running fast at 17,000 on my way to the North American foot launch record- July 15, 2013
This show is broken up into two different parts. The first recounts a story that many listeners have been asking for- the North American foot launch record I set back on July 15th, 2013. As we head into fall it’s likely the record will hold another year, which is pretty amazing given the talent and dedication of so many pilots in this part of the world who have been pushing really hard. It was a remarkable week- nearly 1,000 km in three flights, all of them one personal best after another. But the big one is a pretty wild story in pretty extreme conditions in huge terrain on a very marginal day at best, and one that probably should never be repeated. Top speeds of 115-120 km / hr in the flats is one thing, but flying over 6 major mountain ranges from Idaho deep into Montana at that speed is certainly living on the edge! The second part of the show is dedicated to your questions for the “Ask Me Anything” show. We discuss how to assess new sites, the advantages and disadvantages of pod harnesses, safety compromises with light-weight gear when it comes to harnesses and reserves, listening to your gut, shaking off the rust after not flying, reserve best-practices and what might be coming in wing technology, front mount reserve best-practices, how to keep your hands warm on cold days, keeping your legs from getting tired when pressing speed bar and a lot more. Please let me know if you find these non-interview format shows valuable!
Garmin, Virb, InReach, Brody Leven, 360 camera, North American Foot launch record, Steven Kotler, Reavis Sutphin-Gray, Nate Scales, Matt Beechinor, Mike Pfau, Mitch Riley, Niviuk, Nik Hawks, Chris Santacroce, Jeffrey Ferrell, Superfly, Ben Abruzzo, Bruce Marks, Daniel Kahneman, Honza Rejmanik, UP, Triple 7, Flow, Russ Ogden, Rodrigo Cidad, Nick Greece, Eagle paragliding, Jocky Sanderson, Rob Sporrer, Passion Paragliding, Tim Ferriss, Stilian Blagoev, Matt Henzi, Nick Neynens, FlyBubble Paragliding, Daniel Schmid, Marko Hrga Hrgetic, Fabian Perez, Tom De Dorlodot, Karel Koudelka, Tom Sliepen.
Flying King Mountain in the Big Lost. Photo Jody MacDonald
00:00:16 Hi there, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the cloud base mayhem. I am on the road and so we're going to do an ask me anything show before we get to that. just got back from a couple of days. I'm in Austin now, but I was just over in Olathe, Kansas. I Had been to Kansas many times before, to visit Garmin HQ. It was Kinda like being. Brody Leven was there, one and the other Garmin athletes, and kept saying, man, "this place is like being in NASA". neither one of us had been at NASA, but I would agree this is just massive complex. It's like an entire city block or maybe several put together. There's over 4,000 people. They're making things like the inReach and the Fenix 5x, which I just got and all the others just really cool devices, in the marine, in aeronautics, in the outdoor. They make a lot of really amazing things and I wasn't even aware of. So, some very brilliant people making cool stuff that makes our lives better. One of the other things I got was a, the new Fenix 5x was with pulse ox, which is super cool. I haven't been able to try that, but it's also got just all kinds of other amazing things. It's got routing, it's got Topo maps, you know, so I can imagine like in the ops, you know, if my phone goes down like I did last time, you know, I lost it for a brief period of time, which was really stressful. You know, having that backup control. It's got music in it. You can download MP3 stuff to it, you know, you can pay with it and they've got their own payment platforms, kind of like apple pay a pretty amazing little computer that's a watch that's on your wrist. So some really cool stuff there. And then the other thing we got to play with was there 360 camera. a lot of people don't know about the camera technology at Garmin, you know, they've got these, you know, they've got the Virb, which is basically a competitor of Gopro. Obviously Gopro owns that space. I was with, for, for Gopro for a long time. the virb is just a vastly superior camera. It works better. It functions better. That doesn't glitch out on you all the time. You always know when it's on versus off. So you're not missing footage like I constantly did with the Gopro. So a shout out to them for making just a way better camera. So if you're in the market for me, you know, little pov camera, then a or an action sports camera wide angle Gopro, definitely look at that verb and then keep your eye out for the 360.
00:02:41 It has been out for awhile and none of us have had one, but we're getting one soon. Crazy. We're just doing demos with that in the office. It is unbelievable. And they've got this editing platform and it's just going to change the way we look at videos. So I keep an eye out for that as well. It's pretty exciting stuff. I promise this a commercial for Garmin, I'm just kind of blown away, but the new inReach mini, which is four times smaller than the explorer. you know, if you don't need the maps on the device, of course, because it's so much smaller, you know, they had to cut some things out, but paired with the earth made app, it's basically the same thing. You have all the same stuff, same functionality. It's quite a bit cheaper obviously for those of you concerned about weight and size, it's just amazing, incredible little device, but you can also do everything you know, that you can with your phone, basically what your watch when it's paired to it, you can use the SOS. those of you who heard me talk about Trey's rescue, one of the things that went down there was that he is a, his inReach was he couldn't access it after he, after his crash. And that changed how a lot of us, where we carry things either on her shoulder, on her flight deck, you know, it should never be in your pack. and so that's, but that's pretty neat if it isn't a place where you can't access it. And if you've got a watch on and now you can. So pretty cool to see how all these devices and the whole garment range speak the same language and they all tied to one another and yes, just some very cool technology. So shout out to those guys and that was really fun. There are certainly helping my own performance in my own lifestyle, improve and, and, just making us all safer. So a really cool to be a part of that crew. And just another, another shout out to you all to make sure you're flying with the inReach
00:04:28 But yeah, this, this show, I'm going to break it up into a few different pieces we're going to do. They asked me anything, so I put out a thing a couple weeks ago on the social medias and newsletter to just all of you to ask me questions. So I've picked out the ones that I think you'll get the most from and we'll get into that in a bit and also had some time here a few weeks back. I recorded a lot of people have been asking me about the foot launch record that I set back in 2013. It was right after I moved to Sun Valley. we made it, I made it through another season. Campbell leave it, all the people pushing so hard on that thing, but, it looks like that will stand for another year now.
00:05:07 So, but a lot of people hadn't really heard that story and it's kind of a fun one. There are certainly a lot of, when it was one of the reasons I was able to go so far, but I was in big mountains or away and at times it was pretty scary and some good takeaways. So, once I started, stopped talking with this preamble in the beginning, we'll replay that for you. The sounds going to be a little different because I recorded that back in my little podcast studio at home and now I'm on the road at the hotel, so it's probably a little more echoey now. But, we'll play that and then we'll get into the ask me anything.
00:05:41 But, just before we do, I'm getting lots of emails from people that just, you know, thanked me for the podcast because it makes them safer and it helps them from making bad decisions, want to share with you a really bad decision that I recently made. It was just like a kind of a wake up call. My, my real serious X-Alps training started here about a week and a half ago, so we've got a little over nine months until the race starts. And so ben and I decided to get going on it and a couple of the days were a hikes up Baldy, which is my local site in Sun Valley. It's about a thousand meters vertical. And then, and then just fly down, you know, super mellow early morning, you know, typically nothing goes wrong, just sledders. and so the second one of those that I did, I always fly with my inReach. No matter where I go. And I always have the tracking on. And this was after, you know, the chairlifts have closed down. There's nobody on the mountain, you know, there's some maintenance and stuff going on, but you know, it's super early in the morning and by myself I have this beautiful hike up and I'm pushing really hard. I get to the top and I unpack and realize I don't have my inReach and it was actually conscious. I mean it was sitting on my seat in the van at the bottom and I thought, no, I don't need that. I'm just going up to do a quick. I can fly and thought to myself like, okay, that's like the last day, you know, like the classic when you're on the ski hill, it's always the last run of the day where you get hurt, where you're like, nonchalant, maybe you've had a beer. And I've been skiing all day and then pat you blow a knee and but flying is not typically blown a knee. So one of the common themes I hope you guys are all hearing again and again and again is this one flight you make is the most important of your life. We have to approach this sport like wing suiters approach their jumps and you know, this one could be the one and that one could be the one it wasn't, you know, I flew and it was totally benign.
