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.
Follow the history via Ozone’s Instagram and Facebook
For more on this amazing adventure visit The Endless Chain website
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”
For flight tracks: Wayne’s, Graham’s and Richard’s
Cheers and congrats from all the OZONE team.
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.”
Antoine Girard and Martin Beaujouan-Berger have concluded their epic journey in South America. Their 1600km adventure took some unexpected turns through the Andes.
In Antoine’s words:
“The initial objective was to achieve 2700 km of bivouac flight including 1700 km of exploration.
We realized 1600km of which 700km completely new. We tried to fly and walk the rest of the 900km, but it was not possible to do it only in bivouac flight… We used the bus a lot. It’s the game of exploration, we don’t know in advance what we are going to find. In the south, a consistently stable atmosphere due to the luxuriant vegetation hindered us. Walking was almost impossible, for example we took 3 days to advance only 50km. To the north is a permanent coastal breeze between the ocean and the Altiplano which is too strong… but we managed to climb on foot and fly volcanoes like the 5672m Ubinas, near Arequipa, Peru.
On the other hand all the central part of the Cordillera flew perfectly! A wild environment in a mountainous desert. No paraglider had everdared to venture there because of the lack of civilization. The main difficulty was finding water. We had to fly with 10 liters of reserve water each, and 10 days of food.
In any case, we are proud to have opened the first 600 km flight route in the heart of the Andes”
Cheers and congrats from all the Ozone Team”
Ozone team pilot, Raúl Penso, soared beyond the summit of the highest mountain in Venezuela, El Pico Bolivar.
Raul grew up in a small town in the Venezuelan Andes, at the base of this massive mountain. Since the beginning he had dreamed of reaching the summit of El Bolivar by air, and after more than two decades of flying in his beautiful hometown, Merida, he has made his dream come true.
In his words:
“It took me almost two hours to reach the summit of “El Bolivar” after taking off from Loma de Los Angeles. The flight wasn’t easy in the beginning, the thermals were quite weak. Once I reached “El Paramo”, I was able to fly through out the inversion finding strong cores that allowed me to climb up and reach the sunny face of El Bolivar. From there I jumped to its south face where I ran into the meteorological wind from the flatlands which helped me to reach an altitude of 5.143 AMSL and fly comfortably above the highest summit of Venezuela.
It was a special moment, after 23 years waiting for this opportunity… the only thing I was able to yell to the air was: INCREDIBLE !!!!!!!!
How beautiful is my Merida and my Venezuela”
Raul is the first pilot to reach, and fly above, the highest summit in Venezuela, El Pico Bolivar (4978 m). He was flying his Enzo 3.
Congrats and cheers from all the Ozone Team!
Antoine Girard and Martin Beaujouan have arrived in Iquique. Their latest report shows the level of commitment that this South American mission has required:
“We just arrived in Iquique, the flying Mecca of Chile. We crossed 750km of rocky dunes, the first time it has been crossed unsupported. In total now we have completed 1500km of vol-bov on this route. This section was much harder than expected, the strong southerly wind was incapacitating. Flying backward was common every day. Thermal flying in these conditions pushed our nerves and piloting abilities to the limit. The local pilots are waiting for “flyable” conditions to use the XC wings. We are hoping for easier conditions!
We still have 200km to Arica before heading back to the big mountains of Peru. For this part we need a safety boat on the ocean, and the perfect wind, because there is no landing place except the water…”
Follow Antoine and Martin’s progress along their South American bivouac flight HERE.
We just received the latest update from Antoine Girard and Martin Beaujouan. The guys have flown above untouched Andean terrain to continue with their 2500km South American bivouac flight.
“We have just achieved 800km of fly-biv in the Andes. 650km of which were never flown before. We crossed through passes higher than 4000m.
Our highest cloudbase was 5200m, at a temperature of -3°C. Flying conditions are hard with stability in the morning, very strong valley wind (50kmh) as high as 1500m from the ground.
The most complicated was the water management in this desert. We had to bring 10 lt of water each to survive 3 days. Stunning flights in moon like landscape. It was a total success for this exploration.
We are now on the Pacific coast to fly the next 1000km of dunes in fly-biv. It has been done once before. Exploration will be on again on the north of Arica.”
Follow Antoine and Martin’s progress along their South American bivouac flight HERE.
Stefano Gigli came to New Zealand five years ago. His first stop was Raglan, where he immediately fell in love with the Kiwi lifestyle. Since that first visit, Stefano has called New Zealand home. Last summer he began flying the Swift 41 and noticed its XC potential right away, which inspired him to go for distance in New Zealand.
