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WOW you’ve definitely lived life to the FULLEST!! Thats super inspiring to push yourself with life, thanks for sharing.
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Great read and makes me want to try one out for sure!!! Olivier is making some wicked wing designs at the moment from the Acro wings to the comp wings, great stuff coming out of his brain!
Im curious as to wether you could expand on your comment of claiming that the wing feels safer to you than an EN-B or EN-C. Wondering out of curiosity as I have recently made a jump from a Mentor 2 (EN-B) to an Ozone M4 (EN-D) and have also felt much safer. But only after a lot of acro hours and the knowledge of how to react correctly with collapses, frontals, spins and keeping the tips apart ext.
To me it feels like an upper end wing is more responsive, and the safety relies on the pilot doing the right thing rather than a passive safety system of just…hands up.
In this way, I feel more in control as the wing does what I want, when I tell it to – even when its not so controlled momentarily – does it make sense that to the right pilot this is safer than an EN-B?
Very well written and a great read. You almost convinced me to buy one. 😉
I’d like to take you up on your safety conversation offer and ping you about your statement: “…the safest wing I’ve ever flown (yes, even more so than EN B’s and C’s.”
I think the EN standards need to be overhauled and I also think we need more public discourse on this subject in general. Gliders like Bruce’s UP and the Carrera that I tested recently are making into EN classes a level lower than intended. That’s worrying because it invites pilots to step up to a higher level wing based purely on the handful of tests performed to satisfy a catalog of criteria, even though it’s clear that paraglider development in recent years has outpaced the ability for any body to regulate it.
I’ve never flown an EN-D or comp wing, so I’d be interested to hear your views on safety between these classes. I’ve asked some EN-D pilots about how their glider reacts in extreme circumstances and many tell me that they can’t say because they’ve never had a collapse. I’m not sure if that means these wings are safer or that the theory of natural selection is working here.
So how can an EN-D wing, with its long AR and just two line levels be so safe? What about the front collapse problems of just a few years ago?
All the best to MEX!
Hey Gavin! Great read. I am glad you enjoyed my old home country. BTW I’m pretty sure it’s “Bellinzona”, not “Bellazona”. Although that would describe the place very well too… 😉
Keep ’em coming!
Oops! I will correct that. I get the names all screwed up. Thank you Jan! Look forward to flying with you, love your flights!
Right on man. Well said and done brutha!
Great piece Gavin- and timely reminder too as I put together my goals for the season.
Well said Gavin. Excellent reminders as I head into my Nationals next week! Different sport, but seems to require similar mindset.
How can we track your progress of this epic adventure ?
Need the Bronco?
Just kidding, have an amazing safe trip!!!
Hey Pete, working on tracking pages and social media now. But for now you can track us on Dave’s page: http://xcfind.paraglide.us/
Wow, what an adventure. I’m very much interested if the 4W solar panel is enough, because I’m planing a hike and fly adventure myself and was wondering how much power I would need for GoPro, GPS, Flight Instrument and Camera on a daily basis.
I’ll let you know! We have 9 watt too, but I’m hoping the 4 will do it. We’ve just added Delorme’s and sat phones so we can stay in touch with the film crew, so quite a bit more to charge…
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Oh please dear Gavin fly safe and know I love and need you in my life, Mom
Will do mom!!! Love you!
Hey Gavin, Nice work on the “pure”
2 questions: why not the Light version of the Peak 3?
How were you getting resupplied on food since only carrying 3 days food? (seems like some of the places were super remote)
Would have used the X-Alps version, but couldn’t get one in time. We’ve actually bumped it up to 4-5 days food. That’s been working well as we’ve landed low twice and been able to hook up with the ground crew and resupply, but having a helicopter filming us every day makes it pretty easy:)
Wow, what an adventure! 🙂
So how did it work out with your photovoltaic equipment? did it work with the small one to charge all your devices? did you try some in -flight recharging? where do you put de solar cells while flying?
We are also buying the DeLorme Communicators for our adventure. I think we’ll go with the Inreach explorer instead of the SE because it has inbuilt navigation features. Which one did you use? How was battery life for your InReach Gear?
Sorry for all the questions 😉
To be honest the solar didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. The 4 watt was too small, the 9 watt was better. Worked fine for charging phone and delorme directly, but I couldn’t get the external battery charged, even when it was on all day. What we found was you had to charge the external battery fully when you had a chance (ie car), then carry that with you and use the solar in addition to just give an assist. I always have my phone plugged into an external battery when flying as XCSoar/GPS soaks it up. I didn’t fly with the panel charging, but you could. Just never rigged something. Will and I used the Explorer, the ground/production crew used the SE. I’d go with the Explorer. Inreach lasts a long time- 3 days if you turn it off when not in use. But takes a long time to charge…
Hope this helps!
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Very well written my brother! So excited for OUR teams going there this summer.
Thanks uncle Tony! Got another one coming down the pipeline:) Thanks for you all do, if you didn’t do it I wouldn’t have to take all this so seriously! Thanks for keeping my head focused- shit man, you should be credited as one of my trainers!
Pleasure to read! 🙂
Hey dude. Looking strong. Will be watching from OZ. Seeing you have an Aussie supporter I can cheer you on for Australia. Just as well you have two huge shoulders to carry the weight of two countries 🙂
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Great podcast keep it up Gavin.
Thanks for putting this together! It was great to get things done around the house on a rainy day while it played in the background. I’d like to listen off my phone in the future. I searched for it using my podcast app but couldn’t find it. Do you anticipate making it accessible on smart phones via an app or through other podcast apps?
Thanks for listening! Yes, it has been submitted to iTunes and will be available shortly across the podcast spectrum. Just took me awhile to figure it all out, but should be ready soon. Thanks dude!
Search for “cloudbase mayhen” or http://www.cloudbasemayhen.com/paragliding/podcast in tour APP. Its already working 🙂
Great job getting this great material out there for us.
Thanks Gavin and BBC! See you soon!
Wow, I really like your dedication and wish you the best for the race! Like the Quotes too. Btw in my feedly rss reader you could only see an exerpt from the middle of your blogpost…
Thanks Moritz! Not sure how to change that rss stuff…I’m not all that tech savvy. But I’ll have a look. Thanks!
A great listen, thanks!
Great interview! Love hearing from the masters. Any luck on getting the podcast into itunes ?
Hey Tavis, no luck yet- I have submitted it a few times, and I never get anything back from ITunes. Not sure what to do…
Thank you forThe high-quality podcast interview with such good advice and stories. I am a new P2 in Santa Barbara and am enjoying all of the information and stoke in the beginning stages of my learning curve.having the advice and experience of you guys who have gone before has really given me confidence and carefulness to have a long flying career.
Thanks Chris! More coming soon…
Thanks. Loved it
Love this. Sort your paypal out – i got 2 bucks here burning a hole in my pocket….
Thank you! Paypal was working…did you get an error or something? I’d hate for that whole to get bigger!
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Hang in there Gavin. You’re doing awesome and everybody at home is excited to watch this epic event unfold with you leading the charge.
Thanks Grady! Mojo is back buddy, ready to crush:) See you guys soon, I miss the WRV!
My son and I are cheering you on and following you from Utah. Remember: when you’re going through a hell, keep going…..
Thanks Jonathan!!! Ready to rock!
Thanks guys so much! This is such a useful podcast/info. Keep’em coming. Thats exactly what a lot of us are missing in paragliding (Mentors like you) And good luck at the X-alps boys!
Keep up the smiles, telling the brain to shut the hell up, and the legs moving. Keep your heart and soul in it and it’ll come together. We’re all rooting you on from Colorado!
Thanks Jacob, appreciate it!
Your honesty makes for great reading. You don’t have to be superman, you just gotta be … Gavin. Fly!
Right on Greg, thanks dude!
Rooting for you man! Fly far and fast!
I am all with you on this. We love our Explorers as we arre travelling together and flying both, but no always landing at the same place or where there is cellphone reception. Also we had dead on arrival explorer and it was exchanged by delorme in a hurry (24 hours no questions asked). Perfect customer service.
What I would like to know how you download the topographic maps to see them on the screen of the explorer…i always tought the maps are only downloadable to the smartphone app??
Hi Moritz, you’re absolutely right, I meant the Earthmate phone, not the unit itself. I’ll correct this.
Great post Gavin, I’ve been looking for a hand-on comparison between these 2!
+1 for Delorme !!!!!!!!!!!
Like yourself, I’ve used both. I had never been in a real emergency and, as long as my friends could see the bread crumbs moving on the SPOT, I was fine. Couldn’t see the use of paying extra for tracking with a tracking point every minute with Delorme (you pay by point transmitted) or for texting.
But, one day, we found ourselves with a motorcycle mechanical problem in the middle of the Utah backcountry – not a bodily injury. The ability to communicate by text via Earthmate and really reassure our friends that we were fine, had plenty of food and water, give them a description of the problem and a list of parts required was amazing. Couldn’t have done this with the preset messages on a SPOT.
I now use a $25/mth plan on Delorme when I activate it that gives me 50 text messages ($0.50 for each extra) and a track point every 10 minutes.
Needing such a device only 2-3 months out of the year, after 2 years, total cost is lower on the Delorme since I can put my account dormant at $4/mth when not in use.
Is this $4 dormant option still available? I cannot seem to find this on the DL website. Thanks!
$4 dormant option? I don’t know what you mean?
Hey Gav. Thanks for you candid comparison between the Spot and Delorme. Ive got a spot but can see greater benifits to the Delorme. Can the Delorme register altitude as well as im needing a tracker style better than Spot for my hike and fly up the Aussie Great Dividing Range in October this year
Definitely, although I believe SPOT does altitude as well? But yet, Delorme puts lat/lon and altitude with every tracking point.
Get some, good luck Andrew!
No, Spot doesn’t do altitude.
Please keep this going!
Thanks Doug! I will!
Appreciate your time and effort put in to these podcasts. This knowledge is invaluable to our small community and although the effects are immeasurable, this is the kind of info that saves lives and increases our chances of sustaining in this flying lifestyle that we choose.
Jeff Shapiro’s ability to express himself on risk was excellent and thought provoking.
Keep the podcasts coming!
Thanks Craig, couldn’t agree more and I will definitely keep these going! Next up- Will Gadd:)
Hey Gavin. Any ideas how the accelerometer and altimeter of the Explorer would work from a flying/thermalling perspective? And also the waypoint setting, in terms of flying comp courses? Cheers Bernie.
Short answer is not very well. They aren’t built for flying or using as a Vario. The waypoint could work…but really you need a dedicated instrument for flying for sure, and the Delorme for an awesome way for people to track, and for retrieves/ Safety.
Thanks Gavin; really enjoying these and learning a lot as well! I suppose we should be getting you a few bucks for these, well worth it!
Thanks Jacob! Next one with Will Gadd:)
Love listening to these on my drive. It’s great to hear these stories, keep it up.
