in comparison to that, but I'm really looking forward to seeing your film Gavin and because of the stories I've heard from Dave and from you, it's just awe inspiring and it just shows what can be done by the right people, if not for everyone what you do. But for the people like Dave who's got so much experience in the mountains and, well, both of you are crazy kind of mountain pilot men anyway, you know, for the qualified people like yourself to do that is just awesome. Just so I'm really looking forward to seeing that whole story in full.
Gavin: 00:44:34 Well I'll send it to you as soon as we hang up here. You'll be one of the first to see it. I'd love to get your feedback. Well Russ. Where does your, where does your passion for, for paragliding live these days? Is it, is it competitions? Is it testing? What kind of, you said you said most of your flying cross country has done in competitions, maybe not so much in free flight, but where, where do you, you know, after all these years are you still really passionate about, is it still really turn you on and if so, what aspects?
Russ: 00:45:10 I think yeah. My relationship with over the years it's changed. Our relationship has its ups and downs, you know, some days I'm not interested in paragliding some days and I'm just, I'm not into it at all. And another days I'm really fired up and I'm passionate about it. And um, the, the flying I enjoy doing the most is, is I really enjoyed the testing work. I really enjoy stalling, spinning, collapsing and doing a little that I do genuinely really enjoy that. Um, but it's probably competition flying more than cross country flying. I haven't done a huge amount of cross country flights. I, I did some pretty long flights in Texas a few years back, like he mentioned and back in the UK this year as well in the north South Cup. I went back to the weekend and we had a classic conditions for the weekend. I mean, when I put the flights back to the UK as I was thinking, well, I'd be lucky if I get the glider out the pack. And uh, the first day we flew 210k from Scotland down the middle of England that into your answer somewhere. And then on the second day we flew from pretty much the English Welsh border all the way down towards Brighton. So I got into the flight and came home and I still pinch myself over that because before then I'd never even sold 100k in the UK and to. And so to come back after a weekend after throwing 350k in a weekend, a completely made up. So I get very few opportunities to fly cross country and I'm not super motivated to go cross country just on my own to, to, just to fly, you know, I've been flying long enough to that I don't need to do that anymore unless maybe it was a really, really classic day. But even this year, you know, when Luc and Hono were making those big, big flights. I was quite happy just to be here. Working and testing the testing here over in Gourdon. Yeah, no it didn't put me out at all. But I'd say competition competition is, is where it is, is, is, is the flying that I love the most. But I, I don't, I don't. Again, I don't do a huge amount of that anymore. I just do one or two comps a year.
Gavin: 00:47:27 And you, but you seem to stay really current with that. Uh, you know, if you know that kind of. I think what we would typically hear is, you know, to get really good, you've got to fly a ton. But you know, like somebody like Josh Cone, I think he flies like 75 hours a year. Pepe, maybe the same. Sounds like you're not flying a ton of comps now. You sound like you're flying a lot, but maybe not a ton of comps. Is that, is that the bike thing?
Russ: 00:47:58 No, I do a lot of flying. We fly a lot down here. But I do notice it recently, the last few years I noticed that when I go to a competition, the task or so. I'm, I'm all over the place a little bit on my head's not in the right place. I'm not, I'm indecisive and I'm not that great. So that's something for sure. No to be good. I think you need to be current on your cross country flying and people like pat pay do a lot of flying but it's all in competitions but they'll do five or six competitions a year. I'm not doing to do that anymore. But what I do do is I fly every day so when I get through a competition, I'm not rusty at all and I click off on final climb. Okay. Because I'm just, I'm pretty much in tune with my flying overall, I am not rusty. But, uh, I think my decision making certainly what I've noticed in the last couple of years is my decision making. It hasn't been that brilliant.
Gavin: 00:49:00 We've been talking a lot, I think it was Colombia. I don't at all know the complete history of your World Cup results. Um, but I remember you were, you and I kind of having a laugh about. I think you got second that year and you sent, you'd said to me that you had a whole lot of seconds. And you were kind of cracking up about maybe being too reserved in the last thermal too. Little bit, little bit too careful and not quite enough cowboy. Uh, I don't know. I don't know even know if that's correct. Is that correct? And if so, would you like to comment on it?
Russ: 00:49:49 Yeah. II am the king of mediocracy. Brilliant under achiever, um, I've been second and third in this superfinal of I've been third in the European championships and I've been second in the superfinal twice I think. And um, uh, but I did win a World Cup once the individual World Cup once. yes, I think I am just ill-disciplined, you know, I didn't apply myself well enough when, when the opportunity arose, I probably didn't apply myself well enough, which is the reason why I wouldn't have won or failing that, someone just did it much better than I did, which is normally the case. Um, I think winning is, is to be able to win all the time is very difficult, that's what makes people like Hono really, really impressive because his winning rate is super, super high and even when he does badly, doesn't even do that badly, you know? Um, it, it depends what you want to be in flying, you know, I mean, I really respect people like Julien Writz and guys like that though, just so consistently up there and [] and a people to just, Oh, they just put the second, third and occasional win. But if they do badly, they're in fourth place. You know, those pilots. For me, it's just, just awesome. There's so many good partners out there at the moment, but there are a handful that stand out for the magnificent consistency at the very top level. And um, I think for me personally, I need to do a bit more competition to be able to maintain that level. Now I'm probably a little bit more hit and miss. I'm going to do the World Cup. I'm going to do the Super in Governador and on possibly the world next year. Um, but I'll try to train as much as I can for that as well.
Gavin: 00:51:52 Again, that question of, you know, is there something definitive that separates the Wirtzes you know, these guys that are so consistent.
Russ: 00:52:05 Well, they make less mistakes than the rest of everyone else, you know, they're not making the mistakes. The, holding that position, they all climb very well. They will climb very well. They will glide very well and they make good Gaggle decision making. They dominate the gaggles. We are doing this. I'm training a British team training camp for the next generation of British pilots. We did our first boot camp this year. Guy Anderson and myself. And we were trying to instill onto the new young pilots up and coming pilots the importances of being able to dominate the gaggle, go to be able to seat on top of everyone to be able to always have markers in front of you gliding so that you can glide on the good lines and the importance of, of actually not making too many cross country decisions when you race.
Russ: 00:53:00 Um, I think maybe the winners have a, it depends on the competition. Some competitions are won by someone who's able to do all the dominant tools and then make a killer cross country decision, make a cross country decision to actually win the task, win the competition. But often the guys like Julien or these guys, Chevy will do extremely well just by dominating but not actually making too many cross country decision making. But just always sticking it over the goal line within a minute or so of the leader and you do that on a daily basis, on a regular basis, which is easier said than done. The only way you can achieve that is by climbing extremely extremely well, applying and being really disciplined. There's very few pilots in the world that can do that on a daily, daily basis. Every dog has his day, everyone can do on that day. But at the top of the world class level is being able to do it everyday.