00:07:36 It was really fun. It was a beautiful day and nothing happened. but it could have, you know, I could have blown launch, I could have hit some weird air, you know, in the morning you get a bunch of katabatic air and stuff and there's nobody up there. There's nobody, you know, I didn't have a radio. I didn't have a way to communicate. I had my phone, but there's even up there. There's really poor cell reception. So, just a reminder, friendly reminder out there that every flight you take is the most important flight you'll ever take. So don't be stupid like I was and, you know, use those, have those devices and that's get another kind of pump up here for the inReach, getting a little bit tired of people saying, oh, well, you know, I got my Spot. You know, at least people know where you are. Yeah. But you can't communicate with it, you know, there's nothing, there's no two way, there's no back and forth. There's a million reasons why when that comes into play, you know, imagine, you know, not having a phone, not having a way to communicate what's wrong, what you need. Yeah, I mean spots better than nothing but not by much. So, do yourself a favor. You fly, get an inReach. So there you go. I won't promise I won't say anything more about that. next, we've got on our store in the Cloudbase mayhem, I just got a whole new shipment of, of new Patagonia stuff. Some really cool different shades of blue in both women's and men's. So a great way to support the show and I'll do my whole support thing at the end. That's not for right now. But as I just go to cloud based, ma'am, check that out.
00:09:07 We've got some new stuff, there's some new Patagonia stuff, beautiful people are really digging it. And that's a great way to support it as and, you know, add some schwag your collection. Finally, when I was over in Macedonia at the end of the last month, I forgot my book that I was reading and so I got on audible and, and got Steven Kotler the rise of Superman or something. I forget the title exactly, but a lot of people have been telling me to read this and, and I've been super interested in flow state and Chick sent me high behind. Chick sent me high. That started that whole revolution. all those years back in the show with Adél Honti kind of sparked my, a new vigor and in learning more about it, to be honest, like the first 80 percent of the book is mostly stories that I really knew.
00:09:57 So, you know, Dean Potter and a Laird Hamilton and you know, people that are really pushing the kind of adventure action and things. And but what got really interesting at the end was just, you know, the technicalities of flow and how you find it and what it means and also the dangers of it. And one of the things that, the question often get is like, why are my eyes paragliding so addicting, you know, why I do. My girlfriend was asking me is this the other day? And she was like, why do you all seem so crazy about this is, you know, as opposed to running or a golfer, something else. I mean, we all get addicted to our sports, but I was thinking about that and I thought God is this, does that have something to do with flow? And so I'm just putting this out there, you know, curious to you all and please get back to me on this.
00:10:49 But I think that one of the things that, so, so just unavoidable in this sport and the thing that we, we just reasonably pursue it so tenaciously and we can't get away from it. And, and the reason it's so addicting is because it's such an easy door to pass through and to get into flow and you find out all the reasons why that can be difficult and stuff in the book. But and then, but also the downsides and the dangers of it. You know, all those people, Shane McConkey is a big, is a big player in that book and, and you know, obviously we know where Shane went, we know our dean went, it also stocks really starkly and honestly about the dangers of flow. And I think that's something that we don't hear and talk about much in this sport. And it's certainly a big reason, you know, I think about this when it comes to like things like the excerpts and some of the risks that I personally take.
00:11:48 And I think a lot of that is just because it's so easy to get into flow when you, because there's nothing else you can focus. That's what we all love about it is when you were flying, you know, all the other messy stuff in life just vanishes. It's gone. so we're kind of automatically catapulted into this flow state. And so then we're not flying a, all that messy stuff is more messy because we know we can just escape it and go flying again. And so, yeah. And there's some very real dangers to that. So I don't have a solution, just wanted to put that out there that, I'm kind of enjoying exploring all this and would love to hear from you all what your, what your take is on that and, and what your own experiences are. So please let me know.
00:12:37 And, so now we're going to break here into the story about the big flight. I did a 240 miles from here in Sun Valley, back in 2013. So it looks like that records now gonna hold for another year. So that's been six years ago. I'm super surprised at that because there's the whole, Utah crew down in there flying Lab and Porcupine. That is certainly set up much better in most ways for going big because you're flying right down a freeway and you don't have a bunch of mountains so you can fly in quite a bit more wind, but they're seasoned. Seems to be kicking off quite a bit later so they're not getting nearly the sun. I'm sure we just have an identified other sites, a Revis got, you know, had a couple huge ones surrounded Pine this year. So cool to see people pushing it really hard.
00:13:25 So, I have no doubt that that record isn't going to hold up for much longer. and, you know, I'd love to, of course break it myself, but I hope you enjoy this story about that flight. And then when that's done it's about 20 minutes. And so if you know the story, just fast forward now about 20 minutes and when that's done we'll get into these questions that came in for this, asked me anything show which is convenient because I'm on the road and kind of hard to line up interviews so it will be, get something out of that as well. A lot of people have been asking, you know, just how, how it happened, what happened and why has it held. I think it inevitably like all records that will fall for sure. what was kind of cool about this one was that it happened in pretty big mountains, you know, it wasn't a flatland flight by any stretch across six big ranges on the way out of here.
00:14:16 It was from my home site in Sun Valley. And, so a little bit of lead up to that. The, it was an amazing week. It was a, the record went down July 15th, which is kind of when it's, when it tends to be super strong here and in Sun Valley and the rockies. And but it was an amazing week for me that the week before it went down, I had my personal best, was out flying with Nate Scales and flew into Kinda like west yellowstone. so that's over our mountain range, which is the pioneers. And then the next one, which is the big loss, which is kind of the main spine of the rockies, the rocky mountain trench, and then over the [inaudible] and then over the Beaver head, which is the border on the continental divide with Montana. And then we kind of got pushed a little further south.
00:14:57 and went 256k out into Wyoming, which was wicked special. That was amazing. So on a big high from that. And then six days later tapped into another really good day and that one we were kind of going more to the north, so crossed all those same ranges and at the end of the day ended up in the Tobaccos and I'd run out of oxygen at that point and it was really high day, so we were often, you know, 16, 18,000 feet. And that was my kind of first major brush with hypoxia. At one point I was a little bit out ahead in front of Nate and I called him on the radio and I had a full face helmet on and a visor. And I had learned that if I had my visor down when I was on the radio at, it didn't sound, you know, it didn't sound very good.