Thanks Adam! New one coming out today!
Thanks for this awesome chat. I found it incredibly interesting and learned a ton from both you and Jeff. You both have a way with words… I look forward to your next one…
PS: I took my first Paragliding flight in March this year here in Durban. It was a tandem flight, but I got to take over the controls for about half of the hour+ long flight (ridge souring), so I got a really good feel for this incredible sport in perfect conditions.
Thanks Brendon! Tandems are fun, but it gets really interesting when you have to be in charge of the decisions for sure!
Superb podcast, absolutely brilliant and love the enthusiasm. While the US PG community is apparently small, the big-wall climbing offshoots bring something unique that I don’t think we can match here in the UK or even much of Europe. Special mention also due for Cedar’s followup FB post on the tech-diving record attempt fatality. Very relevant, a timely counterpoint and evidence of a mature attitude to understanding risk perception for novice flyers (of which I am one).
great podcast! I fly in Greenland and we are just a few ones that fly/paraglide. and all the info in the podcas. is really useful for me.
Thanks Thorlak, hope you enjoy the others too!
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Great pod cast`s. really really good.
All the best from a paragliding pilot from greenland.
I love this podcast! I have an unfortunate habit of listening to it on the way to/from flying, which means I’m usually driving down the highway while I’m listening to someone describe being caught in a storm or getting out multiple riser twists… I haven’t crashed my car yet, though, and it passes the time quick! Thanks much and please keep up what you’re doing. 🙂
Also, in the interest of making sure your guests get good beer and not cheap beer for their time, I’ve donated a little extra and will continue to do so. Maybe you could have a suggested donation of 1 PBR, 1 craft brew, etc? haha.
Thank you for the craft beers Violeta!!! More coming soon:)
Great stuff Gavin. Keep it coming…
Best podcast yet! I can tell you guys also enjoyed it by how many caps hit the floor! Cheers!
Nate mentions we can’t fly roads and that Matt gets all the credit. Can you elaborate? I assume cars disturb the air before the thermals get a chance to build?
Also RockyTraverse is excellent! I really enjoy the flying only aspect. I live in that area and I will be adding emergency tree landing tools to my kit! I can see that line being redbull’s “X-rockies” line…
Can’t wait for the next one.
Awesome! Stoked you dig them! More coming soon:)
Oh- and what Nate meant was that to go big we had to leave the roads, fly the best lines, forget about easy retrieves or easy get-outs. You gotta go deep, fly where the lift is- ie over the mountains. Farmer gets all the credit cause he was the first one to start diving deep. But…I take some of the credit there too:)
Ahh it’s so simple, I may have over thought that. Thanks for the reply Gavin!
Hey Gavin, I to have some pretty “used” knee’s, which make me super curious about your experience….Do you feel like your knee’s are better now, the same, or more worn? When you started your training how much “managing the symptoms” were you doing? ie. did you find yourself “backing off” because of the pain, or pushing through? Thanks
We talked quite a bit about this in the podcast, but to recap- Ben got me to a place where I had absolutely zero knee pain. The first month of training they would get sore on the long walks (but these were WAY shorter than what they turned into- like 10-15 km, whereas we got up to regularly doing 40-60 km walks on concrete) but as soon as we started incorporating all the mobility training with Kelly Starrett’s “Supple Leopard” methods of using rollers, lacrosse ball, and bands I had zero pain. During the race I had zero pain. First time I’ve not had pain in my knees since my ski racing days in my late teens and all the surgeries. Pretty amazing. The only pain I had in the race was because of my feet, they totally fell apart. Got swamp foot BAD and blisters everywhere. Check out the podcast I did with Kelly Starrett for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwVc338BZDQ&feature=youtu.be
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Congrats on making the raft. Wondering if you have a fitness maintenance plan, or if you are just going to ramp as future needs dictate?
Hey Gregg, thank you! I’m on a maintenance plan this year, and then will ramp up to proper training again October 1st 2016 for the 2017 race as we did this last year as that seemed to work great.
thank you very much for another fantastic podcast. Please keep them coming. It’s really a great opportunity to be able to “meet” your guests and have an insight into their’s and your’s way of flying.
Greeting from Prague and all the best!
Thank you Maciej! More coming soon:)
I learned to fly parapente in Europe and can’t get enough airtime! Would love to join you for a sortie over SValley & elsewhere Gavin!
Keep up the podcast, good stuff!
Hi Gav, great listening to you and Mads putting the world to rights. Just to let you know, that we have 25 or so copies of Mads’ book Flying Rags for Glory. I believe they are the last copies out there, so if anyone wants one, just get in touch with me on FB or logon to http://www.paragliding.rocktheoutdoor.com shop. Thanks for the mayhem, and looking forward to the next episode as ever. Take care now. Emma.
Thanks Emma! That’s great to know:)
I love your podcast. Great content and guests.
I know it is highly uncool to complain about something that is hard work for you but free for me, but please buy a microphone. My ears literally hurt. And I don’t use literally loosely.
Forgot to give you this link: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-usb-microphone/
Hey PJ. I was using a microphone, but as it was on skype I agree, it was tough. Internet was pretty poor. I tried to clean it up as best I could, but apologies for the poor sound.
Thank you soo much for posting this!
What a difference it makes to have access to these conversations you have, It allows me to learn while at work.
Keep on doing the good work Gavin!
Yet another awesome episode! Well done Gav, well done Tom. Worth much more than my dollar donation.
Thanks for another great podcast Gavin. We were lucky enough to have Tom & Ferdy van Schelven come to talk to our club in Auckland shortly after they’d finished their epic traverse of NZ’s Southern Alps in preparation for the 2013 edition of the X-Alps.
They’re both such low-key, approachable guys and it was fantastic being able to have a beer with them and hear their stories first hand. Like Tom was saying in the podcast, even the top paraglider pilots tend to be happy to share their knowledge with weekend warriors, which is one thing I really love about the sport. Having those guys come to speak to us was the equivalent of F1 drivers having a chat to the local car club, albeit with a lot less money or fame involved!
One angle I’d love to hear in a future podcast would be if you got one of the legendary designers like Bruce Goldsmith or Gin Seok Sung on to talk about the whole process of designing and testing new paraglider designs and where they see advances in glider design heading. I reckon that’d make for a fascinating discussion.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks so much Graham! Good ideas on Bruce or Gin, working towards that for sure. Thanks!
Many thanks for the podcast. You really share a bit paragliding world to others. Feel that I learn a lot during those. The safety and cross county/comp tips are invaluable.
All the best!
I just wanted to say great job Gavin. I love your podcast and love your work. I am stoke to see more online content about our sport.
Thanks so much Gjorgji!
Thank again Gavin. Trying to score one for Christmas. Good beta
Totally enjoy your podcasts! So much knowledge and inspiration crammed into every interview with all the great pilots. And so nice to get a voice to these names that you usually just see in articles in XCMag or some forum 🙂
Please keep the coming
Thanks so much Fredrik!
Great episode, but Durogati’s postcast is cut at the end, little edit mistake I guess.
Hmmmm. Something went wrong there. I’ll fix it ASAP!
But you only missed him talking about his sponsors, so just a few seconds. Thanks for letting me know!
Nice overview of the finer points between the two. Saw Will when he came by Colorado College to talk about the Rockies trip – looked sweet!
I’ve used the SPOT and DeLorme for kayak multi-days, so exact, frequent positioning is less important than flying, but they’re great as rescue tools. Did a little cost analysis on my site ( http://www.johnnestler.com/blog/2015/11/choosing-a-satellite-device-delorme-inreach-se-vs-spot-gen3 ), really highlights the savings if people are doing just a couple big expeditions a year. Just
Nice overview of the finer points between the two. Saw Will when he came by Colorado College to talk about the Rockies trip – looked sweet!
I’ve used the SPOT and DeLorme for kayak multi-days, so exact, frequent positioning is less important than flying, but they’re great as rescue tools. Did a little cost analysis on my site ( http://www.johnnestler.com/blog/2015/11/choosing-a-satellite-device-delorme-inreach-se-vs-spot-gen3 ), really highlights the savings if people are doing just a couple big expeditions a year. Certainly something to think about given the higher upfront cost of the device.
Do you ever carry a PLB as well, or do you consider that redundant?
Thanks much for your comment John. I’ll check out that cost analysis- and share with Delorme if you don’t mind? I don’t carry a PLB as well, I find the Delorme more than sufficient and I’m always trying to go as light as possible. Thanks!
Forsure, feel free to share. Thanks for the info.
Any lady pilots on your radar?
Totally awesome podcast by the way, thanks for making it happen
Thanks so much Heather! More coming shortly!
And yes, female pilots are for sure on the radar. Hope to get Seiko soon as well as Cade and Becka:)
I’m a Canadian PG pilot living in Northern Sweden and I am super stoked for more Mayhem on Stitcher! Where can I donate to the cause? Wishing you amazing, aesthetic lines in the New Year!
Hey Hardy! Thanks so much, really appreciate it. You can donate on any of the podcast-specific pages, there is a link on each one. For example: https://www.cloudbasemayhem.com/podcast-episode-12-aaron-durogati-and-training-to-win/
Thanks so much!
Great Stuff. Really enjoyed each of your podcasts. Had a marathon listening session on the drive from LA to Vegas.
Awesome interview. Am missing the “what would you tell your 50 hour self” question in the last few interviews. Keep up the awesome work!
Thanks Charles! I’ll make sure to throw that one back in!
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We love the klymit sleeping mats for our travels. How about the solar panel? We are traveling with one but when walking or flying we found it’s hard to position it optimal so it charges the battery. And hanging around camp for hours when the sun is out doesn’t seem to be a option as you want to get somewhere…
Hey Moritz. I too find it very hard to use the panels while underway. You really need down time. I’ve seen people fly with them on the outside of their harness but I don’t like misc junk hanging off me. Unfortunately I also find I need at least a 14 watt panel, which isn’t small…or very light. I’m working closely with Noco/XGrid on developing this tech.
I’m currently testing this.. 16 watt folding panel that lies flat on your pod, velcro technology! 12.5 ounces or 350 grams made by suaoki, cheap and cheerful, but working fine in our UK winter sun. ill keep you posted on progress
hers a link
Thanks Barney! Keep me posted.
Hi Barney, so is the plan to power your instruments directly when flying, or charge up a spare battery when flying, leaving your instruments and phone if you’re using FlySkyHy / XCSoar say, running off another battery?
Hey Tim, sorry not sure why I called you Aaron in the last! I don’t find charging while flying works very well. I charge as much as possible morning and evening, and days that are unflyable and carry a pretty large external battery (I use the Noco 12000mAh battery). So when I’m flying I keep my phone plugged into the battery. When I’m down I charge my XCTracer (vario), InReach, and phone again if needed.
Its been great listening to your podcasts, amazing job! best fresh learning material I have found on the net! Your work is a goldmine, please keep it up!