Gavin: 00:54:11 When you, when you, uh, let's say you were in a year where you were really chasing like the, uh, you know, the world championship or you know, you were going to do a whole bunch of PWCs. Take me back to a time when you were doing that. Are you, is there a training regimen? Is there a preparation kind of protocol that you go through? Is there a, is there a headspace that you try to find and is there a way to repeatedly find it? Because I hear about this from quite a lot of pilots that they, you know, that they have found often through trial and error, you know, they'll just suddenly have a really good comp and when they look back on it, it's because they were either a little bit tired or didn't really care too much or they were just flying a ton. I mean, for everybody it's been a little bit different. But can you share with us like do you approach comps like that or do you just kind of go into, um, and, and have a go
Russ: 00:55:13 The first World Cup I ever went to was in January, um, and this is when I was living back in the UK and we don't fly in the winter that much in the UK. And uh, this comp was in Argentina and I think in January, so I got no training whatsoever, but I bought this book "Psyched to win" and it was all about sports psychology and so on. But it's different than any competition. So it was about about no use to me whatsoever And, I read this book psyched when I came, almost last in that competition.
Gavin: 00:55:47 Super Psyched and Super slow.
Russ: 00:55:49 Yeah.
Russ: 00:55:51 Every time I go to a competition now, Keth, my wife says I have to win as I leave the door. And uh, so that's my regime I guess. But no, I don't have a regime. I just go flying. I've tried the lucky socks, I've tried the lucky pants, I've tried the being super motivated, I've tried it all and it makes absolutely for me it makes zero difference whatsoever. For me, the best thing to do is to wake up in the morning and go and, and don't use it as any more than that. And uh, and then when you, when you can do that and you're relaxed enough to do that, and you can retain your discipline. You have to be focused and disciplined for sure. But otherwise it doesn't help putting pressure on myself or, or being too hard on yourself either. I think. I think that's the most important thing as well is to be able to deal with a defeat in a mature manner, and just accept it as part of our sport. You know, it's a really, it's a really demoralizing sport at times because even you can do just the, you know, all the right things and you get a bit of bad luck. You got bad cycle, we missed the bottom of the climb. And you can, although you feel that you flowed really well, you can do really badly, whereas other days you could be feeling very well making mistakes, blunder around the sky, catching a nice cycle, which noone else had and oh, you won the day. So it's a little bit random but that, but, so, but that's why I try and keep it simple and just. No, I just stay relaxed and go flying.
Gavin: 00:57:39 So Russ, rewinding to the talk that we grabbed on on Youtube, um, the, I think there was a lot of kind of shocked people in the room about how you spoke very eloquently about recovering a two line glider and not allowing it to. I mean, obviously we have frontals but we, you know, not allowing it to frontal and if it does frontal, you know, what the proper reaction to that was. I think that um, and you were, you were quite surprised at what you said was received. Um, so do you want to. Do you want to just kinda take us back to that talk?
Russ: 00:58:24 I was quite surprised. I was quite surprised that what I was saying wasn't common knowledge, you know, because it was something that, it was techniques that had been used, and taught for many years by many pilots, not just me. And uh, I, uh, a good friend of mine said he tormented himself by putting through that talk by listening to on youtube because it's been for so many of my SIV courses and heard the same shit over and over and over again. No, I didn't give any new information. So it did surprise me that a lot of people commented on how new some of that information was to them. And I think now, looking back from what I said, um, I think most of it still stands. I have seen different behavior in gliders. I have seen some gliders is now where hands up is possibly the best thing to do after a frontal. but I will still stand by the fact that most gliders, irrespective of their class, irrespective of whether they're two or three line, whatever. If the glider starts to deflate and you start to have a frontal, the first until you should do is hit the brakes quite sharpish and getting the nose open and then keep the hands up to let the glider fly. And certainly for two liners. If they do start to collapse you immediately hit the brakes. And if you over hit the brake and you ended up in a little stall, a parachutal it's not a problem, you just put your hands away from it. You know, if you're flying a two liner, then you should have the skills to be able to stall without hesitation, anytime, really and to be able to fly away from it.
Gavin: 01:00:16 What was one of the things that was, was quite impactful for me and this was, you know, I was flying my first two liner at that world cup, so that was pretty new for me anyway. Um, was also just how, how powerful the, how much practice you needed on the badger bar on the Bs, you know, that so much of the wing could be held open with the Bs. Um, while staying on bar. I think you mentioned that you were, you know, that if you start to put those two things together quite well, you know, reasons that in the past were reasons to get off the speed, go to the breaks were not, weren't there if you were using those correctly, that you could literally power through quite turbulent air. on the Bs, using the Bs? Absolutely.
Russ: 01:01:08 Yeah, because you can, you can, you can pull enough Bs to bring it back to trim speed with the bar still fully on on, can't you. So you can abruptly change the angle of attack, which is normally what it takes to keep doing open is just an abrupt change in angle of attack that bam, keeping the nose open. And um, yeah, but there does come a point where you, you know, the, I guess turbulent enough where you have to come off the bar and go back on the break. There is always that point and I guess, the way to move through the air, efficiently and as fast as you can, is to know those limits and to know when to come on come on come on and do with it is. But uh, these things take time to learn don't they. Paragliders are not easy machines to fly. That's the problem. You know, part of the danger is that they're so easy to fly that your grandmother can fly them. But the difficulty lies in the detail of how to fly them in turbulent air. And the only way to really get that training is by doing acro trainings, but doing SIV and it's by flying in turbulent air. So in order to learn the skills that you need, you have to put the effort, you have to put yourself in risk in a way. That's the beauty of our sport because you're always learning, you're always improving. That's always something that you can do better. There's always something that you're not doing as well as you could do. And, that's the beautiful thing about our sport. And that's why there's so much longevity in it but that's also what makes it dangerous.
Gavin: 01:02:48 You said in that talk that you'd never done your reserve. Is that, is that still the case? Are you still accident free?
Russ: 01:02:58 No, I've had a few accidents. I think I've landed in pretty much ever bush on the south towns in the UK.
Russ: 01:03:06 No, I've had my fair share, but I've yet to..., I've landed under my reserve, but I've never thrown it. Actually had..., I was flying in Gourdon last year. just, after coming back from the World Cup in India and I was flying... just a does new Enzo prototypes and I took off, flew around for 10, 15 minutes, scratching going over the gorge, I was super low, couldn't get up. Eventually I got climb, went up above the mountain. I just got to cloudbase and someone's pulling my shoulders... what the hell! I even turned around and looked to see who or what it was. Turned around and my parachute was pulled out.
Russ: 01:03:56 So I haven't thrown my reserve but I've landed under it now!
Gavin: 01:04:03 When you first, when you first said that, I was like, wait, what? I think I'm going to have to ask for a clarification, what?
Russ: 01:04:12 It's just totally unexpected. Ten minutes into the flight. But again, it was, you know, basic errors. I didn't check my pin before I took off. And um, even after 20 years of flying and I'm pretty good at checking my stuff because, you know doing the job that I do and that we do on a daily basis, you have to be strict, you have to. You cannot afford to really have errors. And so I was pretty hard on myself with that because he was a bad mistake to not check my pin. But I was just fortunate enough they will held in for that length of time because had it come out and the other stage and I was scratching along because this was rocks down here, it's rocks and cliffs and it's not pleasant land to throw your reserve on an, and certainly not to have an inadvertent deployment when you're along a cliff. So I was actually very lucky to come away from that. And I landed absolutely fine on flat ground and walked away from it. No problem whatsoever. So, um, but no, I've never thrown my reserve in anger. But I guess I don't push it too hard, I know my limits.
