Episode 176- Hell Hath No Fury

In 2009 your host was about half way through a second circumnavigation when he was suddenly confronted with a rather daunting task- sailing from Bali to Langkawi, Malaysia (1500 nautical miles) across the two busiest shipping lanes on Earth (the Java Sea and the Malacca Straits) solo. This is an area of the world that is not only like a freeway on the ocean with enormous ships and fishing vessels moving at high speed it’s also famous for the worst electrical storms on the planet.

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Episode 175- Behind the scenes of the 22′ X-Pyr

The 2022 X-Pyr was substantially longer than any of the previous races with a big tweak to the route, and the weather this year was downright brutal. You had to be an animal on the ground, but it was in the air, and often in really scary air that we saw the true aviators make their moves. Manu was Pierre’s weather and route-strategy ace and not only did their team hold in up at the front for the entire race, Pierre was the only bird in the sky late on day 6 (when the forecast called for winds in excess of 70 km/hr) when he took a commanding lead. But once again Chrigel pulled his magic and nipped both Pierre and Maxime, who looked like he had the win in the bag right at the last moment.

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Episode 174- Dreaming Big, Going Bigger in Pakistan with Aaron Durogati

Aaron Durogati is no stranger to thinking and doing big, but this time he pulled off what can only be described as outrageous. He and a few friends spent 40 days in the Himalaya in Pakistan to pursue mountaineering “combos”. They used their paragliders to take off from lower elevations, put their touring gear (ie skis) on in the air, stuff it in somewhere high, often above 5,000 meters and then ski and fly down. They spent many nights at altitude acclimatizing; they got stuck with heinous walks out on dangerous glaciers; Aaron had a frightening crash; he got so sick he thought he was going to die…and then he somehow managed to fly at 285 km FAI triangle across the biggest terrain in the world…

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Episode 173- Exploring the possibilities in Brazil with Leandro Estevam Montoya

Most pilots who think of flying in Brazil think of chasing records across the Sertão or racing in the land of the lost terrain in famous sites like Governador Valadares and Baixo Guandu. But Brazil is massive and the flying possibilities and potential is as big as the smiles that adorn the welcoming people. Leandro Estevam Montoya and a fast-growing group of pilots at all levels in Brazil have been exploring the countries’ vol-biv potential for the past few years and their discoveries are tantalizing. Come along for a fun ride and pack your bags for Brazil!

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Episode 172- Andy Baumelt and the mistakes we make

Andy Baumelt is a Swiss pilot who reached out to me because he loved the show and said that while he would probably never be one of the top ranked pilots or do something big and wild in the sport he loved to fly, was firmly in the throws of intermediate syndrome and had made some mistakes that many pilots make in their journey. Andy’s story is probably one that most pilots can relate to and we had a lot of fun just talking flying- and life.

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Episode 171- Daniel Tyrkas and unlocking the secrets

Daniel Tyrkas is no stranger performing at a high level. He took a passion for gymnastics onto the slopes and soon after competed for Germany in snowboarding in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics after nearly qualifying for Nagano in 98′ (while going to engineering school!). He sends huge airs in kiteboarding, but his true passion for the last couple decades has been paragliding. He’s commonly ranked in the top 15 in the world, regularly represents Germany on their national team, and very often can be found at the top of XContest on big days in the Alps (in fact he just broke the site record from near his home in Kossen just after we had our talk).

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Episode 170- Flying, Camping, and Cloudsurfing with Benjamin Kellett

I’m not sure if I introduce Benjamin with “film maker” or “pilot” as he does both in spades. Benjamin makes amazing films about his flying and bivvy adventures in New Zealand and takes the viewer directly into his cockpit, talking the audience through his decision making with some of the most infectious stoke on flying I’ve ever witnessed. Come along for the ride with Benjamin as he takes us into the clouds to surf the possibilities.

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Episode 169- Alex Schweig and not being a passenger to destiny

Alex has a very methodical approach to learning and training which we dove into in this talk. Alex likes to say “flying bags around the sky with grace and tact” is important, style is important, and style isn’t just the physical movements we make under canopy but the holistic approach we take (or should take) to every aspect of flying and life in general.

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Episode 168- Learning by Simulation- Flightcoach!

Bas van Duijn has been flying for 27 years, has been a paragliding instructor for 10 years and has a commercial aviation background. No stranger to simulator training he decided to bring the lessons from professional flightsim usage to our world. He also coaches recreational pilots who have developed a fear of flying. I reached out to Bas after watching one of his simulator videos because it seemed like an incredible way to learn our tricky sport with zero risk. We had a fascinating talk about where the future may be headed, increasing pilot retention, dealing with fear, eliminating the common mistakes, “shortcutting” learning, and a lot more.

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Episode 167- Steve Bramfitt and Disco Dancing with risk

Steve Bramfitt was a rookie in the 2021 Red Bull X-Alps (GBR1) this year and had a phenomenal race, and like everyone this year- experienced plenty of harrowing and wonderful moments. In this episode we talk about his physical and mental preparation, dealing with the unknowns going into such a huge endeavor, how he assembled his team, some of the crazier (and hysterical) moments in the race, his scary accident in the UAE Hike and Fly championships and his rather nasty accident on the last full day of the X-Alps.

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