00:15:44 So anyway, I called Nate and he radioed back and he's like, dude, you sound like an idiot. What's wrong? And I was like, Oh, my visor must be down. So I reached up to put my visor down and it was up, so, you know, and it's totally black visors, I should have actually noticed that the visor was down and so anyway, I left it and I called him back and I tried to really slow down, you know. Hi Gavin. Hi Nate, this is Gavin, you know, what your 20. And he radioed back again and was like, dude, you're, you sound like four year old, what is wrong with you? And anyway, I looked down at my instruments and I was like 17,000, 500 feet, you know, super tall. And I had, I had run out of oxygen at that point. It was a pretty long flight and it's like eight, nine hours or something and this was kind of near the end and I realized that I had been flying for like 40 k with no idea that I was flying a paraglider.
00:16:35 I was just kinda like looking at trees and looking at birds and there was this big mine down below me and the tobaccos and I was kind of checking that out. I'm like, wow. I mean, I was, I wasn't sick or it wasn't necessarily giddy or anything. I'm gonna have felt fine, but I was obviously not free mind. So I dialled down a couple thousand feet and that cleared it up pretty quickly. Not, not totally. But then I called him again and he's like, oh no, now you now you sound like a human, you know, hey, here's where I am. And so anyway, we landed that day and that was 319 k. So that was a, again by a big jump, like 70k, a personal best again, a good friend of ours came and picked me up that day, Mike Foul and we drove home and I got home at like 3 or 4:00 in the morning.
00:17:22 I was still kind of on high from the flight and so I didn't sleep much. And then the next morning he was driving home cause he lives down in Haley, which is like 12 miles down the road. and as I was driving through town just go. I was expecting to just go to bed and was pretty tired. And I got a call from Matt Bichner, a local pilot here, really good friend of mine and total jedi. and he admits Riley, we're getting ready to launch. And then he's like, dude, I think today's better than yesterday. So I was like, Oh shit, I got to go flying again. So a borrowed a can of oxygen or a bottle oxygen from Mike and went across the street, got, got a sandwich and raced up the Gondola by the time I got to the top, Matt and, and Mitch had already launched about half an hour before and so I go hurrying as much as I could. I finally got off the hill a little after 11, which is late here. We have kind of a southeast start and that's one of the special things about Sun Valley you can start early. And so I launched and they got unlucky. They, our first move was kind of getting up high and then crossing our valley and getting onto this kind of Sun Peak Ridge and start heading towards Montana. And, and, and get over this big pass, this mountain called Otto's between the, at the end of the south end of the boulder range here locally, and they flew into a whole bunch of cloud. There was a bunch of high cloud that day and it was, it was definitely gonna be a day. That was, those overdevelopment was about risk and there was quite a bit of cirrus and some other stuff and it just wasn't really on yet. So they both got kind of unlucky and in bond. And so as I came over their head, they know half an hour later the clouds had cleared off and it was definitely super on, in fact. So on that, by the time I got up to the past, I was really fighting to stay below 18,000, try to stay legal with the flight and in the sky was already getting pretty big. and so I got a call on the radio for Matt and he's like, hey dude, I'll chase you. And I thought, okay, cool. I mean, you know, I might go 50 or 60 k or something that I think this overdevelopment is going to get me and maybe another half an hour, 45 minutes later I was having a struggle, really hard to stay below 18,000, like constantly spiralling down and, and there was a lot of wind, quite a bit more wind than I had ever flown in. And as I got across the big last range and I was kind of getting out into better looking skies, there was quite a bit of virga behind me at that point, kind of drop it out. But it was quite a bit to myself and it was just smooth and amazing. And I was hitting 110 at one point is 120 kilometers and hour and my glide speed. So you know, dealing with quite heavy winds, you know, 50, maybe even 60 k an hour up at top of lift, which is a lot. And what was special about that day is there was a ton of wind up high and it was layered a bit. There wasn't as much down here, the ground, but there was also way too much on the ground and I got to feel that firsthand as I dove into the Limeys.
00:20:16 So that's the second range we got to cross. No, actually the third I guess going across and then the next one after that is the divide and going into Montana. So, as I came into the Limeys I was really tall, even the big loss and it's about a 15 mile glide across the valley to get into the highs and then the is there quite a thick range. And as I got into them, you know, it was smoking up high, but as I got down lower kind of, I was down at like 11,500, 12,000. So I was basically just at peak height coming into the limb highs and I turned into the wind and I didn't have any forward penetration at all. And I thought, Oh man, I mean it was totally on the right side of things and it was sunny and I knew there'd be a climb, but I was losing the battle.
00:20:57 I was getting lower and you know, kind of getting back closer to the terrain and you know, our terrain is not really terrain, you want to be in super tight on it when it's, when it's ripping midsummer in July. So I'm, while I still had some height, I just went over the back and it kind of just got pretty handy. And the brakes pretty hold on the brakes knowing it was going. I was just flying directly into really strong road or strong leeside not recommended. And then it got wicked hairy. There were two points in this flight where I get really low and this was the first one. And so, and basically just trying to keep the glider open is I get pushed further and further back behind this mountain range of down into this canyon that was really treat and down in the canyon at one point the , there was another ridge that kind of went more north south again.
00:21:46 So the winds that day were very strong kind of west, southwest. And so more because I could kind of almost like ridge soar this thing. But I was down, but when I was behind these big mountains, so it was incredibly rough and I just kept trying to find a place that I could top land. I didn't want to get blown over another ridge. And so I was basically kind of down in these trees and there was a few little openings that I was trying to figure out how I could squeak into him and not get totally roasted by the trees in front and lose the wing and also just land in, deal with the winds. And at that point you could see the winds just ripping up this slope and a proper scared. It was pretty nerve wracking. And so I, a few times I got actually below tree height, so you know, well below 100 feet.
00:22:30 And when you look at the track log, I think there's a couple of times where I'm like 15 meters off the ground. and then this eagle came out of a tree and just went, just didn't even have to turn. Like he wasn't even thermally. It just went. So I went over to him thinking like, okay, well maybe my best move actually used to get high here again and get out of this. And as I went over to him, I got a big curve at on the left side of the glider. I mean, it wasn't, it was totally manageable, but it was just, it was not a cravate not really, it was just a big tuck, and it kind of locked in and so the glider was not wicked stable. And so I, I got into that and just, okay, I'll just turn towards the cravated side because the climb was like, 8 up easy on the averager.
00:23:11 So I got back into that, went immediately back to 16,000 feet where it got nice and smooth again. And the next kind of 150, almost 200 k was just cloud hopping. It was one of those days where you're just perfectly in sync. Amazing. Just every time I leave a cloud and start going down when and again going 90, 100k an hour, I'm a cloud would appear right before me. So it was, again, just kind of fighting a stable 18,000, so I'd be leaving these clients it kind of 16,000, 16,500 and keep going, beautiful. And then as I got over the beaverhead, had another kind of major incident and I was on the Niviuk peak 3 than a really nice, very mellow two liner, and I think being super tired from the day before was, was really helping me because it was quite spicy conditions, but I was just kinda like in this relaxed, you know, exhausted mode really.
