21 December 2011

Paradigm Shift

A momentary escape from the snow and ice to an unknown tropical island for some paradisiacal flying.

13 December 2011

Check-in/OK message from Brett Hazlett SPOT Messenger

Brett Hazlett
GPS location Date/Time:12/14/2011 01:28:41 BRST

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28 November 2011

Paragliding Magic

This is a magical place that I discovered in Brazil last month. When I leave this complicated life, wherever I find myself, I will recreate the lakes and skies of this place with pure consciousness and fly there for eternity. After some time I may forget where I am, to which I will remind myself, 'Somewhere you once were.'

15 November 2011


Day Whatever

The Great R11
Magical Lakes
XC Bliss

No more records. No more radical air. We are in Carmo do Rio Claro, just briefly, for some XC flying. 0% radical, 100% chilled. Above is an image of me climbing in a steady 3 m/s thermal after a low lake crossing from launch- the hill in the background. A 70 km out-and-return flight over small hills, turquoise lakes, and farmland. If this was tea, it would be good cup of tea.

Day 14

This would be our last attempt. The forecast changed dramatically and the next good day after today will be in 7 days. We will be long gone by then.

I launched at 8:09 am, felt the first cohesive thermal at 8:24 am, and committed at 8:30 am.. at base at 900 m above the valley, 25 min ahead of previous days.

Konrad was with me and we made the first valley and plateau crossing together. Descending the far side of the plateau we lingered in light lift desperate to avoid an early landing. Konrad was just a little lower than me and I thought he was still turning but then his glider came to a stop. He had landed. It was then that I realized how low I was. 'Chill, Brett.', I thought, 'You're not even awake yet, you're still dreaming.'

The fragment of light air stayed with me until I had passed over a green lake. Then I found a few vultures to play with and eventually connect with base again.

The thermal and wind intensity were much lower than during the first few flights. This was forecasted accurately. Today could not be a huge flight but it could be memorable.

I felt relaxed, despite the low base and drifting over large areas of unlandable terrain. There was only one tense situation when I could not quite clear the far side of the biggest plateau at 110 km. I setup to land and was searching for a wire that had to be somewhere, harness unzipped, when I hit something that felt good enough to commit to, over 2 km of forest at the edge of the plateau. But the thing disappeared when I had lost my field so I dove with the wind, over the plateau edge, but it lead me into a long valley, filled with trees. I stretched myself across the valley, to ride the ridge at the far windward side, enough to fall over to the other side.

A downwind lee side shaded dive for a few minutes into uninhabited bushland later and I was circling back to base. The wind had weakened further to only 15 km/h cross tail. Base was now at 1800 m AGL.

The most remote part of the flight was just beginning. I ate my Powerbar and drank some water during the long glide into never-never-land. My anxiety was overcome by the immense beauty of what was in front of me.


There had been some rain while we were at the beach and now large areas of the desert had changed to a brilliant dark green. A few monoliths and a green fingered lake past underneath me and I found myself in lake effect. The wind had lessened to 10 km/h and it was difficult to stay in the air.

I limped along, patiently, scanning the horizon for vultures and landable patches in the roadless landscape. Landing here would be the beginning of another adventure; an adventure that I did not want. I decided to leave the worrying for once I was on the ground.

At 200 km I passed over a large farm at the edge of a large forest and decided to pull the plug on the flight at 1:30 pm. Once again I was invited into the house to shower and have dinner. The family kept me company until retrieve arrived.

I feel more looked after here than in my own country.

Today went well in that I had that earliest start so far, avoided landing early, and managed the safety angle a little better than during my other flights. I just need to fly a flight like this on a classic Tacima day with double the base, double the climb rate, and double the wind.

That will have to wait until next time.

My birthday passed while I was here, flying in pure beauty and remoteness. I think of what I have experienced as the World's gift to me.

Obrigado Brasil

Day 13

Kite surfing at Barra do Cunhau. We rested in hammocks tied to coconut palms and watched the sun set. My friend, Fuba, said to me, 'Estamos ricos.' Yes, we were rich.

Day 12

The flying here is physically and mentally exhausting. We decided to take a break over the weekend and spent today at the beach.

