Ben Jordan crosses USA with massive 2,835 km vol-bivouac expedition.
Inspired by the incredible migration of the Monarch butterfly, over the spring and summer of 2020, Ozone Team Pilot Benjamin Jordan became the first person to paraglide from Mexico to Canada, setting a new Vol-Biv World Distance Record (2835 KM) and completing the first ever un-powered paraglider journey across the United States.
From the scorched earth of southern Arizona, across the red rocks of Utah, above the towering peaks of Idaho and along the endless rockies of Montana, Jordan dedicated 150 unforgettable days to the completion of this extraordinary vision.
Monarchs are the world’s furthest migrating butterfly. Over four generations, they fly all the way from Mexico to Canada and back, completing the 7000 km round-trip each year. Exactly how they manage to find the exact same overwintering site that their ancestors overwintered on the previous year, remains a mystery to scientists to this very day.
Just like the Monarch, Benjamin’s remarkable journey was completed without using fuel or power of any kind, but by simply relying on his glider and understanding of the natural world.
Ozone Team Pilot, Antoine Girard, has just returned from his latest adventure in Norway: 500 kms of vol-biv flying through magnificent terrain:
“Covid has wiped out all the bivouac flight plans for the year, but should we give up? There are a lot of great things to do close to home. We headed for the crossing of Norway. Around 500km in a straight line but a course of more than 650km. With Julien Dusserre, we waited for the opening of the border to jump on the first plane. Certainly a little late for the season (August 1) but we had no choice.
We are in northern Europe, the sun is weak as are the thermals and the distance of the flights, quite the opposite of the rain in the country!We left from Evje in the north of Kristiansand to reach Trondeim in the north. We had 15 days which represents 33km of travel on the line per day to get to the end. It doesn’t seem like much but with the flight conditions, bad weather etc. it’s a challenge ! We know it and we decide right away not to do it in a pure ethical way, that is to say that we are not going to walk too much on the road and if it does not fly! We will advance by bus, hitchhiking or other to finish the 33km daily unless we are ahead of the timing. On the other hand we will try to remain in complete autonomy food and overnight which imposes on us bags of 30kg.
We did a large part of the crossing with Johannes Helleland, a native Norwegian and helicopter pilot, he knows his country inside out! In the end, he is like our guide for the 10 days spent together. A very precious help.We flown 250km and 50km walk which represents almost 70% progress on the line without motorized means. Above all, transport enabled us to be at the best place for the next day.On flyable days, we flew between 5 and 65km. Each 30km flight is a success. You have to be very patient in a small thermal and the flight slots have never exceeded 3 hours! We walked for hours in search of takeoffs, in a land filled with water and sometimes mosquitoes. The days that end around 11 p.m. allowed us to make good progress and optimize our walk.
Take-off areas are rare because of the endless forests and the slopes that are often too gentle. The take-offs are often on a granite slab which prevents any vegetation. Wild take-offs are far from easy in Norway!
On the other hand the landscapes are magnificent with lakes everywhere and the fish proliferate! We have not forgotten our mini fishing rods. Self-sufficiency is not difficult with fish and wild fruits to complement our meals!”
Congrats Antoine, and thanks for the report! Photos Courtesy of Antoine Girard and Julien Dusserre.
On Saturday, June 27th, after spending a full day on the ground due to strong winds, they launched from Alanos and flew 227 km to set a new Pyrenees distance record.
In their words:
“Our goal was simply to enjoy the beautiful Pyrenees, and fly as a team. During the first three days we flew 180 km to the west, where the crest of the Pyrenees ends.
On the fourth day, we were forced to take the day off due to strong wind. The big surprise came on day five when, with decent conditions (nothing special), we were able to fly 227 km for a new distance record in the Pyrenees… we flew back to the east following the predominant wind flow and in a single day we surpassed the full route of the first three days. It was UNREAL!!!!
After that incredible flight, conditions deteriorated. So we decided to stop for now and put our energy into our next vol-bivouac mission. Stay tuned to find out where and when this will be!”
Horacio was flying his Zeolite and Felix his Z-Alps. Both of them flew with the Ozium 2.
