Hunting for new records in South Africa

3 Paragliding World Records broken

in one epic flying day

De Aar, South Africa
8 December 2006

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 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.

    Day 17.11.06
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 18.11.06
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.

    Day 19.11.06
No wind again we decided to stay on ground and wait for better day.

    Day 20.11.06
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.




    Day 21.11.06
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.

     Day 22.11.06
We go flying for fun and making pictures and movie around De Aar, and preparing route for next day.

    Day 23.11.06
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 Im 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.

Day 7.12.06

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 distance record.

Flight details:

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

Congratulations ! ! !

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