Day 11

We continued our return from yesterday's flights and setup up camp at Praia da Pipa. That night we went out for drinks and enjoyed the vibrant night life. A pilot told us that it had rained at launch today and the flying was not very good.

Day 10

I got away a full 15 minutes earlier today; at base and leaving on course at 8:42 am. But then I lost that time ridge soaring a rock wall 20 km later. When base is only 800 m above the ground and you have plateaus that give you only 600 m clearance at base, and it's 9 am in the morning, you must move delicately. Better in the air waiting for a thermal, then on the ground waiting for a truck. A dead cloud had sprawled across the sky and shaded my ridge. Even the vultures waited beside me, pointing into the wind, all at the same height. Then came some sun and within minutes I was circling up to cloud base, which was now 1000 m above ground.

Araruna street
Later I aborted my flight when I got stuck for a while ridge soaring another 200 m ridge at 100 km in a place that I couldn't escape. No where to land, I couldn't climb away, but I wasn't sinking either. The small hill upwind threw vortices at me that banked my glider 80 degrees in either direction and all I could do was go with it and complete the 360. I was maintaining my position in this small closed valley covered in trees that were too dense to land between and too sparse to crash into. Dry, crispy, angry looking trees.

In my first year of flying my good friend Martin Henry said, 'Somewhere there is a tree with your name on it.' It took a few years to arrive but today there was a sea of trees below me and each one had my name carved in the bark, initials included.

I had the feeling it was only a 300+ day and I had lost my early start already. Plus I was disturbed by my mismanagement of the flight. I told myself that if I managed to extract myself from this prison in the narrow valley that I would find a big, safe, open, and flat place to land and call it a day. It took a while, but I did just this.

My retrieve vehicle

This place has potential but it has been the most extreme flying that I have done in 18 years of flying everywhere and every level of competition. I almost never get into difficult situations while racing and here it happens around twice per day. And being completely trapped like yesterday was the first time ever for me.

We are going the beach for two days and then going for 3 more attempts.

Day 9

We were a little dehydrated from the long retrieves yesterday so we rested today. The flights were not very long but all of us landed in difficult to reach areas. Despite landing at 10:40 am, I wasn't back at the hotel until after dark.

Today's agenda includes doing laundry, going to the gym, and a long afternoon nap.

Day 8

Today the first cohesive thermal took me to base at 8:53 am, a minute earlier than the first flight. There was a lot of moisture in the air, base at 800 m above ground, and thick closely spaced cumuli. The wind was as strong but unlike the first flight, held the ideal direction.

As I progressed, base began to rise, making the unlandable and unretrievable areas more manageable. Still, in the first hour of the flight I went through two forceful breathing situations.

From base I went on a long glide into a wide valley with a lot of green, swamps, and small lakes. I had my eyes on a cloud but it began to subside before I could reach it. Soon I was desperate for any kind of lift in an area that I would prefer not to land. There were vultures around but they were searching, as I.

One last option appeared.. a 50 m high tree covered ridge. But the wind was a little too cross and I slowly descended into a fated landing in demanding conditions. It was everything I could do to keep my glider level in the 40 km/h wind as I aimed for a grassy patch in the lee of of another 50 m hill. I did not like the situation but I was in it.. when my feet finally touched ground and stayed there for a few seconds, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was over, at least for today.

I had flown 104 km and it was only 10:40 am.


Day 7

We spent the day at Barra do Cunhau kitesurfing to recover from yesterday's flight.. recovery successful.

Day 6

Rather rudely, my iPhone woke me up at 5 am. After a quick breakfast we were in the truck and driving to launch. The wind was raging up the rounded rock that we would launch from, just 150 m above the valley floor.

We watched the clouds scream past over head and urubus turning in the first thermals of the morning. By 8 am I was at the edge of the rock, hooked into my hangglider, and searching for a moment to commit. When the moment came, the wind blew me backwards for a few moments while I went prone in my harness.

Five minutes into the flight my harness zipper blew open and left my legs blowing in the breeze. Most of my weight was left supported by a single buckled strap across my hips. This was uncomfortable. I've never had a zipper blow out on me, never. Today I would spend nearly 8 hours in the air.

