Seiko Fukuoka, Distance Ninja, and Charles Cazaux Break More Records
Our ninja pilot, Seiko Fukuoka, just broke another record in Australia as did her flying partner Charles Cazaux. Seiko flew a new record free distance using up to 3 turn points of 378km. Charles flew a World record 3 point free distance of 476km and Australia record free straight distance around 450km!
Yesterday, while riding the train back to her hotel, Seiko sent us a quick report on her latest record flight:
Reading the weather on this side of the planet is not an easy task. The day started, as usual, with poor conditions: shifty winds, low cloud base and a lot of stability. We knew that the northeasterly wind was going to switch to the west and later during the day we would have more instability, so we went for a late start. Taking all this in consideration I decided to go for a “Free distance using up to 3 turn points” (255 km was the female current record). For this kind of record I don’t need to fly on the same direction the whole time, I have to choose 3 waypoints between my launch and my landing, simply I just need to go with the wind.
It was my turn to get my feet off the ground and right before I started to get towed, the wind changed. I was frustrated, I tried to take off a few times but with my heavy water ballast in front, bushes all around and the crossed wind, this seemed to me an impossible mission, it was hard to stay on my feet.
I was completely wet from my ballast, sitting on the ground and about to give up when my loyal Czech friend helped me to stand up and offered me a hand to try over, I looked up to the sky and it was calling me like never, no way let’s give it another try!
I needed to get in the air and finally did!
Once I left the ground I felt it right away: this is my day Yeahhhhhhh!!!!!!
The strong conditions woke me up immediately, I was 100% present and the adrenaline was flowing non-stop. These are my favorite conditions to fly in, because I don’t have a second to relax, I need to be on it, the only thing I hear is: go, go, go, go.
In the beginning even my forgiving glider got a collapse, can you imagine? This turbulence is heaven for me, conditions were strong and the flying was happening fast. Once I’ve passed the 80 km mark I looked to the gps: ground speed 102 km/h! of course I was pushing a bit of bar 😉 If I drive this fast in front of my house I would get pulled over right away, it’s a good thing there is no speed limit in the air!
One thing I kept in mind was the airspace to the west, so instead of flying completely downwind I had to change my direction to the north.
Around 130 km from the takeoff I could not find any good thermals anymore, and I was about to land when my magic angel gave me one more chance and I was back in the game!!!
The conditions got good and strong again but, like a fountain: strong lift, strong sink. Choosing the right line was vital at this moment because the thermals were far from each other. One minor mistake and c’est fini…
In the end I managed to stay in the air, and after 378km I landed in a village where I stayed the night. I am not completely sure if this is already the final flown distance because I’m still on my way back to the base camp and I am writing from the train. Regardless of whether or not this flight was a record, it was my best flight in Australia! Full adrenaline and concentration during the entire flight, that’s what strong conditions do for me!
Thanks again for all the support,
Congrats again from all the team!