Gavin: 01:05:31 When you think back to your career, you've certainly seen a lot of accidents in it. I don't want to make this dark thing, but it's, it's, it's one of the kind of common themes, we like to talk about safety on the podcast as we've got a lot of listeners who are pretty low hours pilots or we just did one with Cedar Wright firmly in the grasp of intermediate syndrome, you know. He's only been flying for a year and a half, so I think there's, there could be some good passing and some good advice from you in terms of, you know, are there some common and very avoidable mistakes that you see happen. And your, you're mostly seeing, you know, you're mostly going to PWC and seeing and there's plenty of accidents at those. So, you know, maybe maybe you could share a little bit about what you've seen to pass along some advice for those people coming up and trying to be safe.
Russ: 01:06:22 I go the old cliche: The common stuff that is on the ground certainly for intermediate pilots is on the ground. It's making mistakes. Trying to launch mission. I think what's changed over the years as well with the gliders now we are flying, we flight in air that we wouldn't even consider flying in back in the early nineties. The wings weren't fast enough, there was too unstable and there was a fine line between the able to stay in the air and getting blown back. You know, we were always taught from day one. If it's gusting from five to 15 mile an hour, then maybe it's a bit too strong and so 5 miles an hour nowadays is a good day. So we're flying and stronger and even though the gliders are a safer and better because we are flying in much stronger conditions, I don't think the spool is in any safer than it used to be.
Russ: 01:07:16 But, but I think the, uh, the most important thing for most intermediates is the ground handling the ground control and being able to do everything on the ground with the glider. That way when you're in tricky, tricky situations in the air, you will be able to hopefully deal with the glider collapsing or doing whatever it's doing much better. In fact, the one thing you'd let the air can do to is collapse it. So as long as you can deal with a frontal or side collapse, then the air can't do anything more to you. Anything else that, that happens in a cascading event, the spiral, the auto rotation, all of those types of things are kind of, not self-induced, but they're all preventable with the correct input. What's been good over the last few years I think is there's been a healthy attitude now towards SIV, actually learning how to fly the glider and I've certainly seen it at the top level and hopefully it will filter down everywhere.
Russ: 01:08:20 A few years ago you'd see the PWC, you'd see someone take a 60, 70 percent side collapse and then end up throwing the reserve and you think, well, what could not happen? And, and, uh, it used to be quite a regular occurrence. People were too late, too aggressive or whatever on the input of the wing. And um, there was plenty of completely avoidable accidents, done to a poor piloting. And I think now with the new attitude towards SIV, I think the overall standard of pilots is improved at the World Cup level anyway. They're the ones that I see flown the most now. I think there's less reserve rides and, and less incidents now in the World Cup and even if the pilot quality is slightly lower in terms of that cross countries flying skills. But I think piloting skills, especially with the new generation coming through as well, which are forcing the old generation to get better. Um, I think, yeah, the top level, the piloting is definitely improving.
Gavin: 01:09:24 Speaking of wings and Luc bears the responsibility or the credit for the shark nose technology. And if I'm wrong, let me know. But, um, you know, 2009, we had this incredible jump, in what paragliders could do and, and, it is allowing us to fly lines like Dave and I did in Alaska. Just looking at the map and completely different ways. Is there another, do you see another.... I asked Bill Belcourt this question when we were interviewing him for 500 miles to nowhere and he said, you know, that he stopped trying to make predictions on where the sport is going because he's been wrong every time. It's always just gotten better and better. Is there, is there that kind of a jump available still do you think?
Russ: 01:10:18 Like bill said, I remember back in 1996 people saying, well that's it. That's it. With the diagonal ribs that's it, we're never going any further.
Russ: 01:10:28 Um, they are definite gains to be made. For sure there's going to be made. I think the gains are getting harder to come by that for sure. But we can , there is still if you look at the sail, if you look a wing, there's still plenty of creases all over it. If we can manufacture the wings somehow better so we can get rid of all the wrinkles and creases and really make them into these tight drum type structure on the skin, then I think we've got gains to be made there. Um, line drag. I don't want to say because I'll probably be wrong, but we're not far off from what is acceptable in terms of strengths and in terms of a supporting the structure. But I think, yeah, no, I think there are gains to be made in construction.
Gavin: 01:11:21 You, you mentioned Honorin, I know I'm not saying his name right. I never do, but he wanted ... One of your pilots, you just had an unbelievable year. Um, what separates... And he's pretty young, which is kind of cool. Uh, you see, that's what I love about this sport is doesn't seem like age makes a huge difference. You know, you see older guys just crushing it. But he's pretty young and, and I don't want to take Luc out of it as well because Luc was part of those big flights in southern France. But what separates somebody like him from other good and great pilots?
Russ: 01:12:05 Very good question. I think, I think Hono is you can put him in the same bracket as Chrigel. Whereas they are young, they're mature and they've got the, they've got the good balance between having the, the Geeky kind of technical side of flying along with the type attitude towards it. It's a really nice balance and Chrigel have always impressed me with that, you know, they are totally wrapped up in flying and they treat it as a very, as their profession and what they want to do and they're into every facet of it. Hono has done incredibly well. I mean, he's only 25 years old now and he's an awesome pilot is these are very mature pilot as well and um, it's great to see. It's great to see it. I'm sure there's a lot more to come from them as well. I don't think he's, he's not peaking at the moment, which is the scariest thing. He's only going to get better. He's only going to get better at. I think he's got better in the last year, like every day with us as well. And his test flying come on really, really well. And I think he's only going to get better.
Gavin: 01:13:21 Yeah. If you could rewind the clock Russ, there is a question I ask of everybody, people seem to really like a 50 hour self. What advice do you either wish you would have heated that you got or advice that you wish you would have gotten? You're just coming out of the blocks in the end of your first year going into your second year?
Russ: 01:13:46 That's a very good question. That's a very good question. I don't know. I think, you know, the intimate it syndrome that you touched on earlier was, is the difficult part. And if there was some magical way to get through that, there was some magical way to get through the, I would say up to 500 hours is the, is up to the intermediate level. And um, if there was a magical way to be able to get through that whole process, progress and develop really well without injuring yourself, then that would be the wonderful thing.
Russ: 01:14:21 But if I could back the clock, what would I do? I would certainly not be teaching paragliding on the south band of the UK, much as I love that. It's a really special part of my life. I'm not the easiest place to be able to be able to progress because it's very difficult. You food difficult to go cross country. The opportunities are quite few and far between, when living here where we work and just go flying any day and if the sun's out, I catch a thermal, that would be... Yeah, probably my..., if I could turn back the clock, I would move to a better place to go flying.
Gavin: 01:15:02 That leads perfectly into a question that just came through a on Facebook from Gemma. Hope I'm saying that right? She's a for our pilot and she wanted to stress stress that she's brand new. She wants to go. She wants to know where you would send her, best place in the world. To learn safely and avoid the ground suck crowd.