I don’t see a 14W panel that’s available from NOCO. 9W yes, but 14W no. Is that a product in development?
Hey Amir. Sorry, meant 9. I’ll change that. The 5 watt panel was not strong enough.
I love my Klymit Ineria X-Lite. It’s great for camping, but I also use it in my car while driving, to keep my back from getting sweaty on leather seats.
I was considering the flynet product paired with flyskyhy on the iPhone for next season. How did you arrive at the xctracer, and what are you feeding it to on your iPhone? I understand you are running the iPhone off external power. Even so when you are high and it is cold, you don’t have a problem with the phone getting too cold and shutting down? Thanks for the read.
Tom Sliepen set me up with the XCTracer as he’s working with the guys in Europe. And- Josh Cohn as well as Joel Debbons had them at US Nationals so I figured it must be good. I haven’t paired it yet with my phone (I just switched to an Iphone so in mexico stayed with XCSoar on Android as I didn’t want to have to learn something new for the comp). But I have looked at FlySkyHy and it looks great. I run the phone always connected to a 12 mAh battery (I use a Noco like in the article) and when I’m bivvy flying I keep a 14 watt panel with me. Cold doesn’t seem to affect it, even when I’m up really high (except I’m sure chewing through more battery).
Hi Aaron, I use FlySkyHy on my iPhone 6 using a 13000mAh Anker battery. If I connect it to the 1A output the iPhone will shut down if it’s cold, but the 2A output works fine in all conditions that I’ve flown in.
PS. I’ve got the XCTracer too – love it!
Have you thought about the BioLite stove rather than the Jet Boil? http://www.amazon.com/BioLite-BL-CSA-Wood-Burning-Campstove/dp/B00BQHET9O
As much as I like the Jet Boil it isn’t always great at altitude and it’s a pain if you run out of fuel. With the BioLite you get your fuel on route and you can charge devices using the USB. Dual purpose equipment is always important when you have to carry it!
Hey Garrick, I’ll check this out! Thanks!
I’m very happy to find these podcasts. I’m having a great time. Thank you Gavin! I would like to hear someone from Brazil talking about how to fly in Quixadá or Tacima and more women as some of them have a completely different approach to the sport (Seiko, Nicole or Kamira would be good to hear).
Thanks Elisa! Do you think Seiko or Nicole speak English well enough for the Podcast? I haven’t spoken with them much. Kamira I don’t know- I’ll track her down!
Kamira speaks English pretty well. I have her contact if you want. She had 2 kids now and therefore stopped flying for more than 3 years. But she is back in the air this year.
I have interviewed Seiko here in Brazil once and her English seemed good enough for an interview. But she’s just been to Australia and got some big flights there… Don’t know about Nicole. You don’t have to put my reply up on the website.
When I discovered flying (only 1,5 year ago), I left everything to do it, and during my first year I also flew 300+h, did some 100, 140km flights in the mountains and put myself in a few situations I should have never been. And of course I also had no money, or even a car, just my backpack and a huge hunger for flying… And since I went for it, all the most beautiful, incredible, amazing things happened!
It’s so cool to hear a similar Ondrej’s story of following his instinct.
I love your podcasts Gavin, I listen to every episode at least twice. Keep going!
Thanks so much Kinga! Keep sending!
Outstanding Gavin and Cody! Wish I’d heard this about 13 years ago, ha ha…better late than never! Good luck Cody in Castelo in April.
another great podcast
When we compare ourselves to basejumpers safetywise, we sound like winos saying ‘at least we aren’t crackheads…’
Ha!! love it.
First, I really enjoy the podcast. I have never flown a paraglider, but have learned so much in terms of vocabulary and information about the sport through your interviews. And the fact that it consistently holds my attention without even having flown previously is a testament to the quality of the interviews and subjects presented. So thanks for doing it.
I have a question for the upcoming ‘in between’ podcast. I recently started pricing out wings, and was looking into options for entering the sport on a budget since wings seem to cost as much as my car. It seems that the instruction cost is fairly uniform in the US (correct me if i am wrong), so what is the best way to stretch dollars on equipment? Is buying a used wing a bad idea? What do you actually need on your flight deck? Thanks again,
Dude what a great compliment! I think my girlfriend is the only other person who listens who isn’t a pilot, it’s a real honor to hear we’re keeping you entertained. I just put a new one up an hour ago with Will Gadd, my partner on the Rockies Traverse. You’ll love it I think!
I will for sure add this question to the upcoming Inbetween Cast- thanks so much!
Thanks, for sharing another great conversation, Gavin. Every second of this one resonated deeply with me. Will Gadd is a total riot!
When I recently added flying to my mountain adventures, I knew it would be great but admit that I am now completely and rediculously obsessed. It’s great to hear from others with similar personalities and views on mountain sports who can share their adventures and experiences.
Really great stuff.
Thanks Jamie! Glad you liked it:)
Great conversation, guys. Thanks for sharing.
So much to learn, so little time…
Oh Sh*t! I’m glad that you were lucky and didn’t get hurt!
I also had some close calls over the years (altought always more of a wrong decision in the same moment, not related to preparation) and could luckily walk away from them.
Experiences liek these stay in your head and, at least for me, keep you from doing the same stupid things twice!
..Jesus. Thats all that comes in mind.. and i’m not really, the religious type. Thank you for sharing.. feel i just got given a “bonus” coin, straight into m’a knowledge jar.. without spending any from m’a luck jar! 🙂 With that in mind; one can comfortably replace my initial ‘Jesus’ reaction with “Sensational..!” Thanks again Gavin..
What if we took the approach that our luck jars are already completely empty? How would it change your approach to flying?
As in, there will be no luck waiting for you in the lee side, there will be no luck waiting to pull of a strong wind landing, no luck at all in sketchy landing sites. All you can rely on for certain is your experience. Every flying decision must be applying that experience.
Thanks for sharing, your writing is excellent, as always. I’m so very glad we didn’t lose you, you have so much inspiration to share!
Good advice Greg, thanks for sharing this. Spot on!
Thanks for sharing. This makes me aware that even the ones that I consider the most focused ones make mistakes.
I had a similar experience although this was my own stupidity. I was in my 3rd year. I was flying with an older but good DHV2. It was my 2nd glider and I had a couple of hours on it, maybe 150 flights since my career. It was a strong day, I was flying close to the top of the mountain, where the thermals are strongest and come from all sides. I was flying without a reserve, knowingly, because I was flying with a friends harness and he took out his reserve and I was simply too lazy to pack out my reserve out of the front container and put it inside the harness. But hey, I flew without reserve before, so what could go wrong?
I thermaled up, spiraled down to make a top landing. Suddenly I got a front collapse, only a mediocre one. I immediately braked, since I was told to do so. Then the glider was going down and made all this strange small movements. I didn’t know what it was, so I was pumping even more. After seconds (felt like an eternity) I looked to the side and realized that I was going down fast, pretty fast, backwards. I was maybe 70m away from the ground. My thoughts were, ok, this is it, you die. At least you will be in a wheelchair. I didn’t even think about PLF, since I read about this later.
Then I crashed hard on the thankfully soft alpine meadow ground. I was rolling back over the harness. I thought, ok, check if you can move your feet. Luckily I could. I stood up, embarrassed. Still grey before my eyes. My foot hurt. My left hand hurt. My body felt dull. The hit was so hard, that my arms were pulled back so strongly, ripping up my chest and possibly wrenching chest muscles and ligaments. (this pain in my chest lasted a year). I only missed the steel pillar of the gondola by a few meters.
I packed my stuff and took the gondola down. 2 hours later I still saw grey and I was still pumped with adrenaline. I drank a beer with a friend, and analyzed what happened. Seems like I was going down to earth in a stall configuration. I didn’t know what that meant, so I had to read about this on the internet in the evening.
The rest of the day I spent alone at the lake, thinking about life. I felt like I had put my life too easily at risk.
Despite suffering some minor injuries but more so a mental wound, I was in the air again four days later, in laminar soft evening air. I even spiraled. It felt OK. I thought, ok, I will recover from that experience. Again, a couple of days later, on my next flight during midday, I hit a thermal. Suddenly fear was crawling in my fingertips. I never felt this before. I just wanted to escape, just get away from that air. After landing, I realized, that nothing was ok. It took me more than three months and lots of talking to friends and other pilots to overcome just the basic fear. And it took me a lot of flights as well.
After a year I could enjoy flying again. In fact today, I enjoy it so much as (almost) nothing else. And I still need to learn a lot. But I also try to make good decisions. Always try to stick with a 5 points check before take off. Check my material, let repack my rescues regularly. Fly in strong conditions, but go down if I feel it’s not right. Be aware of fatigue and tell myself, I can go flying also the other day. And I will attend my first SIV this year, it’s late but better now than never 🙂
And of course Gavin, I am glad you survived this horrible situation! I am interested, if it left some scars on your mental face. Don’t get me wrong, I surely wish, that this is not the case, but this was a close call.
All the best! And thanks for the excellent writing!
Hey Roman, thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you were in a deep stall or tail slide for sure. Another good reason for lots and LOTS and LOTS of SIV training! Stay safe, have fun!!
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Thanks a million for this Gav.. absolutely wild..
[I’d like to see another food cache between ‘food cache 3 & 4’.. can’t something be placed on/after Denali?]
Very excited and simply can’t wait to follow.. if you need anything from the far east, for the far north; do give me shout out!..
I’d love to pitch in, anyway i can.
Thanks Dimitri! Unfortunately we can’t put anything in the park…and really we’re hoping to fly across it in one go instead of walking so we can stay legal. Will wait at cache 3 for a “perfect” day. In an ideal world:)
These podcasts are so great! I laugh my ass off.. and learn so much! I got to fly with Nate back in 2011? on Maui at a grueling hard “hike” and fly spot called the L in lahaina town. I didn’t know he was on Island until I got to launch and he was taking off… (on his icepeak i think) and everybody was like…DUDE THATS NATE SCALES!!! Holy shit No WAY!! I ended up getting a little flight down range with him, he was sky’d out way above me the whole way but it was still super kool! I flew that little XC flight with no shirt and no vario on a borrowed tiny freestyle glider cuz mine was out of service… it was a kool experience to have somebody like that in the sport stop by. Thanks again for making these conversations possible. I threw in a few bucks so maybe you can buy a few Torpedos! Much aloha, Garrett
Thanks so much Garrett! I’ve passed on your comments to Nate (was just out touring with him 4 days in the Sawtooths this weekend and will be sending it in the Big Lost off King on Sunday). That one was indeed hysterical!
The Sawtooths are amazing! I lived in Sun Valley for a couple very memorable years and have a lot of love for that place. Definitely going to make a trip there again someday for sure! Hope the flying is good for King! Hope you guys score!!!
What about the SPOT GEOS service that cover up to 100k USD of search and rescue wich you can pay only 2$ /month or 18 / year?
SAR cost can climb up fast.