At 8:54 am I held on tightly to a cohesive thermal and committed to leaving. A valley crossing later I was low with a groundspeed of 90 km/h, speeding into the rolling tree covered hills of a plateau. Landing options were difficult to manage. How do you manage something that does not exist? My grip on the bar began to tighten. When the moment came that I really didn't care anymore, I flew into a light and rough thermal deep in the hills, 100 m above the ground. While banking steeply into the core I watched the trees sway submissively in the 40 km/h wind. It was a little too much intensity this early in the morning. The rough air suddenly began to make me nauseous. I haven't been airsick since my first year of flying and today, having to fly for 8 hours, I was beginning to feel sick.

The plateau gave way to an expansive valley and then more mountains, rivers, plantations, and lakes. The landscapes past by so quickly that there was not even time to become familiar. Each time I climbed to base and looked for where my low save was, I couldn't. It was too far down and too far gone to find.

After two hours on course I had completed 100 km. This was acceptable progess. I was looking forward to the strong wind, light lift, and low base to develop into strong wind, strong lift, and high base. But the wind veered from SE to S and despite base eventually rising to 2500 m, with climbs of 4 m/s, I was getting ground speeds of only 65 km/h, compared to 90 km/h earlier in the morning. Surprisingly, I made faster progress earlier in the day.

With the light tailwind component I began to realize that only the FAI National (Canada, out-of-country) straight distance record was available to me this day.

Another deep glide into a beautiful, remote, tree covered, mountain system left me sweating on my forehead until the bar was nearly pulled from my hands as I banked into another 4 m/s. I was enjoying life and flying and yet still questioning if all this was a little too extreme.

Isolation redefined

More plateaus, coconut tree forests, and inaccessible bushland.. I had long given up worrying about places to land. Every nice landing area would come into sight and disappear again so quickly that there seemed to be no point in even thinking about the whole situation. Just fly, just go. My nausea was worsening, the strap across my hip was now painful, my toes were numb from pushing on the end of the open harness, and my legs were freezing. Finally, soon after finding a low save over an expansive forest, I looked the wrong way and immediately began throwing up for the next few minutes, until I had nothing left to give. Only 4 more hours to go, I thought.

At 200 km the wind was straight cross to my course line. My progress slowed. It would be difficult to get past 300 km like this. If I went with the wind I would be pushed off the continent and have to land on the beach.. but I would likely cross the 300 km mark.

At some point I decided to go with the wind. A strange convergence line became visible with two condensation levels about 500 m apart. The ocean side cloud base was lower and formed fragmented clouds that were being pulled apart by wind shear. It was unique to me and beautiful. I connected with it and enjoyed the buoyant glides and soft climbs, although my tailwind component was almost zero. To my left the classical cumuli were beginning to fall apart and fade in the evening sky. To my right was the Atlantic and a cloudless sky as far as I could see.

The convergence line came to an end and I descended into the sea breeze, drifting low over forests of coconut trees and swamps. I glanced at my instruments.. 300. Now all I needed to do was to enjoy the rest of my last light thermal in the smooth evening air and truly take in where I was and what I was doing. A slideshow of intense and beautiful moments of the last eight hours flashed through my mind as I smiled and turned contently for a few more kilometres before touching down among some coconut trees on a farm.

I have spent many eight-hour days in an office, with my right hand moving a mouse around on a Neoprene pad while my eyes fixate on a computer screen. When I compare today's eight-hour day to one of those miscellaneous days, I am left speechless and near tears. I have lived so many useless days, without appreciation.

A moment from today

The farmer invited me to his house in the city, which was a few kilometres away, to have a shower and dinner. When I came out of the shower I saw a text from my team saying they had found my glider and were coming to the mansion in the city. My host invited them in as well and we all ate well and laughed about the adventures of the day. We all have stories that we'll be re-telling for some time to come.

The great Ype
This was the furthest I have flown a hangglider and is sufficient to break the FAI National (Canada) straight distance record.

Day 5

This day was spent at the internationally famous Praia da Pipa. It will be our last comfortably spent day for some time so we enjoyed it fully. Later we had some kite surfing at a beach further to the south and finally the 100 km drive inland to position for tomorrow's first attempt.