00:24:04 So I wasn't really overreacting to things. I think that was, that was really helping that I was just being calm I guess. And anyway, got on again on the lee side of the backside of the beaver heads and had a big blowout that was no big deal at all. Got It back under control pretty quick. Kept going. Then got over Butte, Montana, which is big, super fun site. A very ugly and tons and tons of mining. And as I went in there, I was like at 18 grand then I went from like 18 grand at, right on the deck in no time, got really shaded out, and I just got on a bad line and got down on this ridge. And when I got to the Ridge, I looked at my, my instrument and I was 319 k, I was exactly the distance that had been the day before. You got to be kidding me, all this work. But it was only at that point, maybe 5:35, 40 5:00 PM. And like, there was a lot of day left. And I thought, God, I gotta get Outta here. All I gotta do to beat the record. And that record at that point was nick greases and he had gone 204 miles. So I think that's like 330 K. I mean I was, that was really close or maybe 335 k it was pretty close. So I had to do is Kinda get up off this ridge and wing it off down wind. And I probably have it. And so anyway, Ridge soar, ridge soar, ridge soar, and it was pretty rough, but it wasn't Lee side like the other time. It then it was, it wasn't as stressful and there was just no sun and it was just completely clouded out this virga and all this, you know, this a big line of clouds that I've been running from all day had finally caught up.
00:25:31 And then this little pocket of sun came out, just this little thing. And as soon as it did, pow! Just right back up to base and huge, strong, very fast climb. and I got back up to base again and start running off again downwind and looking at my instruments and you know, 340, 350, oh my God, I got this. I got the record. And but at the same time I'm looking back over my shoulder looking at this line of really nasty looking stuff. And I was like, man, I don't think I can push this too much longer. That's going to gobble me up. You know, I think I was, there was so much wind that day, I was able to stay out in front of it, but it was Kinda, it was at that point it was catching up. So I wasn't really confident that I could stay out in front of this thing.
00:26:10 And as I left the end of that range and then at that point you're really out into the flats and Montana and there were still cloud streets. Obviously it was still working out in front of me at that point was only 6:20 6:30. There were still two, maybe even three hours in the middle of the summer like that were I could keep flying. but there was this massive lake in front of me, Candy fairy lake, which is just south of Helena, Montana. And as I got out there it was really clear that I didn't have the height to get over the lake and you could see big white caps and stuff on the lake. And I was like, oh, maybe that's, maybe I should call it. And I was trying to fly slow is trying to find another climb, but they were just totally washed out.
00:26:48 There was no terrain there to have any kind of triggers. So, had a dial down out of the sky before I got too committed to going over the lake and land on the water and landed at this little kind of like forest service, a boat ramp, camp site thing, and there was all these people at the site. And so as I was coming in, I was kind of showing off and doing some wing overs stuff and obviously really happy knowing that I had gotten the record. So it was 387k from, from launch. So that was super exciting. But 240 miles way for them than I'd ever flown a course. and landed and, and you know, kind of expecting like you normally do that people would come over and be like, oh, well, you know, what's that all about? And nobody did. Nobody came over. they were all, you know, there's, I can see all these people, but they didn't come over. So anyway, I started packing up and about an hour later Matt came screaming and he'd been driving 100 miles an hour all day and we still, you know, an hour or two behind me. And so we were hugging and really excited and couldn't wait to get some beers and celebrate. And finally a couple of these people from that were at this camp came over and they were all mental health patients from Helena, which is the capital of Montana. It was just, you know, just north of there a little ways and they were having like a kind of a barbecue. And so one of them who had, you know, he was talking about how he'd been in jail a bunch of times and it, needless to say, very entertaining guy. He invited me to come over for a burger. So I went over and met all these folks and you know, it was kind of the wide gamut of like, you know, totally unresponsive. I'm just kind of nodding their heads to, you know, to like this guy who was, who was pretty fun but just obviously pretty whacked out and it. So he started cooking a burger and to keep the flames alive. He kept putting a bunch of the plastic wrappers that there was. He had all these burgers in, like underneath into the fire, just watching all this black smoke seep into my burger, the, gay. I'd be too rude not to eat this thing, but probably got a little bit of semi cancer from it. But anyway, so that's the, that's the story of the big flight. They were awfully kind to me.
00:28:52 He had a nice Burger and then matt showed up and we went and had some beers and found this little, like German. It was German death metal karaoke bar that night. It was like Monday nights and nothing was open except this one place, which was a really interesting evening, watching death metal karaoke in Butte, Montana. And then, I think it was like a 16 hour drive home. So it was a seven hour flight. Seven and a half hour flight out there by paraglider and 16 hours drive home, which I'll always be thankful for for Matt doing it was a big day that he didn't know he was committing to that when he said, yeah, but it'll chase you. So, yeah. And that happened in 2013. So now, you know, days are getting pretty short and so I think that, that it's pretty safe that that'll hold for another year at one point, some point here it's going to get broken for sure.
00:29:39 But very special, an awfully big terrain. And you know, it made me realize that I think there's, you know, much bigger flights to be done here, but a better day where you've got more hours and less wind, so it's not so scary. I don't really like flying in those conditions anymore. Back then it was a little bit more dumb and willing to put up with that kind of stuff. But it's, yeah, it's not something I would recommend for sure. But anyway, I hope you enjoyed that and people have been asking me for that story. So there you go.
00:30:09 So now for these questions, there's not a ton, not a ton came through, but some of them I'm not going to take little bit of time to answer, so I hope you find this valuable. Nick Hawks has been on the show a couple times a has a whole bunch of questions. I'll just take these one at a time.
00:30:25 How many different sites do you fly in a season? That depends a lot on the season. I of course, if it's an X-Alps year, you know, just the race itself is going to be dozens and dozens and dozens. But I try to move around a lot. I learned this right when I learn. I got my P2 down in through superfly with Chris Santa Croce and Jeff Farrell down in Utah back in 2006 I think it was. And we immediately went on the road, got the P2 and I was with some, some other people that were much better policy, been flying along lot longer than I had. and we went out to California, went to Marshall and then worked our way up the coast and I just thought that was super thrilling. I mean, these were all established sites and that was, that was really exciting because, you know, you're constantly, you know, some of them were ridge soaring sites and some mountains sites and I was really new.
00:31:12 So of course everything was really exciting. But, I think what I learned from that and we, we ended up in Seattle up at Tiger and Tiger is a site where a ton of people fly and, you know, They're famous up there for having not very good ground handling skills as opposed to like the folks out in Utah that fly in all that wind at the point all the time. and it's, it just seemed like the easy solution to becoming a better pilot was to fly a lot of different sites, you know, so you're getting a little bit of everything. and so that has, you know, that has transpired I think in the air. It can transpire into very fast learning. So yeah, I would encourage everybody to fly as many possible sites as you can. the other thing that's kind of interesting about like, comps is comps are almost never won by the local hero.
00:32:06 they're using one by people that have never flown there. And so that's the obvious. The obvious conclusion there is that, you know, when you fly your home site, you get kind of stuck into a, what everybody does. There's the house thermal and then you go here and then you go there and then you go, you know, so, but when you go with fresh eyes, you, you, you can just, you know, ignorance is bliss. You don't know it should be done. You just do what the time of the day and the Sun Angle and all the things we learned about paragliding dictate you do. and often you can crush out some pretty interesting stuff doing it that way. So I highly encourage flying new sites. And that leads into the next question. When you get to a new site, do you have a system for assessing it or do you just go on feel, both, so you know, and it again depends on what kind of time you have and that Kinda thing, you know, an X-Alps.
