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HERNAN AND MARCOS SET NEW ARGENTINIAN TRIANGLE RECORD

On Saturday the 4th December, Ozone Team pilot Hernan Pitocco and our friend Marcos Rosenkjer set a new Argentinian Record, flying a 217.9 Km FAI triangle in  Patagonia.

Hernan reports: 

Tuesday November 30th I received an audio from Manu Canale informing me that there were two good flying days coming ahead in the Bariloche-Bolson area: December 4 and 5th. 

I´d already asked Manu to keep me posted as soon as he detected a good flying window in the complicated meteorology of the place. Flying days do not abound in Patagonia, but when they happen, it is one of the most amazing places that I have ever flown. Asap, I spread the good news in one of the WhatsApp groups that I share with friends interested in doing triangles or vivac in that particular area.  

There was no time to lose because Patagonia is quite far from where I live, 1700 km South of La Cumbre. Meanwhile, the only pilot from the group able to cut himself loose from his obligations and be ready like a soldier for the adventure in such short notice was Justo Firpo. The same day he confirmed, we purchased the air tickets Buenos Aires-Bariloche in the only flight available. I still had to figure out how to do the 800 km that separate my house in Cordoba from the airport in Buenos Aires. Since there were no seats in the only Cordoba-Buenos Aires flight, I had no other option but to hop on a bus. I traveled all night and arrived the next day in the morning. Finally, as I was boarding the flight, I wondered if all the hassle would be worth it.  

We arrived to Bariloche Friday December 3rd in the afternoon. We were welcomed with a great vibe by Leonel who also accommodated us in one of his apartments. To our surprise, he also pulled out a huge vinyl printed map of the area. Immediately, we stretched it on the floor and started brainstorming our flight! 

Then came Hernán Dilonenzo and a bit later Ernesto Gutierrez, two old wolves of the air from Bariloche with ample experience in the area, and they finished frying our brains out with all the info of the place! We had skipped lunch, it was getting late and we were quite worn out by the long trip so we went for a bite to the first place we found a couple of blocks away from where we were staying. We came back, left all our gear ready for the next day and finally went to sleep.

The alarm went off loud and clear 6 am that Saturday…Marcos Rosenkjer came to pick us up in his car and drove us to the base of the Cerro Catedral. The three of us trekked uphill for about half an hour with our backpacks to more or less half the height of the mountain. The idea was taking off as soon as the condition allowed it but it was mild, too mild, there was no sign of activity whatsoever, not even a single light breeze. It was like the air had altogether vanished. We watched a group of young pilots starting to take-off below us but no, nothing was going on. 

At around 11 am, the day seemed to get started. As soon as we were ready, we took off. It was 11 30 and the condition was good but the roof was still low and the thermal quite mild. We made good use of it and gradually began to ascend until we were mounted on the higher peaks behind, moving up with the topography.

We made one pass over the astounding needles that give the Cathedral Mountain its name. Then, we transitioned to the next mountain. The adventure had begun! There we were, Justo, Marcos and I, flying together as a team. The 3 of us were quite prudent at first but soon we started getting loose, together with our understanding of how the thermals worked. More or less, everything seemed to work. That is, were we looked, we found. Though nothing was very potent and we were always left with a final altitude between 2300 and 2700 meters. 

We started making our way ahead jumping from one mountain to the next. The valleys are very narrow, many of which have no access at all. We had to be careful to not be too low in any of them. They can be hard to escape.  

After three hours and forty five minutes, having passed an area of flight of unbelievable beauty that is also quite wild, we reached our first turning point. It was the farthest South we got in our route. We were over the Puelo Lake, in the watershed international border line. In fact, in those final kilometers before heading Northeast, we even crossed the border to Chile for couple of meters. That was a critical point in our flight. We were too low and were forced to drag ourselves across the Bolson Valley that is very wide in that part. That´s when we lost contact with Justo, who was a bit low over a hill trying to climb up again. 

Meanwhile, Marcos and I managed to reach the Southern tip of the Piltriquitrón Mountain, where we caught some nice bombs but they didn´t take us high enough. That rocky section of the Piltriquitrón was also the most turbulent part of the flight. I could see Marcos´ wing moving and feel mine, that´s when you are happy to be onboard such a safe paraglider as the Ozone Zeolite!    

From the mountains to the steppe, but first, we had to cross an area of almost unknown peaks. As far as I know, Marki Green is the person who most adventured himself into that area. Nevertheless, our route was way farther to the East than that.  