Problem with SPOT service is they EXCLUDE flying: http://www.inreachdelorme.com/assets/pdf/GEOS_Search_and_Rescue.pdf. For example: Exclusions / The entitlement will not apply in the following circumstances:
• Circumstances which could have reasonably been anticipated at the date
the trip began e.g. forecast of adverse weather conditions
• Emergency caused by inadequate provision or training or competence needed to complete the planned trip
and also others**
Accidents arising from sky diving or sky surfing
Accidents arising from hang gliding or paragliding
They CHARGE you for SAR in the US ? Wow… so there will be people who are right on the edge, but delay asking for help because of cost?
In the UK our SAR, Coastguard, Lifeboat service and Mountain Rescue is all free, like our Healthcare and Dental.
I guess I’ll need to check into insurance a little more closely this year – Luckily it’s only the Apalachian Trail, but still… unforseen gotchas are always a worry when outside of the EU.
Most of those services are in fact free here as well, it’s just the activation of the SAR service on the InReach or Spot that costs a bit of money for an annual subscription. But if someone wanders off and gets in trouble, I don’t know of a Search and Rescue service that wouldn’t jump on it- that’s what those folks live for:) It’s important to get the CORRECT SAR service with your device. Standard SAR doesn’t cover Paragliding/Hanggliding, you have to get the “High Risk” benefit, sold directly through GEOS: https://www.geosworldwide.com. For a lot more info, see my article here: https://www.cloudbasemayhem.com/unscrambling-insurance-are-you-covered/
Gavin thank you so much for putting together this awesome podcast. One huge question that keeps getting glanced over is landing in strong valley winds. On many interviews you and other pro’s have talked about that scary experience and then just move on to the next topic. Let’s face it, even with the best planning any one of us might drop down into this situation and I would really like to hear what it was like for you and what you and the other pro’s have done to survive such a scary situation. I remember almost getting blown over an 900 ft hill with only 10 feet of clearance, I had speed bar fully down pushing up on my upper harness straps for every last bit. A tiny gap in the wind let me dive down and I have never pushed my luck like that again. Landing backwards has felt like a mitigated crash landing to me as it’s really hard to remain standing so getting dragged highly probable.
Hey Jesse. Thanks so much for listening, glad you like them! Strong valley winds are indeed scary. Think we’ve all been there. Almost too many techniques to go over but I’ll bring this up in a future show for sure. Thanks man!
Man all your Podcast and videos are invaluable to this sport, and especially intermediate pilots like myself. Thanks for bringing this content and as Will would say your awesome pathological optimism to us all! Hope to share the sky with you someday and good luck on your next adventure! Can’t wait to watch it!
such a great flight… epic. great storytelling and information. just gets me pumped to fly more and be grateful for living so close to my sb mountains to fly anytime its good. thanks gavin will and redbull for the videoing….
There is a way to drop supplies to you.
Back in the 1960s A pilot named Steve Saint developed a way to communicate to hostile Indians in the Amazon jungle from a small plane.
These same Indians had killed his father who was a missionary pilot and had landed to reach out to them.
Steve Saint was able to fly his small plane in a tight circle
of a 207 ft radius or 414 ft diameter.
He had made a small winch by using a drill with heavy fishing line attached to a small bucket with a streamer on it. I believe he also had a swivel on it.
He would let it trail outside the plane paying out line till it started lowering and the circle of the bucket getting smaller and smaller till it would drop straight down then stop on the ground while the plane circled over head. When a message or what ever was exchanged and back in the bucket it would then be drawn back up to the plane.
It works so well the military is looking into doing it for troops who are on remote patrol that is why I saw it in a news article a few weeks ago.
Maybe this will help you get supplies to you. Like freeze dried food packets and such or batteries.
I no longer fly a Paraglider as my age and abilities will not let me.
Be safe and fly well and long. May your success be fulfilled.
Thanks so much for your thoughts. That would be a clever solution! We are just going to go in via heli in advance and put in the caches as there’s a ton of snow and we need to dig them in. Dropping would be easier, but then they might trundle or disappear on us by the time we get there and need them. Cool solution though! Thank you!
Question can paraglide the carry 600 lbs 600 miles in one trip is there such a model?
Not 600, 60. For the current Alaska Expedition Dave and I both have about 40-44 pounds of gear without food and water. We can carry 5 days of food, and in Alaska don’t have to worry about water, but all up about 60 pounds. But every 5 days need to reload. In Alaska we’re putting in food caches in advance. I don’t know anyone who can carry 600!
Thanks Gavin for having BG on the podcast. I always enjoy all of the insights and experiences of your guests. And of course learn a lot. My first glider I purchased was a BG designed Airways Sport 4. I still fly it today and , for me, I consider it to be one of my safest, best handling gliders I’ve owned. I am so excited that BG has carried on in the business of designing and selling gliders… I fly “B” gliders as a weekend warrior and will most likely only fly B’s for this old guy!
Im really excited about this movie but its not accessible in last 2 weeks, says page doesnt exist…
Hey Rocky, that link is working for me? Are you still having trouble? http://www.redbull.tv/video/AP-1M9G5MKCD1W11/the-rocky-mountains-traverse
Yes it works, watched it a few times now. Such an inspiration, makes me want to go out there…
I LOVE the app
My question is: are all of the stories very short snippets, not the full story?
What a fabulous app
They are just shorter versions of full stories. Thanks for watching!
Question – how often did any of you find the spot3 failing to deliver a msg or track – mine (which have been replaced) fail on the regular – we are considering the switch to inreach
We didn’t use SPOT, we used InReach (Delorme). Spot doesn’t have two-way texting except through their maddeningly frustrating Spot Connect App, which is totally unreliable The InReach devices worked perfectly- literally sent thousands of messages over the 37 days of the expedition to the film crew, to get weather updates from the outside world, etc. We didn’t have a single problem. The only thing that can be annoying is keeping your bluetooth connected to the device from your smart phone. It stays connected if you have the app open and on, but if you shut your screen or stop using it you have to re-connect, but it only takes a second. Frankly, SPOT sucks- I used them for years, it’s cheaper but you get what you pay for:)
Have fun, good luck!
I have been using the GEN3 in a flying application for 2 years. While I never had problems with the SPOT GEN3 messages, the tracking repeatedly shows gaps of up to 15 min (even at 2.5 min tacking interval).
Messages are sent several times; position updates for tracking on the other hand only once. Or not at all, if at the scheduled time for some reason there was no GPS fix available. It also appears that sometimes the Globalstar satellites (the network SPOT is using) have problems seeing our SPOT device in mountainous terrain if we fly below the ridge line. This may further depend on the latitude you are operating on.
SPOT support (and I confirm they do not respond to email at all!) says that’s normal and to be expected for their system.
Having gaps of up to 15 min from a flight following point of view is totally unacceptable. If you cannot be sure that all position updates are reliably received, your search area quickly expands to a circle with 50 to 100km diameter centered around the last position report received before the crash.
Iridium (the network used by – amongst other – inreach and Spidertracks) promises to be better in this regard, but I have not yet tried this yet. However, for the above reasons I have decided to move away from SPOT and to switch to an Iridium based tracker.
Hey Tim, see my response above re Globalstar vs Iridium. I also ran a boat around the world twice and we were using Iridium- it is truly “world coverage” so I don’t see inReach dropping out anywhere, and in fact has never done so for me.
Gavin, thanks for your reply!
The global coverage is one dimension. The reliability with which a signal is received in an area with otherwise good coverage, is another dimension. While in our area we have, in principal, good Globalstar coverage, under certain conditions the signal doesn’t get through. These ‘certain conditions’ are not limited to, but correlate well with being in a valley (not even talking Grand Canyon here!), having a mountain shadowing the normal earth horizon, or flying below a ridge line.
It may have to do with the low relative azimuth of the satellites the SPOT device has to connect to. And that may again vary with the latitude you are operating in (Globalstar might be optimized for 50 degrees North or latitudes, i.e., for North America and Europe). The relative azimuth at those latitudes might be higher than closer to the equator, or closer to the poles (for example, Africa spans between 25 deg North and 25 deg South).
Problem is: Where do you need protection most? It is in the desert and at the poles. It is when flying low, in the mountains, or in valleys. It is where Globalstar doesn’t work, at least for me.
Great article mate. Just wondering if you carry a satellite phone as well or if you find the Delorme capable enough to keep you in touch with everyone?
I’m riding a motorbike (its not a plane but it’s more my style) from Alaska to Argentina later this year and I’m torn between the Delorme and an actual sat phone. I’ll probably be hiding a SPOT Trace on the bike somewhere so tracking might not be so critical, though the emergency sos could be. What do you think?
No, we passed on satellite phones on this one just due to weight and space, find the InReaches more than enough. They are AWESOME- seriously we could not have done it without them. Messaging was perfect, locating each of us was perfect, etc. SPOT sucks, a far inferior system/ device. The two-way texting and even the new weather updates were invaluable.
Sounds like an awesome trip- have fun!
Too bad this wasn’t unbiased comparison.
Of course it was biased, I’ve used both extensively and have formed opinions…thus the bias:)
All comparisons that I have read so far focus on features and pricing. There is far to little research done into the actual tracking performance (read: Will the satellite actually receive my position update?) and how this may differ between the two platforms.
This is a very pertinent question, as the two products use different satellite networks (SPOT uses Globalstar, inreach uses Iridium). I personally have only been using SPOT (for two years now), so I cannot vouch for Iridium. Globalstar however (based on my experience in a flying application) shows critical gaps in the reporting of position updates. In other words, there is no guarantee that all the tracking transmissions (that the SPOT device sends and which you pay for) are actually received by the satellites. And frequently, there it misses 3 to 4 position updates in a row!
For this reason we found that the SPOT GEN3 was insufficient our requirements (flight following; directing Search & Rescue).
Great point. I should have made that part of my post but I’m not an expert. I’ve heard from many people like yourself who have also experienced problems with Globalstar and to me this is yet another reason to go InReach. We used the InReach devices on the north slope of the Alaska Range for 40+ days without a single hitch or drop, where our Inmarsat phones rarely worked or could get a satellite. SPOT is just inferior if you ask me on every level.
Hi Gavin, I’ve been devouring your fantastic interviews, they have made my commute feel a lot shorter! I was trying to donate a few beers using the link above, but I get redirected to a generic PayPal site, without any payment instructions. Am I missing something? I’m not sure how to get the money to you from that site…
Oh, while I’m at it: is it ok with you if I make a single donation (for now, anyway…), instead of lots of small ones for each podcast?
Cheers, and keep ’em coming!
Thanks so much Nuno! Much appreciated and thanks for making me blush:) I’ve been hearing this complaint lately and not sure what’s going on. Seems to be a browser issue as it works for me. Single donations are fine and actually how most people do it. If you have access to Paypal, you can simply just send a payment to my email: mail -at- offshoreodysseys.com
But I’ll try to get that link fixed too.