We drove by the 150 m above ground launch at 9 pm and confirmed that the wind was blowing hard from the southeast. Perfect. I set my alarm for 5 am and we'll leave for launch by 6 am. The time has come to stop preparing and start flying.

Beach south of Pipa

Day 4

We slept in, had a late and long breakfast, and tested our SPOT to tablet retrieve system. The wind began to veer more to the south, as we had hoped.

From the most eastern point of south america I swam in the warm Atlantic waters and felt the exhaustion of three days of traveling fade away. Holding my breath and floating underwater, I smiled to myself thinking about where I was, and what I would be doing for the next two weeks. I felt grateful.

Then I remembered how density populated these waters are with sharks and decided to go drink coconut water under a coconut tree. Much safer.

Cashew fruit

Day 3

At 8 am I awaken to the familiar sounds and motions of this never ending ride, punctuated by federal police roadblocks and suicidal overtaking maneuvers. It's still raining.

At the 25th hour of our drive we finally hit the anticipated edge of the gigantic blob of rain covering most of Brazil. We turn the music up, start cheering, and speed up until the truck, loaded with hang gliders, begins to float on the road.

At midnight we arrive at our destination, Joao Pessoa, after a 2500 km nonstop drive. We check into a hotel along the beach, shower, and have a long meal along the water. The wind isn't quite right for us at the moment (too east and not enough south) but it looks like we have a nice day on Sunday so there is an extra day to recuperate and prepare. We'll spend tomorrow at Pipa beach and on Saturday we'll relocate inland to the nearest town to our launch site.

I haven't slept in a bed for 3 days and it's 3 am so it's time to sleep. Goodnight.

Day 2

My eyes opened as the plane touched down in Galeao airport, in Rio de Janeiro. Outside the tropical air felt great. But it was raining. I waited in the arrivals hall for four hours to be picked up. While guarding my baggage, I watched the rain fall, and wondered what I was doing here.

The first part of our trip was ascending the Serra do Mar mountains. The smell of jungle in the misty rain was invigorating. I put my window down to let the rain fall on my face. 'You can't get this freshness in a can.', I thought.

We drove all day and night.. at 3 am when I was finally able to sleep a little, it was still raining.

Galeao airport

Day 1

As I wait at a miscellaneous departure gate in Houston, my body tingling with the opposing sensations of anticipation and fear, I realize that my little project, is now in motion. By morning I will be in Rio de Janeiro to begin a thirty-hour drive in a turbo diesel 4x4 pickup truck into the remote deserts of the northeast of Brazil.


To break the FAI world records in straight distance in hang gliding and paragliding (Class 1 and 3).

Well, that's not really the 'why' of this expedition into the great 'sertao'. Those are my objectives but my purpose is something entirely different. At the moment I don't have the words to describe my purpose but, perhaps, somewhere in the desert I will find them and bring them back.

10 November 2011

Check-in/OK message from Brett Hazlett SPOT Messenger

Brett Hazlett
GPS location Date/Time:11/10/2011 17:03:11 BRST

Message:Brett Hazlett: Landed safely
Pousei em seguranca
Livetrack: http://bretthazlett.tk

Click the link below to see where I am located.

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Brett Hazlett

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Every day is an Adventure. Share Yours.

08 November 2011

Check-in/OK message from Brett Hazlett SPOT Messenger

Brett Hazlett
GPS location Date/Time:11/08/2011 18:28:24 BRST

Message:Brett Hazlett: Landed safely
Pousei em seguranca
Livetrack: http://bretthazlett.tk

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Every day is an Adventure. Share Yours.

07 November 2011

GoPro Video of the Day

GoPro sponsor 10 days ago Delete
We like your video so much we made it Video of the Day on Facebook!


Stop by and tell our fans how you made such a great video! They always love to hear about what settings were used and any other tips and tricks that will help them make great GoPro videos too!

12 October 2011

GoPro Photo of the Day

47 minutes ago
GoPro Photos
  • Thanks for sharing your photo with us! We liked it so much we named it Photo of the Day on our Facebook page.

    Photos like yours truly inspire us, and we love showing the world what incredible customers we have.

    We know our fans would be stoked if you commented on the version of the photo we reposted to our wall, and share how, when, where, and what settings were used to get this awesome shot.

