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.
While the PWC crew was gearing up in Brazil, Wayne Seeley & friends were chasing the first XC window of the year in the UK.
“The UK season finally kicked off. On March 24th, the forecast was good with a 1500m base predicted and a nice NW wind . A few of us launched our Zenos from Selsley common in the Cotswolds, Tom Cole and Ollie Clothier both made 100+km flights and me and Graham Steel made our declared goal of 155km finally landing at 162k after 5 hrs. A great start to the year!!!”
Unsupported. Unspoiled. Untouched. After crossing the width of the Canadian Rockies during his 1,000 km vol-biv in 2017, Benjamin Jordan has taken his passion for exploring the untouched mountains of his homeland to the next level.
Last summer, Benjamin dared to become the first person to fly an unprecedented 1,200 km route, along the entire length of the Rockies, from the United States all the way up to Northern British Columbia. Join us this week for a taste of this incredible adventure.
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”
Ozone Team pilot, Cody Mittanck just sent us a report from his latest trip to Nevada where he had the opportunity to put his Z-alps and Ozium 2 to the test.
“Nevadastan. The name should conjure images of a dry, desolate desert with no roads and no cell service, with small dusty mining towns barely surviving and locals speaking a foreign tongue. It’s not quite this. The locals speak some form of incomprehensible english and I found 4G in the middle of a dry lake bed that is better than I get at my house in Salt Lake City. But regardless its an adventure and for me one that can be found without getting on a plane. It was spring time flying in the desert, lapse rates that had my vario doubled over showing 14 mps climbs, leaving climbs nearly a 1000 meters below base and still getting sucked into the cloud, getting snowed on, and moving 90 degrees off course to avoid massive thunderstorms. I had never heard of a pee tube freezing, but apparently it happens. My hands are still a bit numb in the fingertips. I have to say that even in those conditions it was insane how comfortable I felt under the Z-alps. It never even had the slightest tip collapse, but still had the feedback (and performance) of a 2-liner. I’ve flown the Enzo for the past 4 years in both competition and XC, because I feel its important to stay current on the wing your competing on. It goes without saying that it is a bit of work to fly the Enzo on long XC flights and I’m worried that if I only fly the Zalps I’ll loose the focus required for the Enzo…but I have to be honest, I’ve never had so much fun flying in booming spring time conditions as I did flying the Z-alps in Nevada.”