Hi Nuno, ok, I found the problem. It was something with the code in episodes 19 and 20. It is fixed now and should work: https://www.cloudbasemayhem.com/podcast-episode-20-bruce-goldsmith-and-passion/
Hi Gavin, just to confirm that the problem is indeed solved, no problems making a donation just now. And always glad to make a grown man blush! 🙂
Thanks for the interesting comparison, agreed on SPOT user service, they’re surprisingly bad with support.
You also wrote:
“if you are outside of the US and need the text to go to a foreign number say in Switzerland you cannot put a + or a 00 then the number. You have to know what the carrier is that that person is using, then use that carriers email address.”
This is not correct. There is a country selection on the “add phone” dialog, so there is no problem in adding a phone number from pretty much any country. It’s quite old feature, it’s been like that since about 2012 when I started to use SPOT.
Maybe for U.S. users the SPOT web UI looks different? I live in Australia, use it here and in the countries I travel – and never had problems with foreign numbers…
Yes, this is a US spot user problem, and it still exists. Many, many people have complained to SPOT over the years about this (they make you pick the carrier, you can’t put in a + and the country code, or like you say- choose a country, which is pretty much impossible when you are overseas to figure out), and as you know- even it does work, going through making a contact and messages to certain people every time you go somewhere is a real pain in the ass. With Delorme you just bluetooth it to your phone and contact anyone you want! Presto. Simple and in an emergency- really really important. As you can tell, I hate SPOT- they have the most useless customer service I’ve ever used. Frustrating and at times, totally pathetic.
I’m also in Australia and own an Inreach SE. The device is awesome, but the service provider here in Australia, Pivotel, is very disappointing for the following reasons:
* On one trip we couldn’t send or receive any messages for a period of 2 days because their message gateway server needed a reboot (ie, they have no redundancy — which was a shock as the device and service was sold on the basis of SAFETY).
* When sending messages to different recipients, the “sent from” number changes from time to time and from recipient to recipient so you can’t actually just give someone your “satellite” number for them to message you (instead you need to send everyone a msg via the Inreach at the start of each trip to ensure that they can contact you).
* Their customer service portal has login problems and their bills occasionally don’t add up.
Shoot! I’ve never heard of these problems. Are you still receiving them? I know satellites do have trouble from time to time as we experience on our boat operation with the Inmarsat equipment. I’ll forward this info to Garmin.
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Thanks for the great write up. You two are beastly! You know everyone can’t wait to hear your Alaska podcast
Another highly useful read Gavin, thank you ..
As I understand you actually use your iPhone as your flight instrument coupled with the XCtracer.. however do you manage to keep the iPhone itself running in varying and sometimes cold temperatures, is it not prone to fail in the cold? And I am assuming that you keep the powerbank in the cockpit to power the iPhone?
Hey Stian, correct on all. I keep at 12,000 mAh external battery in my flight deck with a cable for iphone and android. I keep my phone plugged in from the start and if needed I can juice my Delorme (which I’ve never needed to do, those batteries last forever) or my XC Tracer (ditto).
Good work gents! What type of sleeping pills? Did you notice any long term effects from those, and do you think that a beefier & more comfortable sleeping pad would have been an acceptable trade in the “weight-for-sleep” category?
I just use those over the counter “Sominex” pills when I get desperate. I use the pad and also sleep on my concertina wing, which is enough…but I think next time I’ll go with a beefier pad for sure. It’s enough…but just. I’m just a shit sleeper. Meditation really helps, as does not eating chocolate and coffee late in the day, but I’m only human!
Very useful. Thanks Gavin. No gloves? What reserve did you take with you?
I didn’t comment on gloves as this seems so specific to everyone, but I used some heavier BD gloves and a lighter fleece pair as well. I used the Independence Skyman lightweight round reserve, same as the one I used for the X-Alps, but after my reserve tosses when I was acro training this winter, those 100KG light-weights come down awfully fast and for “normal” flying I’m using a Beamer 3 as well as a larger round these days.
Funny to see the “hot sauce” on the table in so many of those cabin photographs :-). Essential stuff! Gavin, you are totally bezerk, thanks for sharing your inspiring stories!!!
Thanks Frederic! Mmmmm….hot sauce!
Thanks for your review. I’ve had a SPOT2 for the past 3 years but like you say disappointed with the customer service. Their latest trick is to not send renewal emails and quietly bill the credit card, very naughty.
I have now ordered an Inreach Explorer for Quixida this Autumn/Fall.
Cool, glad you made the switch! You won’t be disappointed!
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Hello!!! With delorme if you run out of messages of your plan. Can you can you continue to send and pay each one separately?
Yes indeed. They cover all this on their website.
first of all thanks for all you are doing for the flying community, you trips and reports are immensely incouraging!
I am using a SPOT at the moment, but after my last trip to Bir/India where I discovered that half of the “OK”-messages have not been delivered, I will switch to the Inreach Explorer.
One point that persuaded me to getting a SPOT in the first place is the fact that it sends tracking points every 5 minutes, while the Delorme Inreach only sends every 10 minutes unless you are on the extreme plan at rather high costs.
How important is the tracking intervall for you? Are you fine with 10 minutes (which equals a distance of up to 8 km when flying at bar!), or do you pay the higher price for the shorter intervals?
I know in the end it is a personal decision, but I would love to hear your opinion on this!
Thanks much for your message and stoked you have made the decision to move to Delorme, you won’t regret it. A FAR superior device. I have the extreme plan, so use the 2 minute send interval because I might as well. But I don’t think that’s all that important. 10 minutes is really sufficient because it’s not so much that we need the tracking in the air as much as we do on the ground or if we crash. Both of which 10 minutes is plenty. The more important thing is to get the plan that allows you enough 2 way texting- this is really where the Delorme excels and makes life a lot easier!
Good luck, fly safe and have fun!
Thanks for this great direct comparison!
Two big questions left:
I saw a lot of complaints on the ruggedness/ reliability of the Delorme InReach Explorer posted on the REI Houston site. A bunch of people have had trouble especially this last year– Is it reliable and robust in field environment?? Maybe this was user error or something but one guy had to replace unit twice. Not life saving if it doesn’t work!
Second, if you are in a wooded area can you expect it to work OK, if not perfectly? Purpose of this would be for my daughter who is travels in Peru and Columbia a lot as a reliable emergency alert especially.
Last if you have any guidance on which apps allow access to geological maps etc. when viewed, I would love to know!
Thanks, hope to get this for her for Christmas!
Thanks for your comment. I have used my Delorme extensively backcountry skiing/sledding and used it on both the Rockies Traverse and Alaska Range Traverse, which are about as rugged as you can get and have never had any problems. BUT…they are water resistant, not water proof so that may have been what some folks have had trouble with, but that to me is a user error/ mismanagement with a tool that is very important. You wouldn’t leave a cordless drill out in the rain:)
But yes, in my experience it is extremely reliable and and robust. We were using them sometimes as much as 150 text sends per day on the north side of the Alaska Range, where Iridium doesn’t even work (SPOT network), and we never once had a delay in sending/receiving or live tracking updates.
The only time the units struggle is if they can’t see a satellite, so your questions about wooded areas- they are usually fine, but when you’re down in a narrow canyon that can cause delays for sure.
For maps, the Earthmate app which pairs with the Delorme is great, and their topo maps that you can download for particular areas get better and better all the time. If you need more robust mapping I find a combination of caching google Earth (MUST do this in advance) and GAIA (again- you have to download maps in advance, so you don’t suck down cell data when underway) works great. Gaia has amazing topo maps for most of the world and “snap-to” trail navigation. The Earthmate app is awesome where there are multiple people using the Delorme’s as you can see precisely where your partners are at as soon as they send you a message. To me the two-way messaging of the Delorme’s are more reliable and better than even a satellite phone.
Hope this helps!
Trying Delorme as well, hope Garmin keeps upgrading this device to include better gps features. Just a correction Iridium satellite system is what Delorme uses. Globalstar system is what Spot uses.
Thanks for that Peter, I’ll correct that. What kinds of GPS features do you wish it had?
Just found your blog, and stoked to have found this entry. Really cool to see how you guys put this all together, but here’s a seemingly dumb question:
Did you guys actually pack all this stuff up AND flew with all the gear as well? I’m a novice paraglider, and getting all my wing in my harness/pack is tough as it is! Thanks again.
I’m looking forward to seeing the movie!
Yes we did- we put in food caches in advance which didn’t work out so hot (we mostly starved) but we carried all our paragliding and living/camping gear the whole way. Dry (ie without water) both of our packs weighed about 60-65 pounds depending on food load. At the end after Dave left I took all his food and was up close to 80, but I was more than happy to carry the extra weight and eat well!
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Please let me remember two complete articles about Delorme vs. Spot:
http://www.free.aero/en/media/Hitec-E.pdf (September 2014)
http://en.free.aero/contentsHTML/instruments-e/?page=26 (Spring 2016)
Good reading. The second article also included a link to an Iridium value-added service (VAS) provider who offers alternative, and more flexible data plans for the inreach devices: http://www.protegear.de
I contacted them and they proved to be very responsive. They also offer emergency alerts in case of no position updates received, or in case of no movement. This used to be the unique value proposition of Emergency Locator Transmitters (406 MHz ELT’s) that get activated by the g-force of the impact (although with a fairly poor record of actually getting the signal through).
To my knowledge, out of the Iridium-based satellite trackers, only Spidertracks emulates a similar, automated watch mode, based on no position updates being received for > 10 min.
It is great to hear that – with ProteGear’s SmartSafety feature – inreach can be made to do the same and more, at lower cost. In terms of device and data costs, Spidertracks can easily be twice as expensive as using inreach.
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I love the show and I would like to support it. But for some years now I do donations exclusively through Bitcoin. Would be great if you post a BTC donation address.
Hey Richard, I don’t know anything about Bitcoin- how do I make this happen? Thanks!
props for replying to comments almost two years later. 😉
From the article:
“Flexibility. This doesn’t really need a discussion. With a Delorme you can two-way text to anyone. SPOT doesn’t. SPOT and Delorme provide bread-crumb tracking in much the same way so no huge winner their, but the Delorme Earthmate App you can see downloadable (free) topographic maps, and you can see your partners position right on the screen (and they can see yours). The Earthmate App has all of this in a much more user-friendly Apple-like interface (on both Android and Iphones). Winner: Delorme.”
am i correct in taking away from this paragraph that two people, two inreach SEs (with service plans), two smart phones with Earthmate app = ability to track each other while in the wild?
What??? Donald I’m sorry man, I just saw this, thought it was recent. Tech?.
But answer is yes- w InReach devices as long as u have the maps downloaded in advance (assuming you don’t have cell service/data or of course then you just check map share page) when you text a msg to another device u can see exactly where they are. Dave and I used this a ton in Alaska when we’d get separated.
Sorry again for the delay, yikes!
compared to many sites i visit, that was blazing. thank you for the answer and the excellent article.