Ozone Power manager, Emilia Plak, is a regular visitor to New Zealand, and when she returned this year Stefano immediately scooped her up as his passenger and set off into no-man’s-land. Stefano and Emi took off from Wanaka and flew what could be the longest tandem flight ever achieved in New Zealand.
In Stefano’s words:
“The valley breezes and the sea breezes from the east and west characterize this southern region and it is not always easy to make good flights or get to goal. The weather changes constantly and when you fly you must always keep in mind the possibility of bivouacking somewhere. Last December we had four days of wonderful weather to fly and we had a lot of fun. With the SwiftMax we were able to increase the average speed in the transitions and its glide performance allowed us to make efficient transitions.
When piloting the Swiftmax, it feels as if you are piloting a sport-intermediate wing – it gives you the same feelings and the same XC confidence. It’s really precise in the controls and climbs fast in thermals. Tandem flying for me is the maximum realization of sharing this wonderful sport. Our Last XC tandem flight could be a new FAI triangle tandem record (75.53 Km)”
For Stefano and Emi’s track click here.
Congrats and cheers from the Ozone team!
Nick Neynens has been exploring the mountains around the Southern Lakes of New Zealand ever since he learnt to fly. His latest 200km triangle attempt (still good enough for a new national record) had him landing just down the road from home. In his words:
The previous day after getting snowed on and waiting for over four hours on take off for cloud to lift, I’d had a great flight through the boonies until I popped out at Glenorchy and realised my SPOT subscription had lapsed! I landed on a ridge and spent a frustrating few hours on the internet before calling it a night, waking the next morning at cloud base with cold toes. By 10am I was already in the air, with a quick scenic run up the Earnslaw burn to check another fast melting glacier (the snow came after a month of record heat, it looks like late autumn) as cloud swirled around in the not so mellow southeasterly. Climbing just a few hundred feet before reaching cloud base at 5500′ or so, I ran up and down Mt Alfred sniffing out a climb and then continued down the Dart valley, with a side trip into the Beans burn as far as I dared. It would theoretically boost my FAI triangle dimensions but it didn’t work that way – the Alfred run was however beneficial in the end. I’ve been up the Dart so much now that I’m getting to know every nook and cranny but I still think it’s the most scenic valley in New Zealand. I still couldn’t get above 5500′ though and the first little hurdle was getting through Cascade saddle, after patiently gaining height amongst the glaciers I popped over, if there were any trampers they would have ducked their heads. In the Matukituki valley now I ended up gaining enough height to get over the peaks I needed to get over – meanwhile the last task of the New Zealand Paragliding Open had started, in the same valley just a little further down (but they flew across the flats). I was off grid incognito though and kept pushing on, fairly doubtful that this triangle thing might work out but keen to give it a go. Cirrus slowed things down a little as I jumped over the next pass into the Shotover catchment, but this place works so well you barely need a full moon for thermals. Once I was on the Richardson range with evening sunny faces overlooking Glenorchy, I was pretty confident – until I had to push out to Mt Crichton on the corner of the Glenorchy Queenstown road. I almost faltered but decided I had to go with “all or nothing”, and it was very nearly nothing. Losing height I went into damage control and took every last scrap of lift in the late evening. Thankfully a tailwind kept me on the move and I had some amazing glides between gentle climbs on golden spurs. Landing after sunset I had to choose between closing the triangle and landing in Mum’s paddock, but it was only a quarter hour walk home. It felt great to fly over ten hours on a not so auspicious day – my sailplane flying friend said quite a few hadn’t made it home today, and another paragliding friend said it was “just straight up f***ed”. Of course the main factor is getting to the right place at the right time (not being limited by road access helps!). A tip of the hat to the Ozone Zalps performance as well – how to go far? Point the way you want to go, turn only if you need to, and plan a route over the pointy stuff!
For Nick’s track log click here.
Cheers from all the team!
The concept is simple: Fly across the entire length of the alps, solo, and go for a swim in the Adriatic Sea. Following in the footsteps of Didier Favre, Antoine Boisselier embarks on a massive Alpine vol-biv adventure with the goal of sharing his experience with as many mountain locals along the way as possible. Antoine’s vol-biv experience is about a windblown journey alternating between mountain hikes and long XC flights, but especially a human adventure made of encounters. His goal is to rely on locals for food and shelter – but getting help from strangers is not always easy, and a path of 750 km from St Hilaire du Touvet in France to the Adriatic Sea provides many opportunities to be challenged.
For more on Antoine’s adventure click here.