Russ: 01:15:28 The ground suck crowd. I think they probably exist on every hill in the world, as far as I know. some of them, wise. And some of them are negative. Yeah, I know you have to be able to filter that. The best place in the world to go. I don't know. I don't know to be honest. I guess it's four hours. It's somewhere where you've got grass, somewhere that doesn't isn't particularly rocky. So it's a bit more forgiving. With trees, which are genuinely quite good. That genuinely forgiving. So yeah, you need somewhere like maybe Columbia or somewhere or areas in France, dune to Pilat these places, these are quite good but I don't really, My traveling has been going to sort of full on places to go cross country racing and, and so and so I don't really know where all these places are.
Russ: 01:16:30 the UK, the south downs is actually a fairly good place for that when the weather's good because it's a very forgiving place to fly and it's a good place to learn the skills. And I think it's why I've quite a few good pilots have come out with the UK because it teaches you have to be efficient in order to fly well in the UK to be able to get away from some of the hills. Certainly in the south of England, it's different up north. It's easy for the northerners to go cross country bits for the southern isn't necessarily easy.
Gavin: 01:17:01 Okay. One more that just came through from our friend Matt Beechinor, farmer. He wants to know because I think he's looking at this, uh, how solid is the leading edge of the Enzo 2 versus the Zeno
Russ: 01:17:19 It's solid... What does he want that in? Grams? yeah. The profile has slightly more solidity then the Enzo 2 to put it another way, I've never had a collapse on it though. I haven't introduced myself ever from flying quite lot on the glider is a relatively stable wing. I would say it's more stable than the Enzo and the B pressure, is lighter as well, so it's easier to fly on the B lines. Um, so yeah, it's an easier glider than the enzo 2 and given the same inputs, it's probably less likely to collapse.
Gavin: 01:18:05 Okay, great. Just for my own curiosity, you don't have to give this away if you don't want to, but is anybody going to be using it in the X-Alps?
Russ: 01:18:16 I think there will be. Yeah,
Gavin: 01:18:22 That'll help my planning.
Russ: 01:18:27 No, I think that we're intending to make a light weight version of it, although we can't get a huge amount of weight from it.
Russ: 01:18:32 Um, but I think there was certainly pilots have expressed an interest. And, it could be an interesting wing for that.
Gavin: 01:18:43 Okay. Buddy, I know it's getting late for you there. I have one more funny question for you and then I'll allow you to chime in with anything else you want to add to it, but one of your fans or somebody came through and said, uh, you live in France. Why don't you like cheese and wine?
Russ: 01:19:05 Cause I'm slightly allergic to cheese I don't like red wine, but the, the guy I worked with, Fred, he doesn't like cheese either and he is French and i don't think he is a big wine fan either, so it's not just me and I don't like eating snails or frog legs either, but I do enjoy the weather they have here and lots of other things.
Russ: 01:19:29 Hey Russ, I didn't, I didn't find much stuff about you online. I think you kind of avoid that whole scene, which has probably been terrific for you this last week. As you know, we've had quite a tumultuous week here in the states. Uh, but is there anything
Russ: 01:19:46 I feel sorry for you guys over there.
Russ: 01:19:49 Yeah, so do we.
Russ: 01:19:53 It's will be a new change, and I don't think it'll be that bad.
Russ: 01:19:56 Uh, I hope so. I hope so. I totally share the optimism, but I'm optimistic we'll, we'll, we'll figure it out. We usually deal with it.
Russ: 01:20:06 Uh, we, we've just had Brexit in the UK as well, which is just left out, left Europe, which is actually, that was the day I signed for a house, the day of Brexit was the day we bought the house there.
Gavin: 01:20:20 Nailed it!
Russ: 01:20:26 These things happen, you know,
Gavin: 01:20:28 They do, they do. Well, it's been a, it's been a terrific joy. Thank you so much again. Thank you for your time. I think people are going to totally dig that and until we meet again at cloudbase, my friend, thank you very much.
Russ: 01:20:43 Cheers Gavin!
Gavin: 01:20:50 before we get into little bonus part, which I implore you to stick around for it. It has been another 45 minutes with some great, great questions that went out. Thank you to our audience for providing those questions. Thanks again to Larry Tutor for his amazing talk a few episodes back. If you haven't listened to that one, please go do it. It's really amazing. And then, if you can send us a buck, that's all we ask for is a buck a show. You'll find that link on the cloudbasemayhem.com. And then also a little call out from my friend Anna Dow, Revi's girlfriend, who we did a lot of flying with this summer she is out at standing rock if you followed the whole, situation there with the pipeline and what's going on out in North Dakota with the Su, uh, the big win for the Su recently. But that fight is not over and Anna Dow is actually out there in North Dakota braving the cold and they could really use your help and knowing that paragliders have quite unique, situations when it comes to work and a lot more time off typically than a lot of people have. They need your help if you can go out there and just give them your time or your money, either one of those would go a long way. You can reach Anna. I'm going to give you here a phone number. You can text her and find out how you can lend a huge helping hand so you can reach Anna at 401 592 7584 . Or that's 401 5 WARMTH. They could really use your help out in North Dakota. This is a brutal time of year. There's not as many people as there was out there and this fight is not over. So Land Anna your hand and we'll see you on the next episode. Thank you. Merry Christmas. Cheers.
Gavin: 01:22:41 So, Russ, um, do you think that, you know, just from a safety standpoint and you know, I mean, I know this has been argued ad infinitum, but I'd love to get your thoughts on it, you know, should we all just be racing around on one class gliders? Would that be, you know, a better way forward or does that rec open class innovation or what are your thoughts on that? I'm just curious.
Russ: 01:23:06 Well, the original thought was the, a class with kill innovation in the open class and would kill innovation throughout the rest of the range. But I think, you know, over the last few years of being in serial class, being in the new CCC class, that hasn't necessarily been the case. We're still working on gliders, we're still improving things, we're still finding ways to make gliders better and the serial class... I used to be an advocate of the serial class quite strongly, um, but I, I've kind of realized that maybe that's not the best way, but, but right now working with the CCC, I think is almost a good compromise. We've got gliders that are very similar to open class wings, yet they have an inbuilt added amount of safety into them because they have to perform and meet certain criteria which is strict enough to keep safety intact, but without really inhibiting design too much and I think what's the best thing that's come out with them is that the gliders have remained really good, pleasurable to fly, but we've just shopped out some of the top speed which was slightly unnecessary, made the sport slightly more dangerous than it should otherwise be. So I think the CCC class is for the moment a pretty good compromise and it's something that's pliable. It's something that could change in the future as new problems arise, as new things come up. So I think we're not a bad place at the moment with the CCC as a compromise.
Gavin: 01:24:50 One of the questions then, I think you've answered this, one of the guy at one of the guys who listens to the show, Joe Crushly. I hope I'm saying that right. Wanted me to ask you, do you think that the current certification rules will lead to better safer gliders? I'm assuming he's talking about the CCC rules and it sounds like you think they will.
Russ: 01:25:11 Ah, safer is a very hard thing to quantify. You know, safety is really down to the pilot and the pilot skills. As wings have developed over the last few years, I think pilots have up their skill level in order to deal with them in the back in the old days before I started competing, gliders were very unstable and very difficult to fly. they'd collapse it all the time. So pilots back then how to be good at data with collapses. Otherwise they injured themselves a lot. And, gliders nowadays have become a lot more stable, they have a lot more inherent stability in the wings. But when they collapse they can still be quite aggressive, so I think, pilots have less training nowadays with. Or they have less collapses so you'll naturally you have you are more rusty when you do get a collapse. But I think that's been kind of countered by pilots doing a lot more siv training now and I see in the top level competitions that pilots are generally have a much better handling and feel of their wings.