00:32:59 I'm totally reliant on my team and they're looking at the weather and I'll get up to a launch and it might be, you know, definitely not a recreational day and I've got to figure out if I've got the skills to make it work, you know, it might be really cross, it might be cycling really hard, might be about to overdevelop and you know, I've got to make that call. But in more of a recreational, a situation and you know, certainly your, your assessment should be similar everyday. And in terms of, you know, if you have access to good weather information, you know, you already know before you even step out of the car or onto the hike that if it's, you know, what kind of day should transpire but, you know, you've already got all the weather skills to, to know that there's some good warnings in the, in the podcast with Honda talking about, you know, you might be on a, on a, you know, a windward side flying site where you think it's windward and you're actually in the lee of something because you're, you know, you don't know, you don't have the local knowledge, you don't have the resources.
00:34:02 so, you know, whenever you possibly can, of course, you know, you want to use locals knowledge. But we also have kind of a, you know, I think all the pilots in the excerpts, you know, we all are really, really wary of a local information because, you know, they're talking about, you know, their, their knowledge is not, it doesn't necessarily a, it doesn't necessarily tie in very well with what we're experiencing in the Alps. You know, we gotta make it work on dicey days, so you know, they might be like, Nah, Nah, that's not going to work. You should keep walking or that kind of thing. And you just, you know, you kind of have to just, no, thank you very much for the information and keep going and kind of do your thing. So, but typically, you know, yours, your, your assessment should be on the meteo side of things.
00:34:51 And then of course when you get up there, you know, what do you see, what do you feel, and be really wary of how maybe if there are others, they're, how they're influencing you. So, you know, Bruce and I used to show up at Fiesch, which is a really famous site and you guys have heard me talk about this before and then website, but, I mean on the podcast, but we would show up it really, you know, popular sites in the Alps and it would just be he and I and you know, that's a warning that it was just you sitting up there and you're a really popular site for whatever reason, the piloting community has decided that this is a super dicey day. So that's, you know, that should be a warning, but even in the and there other times where a lot of people will be, you know, you'll hear the whole like ground suck mentality and you know, if you feel like it's a totally reasonable day and you've got the skills to handle it, then you know, that might be a good time to ignore some of that.
00:35:52 So it really depends on your hours spends on your skill level. It depends on where you are personally that day. And, you know, how your own awarenesses and eventually it's just that, there's also, I've just been reading, thinking fast and slow by Kahneman and he talks about that like gut feel. There's, there's now science that proves that that's not just a gut feel, you know, there's all kinds of things that are going into that. And so, you know, if your gut feel is bad, listen to it, if your gut feels good, listen to it. so that's kind of how I assess a, a new site. But I think there's nothing more thrilling in our sport than finding new places to fly and launching a place for the first time, even if it's a place that millions of people who've launched. But it's new for you. So highly encourage you to do it.
00:36:45 Next question, what's the longest amount of time per season you don't fly? Like, 60 days between flights in the winter. So 60 days would be highly unusual for me to go that long. I did before the last for the 2017 race because I blew my shoulder out mountain biking. So I went four months without flying, and that was hard actually to start flying again. But I'm usually, you know, I'll try to at least crown handle, you know, pretty regularly and you know, very often I go a month but not very often. More than that. and then, oh, and what's the longest time you had? You can go without flying and still come back and feel comfortable. I can feel uncomfortable after a week of not flying, you know, feel pretty rusty just after that much time.
00:37:33 But certainly in the spring is when I'm definitely trying to be the most heads up because then I recognized that I truly am rusty. Any flying I've done in the winter is either been, you know, in a comp for a week or something, but it's mostly just sledders and little hike and fly and not really getting too much thermal flying and so on. And then the spring can tend to be pretty boisterous and sharp. And so that's, that's a time where I'm really trying to be much more heads up and try not to scratch out too low. I try to always have tons of altitude, try to make much more conservative decisions, after, I'm rusty. But the other thing too is I just find that my head is not in the greatest place and I'm a little bit more scared. I'm a little more herky jerky.
00:38:21 And so I tried to just own that and be like, hey, you can't just, that's part of what's great about the sport that's part of dealing and you know, you've got to just breathe and relax, you know, if it's not your day, it's not your day.
00:38:37 What is the improvement in paragliders you most excited about in the next five years? yeah. I don't know. I'm not very technical and I don't know. I'm always just blown away with what they're constantly doing. The course I'm excited about, you know, it seems like the , you know, the safety is constantly going up and the performance is constantly going up. you know, the CCC thing seems to be working out. So at the competition end of things, I'm super excited to see more players in that space and the limits that they've imposed on speed and stuff seemed to be working.
00:39:18 It's encouraging these other companies to get back into a space that typically has required a lot of money and not a lot of return. So you know, UP is back in, Niviuk's back in, Triple seven is in, Flow is back in. So that's, that's really exciting to see. What I'm a little bit worried about is the rest. Ogden talked about this in his podcasts when designers for ozone and test pilots, for Ozone. you know, what I'm worried about is 15 years ago the top end of, you know, acceptable conditions was like 15k in the mountains just because the gliders were so much slower, you know. So, and so even though wings have gotten much safer, especially with sharknose technology in the last few years, they're just, they're just keep getting better. The accidents are still as bad. There's still as many accidents as there was.
00:40:16 And so, I mean, I don't have the exact statistics on that, but that's just what I'm hearing. And so, in what Russ pointed out was that, you know, the better wings are allowing us to just fly and more wind and wind is still dangerous. So, you know, is that just going to keep happening? Are they going to keep getting better, glide better glide ratios and that just allows people to fly and more wind, that that's kind of a negative, I guess if there is a native of, of wings getting better, better reserve system. So he lists out almost thing. And what are you excited about? Faster wing, safer wings, better reserve systems, better electronics, mapping, planning. two things there that I could grab. So better reserves systems, you know, the acro crew and the accuracy side of things with the cutaways and steerable reserves, brought to my attention this year that, you know, one of the negatives of throwing in regard to low a steerable reserve with a when you don't have a cutaway, is that those two wings will very likely work against one another.
00:41:20 So you've got the, regardless of that, you can steer, but if you haven't disabled your main wing, which if you throw low, is pretty hard to do. So if you throw low, you know that it's most likely you're just going to be coming down under the two. So your reserve and your main wing are mainly mainly hopefully as all screwed up. And so it's not affecting the other one very much, but if it is a, you're going to become an under a downplane situation pretty hard. And so, it's inevitable I think that we're going to be moving to what acro pilots are using commonly now, which is the whole cutaway system. I'm still a little bit heavy for the XC side of things, although technically not in the competition side because we don't care about weight at all then. So I'm surprised we're not seeing this more in the XC side of things.
00:42:09 Certainly at the comp end. And I hope we start seeing it and lightweight and I hope we start seeing it everywhere because it's definitely the way forward. better electronics. So as I said at the end of the show, I just got back from Garmin, I mean, imagine an inReach like the Explorer or this wouldn't be a mini, but imagine that being also voice capable and also radio capable. There was all kinds of situations we talked about there with some of the other athletes that were there, or ambassadors climbers and wing suit jumpers and that kind of thing where, or imagine it being also an avalanche beacon, you know, like all things in one. So I really excited about that. I mean, I think that that's where that's moving. I think a lot of people don't understand why the plans for enriching the texting plans and tracking, you know, they've got all those different levels.