The topography had changed. The ground was becoming more and more arid, in all shades of brownish colors. Again I thought that being low and having to land anywhere in that section would be complicated. This was a recurring thought that I had. The best option, if worse came to worse, would be to spend the night in some hilltop and take off the next day. I was going over that thought, when all of the sudden, right when we thought that Justo had already landed in Bolson, we heard Justo´s voice on the VHF radio informing us that he was low in a complicated area and he was going to land. Immediately, we made sure to squeeze every drop of thermal we had to secure our height. It was getting late. The only indication that could lead us to close our triangle was a single line of clouds formed by a convergence that was even farther to the East than us. We rowed and rowed our boats until we finally reached it! That was where Windy had forecasted a 4300 m roof and so it was. We had reached that super roof at last! 

The temperature had dropped considerably. You could feel it in the hands, the nose and the forehead. But who cares! We just stepped on the speedbar and glided the straight 35 km line of pure bliss we had earned ourselves on that highway. A highway with awesome landscapes in the golden afternoon light. When we got off that street and looked back, we saw the clouds starting to dissolve. We had crossed in the brink of time!    

One final glide from an altitude of 4000 meters, where we could barely scratch the very last bubbles of the day and it was over. We landed on a nice set of fields with horses, a few kilometers South of the Nahuel Huapi lake. Before we could unbuckle ourselves from the harness, there was already an unknown pick-up truck waiting for us. Who immediately drove us back to town! 

For Marcos´ surprise, we had marked a new Argentine FAI record triangle! 

Justo´s story is worthy of a complete separate chapter. He spent the night in his sleeping bag on a hilltop, next to a lake, under a starlit sky. He admitted to hear feral sounds that night, and that in three opportunities, he turned his head hoping it wasn´t a puma! 

He managed to take off the next day and fly to an Estancia that happened to be owned by a Qatar prince. So the employees were ready to inform him that he could not be there and kindly helped him find a ride out, back to Bariloche with a Swiss guy who´s been living in Argentina for years buying sheep from all over Patagonia.  

Our buddy finally made it to Bariloche the next day at around 10 30 pm, with an interesting sheep stench. We got together in a bar to celebrate. We shared our experiences, ate and like it should, cheered with a well-deserved Patagonian draft beer”

To see Marco’s track click HERE 

 Congrats and cheers from all the team at OZONE!

MONARCA EXPEDITION: World Record Vol-Bivouac Flight

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.

For more on Ben’s adventure, follow us on Facebook and Instagram .

For track logs visit: www.monarcaexpedition.com

Congrats Ben and Cheers from all the OZONE team!

NEW RECORD: RAFA DOES IT AGAIN!!!

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”

For track log click here

Congrats Rafa and cheers from all the Ozone Team.

CHARLES CAZAUX SETS A NEW SPEED PARAGLIDING RECORD.

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.

He shares:

“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.

For record’s details, Click HERE

For FAI.org’s interview with Charles, Click HERE.

18 YEAR OLD CAIO BUZZARELLO SETS NEW RECORD IN BRAZIL.

Caio Henrique Buzzarello has set a new record flying his Enzo 3 in the South of Brazil.

He shares:

“Montes Claros – Minas Gerais is the man stage at the moment for the biggest flights in Brazil! A privileged region with great potential for flights over 350 km and an incredible flight average.

We just caught a beautiful day, blue sky, where the convergence lines ended up being the best options for lift.

It took us 7h and 48 minutes, for 352.2 km of distance, establishing the new record of Mineiro and the center-south of Brazil!

Add to this flight my companions and friends, and it will stay in memory forever!”

For the flight track, Click HERE. 

Congrats and cheers from All the Ozone Team.

Photos courtesy of Caio Buzzarello

HORACIO LLORENS AND FELIX RODRIGUEZ SET A NEW DISTANCE RECORD IN THE PYRENEES.

Cousins Horacio Llorens and Felix Rodriguez Fernandez have just landed from a week long bivy mission in Spain.

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.

For flight track Click HERE

Congrats guys for such a great adventure and a new record for the family!

Cheers from the all the Ozone team.

SEBASTIEN KAYROUZ SETS A NEW US RECORD ON HIS MANTRA 7

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.

For flight track Click HERE

NEW SWEDISH RECORD – 223 km

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.

Congrats and cheers from all the Ozone Team!

For the flight track-log click here

Brigitte Kurbel sets new world record

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