Episode 56- Miguel Gutierrez and a century of flight

For all of us who make the yearly winter migration to Valle De Bravo, Mexico we have Miguel Gutierrez and his incredible Alas Del Hombre team to thank. But the comps in Mexico are just a scratch of the surface of this legend of free flight. His father (nicknamed El Gato because he had more than 7 lives!), born in 1910 was very likely the first person in the world to base jump (in the 1930’s!)- off the end of an airplane with an unsteerable round parachute that he sewed himself! Miguel is the youngest of 10 children and his love and passion for flight runs strong in his family and began long before hang gliding was even considered a sport in Mexico. In this episode Miguel recounts building the first hang gliders literally from garbage he and his brothers found on the street to cutting his teeth with legends like John Pendry, Larry Tudor, Chris and Bob Wills, Bill Bennett, Peter Brock, Eric Raymond, and Steve Moyes in the Owens Valley of California. Miguel recounts the first time they flew 100 miles, what it was like learning to fly such terrible gliders, how they found Valle (he was the first person to fly there!), skipping school in order to fly, and how he’s turned Alas Del Hombre into the premiere paragliding company in the world- from tandems and instruction to the most professionally run competition organization the sport has ever known. Miguel has seen it all and from the very beginning. Prepare to be entertained!

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Show Notes:

  • Miguel tells the amazing story of his father and how he got the nickname “El Gato.” The obsession with flight begins…
  • Learning to fly terrible gliders in the early days and the many accidents that pilots suffered in their pursuit of the sky
  • The beginnings of Alas Del Hombre and making a living from flying
  • Discovering Valle De Bravo
  • Cutting his teeth every summer in the Owens
  • Flying the first 100 mile flight
  • Controlling your ego

Mentioned in this episode: Miguel Gutierrez, Gabriel Bass, Jeff Shapiro, Troy Bainbridge, Jocky Sanderson, Dustin Martin, Larry Tudor, Garmin, Alas Del Hombre, Bob and Chris Wills, Bill Bennett, Pete Brock, Eric Raymond, Bob Trampanow, Steve Moyes, Rich Pfeifer, John Pendry, Dave Bridges, Chris Santacroce, Roy Haggard, Dixon White

Miguel making his mother very nervous!

Miguel’s father

The flying cat!

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