00:43:02 Why that's so expensive. I know why that's so expensive because I've been in the boating world for a very long time. You know, what we pay on the boat to have to bring internet connectivity. You just wouldn't believe. It's like one of our biggest line items every year. We paid thousands of dollars every month. it's crazy. And that's because it's all either gone through immersat or iridium so, that's just what those companies charge because they got to put those big expensive satellites up in the sky. So, you know, I can't talk about the future, you know, the whole lower low orbit thing I guess didn't really work. But there's, you know, there's, there's going to be things happening in that space that will bring that cost down, no doubt, but that's not somewhere where there's markup with spot or Garmin or whoever it is.
00:43:49 So, you know, right now a voice is just, it would just be prohibitively expensive, but you know, there was a lot of excitement about maybe using your inReach to also send pictures and that kind of thing. And again, it's all just a matter of data. So a, until satellite data gets cheaper, you know that that's going to be tricky. But I'm excited about that because that would be, you know, that would just, that would make it even that much safer. You know, when you can. It's one thing to be able to, to two way text. That's terrific. It's amazing. It really helped us out when Ben got hurt and made down in, down in Nevada, but, you know, being able to talk to the, you know, being able to talk to the dispatch and all that kind of thing, just a whole other level of safety that would be, of course brilliant and wonderful to have.
00:44:39 moving on. Rodrigo Seedad. I'm a 60 hours pilot and already had my wake up landing due to overconfidence in maybe early intermediate syndrome. Now I fly really consciously of the conditions in my own tools to avoid hitting the ground too hard. But I don't want to stay in the house thermal all day. I want to push myself to start getting farther from the takeoff will still flying safely. The short version of the question is, what do you recommend to start flying away from the safety of the usual flying spot? Gosh, you know, I feel like this is a subject comes up a lot. I feel like we've tackled it a lot, but I still threw it in here just because I know this is a place where a lot of people are, you know, my first XC fly was down in the Dominican Republic, a flew like 6k and one of the most exciting things ever.
00:45:27 I just, you know, it just blows my mind. So, Nick Grease always calls it cutting the cord. so yeah, I mean if you're, if you're going to fly at some point you got to cut the cord. And so, you know, in the beginning to do that, you know, what we talk about on the show all the time is, you know, first building up a foundation and that foundation of ground handling, of whether of finding a mentor and having the right gear and, you know, and of course taking it slow. But you know, I guess probably that my best advice would be to, to cut the cord in, in, you know, relatively safer places where there are other pilots you can cut it with. you know, it's pretty nice. It's kind of like having your hand held in the beginning when you leave that house thermal and try to get to the next one.
00:46:21 You know, that's quite a bit easier to do in a place like Annecy or Marshall or a, you know, a million other places that are, you know, where there are other pilots to help you out and to help give you information and be psyched for what you're doing and help you in the sky and the, you know, the other thing is to get a guide, get an instructor, you know, there, this is, this is the time of year where people start heading down to Mexico and Colombia and they do these week long guided trips. They're not super expensive, you know, then you're flying with a, you know, ace pilots who are super passionate and into it, you know, Rob Sport and his whole crew with eagle paragliding Jockey Sanderson and Chris and those guys, they do, you know, this time of year they're over in beer or an India and you know, these huge mountains.
00:47:10 But it's a really, you know, pretty reasonable place to fly big mountains and you know, if you've got 100 hours then then that's totally doable and you could go fly with those guys and get your first $50 or 75 k or maybe even 100 k and that, that would blow your mind. But there's, you know, there's, there's a lot of those operators out there that are really very good and they go to amazing places and that covers kind of all the things that we've talked about so far, you know, and assessing new sites and flying new places and, you know, okay, it takes some time, then it costs some money, but that's kind of a maybe a, you know, Tim Ferris shortcut, cheat, that's a flying hack that you could take advantage, advantage of that. I would definitely recommend.
00:47:56 Okay. Next question from Stiliyan guava still, and I hope I didn't butcher your name there. Could you talk a bit about the dynamics when throwing a front mount reserve since it is connected to both main carabiners? I can imagine that will turn you around and if, and if it and it may may deploy behind you, I don't really understand that, but what about landing position? Would you be able to stand up or will you land on your butt and should you try to sort sort of dive under the why bridal so you can stay up right and rolled over one landing. So, and then he brings up some of you may have seen nickname and says a great video where he throws a front mount reserve. I'll put that link up in the show notes. so he wants, he recommended. I asked Nick, I didn't have time to do that this morning, but I've seen that video.
00:48:42 He lands in a tree so we can't really assess, you know, with the landings like on that. So, but because I've never thrown a front mount reserve, this morning I reached out to my friend Matt Hensey, a proper jedi and instructor and he's been doing a ton of SIV. He also hasn't, but he had some thoughts on it that, I wanted to share with you. So number one, if you just connect it to your carabiners yeah, you know, it's pretty hard to land in an upright position, you know, it's mostly going to direct you onto your butt. So even under your reserve or especially if you've got a downplaning situation that is not how you want to land, you know. there was a really good article in the latest USHPA by Chris Santa Croce. They've got this kind of asked accident assessment thing and he was talking about, you know, one of the accidents that they had was a pilot went in and instead of putting out his landing gear, his legs, he went ahead and let us harness, take the hit, which I've done several times.
00:49:45 And you know, if you've got a really good harness and you're not going to hit that hard, okay, that might be okay. But almost always, it's much better as he points out to put your landing gear down. It's better to break an ankle or break a leg than it is to break your back. And if you hit on your butt like we saw with Ben's accident, you know, it's just that there's so much force there and at some point, one of your vertebrae is going to blow out and much, much worse surgery, much higher consequences, you know, better to hurt a leg than it is to hurt your back. So, and if you have your landing gear out and you're really in an athletic position, you know, you can run it, you can run it out, you can do a PLF, you can get rid of a lot of energy there, you can dissipate a lot of energy there.
00:50:32 and especially with some practice or Mitch Riley talked about that, you know, being in a really athletic position when you land in, you know, being in that kind of like a torpedo position that we all learned when we launch. So, yeah, I think that's pretty important. But what Matt recommended is that, you know, if you get a longer bridal, a lot of front mounted reserves these days have like a long mesh thing that it comes in and you can route that, you know, like you kind of do more with a normal reserve and use a longer bridal and go ahead and route it to your shoulder mounts. I mean all harnesses have the shoulder mounts in them. That's where reserves are supposed to be attached to. So I'm much better to route it via the shoulder mounts. And so you don't have to, you know, you're not in that kind of difficult position.
00:51:19 It is tricky. Apparently. Like I said, I haven't done it myself, but apparently it is pretty tricky to get in that, you know, and a good landing position and coming down under your butt, especially if you're under a small reserve. I'll say this also about reserves. There's a huge push right now towards lightweight gear. I'm going to get into pod harnesses here in a sec, but, you know, the, I don't recommend saving weight a unless you're like, you know, unless it's like an X-Alps or X-Pyr kind of thing. With your reserve, you know, you can get a lightweight one but don't go small. You know, the lightweight one that's right at the weight that you're, you know, if you, if you're 100 kg all up and you get 100 kg reserve, you know, if it's around, you're going to be coming down at six meters a second.
00:52:04 It's six meters a second is fast. That's again, that's if you have your main wing disabled. So if, you know, if you don't have it disabled, you're going to be downplaning and coming down even faster. Six meters a second is pretty..., you know, that's definitely a speed where you can break an ankle break legs. So, or you know, if you come down on your butt, you might do some pretty good damage to your back. So, you know, get a bigger reserve than your weight range in there anyway. I won't get totally into reserves. There's many, many, many articles about reserves, but I don't feel like that's a place where saving a few ounces is a very smart decision.
