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, Rafael Saladini (Enzo 3) has set a new straight distance (declared goal) world record at home in Brazil. He reports:
“Oct 15th – We’ve been here for 20 days declaring everyday the same point and had only two waves with reasonable wind and enough humidity. Tacima is always a mental challenge. At 6:40am, I was towed to 400m AGL from our “aeropasto” near Tacima – just enough altitude to reach the ridge 2km behind where the old foot launch is located.
As the forecast was not so good, I launched with two main goals: I had a chase cam attached to get some shots and we decided to check a runaway in Lagoa Nova. I did a bit of soaring and at around 7am I began my unexpected +11 hour journey through the atmosphere.
Before reaching Lagoa Nova, I had to make a pendulum and grab the chase cam to make sure I would not have surprises in case of a hard landing. I cut the line and left the mount inside my harness. When I arrived over the runaway, I was 250m AGL and was searching for a safe place to land. But life sometimes delivers unexpected surprises. A strong cycle just took me straight to cloudbase, and after that my mindset changed completely. I decided to fly as far as I could and finally try to break the declared goal.
Since 2007, after my South American record of 397km, I never flew alone anymore. Team flying is my favorite way to explore Brazilian Sertão. Share the sky and world records with my friends are among the best experiences I ever had. But this time I decided to do it otherwise. Fly by myself again the whole day. Meditate in deep silence for more than 11h. A pure connection with the pulse of the atmosphere, when nothing else matters, only the present moment and the next thermal.
Conditions were far from great, with only moderate wind and many blue holes. The only way to try to compensate was full bar the whole time and an agressive attitude, exposing myself for an early landing much more than we usually do when team flying. It worked until 3:30pm. After that the sky turned blue and was very difficult to navigate fast and precise.
Late afternoon, when I was already tired, that’s when team flying makes a difference, especially when we have blue sky. I committed some mistakes in the last two hours that cost me some precious kilometers. But I managed to break the straight distance to a declared goal world record, declaring and flying 530km and reaching a final distance of 555km, landing in a dirty road in the heart of Ceará. The current record is from Guy Anderson and Harry Bloxham, 510.8km in 2019. Lets see if FAI will ratify.
Certainly it was the best paragliding experience I ever had alone in my life. I’m really stoked!! 555km is the third longest flight in Paragliding History. The current straight distance world record is 582km (tow), and the previous one was 564km (foot launch). Both from our team, and I am really really really grateful and honored to be a part of all of them”
Ozone Team pilot, Charles Cazaux (FRA) has beaten his own record of speed over 25 km triangle course at Col du Banchet (France) with a 46,9 km/h of average speed on 24 of August 2020, setting a new World Speed Paragliding record.
“I woke up this morning, just back from a week in Disentis for the World Cup, had breakfast with the kids, walked few steps in the garden and eye on the sky: fresh air, dry grass, bird already thermalling, east/north east tendancy up there, little cloud on the east side of ridges. Hmm… Sound like a good day… A pretty good day. So what’s the plan of the whole family? Kids want to take a rest at home from yesterday hike, really? So I might have a short window to test this airmass., take off is just 10’ from there.
Few minute to check more carefully the forecast, it seems a bit windy for the plan in my mind… But let’s try it! What is a the plan? A speed run training over a 25 km FAI triangle! What? Yes, that’s it!
Years ago I started training on it as a specific exercise to improve myself, my skills using the speedbar, push the limits of my mind, learn to be focus, relax and efficient in this special moment. In competition the final glide with full speed is just few minute of the flight, and I realized I was not so good for it. I spent more and more time to practice in order to be able to fight with the best pilot. It seems it works! 25 km is quite short, every second matters for the average speed. The main thing to deal with is the difference of altitude between the start and the arrival point which must be less than 500m according to the FAI record rules. It means to go fast, you will push and loose altitude but on the other hand you need to deal with this minimum altitude difference. I found that my home place is not so bad regarding the terrain and aerology.
In 2006, I did my first world record on a « speed over a 25 km FAI triangle », I continue the story in 2010 with an Ozone R10, then prototype disappeared from the competition scene, reducing the top speed, so it was pretty complicate to find the right aerology to push the limit faster than the last years.