This year our pilots will be flying the new Zeolite in the race. Legendary adventurer and Ozone team pilot, Antoine Girard, says:
“This is the ideal sail for vol-biv, without compromise! Easy, agile, powerful, fast and especially ultralight. The takeoff and landings have never been easier. It is a real Swiss army knife for vol-biv. It’s a pleasure to carry, and a pleasure to fly. The performance and overall ease of use makes it very difficult to give back after having tested it!”
Gavin McClurg, Gaspard Petiot, Nick Neynans, Cody Mittanck, Rodolphe Akl, Thomas Juel Christiensen, Manuel Nübel, Dominika Kasieczko, and Maxime Pinot, are all competing under the ZEOLITE in this year’s race.
Pendant que l’équipe PWC se préparait au Brésil, Wayne SEELEY et ses amis s’attaquaient aux premiers vols XC en Angleterre.
Wayne raconte :
« La saison a finalement démarré en Angleterre. Le 24 mars, la mùétéo prévoyait un plaf à 1500 m et un bon vent de nord ouest. Plusieurs d’entre nous sont partis sous leur Zeno de Selsley
common dans le district de Cotswolds ; Tom COLE et Ollie CLOTHIER ont parcouru plus de 100 km et Graham STEEL et moi-même avons réussi notre vol déclaré de 155 km en nous posant au bout de 5 heures après un parcours de 163 km. Un beau début de saison !!! »
Spring has brought some fine conditions to the UK. Our friend, Wayne Seeley, shares the details of an epic weekend in his homeland:
“Saturday the 19th May dawned with clear skies and light winds forecast, the team at XCLENT decided to attempt a 105km declared triangle. launching from our tow site at 11am we were soon climbing and heading off to tp1, the first 20k went well with good cumulus but then we had to cross 40km of blue sky, this went quite well and as we neared tp2 we again reached cumulus and had plentiful strong climbs up to 6000ft all along the Cotswold edge back to our goal, 4 of us made it around the course , Wayne Seeley (Zeno) Graham steel (Zeno) Guy Anderson (Enzo3) and Richard Osbourne (Zeno) with the first two closing the triangle in 5hrs. The following day gave similar conditions with more breeze but a few of us managed to get around a 85km triangle thanks to the almighty into wind performance of the Zenos”
Cody MITTANCK, pilote Ozone, vient de nous faire parvenir son récit de son dernier vol au Nevada, sous sa Z-Alps et son Ozium 2
» Nevadastan. Ce nom pourrait convenir pour décrire un désert sec et désolé, dépourvu de routes et de réseau téléphonique, avec des bourgades minières survivant à peine et habitées par de rares âmes s’exprimant dans une langue inconnue. Eh bien ça n’est pas tout à fait ça !. Les locaux parlent bien un anglais incompréhensible et j’ai trouvé, au milieu d’un lac asséché, un réseau 4G meilleur que celui de ma maison à Salt Lake City. De toutes façons, pour moi, c’est une aventure à laquelle je peux accéder sans avoir à montrer dans un avion.
C’était l’heure du vol libre dans le désert ; mon vario doublant son échelle pour atteindre un taux de 14m/s ; avec des départs de montées à 1000 m au dessous du plafond, des entrées dans les nuages, des averses de neige et des changements de cap à 90 ° pour éviter les orages. Je n’avais jamais entendu dire qu’un urinoir pouvait geler, mais cela peut apparemment arriver. Mes doigts étaient gelés. Je dois cependant dire que même par ces conditions, je me sentais incroyablement bien sous ma X-Alps. Elle na même jamais fermé le bout d’aile mais m’a toujours procuré le même retour d’info qu’une deux lignes.
Je vole sous Enzo depuis quatre ans, tant en compétition qu’en cross car je pense qu’il est important de conserver son niveau de pilotage sous son aile de compète. Il va sans dire que c’est un travail ardu de voler sous Enzo pendant des longs cross ; mais j’ai peur qu’en volant sous la X-Alps, je perde la concentration indispensable pour voler sous Enzo… Mais pour être honnête, je ne me suis jamais autant amusé en conditions de printemps que sous ma X-Alps dans le Nevada »