00:52:44 so next, Daniel Schmidt for some background on him, he lives in Oversdorf southeast point in Germany. He has access to a lot of flying sites. Tried to spend as much time as you can under a glider. He's got about 70 hours so far. Tries to fly every week. He stepped up recently to a B class wing and he's done two SIVs and he's got more scheduled, so. Great. That's awesome. two SIVs 70 hours is terrific. So I applaud that. so, and he wants to know about opinion and recommendations for pod harnesses for new pilots. so this is a combo answer for me and Matt. I went ahead and Matt and asked Matt about this as well because he's doing a lot of instructing and he does a lot of instructing of new pilots. and so yeah, here we go. So skywalk recently did a test in wind tunnel and it showed that if you've got it trimmed, right, and in other words, if you're, you know, you're not too far down or too far back, you know, in other words you've got your pod aligned correctly through the air.
00:53:51 it can make about a point glide difference. So that's quite a bit, you know, six to one or seven to one, so that's considerable, but if you don't have it right, it's almost, you know, it's totally negligible. So first you got to get your point of your, your, your hang points, correct. And you've got to get that for backward, which can be pretty tricky. I'm often screw that up and don't really have. And you know, you can see it when you're flying alongside somebody, if they're tip back a little bit, are there tip forward a little bit, then it's basically just like flying in a seat harness. So that's number one. So it does, it does make a difference, but you gotta have it, right. other obvious benefits of a pod, a, there are a lot warmer. So that makes, that makes a difference.
00:54:34 I'm matt was not too concerned about, you know, one of the things you hear a lot is that you makes you a lot more prone to twisting. he didn't find that that's, you know, that's much of a concern. It does make you more prone to twisting, but, you know, with proper training and learning and that kind of thing, as soon as you have any kind of, you know, if you're in washy wind or something, you feel like you might been. The first thing we all do is put our feet down like, you know, the same position they'd be in a seat. So that kind of eliminates that and good piloting. you know, even intermediate piloting is pretty learn. It's pretty easy to learn how to, not twist up, you know, by using your hands and just good piloting skills. You know, he wasn't as concerned about that.
00:55:16 Excuse me, bumped my mike there. He wasn't as concerned about that is, is, you know, kind of what you hear, you know, like the whole cliché stuff that you hear on the hill all the time. Oh, well, they are much, much more dangerous. He didn't find that what he is concerned with. And this is something that Marco brought up in his podcast. If you haven't heard that one, definitely go back and check that out. And Marco, I never know how to say his last name. Hrgetic Hrga I think, that he was down in Mexico and we raced last winter together. his concern with, with pod harnesses with hammock harnesses, so not pod harnesses necessarily, but the lightweight stuff is not having a seat board. And I really come around to his way of thinking there. I've flown a lot of hammock harnesses, you know, the advance and impress.
00:56:01 And then all my X-Alps of course doesn't have a seat board. But, I think he's really correct there. I think there's, you know, you're, you're putting yourself at much more risk without a seat board just because you lose a lot of that sensitivity and control over your weight-shifting. you know, it's, it can be pretty comfortable, but I think a seat board just makes you much more to what's going on in your wing. So that's definitely a concern. the other one that, that Matt brought out that I hadn't thought of a ton and really, I mean I had, but this is a, this is something that I think a lot of people do miss, you know, with this whole kind of a huge jump in interest and hike and fly in light gear, you know, when we fill in 500 miles to nowhere, I think Nate said and then one of his lines and there's, you know, maybe there's like 50 people worldwide, you know, doing Bivi, it was 2014.
00:56:54 Okay, well, so that's 10 x. Now there must be, that's way low. I mean a lot of people are doing bivy now, which is really exciting. but when you just be careful, mindful whenever you want to call it, when you move to lightweight gear, you're compromising a lot of safety. so these, you know, like my Strike harness, you know, I have the X-Alps one, which is even less robust than the, than the retail one. There's not a lot of padding there. I mean, okay, it's quote unquote certified. But man, there's not much there. And so, you know, you're, you're really compromising on safety with that, just lack of, of a cushion, you know, if you go in kind of hard, especially if you're going on your butt. So, have that in mind. They're also not, you know, the lightweight stuff is not very robust, so you know, where we fly in the desert all the time with cactus prickly stuff and sage, you know, they're, they're just not going to get you through very much time unless you're really, really careful and really lucky.
00:58:01 the other thing that Matt brought up that I had never thought about is that the leg buckles on a lot of part pod harnesses, especially the lightweight ones are not quick release, you know, they don't, they don't have like buckles, they're the kind where you, it's like two rectangles and you slip one through one through the other, so they can be really hard to undo in emergency. So if you imagine going in the water when you've got one of those on, or God forbid a river or an ocean, I'm so really have that in mind. That's something I hadn't thought of too much is just that they are, you know, you, if you go in the water, it's really easy to get all tangled up in your lines. You got to get out of that stuff really fast and you know, ideally you're totally unclipped before he hit the water.
00:58:46 And so yeah, that's another thing to keep in mind that I thought was pretty interesting. yeah. So I guess to summarize on the pod harness, you know, depending on, you know, if you're, if you're racing comps and you're serious about it, then yeah, okay. The performance does matter. If you're a b pilot, even a pilot and you know, there you're just, you're doing smaller XC flights, you know, so, you know, under 100 k kind of stuff that fly, whatever makes you most comfortable, don't get sucked into the sexiness or whatever of a pod harness, you know, there, there are so many other things that you need to learn before you worry about, you know, a little better glide because of a pod harness,, you know, they are warmer. That's, that's really nice. But I mean, the advantages, I don't think, you know, they're more expensive and, the advantage, there's not that many advantages really to justify jumping up until you're, you know, until you really need that performance.
00:59:49 And that's really only at higher level comps. So. Alright, a couple of final questions.
00:59:55 The first one from Fabian, what about talking about the tips about heavy speed bar usage? And I counted maintain the pressure without killing your legs. Also having your hands in the B/C risers for long periods of time, especially when you're high and the hands are getting super cold. Yeah. So first things first, speed power usage, you know, a lot of, a lot of harnesses don't have the right, when they come with the speed bar, for some reason the line doesn't match very well with the pulley. so one thing you can do is change out the pulleys. This requires some sewing. If you can't do it then you need to bring it to a shop. But there are a lot of police that are kind of like one way pulleys, like the Harken sailing world.
01:00:41 so I've done that quite a few times. I've changed out pulleys so they're kinda like, Kinda like notch. And so if you get the right diameter line you should use it. This is pretty big p cord, you know, like a six mil or something or five mil and you can, you know, so as you press forward, it kind of locks it. Not, but not too much. He doesn't lock your speed bar, but it'll, it'll, it'll take some of the pressure off that you have to, you have to push on your speed bar. the other thing is, is to be really, really careful with how were your speed bar is set up. So if you got like three steps, speed bar, which most of you will, if your, if your comp flying, you know, have those three steps in the positions that are most, most commonly used so you're not between, you know, so you know, most of the time you can just kind of go third bar, you know, maybe two thirds bar and full bar.