Back to the present, I am on fire and ready! Sent the Paperwork to the FAI, setting task in the GPS, my Bullet barr is on, my ballast is full, Enzo 3 and Exoceat ready to rock! After several record attempt in Australia, Texas, Brazil, I have been used to this record routine so it was quite easy from home! Take-off, first thermal nearby the cliff and I understood it might be a bit strong for my plan « 10-15 km/h nor-east, 3-4 m/s lift, never mind let’s see what’s possible with such a stadium ! » It has been a quite demanding day playing a lot with the B risers and my speedbar especially over the ridge hitting thermal and headwind even I flew 300-400m over the ground. I was ready to face such a challenge with a right mindset for this daily task! Such a good feeling to cross the line and check the result! A new Speed record…
Thanks to Seiko Fukuoka Naville, my Team partner at Airlinks Academy, as she always push me to improve my skills with safety training, full speed training, detailed debriefing . Thanks to One Day coaching for the advice to keep my mind in the task.
I am looking forward for a D-day with the right aerology or a better place to make it even faster!”
Congrats Charles for such a fast run and cheers from all the Ozone Team.
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.
Congrats to Sebastien Kayrouz, who set a new US Paragliding record in Texas flying his Mantra 7. On June 7th, Sebastien launched from a small hill near Camp Wood and flew a straight-line distance of 503 km.
He flew for 9 hours 45 minutes with an average speed of 52.5 kmh and a maximum altitude of 2,707 m. This might be the longest flight ever done on a 3-liner.
Previous to Sebastien’s flight, the longest paragliding flight in the US was 463km, set by Ozone R&D team member Luc Armant on 2 July 2014.
Sebastien sent us this message after his flight:
“The strong wind made the conditions challenging but the M7 took on everything the day threw at us like a champ and delivered when I needed it to deliver. I loved the M7 before, and I love it even more now. Thank you Ozone.”
Amazing flight Sebastien! Cheers from all the Ozone Team.
On May 6th, Gillis Bengtsson set a new Swedish distance record on his ZENO. He took off from Ålleberg, a small mountain (90 m) in the Swedish flatlands. He landed, after 6 hours, close to the city of Kalmar.
Gillis is one of the most active paragliding pilots in Sweden. In his early paragliding career he practiced a lot of ground handling and soared a lot on small slopes and even castles.
He has been focused on distance flying for the last few years, and it’s great to see that all his earlier practice and consistency is now paying off.
Brigitte Kurbel (GER) set a new women’s world record in Free Distance around a triangle course on her Zeno. After a long walk to launch in Grente (ITA), she spent more than 11 hours in the air to achieve an amazing 269 Km flight. For the flight track, click here.
Brigitte flew six triangles this year, making her the winner of the World XC contest 2019 (women). She flew her Zeno for all but one, for which she piloted the new M7 for a “test-flight” of 231.44 km.
Ramona Eckert (GER) placed second in the XC contest flying her Alpina 3. In Third place was Gabriela Jacober-Wüest (CH) on her Swift 5.
Congrats, and cheers from all the Ozone Team. Thanks for flying OZONE
Last week, excellent conditions in Brazil saw some of the longest XC flights in the history of paragliding.
On October 9th, Ozone team pilot Seiko Fukuoka set a new female record after flying 460 kms, beating Yael Margelisch’s 442km of 4 October. Seiko was flying with teammates Charles Cazaux and Felix Rodriguez. All flying Enzo 3.
On October 10th local gurus Rafael Saladini (Enzo 3), Marcelo Prieto and Rafael de Moraes Barros flew 582km to set, again, a New paragliding world record.
The same day Mexican pilot Alex Loyarte took his Zeno for an impressive 509 Km flight launching from the Rampa De Vôo Livre in Patu.
On October 12th, Seiko flew a bit further, landing 472 kms away from launch.
Meanwhile Swiss pilot, Yael Margelisch (Enzo 3) was about to become the first female pilot to pass the 500km mark breaking the record again with an amazing 553 Km flight.
Definitely a week to remember! Congrats to all the pilots and cheers from all the Ozone Team.