    Thanks for getting out and rocking the GoPro!


    Team GoPro
  • Photo of the Day!

    Hanggliding at 15,000 ft. in Arizona with GoPro fan Brett Hazlett!
    Everyday GoPro chooses an awesome fan photo to be Photo of the Day!
    By: GoPro

24 September 2011


The authorized music video for Calling from Irish band Madu's album From The Elders' Yard.


23 September 2011

Check-in/OK message from Brett Hazlett SPOT Messenger

Brett Hazlett
GPS location Date/Time:09/24/2011 03:05:11 CEST

Message:Brett Hazlett [Team Canada]: I have landed safely

Click the link below to see where I am located.

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19 June 2011

12th FAI Paragliding World Championship

Keith's SPOT
Live Tracking

Day Two

We had an amazing race to Avila that started with some zig zagging in the Piedrahita valley and ended with a long downwind leg to goal at Avila.

Conditions were light during the first part of the task, it was quite a struggle to make all the turnpoints. The downwind leg was really fun and I final glided with Michael Sigel.

I knew there had been serious accidents and reserve deployments because of the continuous communicating on the safety frequency. It was only later that I discovered that there had been two fatalities and five reserve deployments.

In response to this the FAI suspended the certification of Competition Class gliders and stopped the championship.

We are all deeply saddened by the accidents and disappointed by the consequences. Two years of racing to earn a position on our national team, so much training, so much money spent on equipment to satisfy CIVL's new rules, so much time committed to being here, and so much anticipation of this event.

What do we do now?

Day One

With a predicted 20 km/h westerly and the top of lift at 2800 m the classic 154 km race to Arcones was called.

It was fun racing. I had some trouble managing the airspace and landed at the edge of one of the restricted areas, trying to get around it.. somewhere between Avila and Segovia. Keith landed at Segovia and Claudio made goal!

We don't know who won the day yet but the results should be up in a few hours. The link above to the live tracking is apparently very exciting to watch. Realtime race action in 3D.

The weather for the next few days is expected to be good. We've been averaging one reserve deployment per fly day. Pilots reported witnessing many airspace infractions today, the penalty of which is a zero score.

Town decorations


We had an official practice task for the competitors to test their equipment, the organization to test their systems, and the air to test our gliders.

A 60 km multi turnpoint task with goal in Piedrahita, wind at 15-20 km/h from the north, 2-5 m/s climbs, and base at 2800 m.

We flew the task with lots of speed and angry places in the sky threatened to take your glider from you. One pilot floated down safely under his parachute.

The opening ceremony was grand

First Flight

I opened my eyes alertly. It was only 5 am but I was eager to taste the skies of Piedrahita. I went for a walk through town in the dawn light. The air was cool and the streets quiet.

Later a few of us found an open cafe for breakfast and discussed the forecast and ideas for a practice task.

Swifts celebrate in the early sunlight

We arrived at launch at 12 pm and prepared to fly. Despite agreeing upon a practice task on the ground, we later scattered across the sky pursuing personal choices of which areas to fly. I spent 3 hours completing a short out-and-return with a brutally difficult battle against the wind on the return leg. I had flown into a narrow valley known for being a difficult area to cross because I wanted to learn how to fly this part of the flying arena. Flying around in the easy parts of the sky is fun but is low quality training.

A front was approaching from the west so I pushed to get back to town before it arrived. As I zipped up my glider bag in the LZ in town the first drops of rain and a light gust front arrived.


Anonymous departure gates, morphing time zones, and the lingering smell of eau de Boeing. Beginning in Canada and touring the northern hemisphere via Greenland, Ireland, Holland, and Germany, we have arrived in Spain.

 Our beautiful Canada


I enjoy the days before leaving for an important competition. I begin to eject unimportant things from my mind, things that are not relevant to the competition. My distracted mind implodes until I am in a state of simplicity. The ritual of tattooing my competition numbers to my glider often begins the process. Daily life tediosities lose meaning and fade from awareness.

17 June 2011

Ozone Mantra R11

A chilled down tempo meditative evening of ridge soaring, thermaling, and proximity flying at Muller Windsports.

My R11 looks somewhat different to my R10.2 and feels somewhat different to my R10.2 and yet there is a definite familiarity present.