Great interviewer and super stories , thank you Guy
Great interviewer and stories , thank you
What Pack did you carry? Live up here in AK and trying to find a nice pack for VOL Biv on Denali Highway.
I used the Advance 100 Litre comfortpack. I’ve used this one for all my bivvy trips, back to the Sierra trip in 2012 and a short bivvy I did with Sylvester in Bir in 2011. You can go lighter for sure, but Dave’s Ozone backpack that comes with the Ozium literally fell apart on the trip- so you’ve got to match the gear with the mission:)
If you are starting around Carlo Creek/Cantwell and heading east then the terrain is really friendly, very few alders, etc so you can probably get away with something lighter weight.
Sounds rad, have fun!
When you want to go flying and the weather is shit
When you need inspiration and getting your fix
Tune in on the podcast Cloudbase Mayhem.com
Let your mind drift away and enjoy the fun
Loving every minute of this show
When you´re relaxing or on the go
Here you find answers for all the questions you had
Experienced pilots will share it straight from their head
This program is a source of great knowledge and advise
To keep us paragliders safer in the skies
Thankyou Gavin for sharing the words
to all paragliders in the whole wide world
I still read this all the time! Thanks Eva!
When you want to go flying and the weather is shit
When you need inspiration and getting your fix
Tune in on the podcast Cloudbase Mayhem.com
Let your mind drift away and enjoy the fun
Loving every minute of this show
When you´re relaxing or on the go
Here you find answers for all the questions you had
Experienced pilots will share it straight from their head
This program is a source of great knowledge and advise
To keep us paragliders safer in the skies
Thankyou Gavin for sharing the words
to all paragliders in the whole wide world
So cool Eva! Hey if possible can you post this to however you get your podcasts? iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play…
I’m interested in working a Thermal Tracker PTT into my comms system. Can you comment on how well the mic integrates with an open face helmet? Does it tend to get in the way or snag on lines and overall how was the wind noise? Thanks in advance.
Sorry for the delay, I was competing in the X-Alps and just finished yesterday. I use the Thermal Tracker PTT w my open face, works great. I put some soft foam over the mic end and just tuck it into my buff so it stays near my mouth. Then I cut a small hole in the helmet ear covers and slide the earpiece into the hole. You can also put a small screw into your helmet to hold the wire, but I don’t find it needs it as the earpiece and transmitter button, which you just velcro to the side of the helmet keeps it all in place. Kevin sends a ton of extra stuff like velcro and spare parts with the PTT system.
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Great documentary!! I felt I was in the air with you. I just started using an external catheter (with foam wrap) in Refugio, TX for our hang gliding xc encampment two weeks ago. It worked good except it slipped off on a couple flights. What type are you using?
I just use surgical hose and I use the sticky condoms sold through these guys: http://www.totalhomecaresupplies.com/ProductDetail.aspx?Name=Coloplast_Freedom_Clear_LS_Male_External_Catheter&CategoryName=NR_5490
Choose a size smaller than you are because in flight you get cold and “small”:)
Just wanted to have a glimpse at your work, but ended up watching the whole “Rocky Mountain Traverse” with Isabelle. Thanks for risking your life for our entertainment 😛 That was awesome!
And thank you for the amazing website! Incredible detail, so so so helpful!
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great pod cast so so educational for a new bee like me thanks and all the best from london uk
Excellent source of info and insight! As a newbie to the sport and your podcast, I learned the answers to questions I havnt even thought to ask yet but I will definitely be adding the info from your guests to my training plan.
A shout out to my instructor Hadi Golian in SoCal
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Never done it, probably never will, although I am tempted. Used to fly sailplanes a lot, and love anything that thermals, so have been enjoying your podcasts and videos immensely. Great content and stories and adventure! Completely changed my perspective on paragliding. You people are brave to put yourself into turbulent thermals with those things 🙂
I did that non PG pilots love the show! So cool. Thanks for listening Paul!
Given all the trouble with the Spot support, can you connect it instead to another satellite network service provider?
There may be a way to jury-rig something like this, but I very much doubt it. All sat trackers work with a given company (ie Iridium or InMarsat). I don’t think SPOT’s trouble is with their provider, it’s the software and the company. Not being able to two-way message and having no ability to easily manage your messages and to who they go to just makes them incredibly frustrating. InReach is just far superior…but more expensive.
Do you ship hats to Bulgaria/ East Europe? Could you tell roughly how much would be the freight?
Yes indeed! We’d happily ship you a hat. Just go to the store page, add whatever you want and once you fill in your address it will give you shipping options:
Ben from the UK here.
Garmin are in the process of releasing the inReach mini. Do you know much about it ?
I don’t know much yet but looks pretty sweet! Hope to get my hands on one here shortly and will put up a blog post.
This is really a nice and informative, containing all information thanks Gavin for Sharing this.
I am Dian also technical support expert at
Garmin GPS Support and my contact number is +1866 830 4390
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Great to hear and nice flight!
I was wondering if you regulary sleep on your wing on vol biv trips. If yes, does it provide some insulation or is it just good enough to increase your comfort?
I do, but I also take a super light Klymit air pad, like the Junior V Junior (more comfy, but a little heavier) or the Klymit Inertia X-Frame (SUPER light, but very fragile) and then the wing makes for a little more comfort and insulation. Just keep it laid out in a super light concertina bag. That seems to work pretty well. For short bivvy’s I’d go without the pad all together, but for longer I like the comfort and need to get good sleep.
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Nice one! But hes flying a en-b wing after 5 month in conditions of sun valley! That’s a kind of the opposite what you are talking about in all the safety podcasts to not level up so fast and more! Does he has the intermediate syndrome already whiteout even being a beginner? 😉
Great to hear more stories
Well…a B wing is pretty safe, and I wouldn’t suggest flying an A glider here but yes, he was right smack into Intermediate syndrome from day 1:) He’s really getting better, luckily has had a few “incidents” that have kept him in check.
I couldn’t find the first Cedar Wright post on facebook, so I decided to post here. You think I’m wrong to call you a hypocrite, therefore I’ll outline the reasoning.
Here is the point: You’re trying to help Paragliding. Right? If that is the case, why is your message so contradictory? In fact, you do not practice what you preach. It does long term harm to your message.
Vik is correct. 5 Month Pilot flying Sun Valley at peak conditions? Intermediate Syndrome? Perhaps. But what about “Old Boys Club” Syndrome? If that was some regular Joe, P2 – would you tell him go for it? Does he get a pass because he’s in the club?
Frankly, it doesn’t matter, and I don’t care. The point is, on the one hand, you’re own actions demonstrate a cavalier attitude toward safety. On the other hand, the overall message from you (not your guests) is safety, caution, don’t move too fast… Except if you’re in the Gavin club.
Hi Tom, thanks for your comment. I’m just trying to do my best. Not only to help the sport and reduce accidents but also entertain and inspire. Of course I make mistakes, I’m very very very far from perfect. And I admit to being a hyprocrite in many things, who isn’t? Because I am just completing the book on the Mayhem and went back through every show, some several times I can see and understand your views. So much is lost in nuance. Much is lost because I’m not a very good interviewer (trying to always improve), sometimes I don’t call people out when I should. Cedar is a good example. He didn’t get to go flying with me that day in Sun Valley because he was in any “club”. Cedar was and remains very stoked, much to many people’s concern. His attitude at times in my opinion is dangerous- as mine has been, and many stoked pilots are. But it’s also awesome. We need stoke. To improve we sometimes gamble too hard. I flew with him that day because he was going to fly regardless, it wasn’t my place to say “no”, I wasn’t his instructor and flying is his call. I kept him on the ground when we got to launch for two hours so it would mellow out. The conditions were perfect for me, but I knew they were way too aggressive for him. This place can and will bite. After the flight we talked about it (much to my wife’s consternation) for 3 hours. He was over the moon excited, but he’d also gotten pretty scared and I tried to push a little more reserve, a little more caution, a little more slow down. None of that is in the show. If you go back and listen to his second show when he flies into the power lines I called him out on it. I didn’t celebrate his bad decision making. But we’ve all been there. I’m not making excuses for him, but he certainly didn’t get a pass.
I’m an X-Alps pilot. I fly in a lot of dicey conditions and a ton of it is on film. These things almost certainly come across as cavalier and at one point in my flying life to an extent they probably were. That’s the not the pilot I am anymore, and I train hard to compensate for the increased risk. I have dedicated an insane amount of time to this sport and have tried to model good behavior and practices, but when Will Gadd and I take on something like the Rockies Traverse hopefully people are intelligent enough to realize we are professionals and they don’t go out and try to attempt the same thing without proper training and hours. I have the podcast to try to share knowledge and help pilots improve safely, knowing full well that I can’t always “practice what I preach.” I don’t always get it right. You can’t make this sport 100% safe. You’re not wrong to call me a hypocrite, but you are wrong to call me one about what you posted on facebook. You don’t know my skiing history, you don’t know who I was with, you don’t know how we were recreating. Yes, things can happen, and that’s why I shut down any cross country for the past two months. But going out solo on a hike and fly where I land at my car in mellow air in the morning- the chances of something happening, WHILE fully engaging in social distancing practices I call being responsible, taking care of my health, and staying sane in a responsible way. That’s not being a hypocrite.
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Hi Gavin! Thank you for your work and effort to make us all safer and better pilots. I’ve tried to buy green t-shirt but it’s out of stock. I’ll wait till it’s back. All the best brother and good luck with preparation for RBXA!
I have green in Large and XL- are you medium? The blue is really, really nice, you might like the blue! It’s kind of a blue/gray. It will be awhile before I get more green in as we just got a big order of blue, but will have them at some point. Thanks so much for your support and stoke!
Hi Gavin, correct- I’m medium. I’ll take blue then and wait for green too. Cheers buddy!
Cool just place the order and I’ll ping it off to you straight away!
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TRACKERS BD Solution is the company in Bangladesh to track your vehicle in real time, its software is very suitable and comfortable.
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Hey Gavin, thanks heaps for your content! I’ll be rooting for you in this years X-Alps!
I’m sure you get a lot of requests for people to be on the show, but I’ll request two anyway.
Peter Holdy, Is a YouTuber, XC pilot, Instructor. And started by being self taught, he does not recommend it now, but still a fun story. His channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDQNgIO3Sk-P657siKu_LBw/about
Godfrey Wenness, owner of manilla and most experienced pilot in Australia. Help a World Record – Paragliding Open Distance 335kms from, Nov 1998 – 2002. Also held the Worlds Longest Tandem Open Distance – 223kms from Jan 2000 – 2003. And was the first Australian pilot to fly over 100 miles, 200kms, 300kms, 200 miles. Maybe the most interesting, he does flying and Testing Prototypes for Advance Paraglider’s, and material testing for Advance Paraglider’s.
Anyway, if you read this it means a lot. Catch-ya in the air.
