Ovcharov hails from Sofia, Bulgaria who’s background is in acro but he’s about as all-purpose as you can get in the realm of free flight. He’s passionate about wing suit base jumping; he just competed in the UAE Hike and Fly Championships in Dubai; he won the overall XContest this year chasing huge distance in Brazil and around the world; he competed in this year’s World Championships in Argentina and still holds the world record for Infiniti tumbling. We talk in detail about his amazing year, the art of chasing huge distance, the craziness and accidents that happened in Dubai, Chrigel’s continued amazingness, his incredibly forward-thinking 3RS acro harness, how we really can follow our dreams and a ton more.
Mitchell McAleer properly crashed a hang glider on literally his first flight in the early 70’s. But he shook it off and was in the right place at the right time and had the right mentors and right attitude and eventually became the winningest aerobatics pilot in history. Southern California was one of the true meccas of hang gliding in the 70’s and 80’s. It was the home of UP during their reign with the Comet, remains the home of Wills Wing and was where Mitch took on the sport in his teens and remains today after nearly 45 years of obsessed flying. Mitch has an encyclopedic memory and this podcast is a fascinating and at times totally unbelievable stroll down memory lane.
You don’t come for the views. You don’t come for the cultural experience. You’re going to suffer quite a bit. You’re going to wait around a lot. You better like meat. And be able to deal with extreme heat. And you better have a smooth tongue when confronted with big dudes with big guns. Like David Prentice says “chasing records in Texas will drive you crazy.” He’s right. Is it fun? That isn’t the right word. But it’s…compelling, in a weird sort of way. And for some reason that I can’t articulate…I’m excited to go back.
James “Kiwi” Oroc is a journalist, photographer, artist and pilot born in the small South Pacific nation of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Since 1998 he has been pursuing and reporting on the cutting edge of extreme sports in more than 40 countries around the globe and has written three books- the non-fiction cult classic Tryptamine Palace, The New Psychedelic Revolution and the just-published fictional Under the Influence, 20 Tales of Psychedelic Noir and has been flying paragliders since the mid 80’s, when gliders had 7 cells!
Charlie Baughman has been flying hang gliders since 1973. That’s 47 years…and he’s still going strong. In 2011 at the age of 64 Charlie broke the Oregon state record (which still holds) when he flew 218 miles into Idaho, and then did a very styly self retrieve. We have it on good authority that Charlie was the first person in North American to figure out how to thermal, and possibly the world. Charlie started sky diving in the 60’s at the age of 22, then began hang gliding on Lookout Mountain in Colorado when the very first hang gliders were built.
Hang gliding is arguably the first “extreme sport” in human history and it literally changed the world. Drawing inspiration from Leonardo Davinci, Otto Lillienthal built the first foot-launched hang gliders in the late 1800’s. His wings inspired Octave Chanute and his assistants to make thousands of flights at the turn of the last century on the shores of lake Michigan which led to the Wright Brothers’ remarkable inventions- and humans take to the skies. Orville and Wilbur Wright’s flights in the early 1900’s are still hard to wrap your head around. Imagine picking up a 150 pound glider built out of bamboo and mizzen cloth in 30 miles per hour of wind and actually soaring!
In this wide-ranging and laugh-out-loud episode Dustin Martin takes us through some close calls with tornados (plural!); how to assess a gust front; a brief history of hang gliders; the importance of mentors; how to find good lines; avoiding sink; working light lift; reducing drag; advice for new pilots; chasing world records; sponsorship; being a student and building a foundation; the origins of the Cloudbase Foundation, the dangers of moving to a higher performance wing too fast; what it takes to win; maintaining passion and a TON more. This was one of the most enjoyable discussions we’ve had on the Mayhem, please don’t miss this one!
Larry Tudor was known as the “Dark Prince” back in the day. We roll the clock way back to 1973 when Larry learned how to fly his first hanglider in the seated position (yep, pre-prone days) on a wing that got a worse glide ratio than today’s smallest speed wings. The stories in this episode are going to make your head spin. Remember when hangies flew the Owens every day in the summer? Guys tumbling out of the sky and not using reserves? Flying without instruments? Larry was the first person to fly over 200 miles (in 1983!) and was the first person to fly over 300 miles. His 308 mile record from Hobbs, New Mexico in 1994 wasn’t beaten for a decade. In the mid 80’s Larry was widely regarded as one of the best hang gliders in the world and this conversation covers a lot of awesome ground. Scary close calls, whorehouses, guns, cowboys, flying in tornados, trouble with the police, flying with air force bombers and early towing nightmares- this podcast is a glimpse into a crazy world of the pioneers who laid the ground in free flight.