The glider feels a little heavier to pull up in light wind, heavier but not harder. When launching in strong winds it feels more or less the same as my R10.2 but I seem to get it right more often.

The handling is awesome. More or less in the same category as the R10.2, but slightly better. Less hesitation to initiate a turn.

Comfort in rough air feels about the same as the R10.2, probably slightly better.

Speed builds up very quickly with bar and the glider feels great. This is the most exciting thing about the glider, for me.

I put new B handles on that are shorter and have a wider flare and hook them with my first two fingers.

The R11 doesn't spin very well. I tried twice to do a spin landing and all I got was a 180 deg rotation. It would take so long for the inside wing to stall that by then I had mushed down to the ground and the was no time for a full rotation of the glider.

Something that stands out is the unique sound that the glider makes at high speed. There's something different in the pitch of the high speed whine. It is the most beautiful glider I have flown, as viewed from the harness.

A non-pilot spectator at launch walked over to me after I top landed and she said.. That thing looks like a shark!

16 June 2011

Sky Water Show

I collect videos that will be shown during the famous Sky Water Show of Montreux
on Bigscreen. Would you give your permission for the public projection of some of your films there? More specifically:

Hanggliding at Torrey Pines

2011 GV Open 

2011 Pre PWC Superfinal

Many thanks

14 June 2011

Are 2-liner Paragliders Dangerous?

On my way home today I took a shortcut through the military training area and noticed two crash test dummies discussing the safety of 2-liner competition gliders. I couldn't help but stop and whip out my iPhone. Here's what they were saying: 

13 June 2011


I destroyed my body at the gym today.. it was multi-hour corporal annihilation. Total physiological punishment.

I've read that creation and destruction are intimately linked. To create something new, the obsolete version of that something must first be destroyed. It applies to uninstalling software, breaking up with a girlfriend, a burning forest in Australia, and shredding muscle fibres in the gym.

I stood there, staring blankly at the ink stamp on my left wrist left by the friendly attendant at the entrance to the gym. It was Monday, yes, but all I could see was.. NOW.

Now is the best time for anything, is it not? And Monday is as good a day as any day for more Now.

15 May 2011

PWC Korea

This is the video that made of the event, filmed in 720p @ 60 FPS.

People gather to witness the sun setting over Hawaii

The days after an important competition are peaceful and contemplative. The anticipation leading up to the event and the physical and mental exhaustion during the event leaves me feeling calm. Usually there is a long trip back home which offers uninterrupted time to reflect upon what happened during the competition, the amazing things I saw, the amazing people whom I shared the sky with, and how I have developed, ever so slightly, as a pilot.

I finished 14th overall and therefore was guaranteed qualification for the Superfinal in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, in January 2012.

Day 7

Low base, light rain, poor visibility.. the last day of PWC Korea has been cancelled. The competition is over.

Jack Brown (USA): Overall champion
Ayumu 'Bruce Lee' Miyata (JPN): Asian Champion
Daria Krasnova (RUS): Female Champion
Yurdaer Etike (TUR): Moustache champion

Day 6

This morning I opened my eyes slowly and could see through my hotel window that the front had arrived. There was high overcast, some low cloud, and a cool humid feeling.

We were taken to launch to wait for conditions to improve. A few pilots launched and demonstrated that the air was lightly soarable but not taskable. Light intermittent rain became light continuous rain and it was then that the day was cancelled.

As I write this in my hotel room I can hear thunder in the distance. The forecast for tomorrow is rain.

Seiko Fukuoka Naville

Day 5

Conditions on launch today were similar to yesterday but with a little more wind, more sun, and less favourable launch conditions. A task was set but only 10 min after the launch window opened it was cancelled due to reported 25 km/h winds at 600 m.

Jack Brown is leading the competition. The forecast for the last two days of the competition is not positive. If he wins, Jack will join the ranks of Josh Cohn and Scotty Marion as Americans who have won a world cup event.

Yasushi Kobayashi

Day 4

We flew a second task in less than ideal conditions and somehow 25 pilots managed to complete.

