Thursday the 7th of December 2006 was a memorable day in De Aar, South
Africa as it saw 3 of the paragliding world records (FAI confirmation
pending**) broken in one day.
The longest individual open distance in the world : 426 km
The longest declared goal : 368 km
The new world distance on a tandem : 356km. - is not MAC team pilot
All the pilots spent over 7 hours in the air.
The Slovenian born Valic brothers travelled to South Africa in the middle of
November with the specific goal to achieve a world record in terms of a
declared goal. Despite tough and very strong conditions, and after spending
6 and half hours in the air, both brothers made the declared goal, and had
enough height and time to continue to fly further, eventually landing within
300 meters of each other, setting a new world record as well of 426km! The
two brothers flew at over 5200 meters above sea level.
Two British pilots, Richard Westgate and Phil Bibby also travelled to South
Africa to set a new tandem record. Their flight saw them not only achieve a
new world open distance record at 356kms, but also beating the longest
tandem flight to date in South Africa (previously 223km) as well as the
longest UK flight, previously held for ten years at 285km by a female pilot!
**pending FAI approval
report from Valic bros.
Here is our report from past week in De Aar.
We came in De Aar the 17.th of november, after 10 hours of driving by
bus, along South African countryside. We are placed at potties B&B Des
and Arnold it s owners are both experienced paragliding pilots and they
know wath pilots need for good flying, from towing, weather informations,
retrievals and good food.
De Aar is located in center of South African Republic between
Johanessbourg and Cape town. It is small town known for steamtains,
sheep&springbuck, but since april 2003 De Aar has became popular amongst
paragliding&hang gliding pilots around the world
It is known for reable weather and wonderful flying conditions.
Cloudy day late afternoon we go to airfield, to
train towing with car winch. For us is this first time, so we did few
tows to altitude about 400m.
Day with little N wind and nice cumulus all around
perfect for acclimatisation on heights, we did 50 km long flight. In the
evening we get some rainshowers.
No wind again we decided to stay on ground and
wait for better day.
NW wind about 20-30 km/h in heights, cloud base at
3200m see level, we take off around 10 pm.
Clouds are forming to fast, so after an hour and 60km flown we decided
to land, it is not record day.
In evening we get again thunderstorms with rain.
First day to attack, we took off around 10.00,
first 50 km we fly in very week thermals, and low. Urban has bed luck
and has to land after 25 km flown. I continue very carefully, I'm
picking every little thermal in my route. Few times I'm very low just 30
m above ground, but i never gave up and luckily I m climbing again.Each
time I get to 3.500 meters is strong inversion layer, so I'm forced to
fly low, what is not easy in strong wind and big sinks between thermals.
I landed after five hours of flying and 206 km flown, 160 km short of my
goal in town Eliot.
Retrieval to De Aar take us about 4 hours.
We go flying for fun and making pictures and movie
around De Aar, and preparing route for next day.
Good day finnaly, with cloudbase at 4500m sea
level and NW winds till 60km/h. I'm starting first, disconnecting when
towline is out and then drifting with wind in first thermal. Half hour
later I'm at cloud base at 4600m. ground speed around 80-90 km/h and NW
wind, perfect direction to my goal town Eliot.I'm flying in altitudes
between 3000m and 4500m without using oxsigen, but my feeling is OK.
After 100 km flown I get difficult terrain around big lake. no clouds
for 30 km, I'm flying very slow and wind is changing direction to more
N. Few times I get low, but "ranch tactic" usually works, because every
ranch with trees around and little ponds works like perfect thermal
trriger. At 180 km I'm very low and preparing for an landing, but just
40 m above ground and in strong wind, I pick a thermal and stick in it.
20 minutes later I m at 4600m in cloud base, and starting to feel bed.
Im loosing power in arms and i can t move fingers. I'm pushing speed to
descent faster, but is going down to slowly, so I spiraling to 4000 m.
I'm approaching to my goal eliot, but again 20 km of blue sky in my
flying direction. Around nice cloudstreets but I´m afraid to go out of
course because later it will be difficult to reach goalpoint in
crosswind. I get big sink all around, and I can t find any thermals
again so I'm landing in nice grassy slope near small town just 60km
short to Eliot, and after 300km behind me.
Two new world records in one flight.
We managed to brake distance to declared goal in distance of 368,2 km both Aljaz
and Urban after that we continue flight and finished just 400 m apart in
distance of 426,8 km Aljaz and 426,4 km Urban what is enought for new world
Aljaz: start time: 10.57
landing time: 18.29
avg. speed:56,6 km/h
duration: 7.31 h
max. altittude: 5367 m
max. speed: 120 km/h
open distance: 426,8 km
Urban: start time: 10.35
landing time: 18.05
avg. speed:56,8 km/h
duration: 7.27 h
max. altittude: 5604 m
max. speed: 118 km/h
open distance: 426,4 km