Gavin: 01:26:24 Russ I 've got a whole list of great questions that came in via the facebook when I put out that I was going to be talking to you before we get into those. A good friend of both of ours, Matt Beachner, farmer, he would really like to ask you a bit. And I actually just got off the phone with Nick Reese who's just come back from Brazil who was flying the Zeno. So I wanted, I wanted to provide a forum for you to talk about that wing. People are pretty excited about it, but specifically Farmer wanted me to ask you, how being on full speed compares to being on full speed with the Enzo 2. In other words, is it more collapsed resistant? Is it less? I think that's what he's getting at. But give us, give us the two minute version of your newest, latest and greatest.
Russ: 01:27:17 The Zeno has a little bit less aspect ratio. It sits between the M6 and Enzo 2. Accelerated, it's very stable. It's got a really nice. It's got quite a high CM profile and it's quite light pressure on the B so it's very controllable and I'm probably more inherent stability than the Enzo 2 at full speed. But again, these wings, you know, it's not a case of pushing the speed bar to maximum and then just sort of closing your eyes and letting the wing go. It's, you have to, you have to control the wing with the B-risers, with the speed bar, depending on the air that you're in. So as soon as you fill the turbulate, you need to put pressure on the Bs and, and hold the wing back a bit and if you, if you get a big sudden increase or decrease in pressure in the nose, you have to input the B quite hard and come off the bar if necessary. Um, but overall I would say that the Zeno is more stable than the Enzo 2, at the same speed.
Gavin: 01:28:25 Oh, cool. I found a lot of these questions really good. The first one is, are there disadvantages to a square reserve over around, and do you recommend flying with more than one reserve? This is an interesting one. I've been asking the reserve question with quite a few pilots and it's been really interesting where people sit with that. I had a great talk a few episodes ago with Jockey, so it'll be interested to see what your thoughts on that. Um, and then where should we be in the weight range, on reserves and has anyone ever chucked in which the reserve was smaller?
Russ: 01:29:01 I don't have a great deal of experience with reserves. We've developed the, the square reserve and from the testing I've seen and the certification flights I've seen not just our square reserves but all square reserves, so I've seen the stability and sink rate is incredible compared to a round one. Often with the round reserve, they work quite well, but they're on the verge of being unstable and it depends on what the glider does. It depends on the loading and the length of the lines, but they can get an oscillation also. If the lines go become a asymmetric in any way, then you can have quite a pendulum descent. From what I've seen the squares a undoubtedly undoubtedly a lot better in terms of pendulum stability. And uh, if you have a big enough one then you've also got the very good sink. Right? So from what I've seen, um, I am convinced by the square, I think square is a good way forward. There's also obviously the Beamer type, the delta shaped ones, um, which I think are very effective. If you can release the glider and you've got enough altitude to be able to steer them and point them in the right direction, but if you have to throw very low next to a cliff face, then I can see that there's a problem with it, with a parachute that's gliding at that point. But, uh, I understand why the acro boys use them because they're normally in clear space above water and a next to a cliff face. So, but I think for cross country pilots flying in the mountains, there are, there are potential disadvantages with the beamer type, but I think the, the squares address these, uh, issues, they're not steerable, but they can, they have such good stability and, and bring you down quite softly. That I think, uh, I think the square it, my opinion is the way to go and it's definitely what I'm going to have in my harnesses and I'm going to keep them big as well. I, I definitely think biggest best I've heard that the lightly loaded parachutes can cause pendulum issues, instability issues. Um, but speaking to parachute designers speaking to acro pilots pilots seeing all the tests under the squares and so on. I don't think that having a parachute that's big as is any disadvantage at all. In the olden days, people used to say, well, the big parachute would take longer to deploy, but I don't think that's the case at all. I like the idea of big parachute, but I have to use it bringing me down softly.
Gavin: 01:31:53 Yeah, I can add to that a little bit too, just from my own experience, not from throwing in my own experience, although I've done that as well, but that was more in a controlled environment doing acro. But although it was over the dirt, um, but, you know, I think the tendency these days,
Russ: 01:32:09 Was that an out of control, controlled environment?
Gavin: 01:32:12 Yeah very much so, yes. The first one, actually wasn't attached. You may have seen that article. Luckily I had a second, but that one didn't deploy in time. But Luckily I was in a deep stall configuration and that was able to keep it like that. And I, I bounced pretty well. You might have
Russ: 01:32:31 Hang on, first one wasn't attached?
Gavin: 01:32:35 But yeah, I was down training acro...
Russ: 01:32:39 I need the full story on this. How did that happen?
Gavin: 01:32:43 I put it in my column and in cross country, which I was a little loud for, for the, for the honesty. People thought that was pretty cool that I didn't just run away from that one. But yeah, I was uh, I was training acro. The full story is quite funny. I was trained in acro with, uh, with Cody down in the desert near [] and you know, all these things always have this excuse that. Not, excuse I, the main was my back was kind of tweaked, not related to paragliding whatsoever. And the night before I went down there, I was moving everything from my crosscountry kit to my acro Kit, way, way, way exhausted. I just come back from a film festival and I just screwed up, not only screwed up, just radically screwed up. And then I have never even thrown a reserve.
Gavin: 01:33:28 And so, you know, I was working on deep stalls and Helis with Cody and I think my second flight, you know, got all twisted up and you know, and we had made the deal that, you know, nothing was happening below a thousand feet because we're over the dirt and you know, but it was one of those, about a thousand. I'm nailing these deep stalls. I'm going to do another one, you know, so mistake number 15 in the whole series of mistakes and yeah, I got all twisted up and went to throw and threw and, you know, chucked it hard and you know, because it was all twisted up. My head was kind of pinned down looking at the ground and uh, and I thought to myself, God, these reserves take for ever, this is so slow, and the grounds coming really fast. And I looked behind me and my reserve was just perfectly deployed flying away. And I shit you not Russ. I was like, my first thought was like, that's pretty funny.
Russ: 01:34:24 It's hilarious. Thank God I have a second one!
Gavin: 01:34:29 Well, my first thought actually would after that was like, I gotta get out of these twists because I'm not even going to our second question, should you fly to reserves? Why am I used to fly with two reserves? And of course that wasn't on my mind. And so the first thing I did was I got to spin out of this twist, you know, I've had both toggles down in my belly, you know, so I had a deep stall, proper deep stalled. So it wasn't going to surge on me or anything. And I just looked and went, there's no way, oh, I'll get a second reserve. But at this point I less than 100 feet. And so I threw the second reserve. It didn't have a chance and my next thought was just okay Dude Tuck and roll, do not try to stick this. I just got did a PLF the best I can. And luckily the dirt was really soft and I was in a pretty nice deep stall on an f gravity 2. So I mean, I didn't have a lot of the wing over my head at that point, but enough that I just kind of bounced.
Russ: 01:35:23 Unbelievable! It goes to show the importance of a second reserve and remembering that you have the thing.