There was a strong south wind and launch faces west, there was high cloud, and the halo around the sun betrayed the approach of a front. The high cloud became thick, dimming the slopes and fields, giving the course an ominous feel. Every slope seemed to be in the lee and the air reached out to take your glider from you.

One pilot took a massive collapse in the lee and after the glider surged forward he pendulum-ed into a small tree. A witness said that without the tree, this incident could have been fatal.

There is a strong military presence in this area. The roar of jet fighters could be heard regularly.

There were seven turnpoints and each one seemed impossible to reach but somehow the glorious crescendo of my Flytec 6030 would signal the edge of yet another turnpoint cylinder. The celebration of each turnpoint achieved was short lived as I turned and looked along the next leg from an unpleasantly low height, with the sun at an increasingly low position in the sky. There were always more ridges to pass, in the lee, and it was always into the wind, somehow.

The stress of the rough air made this 3 hour flight more mentally exhausting than the 8.5 hour flight in PWC Chelan last year. Today I relearned the lesson: Never give up.

I have often wondered why I seem to need to learn the same lessons over and over again. Why can't I learn each lesson once, never repeat the same mistake, and progress to the next lesson?

After today I realize that it is not that there are many lessons and you must learn each one once, but the opposite. There are actually only a few lessons to learn but you need to learn them many times. Each time you are taught the same lesson by making the same mistake, you have not failed in any way. Each time you make the same mistake, you learn the same lesson, but more deeply.

There are only a small number of things to learn in life, but you cannot master each one simply by being introduced to it once. You need to get to know each one, like a friend, until you are familiar with the subtlety and depth involved.

Yassen 'the assassin' Savov

Day 3

Finally, we have flown. It was a 70 km cross tailwind task, with a single control turnpoint.

Launch conditions were challenging. The pilot ahead of me was dragged around launch a little, then into the air, then took a collapse and wound into the trees. I launched next and during my first turn I could see three gliders in the small trees surrounding launch.

The landscape was beautiful, but the air was often malicious. I watched a pilot throw his reserve while climbing in the first thermal after the start. The thermal was so strong that he continued to climb for a short time. There would be three reserve deployments today.

Most of the flight was in the flatlands, flying over rivers, small hills, rice padi fields, and turquoise tiled houses. We spent most of our time at 1000-2000 m.

Dean Stratton won the day with an elapsed time of 1 h 32 min.

Yassen Savov completed the speed section over 1 min faster but was unable to reach the goal line. He described approaching a 20 m tree covered hill attempting to gain the 100 m he needed to fly over the bridge, the river, and a sandy bank to goal. He found something but it was a really turbulent area with houses upwind so when he tried to climb in the scrap of lift he spun and recovered his glider just in time to flare.

There was a lot of excitement in goal. We were so happy to have flown such an fun task over such interesting terrain.

Flying Land

Day 2

I woke up at dawn, anxious for the day to begin. The air was cool as I walked to breakfast but it was still. On the way back, however, there were signs of wind.

We arrived at launch, anxious to fly. After days without flying, the immense launch area covered in green grass, with windsocks swaying gently in the breeze, felt like paradise.

A task was set and we prepared yourselves for the flight but the wind and thermal strength continued to increase. The quality of pilots' launches deteriorated rapidly until finally one pilot took a large collapse moments after launching and spiraled into the ground below launch. As I stood on launch, holding my glider in my hands, I watched as he disappeared out of sight, with his glider on the horizon.

There was collective silence as EMTs ran to his aid. He did not hit the ground but fell into a small tree. I heard he was not even injured. Amazing.

Launch was closed for a while and then about twenty minutes later, after consulting a number of pilots who were in the air near the startgate, the decision was made to cancel the task.

Philippe Broers

Day 1

Strong west winds convinced the safety committee to cancel the task. Yellow dust, arriving from the Gobi desert in China, filled the valleys with a yellow haze.

13 March 2011

GV Open

Dreamy cloudscapes, a waterfall passing, and a shallow glide into goal

09 February 2011


I spent a few days in Los Angeles to build my new hangglider. Here are some pics:

Before mounting the sail I had some frame upgrades to perform
Carbon. Me likey.

Ready to mount sail
She lives

Carbon samurai keel

[VLOG] A Walk in the Garden II

Do we need a reason to fly?