Episode 66- Andy Hediger and becoming an Airman

If it flies, Andy Hediger flies it (or jumps out of it!). Sailplanes, trikes, hang gliders, light-weight airplanes, wingsuits, Swift, Archaeopteryx, Virus, but he rates the paraglider as the king of them all. The developer of the D-Bag, Andy was there at the absolute beginning of Acro and cross country, sewing some of the very first wings and his passion and love of the sport is as strong now as it was in the beginning. The “Airman” has pushed the limits of flying, safety, instruction and certification from the advent of the sport and was one of the first pilots to develop SIV to help make the sport more safe, and why most schools still get it wrong and why so many accidents keep happening. One of the original Red Bull team pilots Andy has flown with all of the legends of our sport, many of them sadly no longer with us- Robbie Whittall, Hannes Arch, Guido Gehrmann, Ueli Gegenschatz, Hernan Pitico, and many others and he’s had several of his own very close calls, and several terrible accidents, including a recent trike/D-Bag accident with Hernan that nearly took his life. Andy won the PWC overall in 2000, is the head of AeroAtelier paragliding school in Argentina, and has done way too many things with flight to cover in this write-up or in a single podcast. This talk matches our sport- it has the highs, the lows and everything in between. This talk gave me the chills and made me laugh out loud. An amazing pilot and one of those rare pioneers who has driven much of what we can appreciate and enjoy today.

Don’t miss Andy’s film “Airman”, its amazing: https://vimeo.com/178622126

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Show Notes:

  • Andy discusses the very beginning of the sport and sewing the first wings for Advance, a relationship that exists still today
  • Andy discusses accidents and some of the highs and lows of his career and some of the many heartbreaking losses
  • Why Andy created the first schools, SIV, and how he endeavored to make pilots safer
  • Andy discusses sponsorship, Red Bull and personal risk
  • How age and family has changed his perspective
  • Why most flying schools get it wrong
  • Tragedy and recovery

Mentioned in this episode:

Advance Paragliders, Red Bull, Ulrich Grill, Hernan Piticco, Airman, Catherine Shanahan, Deep Nutrition, Ben Abruzzo, Vespa Energy, Nick Greece, Nate Scales, Anneka Herndon, Recaps, Roman Buhler, Swing, Robbie Whittall, Urs Haari, Alain Zoller, Dietrich Mateschitz, Hannes Arch, Guido Gehrman, Paul Guschlbauer, Bruce Marks, Uli Wiesmeier


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