Gavin: 01:35:27 Oh, all these things. I mean, God, remember to attach it to your body. I mean, yeah, just a number of silly mistakes that were a lot of very good lessons.
Gavin: 01:35:40 Without dwelling on the stupidity of that, what do you think about when, when you're flying cross country these days, are you using two reserves?
Russ: 01:35:48 I fly with two reserves all the time now. Two reserves in my testing equipment and I fly with two reserves in my cross country equipment. I, I think the time, the experience, an experienced pilot is going to be in a reserve deployment situation. Forgetting the big collapse low down, which is always an eventuality. But, the most common kind of position to be and will be a heavy twisted cravated spiral. And from all of the deployments you watched on Youtube, I've seen it. I've seen, uh, over the years I would say in that configuration, when the wing is auto rotating kind of SATing around you and you've got a load of twists and it's terminal, there's nothing you can do. I would say a good 50 percent of the deployments I've seen end up straight into the wing. And so the idea of having another parachute to be able to negate that fact or I mean it's possible that two go in there, but, um, yeah, it just doubles your chances. And, I'm very comfortable flying with my two reserves and I wouldn't like to not fly with my two reserves anymore.
Gavin: 01:37:08 I think this is a good place to remind the listeners that reserves need practice. One of the things that, that I had never really practiced before working with Cody over the desert was that, you know, I think a lot of people when they get in a situation where you got to throw your reserve, you're just like, I just got to throw your reserve and you know, acro guys will very, very consciously make sure their wing is in a controlled deep stall before they throw, you know. So this is grabbing both toggles, having them download. You can be in a tail slide, you don't have to be exactly in a deep stall. You can, but if you just let go of your breaks, reach down, grab your reserve, and huck it. That's why very often you can end up throwing your reserve, right, your Wayne, because your wing restarts from wherever you were or it gets wildly out of control. There's almost nothing bad that can happen from just grabbing both brakes, pulling them way down, get your wing and a stable configuration. Of course, if you have the time. Um, but you know, this is a much better way to throw. And then to just back up my, what we were originally talking about before I talk about throwing my reserve without being attached. I think that there's a tendency, especially with the hike and flight crew with the TV crew to get into really lightweight gear and to go with lightweight reserves, which are great, but you got to be careful to, you know, like you said, there's not a lot of advantage going with a lightweight reserve at the top end of where that reserve, you know, like a lightweight reserve that's say rate at 80 to 100. If you're at 100, you're coming down to six meters a second, which is wicked fast. I mean that's a rate that's really easy to blow an ankle or leg or even a back. And so I don't think that's where you want to save weight. This is a fallacy, thinking...
Russ: 01:39:03 Yeah, I think you have to remember that there's a compromise and everything. When you compromising in weight, you compromise normally in surface area. I think the cloth material itself is lightweight cloth is, is fine. But if you're sacrificing surface area or maybe you're going into super thin dyneema lines as well because they say quite a lot of white, um, these things are a compromise. Absolutely. But you know, for the hike and fly gang. If I go when we go hiking, fly, uh, we generally don't take reserves because we know that we're just gonna fly from the top of a mountain and I fly down in a relatively benign conditions. So, that's the risk that I'm willing to take. But if, if you're, if you're battling in Thermic air and you're flying on a high performance wing or your flying acro or something like that, then no, you can't compromise. So I'm, yeah, no, I'm definitely an advocate of big is beautiful. I'd like to come down, I'd like to come down softly. Yep.
Gavin: 01:40:12 Cool. Next question, uh, speed bar. This gentleman was taught, I won't name the teacher, that bar and breaks are okay. Uh, and he's even been taught that in his clinics. What's the real deal? Does, does it vary depending on the glider?
Russ: 01:40:30 No breaks and a speed bar are not okay. When what you do is you inherently, you weaken the profile by applying break with the glider accelerated. You basically you give the glider more camber, you get the profile more camber, which means it will want to go nose down more and nose down more on a paraglider leads to collapses. There is actually a test in the EN, certification, whereby you accelerate, accelerate the wing and then applied 25 percent break. And uh, every EN certified wing has to pass that test. But in turbulent. And that's an absolute dead calm smooth air, but in turbulent air, you can touch the brakes whilst on the speed part and they can actually provoke a collapse. With the competition wings. It's, it's normally the test that limits the top speed in the current CCC certification. The test that limits the top speed of the wings is the 25 percent pitch stability tests.
Gavin: 01:41:37 Wing over, isn't it? This one's interesting to me because Martin was talking about doing these, uh, in the, in the talk that you gave here in 2012, but I'm with wing overs. Is it true that learning wing overs without using the brakes is significantly safer?
Russ: 01:41:52 Uh, possibly, but you don't really do wing overs. I've never managed to wing overs without ever using the brakes or maybe on a very small, heavily loaded acro type wing it's possible, but on a normal wing you can do some, you can do some rolling. Yeah. Um, I think, I don't know, it's never the technique that I've used to teach. It's never a technique that I've really delved into a huge amount. Um, but yeah, I could imagine that it is a good way of certainly learning the timing and learning the field. But you do need to start to get nice good strong wing overs. You do need to start to... I love the wing overs, but I think that window is a magnificent maneuver because it's got everything in flying in the wing over. It's got pitch control, pressure control, roll control, timing, a collapse stopping.
Russ: 01:42:48 It's got all the skills wrapped up in one maneuver, the wing over. So I think, um, it's a very good maneuver to learn. For Pilots to learn to really understand the dynamics of the wing and you can normally do performed wing overs in a relatively safe manner where the worst thing that can happen, where the worst thing that should happen is a exterior collapse and they're normally relatively simple to deal with. The important thing overs is always doing them up high and away from the ground because no matter how experienced you are, you can still get wing overs wrong when you're close to the ground and Wagga Wagga stuff, doing stuff close to the ground. It used to be appealing, but to me it's lost its appeal these days.
Gavin: 01:43:43 Cool. Uh, Stalls. We talked about this quite a bit with Jackie, but how important of a maneuver, are stalls, and then he says, I know some people who think it's super important to feel comfortable stalling your wing. Others think it's irrelevant. What do you think?
Russ: 01:44:03 I wouldn't say it's irrelevant. I wouldn't say super important, but ultimately a good, a good command of the stall can save your life. So with our sport, I don't see the point in not being able to control the glider pretty much fully in terms of spin appreciation, spin control, collapse appreciation, collapse control, getting out cravates, being able to stall the glider if necessary, dealing with twists, being able to throw you reserve all of these. It's not Golf paragliding. If you're not good at putting, it doesn't really matter, but if you're not good at stalling it could actually kill you. So I don't see, I don't think it's irrelevant. I think it's... It's not absolutely important. You can go your entire flying career without ever having to do a stall that is for certain, but I don't think it's something that you should actively avoid for the sake of avoiding or because you're scared of doing it. I think the more command you have the wing, the less fear you can fly with, the less gremlins you have on your shoulder and the more enjoyment you can get from the sport.
Gavin: 01:45:23 Yeah, I can add my own two cents to that and in the X-Alps I had to a full stall three times. They were not really acro stalls, but you know, calling the full stall three times in one day. And my big day heading towards Mont Blanc and I. Yeah, I think, I think having that in your kit is a really important thing. If I hadn't been able to do that, I would have maybe not been here, so. Yeah, absolutely.