Thanks so much Moses! I’ll plug these recommendations into my calendar and hope to make them happen! Thanks so much for your support and the suggestions!
Hey Gavin, which options is the hat wear by the little cute girls? I would like to order one in that option but it looks like not available.
Hey Marco! That one is in the range of pinks and reds. I don’t have that exact one, but ones that are very close. When you go into the store choose the “pinks and reds” drop down and you’ll see some options. Or- email me and and I’ll send some pics. gavin at cloudbasemayhem.com
Great content, keep up the good work.
But as a hang glider pilot, I would appreciate a bit more hang gliding stuff.
I know hang glider pilots only make up around 20% of free flyers.. but it’s still a significant number and if you include pilots that fly both paragliders and hang gliders, the numbers are even higher.
That being said, a lot of your content is relevant to both sports, so is well worth a small donation.
Yes I know, I’m really sorry we haven’t done more. I’ve got shows set up with Manfred, Christian and Wolfy soon, so expect more very shortly!
Gavin you and your crew are doing an amazing thing for this sport, really appreciate it. i ve been following since a began a short while ago, about 3 years and has made a significant difference to how I perceive things, not only with my flying , but also my mental state.
i thank you and all that bring there experiences to the show.
Im sure i vouch for everyone else out there too.
Awesome, thanks so much Lee! Stoked you are enjoying it!
Love what you are doing for the sport. My guest request would be Martin Scheel. He started flying 1987 and started building paragliders two years later. He was a comp and test pilot. From 1996 he was and still is Coach of the swiss national team. Another recommendation is Dani Loritz, he’s the SIV Instructor for the swiss national team.
Keep it up and good luck for the x alps.
Oh man I’d love to get them on. I was actually in a quick convo with Martin awhile back but he never got back to me. I’ll try again. Daniel I don’t know, please send me his contact details. And thanks so much for the support!
Dani Loritz was also the design engineer behind Team5 gliders.
Finally bought an InReach Explorer+ .Although Spot customer service is way better since 2015, and they have added altitude and messaging with the Spot X, the problem with Spot boils down to this: GlobalStar vs Iridium. No contest there. Also, when flying XC I need my tracking to show not just altitude, but also speed and direction. And the tracking map is vastly superior to Spot, and Garmin doesn’t delete your tracks after 7 days! I can add new contacts via Chrome browser on my phone, update my preset messages, and then sync via Bluetooth and Earthmate. And the messages go out within seconds, not minutes like Spot.
In Spots defense they do offer 5 minute tracking intervals at no extra charge. They also cheerfully refunded my unused portion of my current years bill.
The InReach cost $480 at Cabellas, and the recreation plan is $25 per month, billed monthly. Of course, I also bundled the GEOS High Risk SAR plus High Risk Medevac for another $375 per year, ouch! But if nothing else, I can communicate with wife and daughter from the middle of nowhere in the Southwest USA.
X-Alps soon! Gavin vs Mitch!
Well Mitch isn’t in the X-Alps so I’ve already won! 🙂 Good write-up, thanks Stephen!
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Please get your guests to describe “in air incidents” – good or bad. When I’m in my car commuting and your guest takes me to 14,000 feet I’m good.
Will do! An upcoming show with Wolfi has a GREAT one!
Tried to subscribe. Says “Service Unavailable”
Hey Josh, hmmm. Let me check this out. Stand by.
Same as Josh for me, but when I refreshed the page and tried to submit again it said my username had been taken. So maybe it went through?
Actually it’s showing that you are signed up at $3 a show so should be all good!
Hey Gavin, would you mind sharing the XCTracer settings that you ended up liking the most? I just got an XCT mini II, and I’m also used to Flytec varios.
Of course! Shoot me an email and I’ll send it over: gavin at cloudbasemayhem.com
Thanks! Just sent you an email.
I love the podcast. I cant access older posts. I have subscribed through paypal but i keep being redirected to a member only message when I try to access older posts.
Hey Kevin were you able to sort this out? I can’t see that I replied to you. I hope so!
Thanks so much for sharing such an amazing adventure and and all the detail above. Clearly this was pushing the limits and you needed more gear than many vol biv setups. I would love to carry a similar setup but worry about the weight. I read about others managing without some of the bigger items like sleeping bags (in warmer climates). Do you know much your gear weighed in total?
Hey Andrew I hope I replied to you? Just doing some website housecleaning and saw your message. Gear in Alaska was about 55 pounds without water, got close to 75 when I had full food (5-7 days) onboard and water. Heavy!!
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I’ve used both extensively and have formed opinions. Hope to get my hands on one here shortly and will put up a blog post.
Hey Gavin, regarding shirts sizes: I’m 5’10, athletic shape, 175 pounds. Would I be better off with the medium or large? I prefer a snug fit.
So the Patagonia shirts are “slim fit” so my guess is you would be a large. But…I’m 5’8 and 170 and I am a medium. So Medium would also work but maybe be a bit tight. Do you have a Patagonia store near you that you can try some on? We print the “Patagonia Text Logo” t-shirt and the “slim fit” style.
Let me know,
I requested that I get bad sun burns on arms and would like to have a full sleeves shirt. Awaiting…
I know, sorry. We just don’t have much demand and I have to put in big orders…Hoping we can do this soon.
Thanks for your patience!
have been trying to order an xl feather grey tshirt for months. When are you getting more in stock? cheers
Unfortunately I have a LOT of X-Large inventory in Shadow Blue, Sprouted Green, as well as Sunset Orange so I won’t be ordering gray again for some time. There are minimums every time I order and just don’t want to end up with stock I can’t sell. The Shadow Blue is very close to the Gray and a super nice color- would that work?
I produced the 1st paragling CD in the world 🙂 . 80 mins of interviews short , in france annecy st hilaire festival ……like to get it on a pod cast or spotyfy any ideas ?
Sounds cool! Send me an email or let’s jump on skype and you can fill me in.
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It was interesting to hear about the excercises and the physical preparation.
You mentioned that you were measuring certain ‘things’ or metrics and shared with Ben regularly.
Could you elaborate what metrics you were measuring, what tools or applications were you using?
Thanks in advance!
Hey Laszlo, we used an app called “Training Peaks” for him to put up all my workouts, and then I would record every work out with my Garmin Fenix Phone and Garmin’s “Connect App” that records all the data. Then you can sync Training Peak and Connect so after every work out I simply opened the Garmin app and it would do it all automatically. Then Ben could see that I’d done the work out, see all the metrics (ie step rate, weight of lifts, heart rate, O2, etc.) and adjust if necessary for future training. Hope this helps!
Thanks Gavin, it helps a lot.
Just my take on this talk:
“When in doubt, there is no doubt.” Sounds great on the surface, very zen-ish. But to focus in on this one statement, to restate it so often can become detrimental to development for new pilots. They have no knowledge to determine if their doubt is founded in reality or not. If they take this mantra to heart, they will never fly or run away from all situations that will allow them to grow. If I didn’t want anyone to develop, I would repeat this phrase as much as possible.
Perhaps “When there is doubt, stop and think it through.” would be better.
Good point. What I hear again and again on the show is that we have to learn to listen to that “little voice”, which is the one trying to keep us alive and safe, but we also hear a lot about irrational fear getting in the way of good decisions and “doubt” is certainly a gray area depending on level of knowledge and ability and experience. I think I like your option b, “when this is doubt, stop and think it through.” Sometimes my little voice is trying to keep me alive (ie the time it told me to get off the river, I didn’t, then pretty much died), and other times it’s just nonsense and needs to be put aside. Knowing which and when is the trick, and I still haven’t totally figured that out.
So what you’re saying is that after posting that pilots shouldn’t fly, you were flying… in mellow morning air… after a nice healthy climb… back to your car? Just joking… kinda.
I appreciate you taking the time to respond again Gavin.
Regarding the Cedar Wright or any of the interviews, nuances are certainly lost. You are doing your level best and nobody is perfect. I get that and you have my respect in that regard. I think everyone appreciates the work you are doing. You are stuck between promoting free-flight, spreading knowledge within and about the sport, promoting safety and all the while, being entertaining at the same time (you should start taking lessons from Nick Greece in that regard). We thank you for it. However, you decided to make part of your living promoting yourself and your place within this tiny community of paragliding. You should not be surprised when people call you out to answer for your actions vs what you say should be done.
Some of my favorites:
Don’t fly in high winds. (High winds are the key to distance in some places. What’s a novice pilot to think?)
Don’t take unnecessary risk. (By definition, free-flight IS an unnecessary risk)
Don’t go XC unless you’ve done SIV’s. (The majority of pilots are working stiffs. No XC flights for them?)
Don’t move up wing class too quickly. (compared to who or what?)
Don’t change your wing and harness at the same time. (I shudder to think of this one.)
The Cedar-Chelan story. (from the perspective of a parent of similarly aged children, I was unable to listen past that point. It should have been edited out- you knew that at the time. I’ve lived life, done plenty of things. Kids don’t need elders to help them make bad decisions. Its an abuse of one’s station in life and bad form)
For some of these, perhaps the nuance is missed, for some perhaps misconstrued by my own situation, and still others are just what they are- an opinion. I would say the episode with Alexander Robe was very impressive in that his approach is so contradictory to the standard safety mantra on the show.
The last two I listed killed any goodwill I had at the time. But I’ve given the wing/harness point a little thought since your response yesterday. I know what I know about that accident from you. Perhaps a lesser man would have swept it under the rug. You put it out there, admitted you could have prevented it if you had said something. I think I didn’t give you enough credit for that. The second, I get it. On the surface, it’s a funny story, exciting to be a little edgy. But actually, it’s a bad editing call.
I listened to the entire podcast last week, and yes, it was clear you and others had tried to make it clear to Cedar to ease up on the throttle for his safety. Hats off for that.
So, on the points regarding the podcast and messaging within, I’ll give it to you. You’re doing your best and nobody is perfect, both listener and presenter. I hope you can take my input and use it.
On the Covid thing however, I think you are dead wrong. Here is why: If for no other reason, if you want your podcast to be accessible to all, it is better to leave the politics at the door.
If you look at politics in the US, UK and AUS, one can assume that about half the pilots, and hence half the listeners, disagree with your politics. You’re not going to change their mind. They listen to get away from the everyday bitching and moaning. When you bring that crap in, you only lose. I get it. Global warming, pandemic, Gaia is dying, we need to halve the world’s population, etc. You put yourself at irreconcilable odds with half your listeners at no benefit to free flight when you go all out left wing nutter.
(regarding the (non) science and politics behind COVID, let’s ignore that for a bit. glad to get into it if you want. I’m a biochemist by training in a family of doctors, professors and engineers. History can be the final judge.)
Your Covid post did immense harm to our community. It pitted one group of pilots against another group of pilots, with one side using your podcast to shame others for perfectly safe flying in perfectly safe conditions.
Look at it from our prospective.