01:01:34 But whatever that mix is for you so you can kind of lock your leg out and rely skeletally instead of on your muscles will really help. And now there is, you should be using your speed bar quite actively. So you know, you, you don't. There isn't often many times where I just can be able to park it like that. But that will, that will definitely help. The other thing is to get comfortable with switching your legs. So, and this is hard to do, I, you know, I often find like first step, third step will be right leg second step of my left leg, but I'm just more comfortable using my right leg. So I'll often just try to do all three with one. It's not very efficient. You start diving, your wing around, so, you know, go back and forth quite a bit.
01:02:19 Another one that really helps is, I think, you know, certainly for me, one of the things I do all the time is I press too hard on my footboard and so on really long flights, I'm exhausting my legs for no reason whatsoever. I don't need to press on it, you know, it's not doing anything. It just makes me feel more secure or something, but it's not. And so try to get in, try to remind yourself to, you know, as same with like your shoulders to relax, just constantly tell yourself, relax, relax, relax. and you know, you don't need to be pressing on your speed bar. I mean, speed, sorry, your footboard. and so that will kind of help save you so hands cold and using the B/Cs. Yeah, this is tricky, especially on the lighter weight gliders. They don't give you much to grab onto, you know, they've got pretty small loops. you know, it depends on the weighing of course, but you know, like the navy at climbers got barely enough space where you can get two fingers through. So if you've got mittens on, you know, I just have to bypass those altogether and just grab the b line, which isn't quite as nice, you know, the new, you know, the newer CCC gliders, the Enzo, the new evox, you know, they've got nice kind of acro handles, you know, plugged right into the Bs and that's really nice. So I think you could very easily modify whatever you're flying and, and put a little, you know, a little 90 degree toggle in there into the B line that you could then hold and grab hold of if it doesn't already have badger bars, which are the loops in there. So, you know, so don't be afraid of modifying gear, you know, if, if you've got the sewing skills or if you don't, you can take somebody where they can modify the gear and make it, you know, if you're flying really cold stuff.
01:04:08 I am not a big fan of the electric gloves. They just don't seem to work very well. you know, I'm hearing things about people carrying big battery packs on their chest and then running up their sleeves and you know, and in battery gloves can work if you're willing to fork out the 400 euros to get, but I think a much better solution that I saw recently with a friend of mine, local pilot is he just rares normal gloves and then take sleeves and you see this in the Pakistan videos and Tom, Darla doe and those guys, you know, they're taking like sleeve down a coats and in kind of, you know, selling the end where you've cut it off and you know, in tying that onto your breaks, I think that's a mistake. I don't think we, I think the better thing to do is like what my buddy charlie does, where he just makes it so he can roll it up onto his forearms and uses regular gloves when he's in flight.
01:05:03 And then when he starts to get cold you can just roll that sleeve back down over your pants. so you're still, you've still got the gloves underneath. I think you're still pretty dexteritous if that's the right word where you could grab those, you know, you can grab that B-line or C-line or the toggles. and then, you know, and kind of go back and forth. You can roll them back down if you're, you know, if you're getting too hot. But I have heard of accidents happening on launch because those big things hanging off your brakes, you know, get wrapped up or tired or you twist the wrong way or whatever. They get through your lines and cause a problem. So I think it's better to have those on your body to start off with and then just roll them down.
01:05:45 So this would be a great thing to just make a guess. I'm giving an idea way there, but I should just make them and sell them on the website. But yeah. Anyway, hope that is helpful.
01:05:56 Next we have and get my computer fired up here again, Justin, he asked a question about hike and fly. So He's a long time rock ice and Alpine climber. He keeps dreaming about climbing fly adventure, but with so few hours under his belt, he doesn't feel confident in identifying a good launch site and ensuring good weather conditions for, for, you know, big mission like that. So, you know, the obvious answer there is if you don't feel confident, don't do it. That's just, that's, that's the easy answer there. You know, if you coming from you're climbing background and your Alpine background, you know, they're, they're the same if you don't have the skills to you know, to do a solid ascent in a solid decent and then you would never do it in that environment.
01:06:43 So it's the same flying away. And if anything more dangerous. So, you know, just don't do it until you have the confidence had to get the confidence to start to do little mini versions of that wherever you are. you know, you can do little mini hike and fly and new start to push out in the newer sites that, you know, it's not your home hill and start to develop those skills using all the things we talked about, over and over again on the website. I mean, on the podcast, you know, a firm ground handling on up. he also asks what are the pros and cons of lightweight versus full size versus ultralight versus single surface, many or speed wings for this application. okay, so you guys have all heard me rant about speed wings, many wings. I'm the danger there is that they're super fast and you're flying really low to the ground and they're very, very, very easy wings to fly.
01:07:41 In other words, you know, you don't need a lot of skill to take a mini-wing up to the top of the hill and flying down. Accidents are just multiplying in that, in that world all over the world. In fact, we recently had a guest on Benny who said that he thinks that there's the accidents are even higher now. There may be one of the most dangerous things people do. It's worse there now than in base jumping, wingsuit flying. So that should be giving you all, like a little bit of pause. these things are killing people. So, you know, not saying that they're not awesome. They are super awesome, but they're really easy to fly and so people kind of start getting too loose on them without the background and without the skills. And so, you know, I have always been a proponent of learning to paraglide first.
01:08:40 So you get all that, whether knowledge, you get the wing knowledge, you get the gist. So much more knowledge. But mostly you get time. It's very hard to get time speed flying mini-wing flying because you go down so fast and so you just don't get that much time in the air and penalties are high because you're flying low to the ground and you're flying fast and you're flying without a reserve in most cases, you wouldn't have the time to deploy one. So, you know, that said they're great tools for what you're talking about because they're lighter. and so you can, you can go up, you can also fly him and maybe a little bit more wind, which can be advantageous, but they are more prone to collapse and they're more not more prone to collapse, they are more prone to, if you have a collapse, they're much harder to recover that in normal paraglider. So again, just, you know, give them respect. I'm flying in the right conditions and you should have no trouble. But yeah, I just wish people had more respect for it. I wish it wasn't quite so cowboy like it is right now. I think we'll get through that phase and you know, there'll be terrific. So, but lightweight an ultra light. You know, I touched on this earlier, you know, the ultra light stuff to the lightweight stuff, you just, you are compromising on cushion, you're compromising on safety. So, it's great. That makes sense. Awesome. But you just have to have that in mind. You know, you got to be more conservative, more careful because if you go in hard and we all go in hard at some point, you know, the chance for damage goes, goes up quite a bit. pretty excited about the whole single surface side of things.
01:10:20 And somebody just flew over 100k a on one of the Niviuk Skin. They're amazing little wings, you blow on them and they inflate, inflate. They're really easy to manage a, they're super easy to fly. They're incredibly light, you know. So for this application, that's a great choice because they don't fly fast, like speed wing or mini wing, you know, they're not dynamic. They're not nearly as fun I guess you would say. But, you know, for just, if you just wanted to go do a mission and then come down, there are pretty friendly glider. I still don't have my head wrapped around like thermal ink in them. They don't feel like big solid wing above your head. They feel they feel pretty flimsy, but apparently I haven't flown them enough to really opine on this very much, but they're, you know, they, they, they definitely are more of a paraglider and you know, instead of carrying four or 5kg worth a wing and everything that comes along with that heavy harness and everything else, you know, you can have a little webbing harness which weighs nothing and the little 1.2kg wing. So you need all three pound wing so, you know, pretty awesome alpine kit. So yeah, definitely something to be explored.
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