Russ: 01:45:48 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, no, totally. Yeah.
Gavin: 01:45:51 So moving on from stalls, the next question he has his Siv, how useful is it really to just do one SIV course? Does collapsing the wind and going hands up a few times, really teach us. I'd like to answer this, but yeah, it doesn't really teach us anything. What. So what's your, what's your view on SIV?
Russ: 01:46:11 Well, I think is fundamental is really, really important. The first SIV course that you do is a lesson in fear control normally. And you don't learn a huge amount, you just get yourself through the week trying to deal with the fear. And seeing how you're going to kind of take to it, see how you react in these situations. But it's a stepping stone into the further training, I think on the second and third and fourth SIVs when you start to learn is when you start to absorb what the instructor says and take on board all the little other parts that you kind of miss in the first SIV course that you do because you're just so concerned about how are you going to perform and all that fear control. Um, so, but I think it's a journey. I think it's a continual journey, and it should be a regular part of your training, of your flying career ready because it makes you, like I was saying earlier, it makes you, it makes you more confident. It makes you safer. It gets rid of Gremlins and it allows you to enjoy the sport a little bit more. I mean, paragliders, you know, that they can get themselves into some weird configurations more than any other aircraft in a way, quite suddenly quite rapidly. And you need to be able to, you'd need to be able to deal with it when that happens. And the only way is through. It's through SIV training.
Gavin: 01:47:48 Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Seatboard. A seatboard# harnesses seemed to dampen turbulence. Uh, is this actually helping or hurting? Interesting question.
Russ: 01:48:00 Interesting question. And I don't know. I think, I've always flown with seat boarded harnesses. I've flown in quite a bit in Florida, quite a bit of harnesses without a seatboard. The difference isn't huge. Um, I don't know. Uh, yeah, I think it's whatever you feel comfortable with and it's whatever you're used to is fine. I certainly think for stalling and getting twists and all these kinds of things, it's quite nice to have a seat board, but I don't think that it's impossible to get all those skills and get the same control if you don't have a seat board. But I've seen certainly with the first generation of seatboard harnesses, they had issues getting your legs tapped on the to go with the collapse and so on. I think it's important to be able to crawl up in cascading events in times when you were having troubles getting the glider back under control again, and it's really important to keep your core strength and keep your legs tucked under to get twisted up very easily. Um, and I think that's where the seatboarded harnesses have a slight advantage certainly compared to the first generation type.
Russ: 01:49:19 Uh, but, uh, no, I think you can, I think there's lots of pilots that fly with a seatboardless harness, and they do extremely well at a very comfortable with them.
Gavin: 01:49:29 A bit of advice. Just to add onto that, a bit of advice. I got a while back actually from Nate Scales, which I thought was really good, is that. Don't change both at the same time, you know, the uh, you know, change a wing or change a harness, but don't do them both, especially not if you're going into a competition. and I thought that was really good advice because their harnesses are certainly a lot harder to learn and to be comfortable in then a wing. Especially if you fly a ton so it takes a little bit of time to get used to whatever you're, you're using, but it's, you know, to change one thing and then get used to that and then change another thing. Do you agree with that?
Russ: 01:50:07 I totally agree with that. And the worst thing you can do is both move to a seatboardless seat and move up a level in wing all at the same time. A lot of information to come to changing your equipment aggressively. One piece by piece is always a good idea.
Gavin: 01:50:26 Sure. new wings. Here's one a, there's quite a bit of a fanfare about Novas new phantom. Is Ozone working on something similar?
Russ: 01:50:38 Well, we're in a fortunate situation where, whereby we can design whatever wings we want. So yes, we have looked into making lower aspect ratio wings with lots of cells. There is potential in this route. It's a very expensive route, but it's, yeah, it's interesting. We don't have anything imminently ready quite yet. We're, we're, we're focusing at the moment on the other wings, but it's certainly something that we put in our foresight, you know, for the future.
Gavin: 01:51:15 Okay. Pod Harnesses, how much do they help in terms of top speed and glide? Can we just say a lot and move on or
Russ: 01:51:25 in terms of top speed? I don't think they help at all, but I'm aware of. But in terms of glide, well in terms of glide, I think there are about a point just over a point with a well designed pod harness, but it also really depends on your angle of dangle and getting that right. If you can get the optimum, if you can get the optimum angle than you will gain at least a point in glide. If you'll know the optimal angle, you won't get anything or you're getting very little.
Gavin: 01:52:02 Great, excellent
Russ: 01:52:02 From the studies that we've seen in, in wind tunnels, it's better to be slightly feet up, than slightly feet down. If your feet are slightly too low, that's not so good for performance. And obviously it's best to be perfect, but if you are feet up slightly, that's better than feet down.
Gavin: 01:52:25 Intersting, I did not know that. Cool. Here's one, something I use a lot. Flapping to land is flapping really more useful than just flying really slowly. Uh, do you have to reach a stall point to make flapping useful? Why does it feel so damn good to flap your way down?
Russ: 01:52:46 I don't know why it feels so damn good for you, Gavin.
Gavin: 01:52:50 Well, that's not. This is not my question.
Russ: 01:52:56 You're in a secret flapper fan. Flapping to land is good to get yourself into a little tight area. Yes. Or if you're coming into a top landing and it's, there's a lot of lift going on and you need to be able to get yourself down. Uh, but there are risks involved with doing it. So, um, uh, but yes, it's a technique that I use, it's a technique that lots of good pilots use to get into very small areas. Um, and yeah, it's a useful, it's a useful good technique, but there are inherent dangers with it. And if you don't know the stall point of your wing, if you don't know the feel of your wing, because obviously you can't necessarily be looking at the glider, you have to feel it as you're doing it and you have to be able to judge it correctly. But as with all things, the more you practice, the better you get it to you.
Gavin: 01:53:57 I can, uh, put out a warning to those of you who are thinking about flapping or haven't done a ton of it. There's some really, really good footage of me and huber trying to top land at planned Faye in pretty strong conditions, a flapping like crazy and we both lost one side of our wing and I would imagine that he, like, I am pretty familiar with where the stall point is. So yeah, it can go wrong if you screw it up, don't worry.
Russ: 01:54:26 Absolutely. Yeah.
Russ: 01:54:27 But I mean, I guess for you doing cross Alps, X-Alps it's, it's absolutely important.
Gavin: 01:54:34 Oh, absolutely. Yes.
Russ: 01:54:37 For the tricky landings that you've got to put yourself into and so I think for the guys that are just flying on the normal club sites with the normal LZ landing zone at the bottom and the relatively large areas to top land, it's not really something that's absolutely necessary, but if you're, if you have to stick it into a tiny little field in amongst trees, um, or you're trying to top land on a very small. In Gordon where we top land on this very small area. And uh, when the, when the conditions are right, you don't need to flap at all. I mean, I only, we only use it if you have to use it. It's not something that you just use for every landing. But if, if you were at a lot of lifting air and lifting here where there's not so much wind, so you're getting drawn back into the lift band again, then it's a good way of just stalling your forward speed, reducing your forward speed whilst trying to get some heavy sink rate going on as well. I've seen some really good guys actually play with parachutal close to the ground, but that's, that is really playing on the knife edge there.
