Episode 80 – The History and Future of Hang Gliding

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!

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Red Bull X-Alps and National Geographic Adventurers of the Year!

This may line up as one of the most exciting weeks of my life. The world premiere of our film, 500 Miles to Nowhere gets screened at the Banff Mountain Film Festival; Will Gadd and myself have been nominated as the National Geographic Adventurers of the Year for our Rocky Mountain Traverse; and last week the announcement that I’ve been waiting for months to hear finally came out. I’ve been chosen to compete in this year’s Red Bull X-Alps, lauded as the hardest adventure race on Earth.

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The things we carried

Will Gadd and I just completed what we believe to be the longest connected track log that has ever been flown. About 650 kilometers across the Canadian Rockies to the US border. One rule: all forward progress was made in the air. Most of the line had never been flown. All up it took us 35 days to complete, with two long bouts of bad weather that shut us down completely for more than a week at a time. A great deal of media will be out shortly documenting the journey, that is not what this essay is all about. I’m still too frazzled, thrilled, shocked, and exhausted to put into words what the expedition meant. I haven’t even begun to look back and process the risks, the rewards, and ultimately what comes down to a lesson in humility.

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The World Record hits the News Outlets!

WOW! What a crazy couple of weeks since the big day. Flying has been less than stellar, with very few flyable days with a lot of wind lately, but it’s been fun to see the news spreading around the world and getting in an attempt to Jackson Hole (blog post coming soon) and some fun acro hucks off Baldy in the evenings.

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