First: Our jobs, our houses, our family’s future is being ripped from us. Why do we have to lose flying as well? Nobody flies expecting a trip to the ER. Flying is perfectly safe, in the same way that skiing is perfectly safe. It’s how you do it that determines the level of risk. For me, flying is the safest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve got broken ribs, knees, cracked head, slipped disk, from skiing, skating, sliding, you name it. Flying is the same as driving. It’s as dangerous as you make it, and every once in a while, some texting jerk will hit someone.
Second: We can’t just fuck off when the weather is good like you and Chrigel. We’ve lost our jobs. This is the one time we can fly on a Monday when the weather is good. OH! But WAIT, Gavin and Crigel, two guys who basically fly when they want, where they want, how they want, said we shouldn’t fly… because… ? It’s a bad look? Based on what I saw in my club, the regular Joe pilots gave both of you a collective middle finger.
But wait, it gets better. As it turns out, Gavin wasn’t quite accurate in what he said. The nuance of the message was it’s OK to take an early morning sledder?… or a little light skiing?… or for those of us who are really good at flying safely.. and he had his fingers crossed, so it doesn’t really count…. C’MON man. You were posturing for virtue points. So sad.
You were being a hypocrite, you know it and if I didn’t care about paragliding, I wouldn’t care to call you out on it. You told people not to fly with the implied message of don’t engage in ANY activities that would be deemed dangerous by any pencil necks and eternal naysayers.
I really appreciated this Tom. This is constructive and I take all of it as solid feedback. Thank you. Much better than what I was feeling on FB! Maybe I’m just too sensitive:)
Some thoughts on your list of favorites:
High winds. High winds in the mountains continue to kill a lot of people. In the old days 15 km was the absolute top end. Above the wasn’t a day for paragliding. As Russ said, the reason accidents aren’t going down even though wings have gotten so much better is that now the top end is much higher. So- stronger lee, stronger roter, and thus still high accidents. Flying in wind in the mountains is scary and dangerous. My big flight here in 2013 was in a stupid amount of wind. I would never do that again. Ignorance is bliss! But I think the advice is correct. Alex Robe doesn’t fly in wind and he does 300KM+ triangles every season. If we picked our days better we’d have a lot less accidents. Everyone needs to be wary of wind, but Novice pilots need to be VERY wary of wind. I don’t think this is bad advice. Flying in wind just increases the risk. But…flatland flying in wind can be pretty reasonable. Landing can be sketchy, but you’re not dealing with lee and much turbulence.
I stand by my advice on SIV. Nate Scales has never had an accident, is a total Jedi and has been flying for 25+ years and he’s never done an SIV. So…it isn’t mandatory, but if you go XC you’re going to have incidents, and SIV makes the incident a lot more survivable. I’m certainly glad I’ve done so much, but yes- it’s expensive and time consuming, but pilots who don’t do it should take what Russ says to heart- we aren’t playing tennis and it could save your life. If you don’t fine, but that pilot is making a conscious choice to fly with less margin.
Wing class has been covered so many times I don’t think I have to get into that one. If you are comparing yourself to others or to “what” then the point has been missed:)
Cedar-Chelan story? I don’t remember a story in Chelan. Are you talking about the high tension lines story? That was at Marshall. I think it’s actually really instructive- he made a terrible move and got SUPER lucky. Don’t be that guy! But maybe you are talking about something else…
I REALLY appreciate your input on the Covid show. I’ve heard the same from others. Point taken 100% on the politics, that should have been removed. It’s not a politics show and I shouldn’t add any to it. A little backstory to bring some things to color: My sister (who you called a “neo lib” or something, but suffice it you don’t agree with her) is an exceptional journalist also doing her best. I’m thankful we have journalists, it’s the bedrock of a free society. When I interviewed her she’d interviewed hundreds of doctors and scientists and had been reporting on Covid from early January. It was early March, things were getting pretty scary and there was a debate going on on some of the flying forums that was turning pretty ugly. At the same time I saw Chrigel’s post. Pretty much everyone in Europe had stopped flying, for some it was banned, but most just chose not to. Here it wasn’t so clear. My intent was to broadcast two people’s opinions who aren’t pilots who knew a lot about what was going on as it was early here and I certainly didn’t know what was going on, and it didn’t seem like our community did either. I may be wrong, but I don’t think I said in the show “we should not be flying”, I think I just asked their opinions- what did they think we should do? For me it was never so much about adding stress to the hospital environment, it was two things: 1) most accidents in free flight happen because of distraction, and Covid seemed like a pretty solid distraction, and 2) Social distancing is pretty much the only weapon we have, and it’s hard to social distance in this sport unless you’re doing hike and fly and landing at your car. So going up in the group van, getting retrieved, using Uber- those all seemed pretty insensitive to me. It just seemed selfish to fly. But point taken. I got a lot more praise for that show (on the order of thousands to a few) than I did heat, but again- point taken and super appreciated. Although “perfectly safe flying in perfectly safe conditions” I’m not sure exists (people die every year at Torrey), but as I said before- during the lockdown I didn’t fly, but I also think we can fly with very very little risk and I have done that and shared that. I still haven’t figure out how to go XC though without a dedicated retrieve driver…so I’m still keeping things awfully mellow, which is fine with me.
I don’t think we should pretend flying is safe. It’s not. Comparisons to driving…like Will Gadd said, are bullshit. Our statistics are rather bleak, let’s own that and be realistic about it. It’s why most of us love it and do it knowing the odds even knowing many will not beat the odds.
Point taken on losing flying as well. Again, I was just trying to express the views from an ER doc who is handling Covid in our community who I really respect. Just seemed like the humane thing to do for the time being. He now says flying is no problem, at least here. The hospital is fine. My view was on helping the community and trying to be sensitive to our health care workers. Again, during the lockdown I didn’t fly. I ground handled a lot, I studied weather, I planned- I guess it just didn’t seem like that big of a sacrifice? And just for clarity- I don’t get to fly when I want, how I want. My business is up in smoke. I have a family. To fly I have to balance, plan, and make it work, just like everyone else. Chrigel does as well by the way. I really appreciated his example. But I’m insanely lucky and grateful that I can and I’m not whinging- I know many, many people are going to be much worse affected by this than I am and I was never trying to make it any worse or certainly to shame anyone. I wasn’t “posturing for virtue points”, that’s not what I was doing at all, and again the timing obviously wasn’t clear. When the stay at home order was in place, I was staying at home. So again I stand by my comment before- yes, I’m certainly a hypocrite often and on many things, but on this I was not. I shared two people’s views who I deeply admire because I thought it was important for our community to hear.
Thanks Tom, I do very much appreciate your feedback.
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You are such a great treasure to our sport. Keep being so awesome.
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Awesome Work !
Been in the sport , designing and flying , since the late 70’s ,
Nothing like this has ever existed! Can feel the positive energy radiating from your web site!!
Great Stuff for the foot launched flight community !
Would enjoy talking sometime
in person ( at least by email ..)
Danny so sorry for the terribly slow reply! Somehow missed this in my inbox. Love to talk! I need to get more legends on the show! Please reach out via the contact page on the website and let’s chat. Thanks!!
Any plans to get any more of the navy blue tees in stock (size large)?
Hey Mike! Probably not for a bit. They only had M in stock and I got a ton of the Fitz Roy in tan that will last awhile. I’ll keep my eye on stock though. Thanks,
I absolutely love your Podcasts, thank you so much for doing this for us paragliders. I have put 20,000 miles on my car this year traveling to fuel my new paragliding addiction…I listen to your podcasts the entire time. I went and did my first couple comps and now on my way to RedRocks Fly in, hoping to put all this knowledge to use so I can fly with you someday! My dad just moved to SunValley, I been going up there for winters for most my life…Now that I paraglide, Im glad to hear the flying is so great there too, I will be getting a piece of that eventually. Thanks again!!
Thanks Blake! Please give me a shout when you get to SV, that’s my home! And I’ll see you at Red Rocks!
Thanks for the great shows.
Thanks for listening!!
I am a newcomer to the show and love the variety of people and topics and how you present it. If I could request one person, it would be actually you. I would love to hear you just telling us about some of the events mentioned above and your journey in general. Can you find a friend who is as good in conducting interviews as you are and do a Gavin episode?
Still working on this:) Thanks!
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Episode 138, was awesome. I live and fly in the mountains, despite the SIV clinics and being at launch whenever possible progression and air time for me has not been what I thought it would be. The comparison to a pilot that takes higher risk to learn VS a more patient lower risk pilot was right on.
Will be sharing this podcast….
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Thanks for the great show! For those interested in the original research, her most recent papers are listed on her personal page at https://www.ab.mpg.de. The Max Planck Society is quite open to publish as open access, which means you can read a lot of her papers for free (most easily found via scholar.google.com). Have fun!
Thanks for this Andreas! Will check it out.
I have been using both Garmin InReach and Spot for a long time now. I like the fact that it is very easy to use, reliable and also affordable. It’s really great when you are out hiking or camping because you can easily send an SOS signal if something happens to your family or friends back home. You can track them even after they’ve left the area with their GPS tracker device, which makes it all possible at such an affordable price!
Hey Gavin, do you have the contact/website details for Toby in France? Sounds like a fun trip if he’s still running them…?
Try Passionparagliding.com. I don’t have his email anymore…
I was just in Colombia and every day I flew with birds and was thinking of this podcast. I wonder if video of birds or sensors on a whole flock could help the research?
I think video would be awesome! Send some if you can. Have fun dude!
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Love cross pollination episodes! Especially in a “cousin” sport most of us can also relate to directly. My camera is getting put away more…
In my 50’s, I have also escalated my “mitigation” game on snowboard and mountain bike – then adopted parts to mini wing/waga at Southside (Salt Lake).
Would love to hear both your opinions- will dig for his in that huge library! I have 2 different strengths of MTB upper body armor – usually just use the sweater pad type, but shell has its uses (more for icy, trees on snowboard)
Same for full face helmet often.
Thanks always, Gavin for your hard work and stoke!
That big ears and deep stalling the wing and/while using the speedbar (does it really matter?) is bullshit. That instructor is an idiot, not mentioning that he suggested a smaller reserve. A lot of idiots roam the earth..
Hey gavin! Heard on the pod some new colours are in but I don’t see them. Can you let me know what’s available and how I can purchase? Thanks mate! Love what you do!!
I will discontinue this e-mail address and will subscribe wit a new one 🙂
Tom is a great storyteller and the conversation had a nice flow to it.
The idea to do a proper series on the XAlps is spot on!
Thanks Peter! More coming!
Always great content and well presented.
I spiraled down enjoying the thrill of the g force with the wind, ice cold, clawing at my face.I swooped in for my final glide, landed smoothly and ended 23 emotional flying years. Just 24 hours previously a fellow club member had their life taken away in a flying accident. I can no longer fly. The sky no longer calls…
fly safely after your dreams and look after each other x.
Thanks Davey, so sorry you saw such a terrible event. Good on you for listening to the inner voice!