Gavin: 01:55:49 Yeah, absolutely. Um, here's an interesting one, a stable nose down spiral. Is it not possible to make a well-performing wing that will automatically exit a fully developed spiral?
Russ: 01:56:03 Yes, very easily, but it won't be a very nice willing to fly. As a basic rule if you want to. It's really responsive in roll and in the turn then there will always be close to spirals stability. The beginner type wings, that exit spiral was very quickly and very easily. A little bit more sluggish in the term, but there are, there are some exceptions to that. The Enzo I think was quite hard to make it or you have to get it so hard and deep into the spiral. You had to show much Gs that was uncomfortable before you could get to a kind of stable points. But no, most wings, most modern wings now, the really lovely, really lovely handling. they're okay. They are, they are stable in the spiral, or they're not neutral, but you'll need to do is tighten up your chest strap, a few settings or something like that, tied up your chest strap more and that can give you neutral problems or even instability,
Gavin: 01:57:21 Sink rate. Do the higher Ozone gliders of the higher rated have a better rate than the lower gliders or is the performance all in top speed and glide.
Russ: 01:57:33 No. Think rate is better or more aspect ratings as a general rule. And do you see that with the competition wings that not only glide better, but they also climb better, especially in broken lift. I think where also the advantage comes as well as in broken lift. Um, you'll find that there's bits of sink and there's bits of zeros in amongst all the lift and the more efficient wing guide, better through that will cut better through that and lose less. So in week broken thermals, they will climb better. But give it a strong, tight, naughty little core and a good pilot on the low end B on an EN-B type wing will, should be able to climb with, if not out climb a comp pilot because you can take the glider on in a, in a tighter turning radius and keep it on the inside of the core. So low performing wing, staying six meters all the way around the 360s is better than a high performance wing doing six meters, four meters, six meters. So can, if you can pin the glider on its wingtip and get it around and use all that handling. Then, no you will climb just as well.
Gavin: 01:58:55 This is a good one, Two liners. How low can you go? What is preventing manufacturers from making a B class two liner? Do you need a high aspect ratio to reap the benefits of a two liner?
Russ: 01:59:10 Yeah, you need, you need relatively high aspect ratio. Low aspect ratio and two liners is, at the moment is not really feasible because you've got so much of the wing that's unsupported. So if you have, for example, if you have the Bs along way backwards and you've got a big cord, then the whole center section isn't really supported and it's just...., it would just be like a, a concertina between the As and the Bs in the middle of the way. Um, and if you have the Bs too far forward or you've got a big cord and you've got a large unsupported area back then it would just be flapping around and flipping around and as soon as you touch the brakes, he just like a big bubble between the back of the wing and the brakes and they won't feel very nice. So, um, it's difficult to make a two liner below an aspect ratio of six, six and a half. Six and a half is already quite hard to make. But who knows, in the future, you know, we might find ways of being able to support the structure better within the cord. I'm not writing it off, but right at the moment is not something... We're not, we're not working on a low aspect ratio two liner.
Gavin: 02:00:30 Okay. One of the questions Alex has was accidents. Um, do you, Russ have a theory on why so many people crash their paragliders
Russ: 02:00:58 Because it's a dangerous sport. There's no way around it. Paragliding is dangerous, and everyone who does it has to understand that we have to accept those risks. What's happened over the years is wings to become safer. They'd become faster in the olden days. Wings used to get blown back really easily. Then you just get back over the ridge. Or you'd have to accelerate to stop yourself from getting blown back. And the gliders became inherently so unstable that they would collapse really easily. So what's happened now is, we made gliders much faster. So our window of opportunity to fly is much greater. And also when they, when we accelerate to full speed, the glider are still relatively stable. They're less stable than there are trim speed, but they're still relatively stable. So of course, what do we do? We start flying stronger and stronger conditions.
Russ: 02:01:56 And, um, when you flow and stronger and stronger and stronger conditions, there is mechanical turbulence that can collapse the wing. We're all human beings, we all make mistakes. We make errors in judgment. We can make errors in inputs to the glider and accidents continue to happen. I think if we, if we, if we were all extremely strict with ourselves and flew when the conditions were only ever suitable to fly in, then we would see the accident rates drop and drop and drop, but unfortunately what happens now. And the experience pilots are going to be blamed for this because they experience good cross country pilots, want to fly in the strong conditions and the new pilots see this, new pilots aspire to this new pilots think that this is the way that, that you need to. These are the conditions you need to fly in to be good. And so we gave ourselves more risk Gavin so I think that's why the accidents continue to happen. It's like base jumping, you know, they spend base jumping is always been so dangerous and they spent years of, of ways to make it safer. Finally, they made it safer by having these amazing wingsuits that they can track of immediately away from the cliff. So then what do they do? They start proximity flag and come back to the cliff and going back to the mountain again. I think human beings make this dangerous.
Gavin: 02:03:23 Sure, yeah, absolutely. The gear just keeps getting better and better for a few episodes back, I talked to Isabella Messenger, uh, and we, we got into a pretty good about size and you know, just how much a, you know, smaller pilots are handicapped by having to fly smaller wings and also by having to really ballast up that can be pretty dangerous. Uh, it's Kinda like flying bivi across Alaska, but when you're in a PWC, um, you know, if you're, if you weigh 115 pounds and you're in your ballasting up, the maximum 32 kg is you can do that. That's not ideal. But how much are, how much advantage is there for, you know, flying a large, you know, Ozone Enzo to compared to the smaller sizes? Is it, is it substantial?
Russ: 02:04:13 Well, I think there's an advantage in speed and glide, you've got more surface area creating more lift, you've got higher wing loading. As a general rule, the larger wings behave slightly better in the certification testing, so that allows them to have a bigger speed range, more top speed. There's obviously there's the Reynolds number that comes into effect, but I think, yeah, I think that the problem here is, is down to wing loading and the smaller wings, are more aggressive in collapses, the harder to get through certification and that's often limited by a smaller speed range in the small wings. Not always just have to have a smaller speed range, but I'm more commonly they are there's less wing loading relative. so they are slightly slower. So yes, small people in paragliding, especially in comparison to paragliding, a disadvantage in speed and glides, but what they can, they can in climb. A small pilot is going to climb really well. Very good. I always remember fly with Jimmy Packer. He was awesome. He was quite small, quite light. You always flew the small wings and he was very successful. He did very well, but he used to climb so well because no one turn with him, it would be turning inside everyone and just rocketing up through the middle of the gaggle. So, so the big boys push their buses around the outside of the thermal while the little guys squeak out through the middle. Um, so you can gain in climb. It's difficult to make up in speed and glide.
Gavin: 02:06:06 Okay, great. Russ, Thank you man. That's all I got for you. That was a terrific. We've got a lot of really good stuff there and uh, I can't wait to put this one together and uh, and give it to the world!
Russ: 02:06:24 Such a prophet you are! You are like Gannes
Gavin: 02:06:35 No, but thank you. I really do appreciate it and I know that, uh, it's lovely .... I've kept you up again at your end of the world there. But thanks and until we see each other at cloudbase again!
Russ: 02:06:48 hope to see you soon man. You take care. Bye Bye. You too. But just talk to you soon. Cheers. Bye.


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